This year is the 50th anniversary of Star Trek: the original series first beamed into our world on September 8, 1966. The franchise is stronger than ever with the thirteenth film in theaters now and a seventh television series coming in January 2017. I’ve been a Trekkie since childhood and like many fans, I have a wishlist for our new crew — Women of color. More than one. A dark black woman with natural hair in a leadership role. Asians. From different parts of Asia. An Indian woman who has a plot that doesn’t involve marriage. A Native character that makes up for Chakotay. On screen explicitly queer relationships. One straight cis white man, at most, and I’d love him to be the counselor or the nurse or the civilian. — but as excited as I am for all the new, I also have a list of minor women characters from the previous canon I’d love to see again. Star Trek: Discovery is set to be a prequel series, but possibly only for the first season, and hey, Star Trek has returned in new forms more than once. . . Space is big enough for all of us, right?
A legacy character is the easiest way to tie a new story to the ones that came before, but I’m an advocate for these women based on their unrealized potential. Demora and Miral each appear only once, in blink and you’ll miss them moments, yet they make a profound impact. Molly appears throughout Deep Space Nine, but as a small child. Incorporating any of these women into a new storyline opens up all sorts of interesting avenues to explore. How do their parents, and Starfleet, and the events of their childhood, all at least partly familiar to the audience, influence their lives and choices? Demora, especially, could give a richer background to her father as well as herself (she appears in Beyond!).
I want a ‘Starfleet: JAG’ series so badly! Anchoring it with one of these women would connect it to a character and story we know, the way Miles O’Brien transfers from the Enterprise to Deep Space Nine (and from The Next Generation to Deep Space Nine), and Sisko is introduced as a survivor of Wolf 359. It would also easily set the time period. A prequel series for Norah Satie would be incredibly interesting! The series would have to incorporate moments that assert the character flaws evident in “The Drumhead” but also present her as a brilliant and sympathetic lawyer we want to root for and that makes for a complex character and riveting stories.
Give it up for ladies in command! My ideal choice for captain in a new series would be a 40-something non-heterosexual woman of color but I’d love to meet up with an Admiral Hernandez or a younger Rachel Garrett being mentored into captaincy. Shelby might be more difficult to incorporate because her story thus far would parallel the ones we’ve seen in the three contemporary series, but it would also be interesting to watch a timeline we know unfold from a new perspective. Or we could catch up with Captain Shelby in the ‘now’ of 25 years after Best of Both Worlds.
These are my three favorite minor character Trek women. Each only appears in two episodes but every time I watch any of those episodes I want to watch an entire series about them. Sito is MIA, presumed dead but she was initially going to reappear in an episode of DS9 so it would not be unreasonable for her to return. Revisiting Tal would allow us to learn more about what happened after Voyager’s return.
But it’s Lefler I would really love to catch up with — in any capacity, at any point in her story. I can even imagine a series that includes tween/teen Lefler hanging around her famous scientist parents (as related in “The Game”) — the Wesley character as it were, but done well, which would then add a new layer to their relationship in TNG. There is a conundrum in that having more of these characters I love may mess up why I love them. But I prefer to have the more, that I can reject if I don’t like it, over leaving it at perfect potential.
And these are my three favorite Trek women whose storylines let them down. Amanda has only ever been used in reference to Spock, and in her latest appearance died for his character development. Caithlin and her compatriots on Nimbus III are mere pawns in Sybok’s plot, and the story as a whole. And Leah is used and abused first by Geordi, and then by the story. To make up for all this I would love a series that included a young Amanda and Sarek working together at the dawn of the Federation and falling in love. I would love a story about Leah that just doesn’t involve Geordi at all. And imagine a series about the rebellious and jaded Nimbus trio thwarting their governments for the little people — think Leverage in space. It would be amazing.
I’m excited to meet new characters, both main and minor but I want to see more of these women, too. Take Navigation Officer Darwin, featured in the header, a screen cap of Star Trek: Into Darkness — no one says her name in the film, we never learn anything about her, and I want to know it all! These are my favorites — what are yours?