Nichelle Nichols answered questions about her time on the original series, and gave her opinion on where the Abrams-verse Uhura should go.
One question that always comes up with original series members concerned getting along now with William Shatner. According to Nichols, “It’s very cordial when we see each other.”
Although Nichols wore a red uniform, she never worried about meeting the fate of many redshirts. “But there’s a funny story,” she said. “The first time you saw me, I wasn’t in a red outfit; the outfit was puke green. The front office had not seen that and had no idea I was on the show. When they saw the dailies, they went, ‘What the hell? Who is she?’ Gene [Roddenberry] said, ‘She’s the communications officer.’ They said, ‘What happened to…?’ Gene said, ‘He got a lead role on Room 222, and Nichelle is absolutely perfect for it. Isn’t she good?’ They said, ‘Yes, she’s good, but… but… but… but, we can’t…’ Gene said, ‘I told you I was going to make a change on the bridge. You knew this.’ They said, ‘All you said was you were going to add a little color. We thought you were talking about the costumes!’ Gene said, ‘You know, you’re right. I don’t like her in that outfit,’ and he had the costumer change it. The next thing I knew I was in a red costume for the duration of the show. They didn’t come up with the idea of the red shirts dying on planets for a little while.”
If Nichols could have lunch with any of the characters (not actors) from the show, with whom would she lunch and why? “Mr. Spock,” said Nichols. “As we talked about, I created my character as relating to Spock. I thought of Spock as Uhura’s mentor, because he was older and more experienced.”
What would Nichols like to see for the character Uhura in the next Star Trek film? “I’d like to see what J.J. Abrams does with it,” said Nichols. “I think with what Zoë [Saldana] did, making the change, going from this young, flirty gal and having fun to being dead serious, I’d like to see where that goes. She’ll be making more choices in the next few years and I have full faith and confidence in Zoë and in J.J. I’d love to see where they take it, and I’d love to come back to it in that out-of-sequence timeframe and meet up with Uhura as her mother or grandmother or whatever, if J.J. wanted to use me. I would love to be a part of it.”