Star Trek Beyond‘s Zoë Saldana explained how the Enterprise crew felt at the beginning of the movie and where they ultimately ended up, and also what was happening in the Spock-Uhura relationship.
At the beginning of Star Trek Beyond, Uhura, like the other crewmembers, was a bit unhappy. “She’s tired,” said Saldana. “I think she’s homesick, and I felt that – that’s the one thing that I appreciated the most about what Simon and Doug did for this installment. They made us human and homesick and sad, and how being overly worked and away from home, and all the things that keep you grounded, can put a strain not just on the intimate relationships that you may have, but also the professional ones. I thought I would never see the day where I would walk into the Enterprise and we’re kind of like, not rolling our eyes at each other, but we’re not that excited to see each other. And I thought, ‘Okay, well, this is a great place to start because I can only imagine where we’re going to end up.’
“And we literally end up in the opposite direction. We’re dying to be close to each other. We’re dying to save each other and get back together. I guess that relationship with Spock and Uhura felt so normal and human to me that it’s sort of the consequences that may occur when you decide to love your co-worker in a lovey-dovey way. It’s just sometimes the professionalism can get in the way of the spirituality and I feel like that’s what happened between both of them.”
Saldana believed that Uhura would feel that she was holding back Spock whose goals had changed since the loss of Vulcan in Star Trek (2009). “I think what she finds most challenging is that maybe in her mind, she is starting to feel like he needs to fulfill a bigger purpose,” said Saldana. “And I think she’s super afraid of weighing him down. I think it’s much more selfless than what anybody thinks. I think they have an amazing friendship, very respectful of each other, but maybe she’s beginning to understand that with all that has happened before, that at some point it’s going to have to go in this direction, and maybe she just wants to get herself out of his way. To never run the chance of him not fulfilling it. She understands that it’s bigger. That’s sort of like the unspoken word between Uhura and Spock.
“I feel that this break-up that Uhura and Spock have is amazing because she fell in love with her teacher. So he came as this figure that represented responsibility and safety and maturity and wisdom. There is a parallel universe situation that’s going in here with Uhura and women these days. In that, there’s no longer this animosity or this resentment to sort of prove who you are. You just want to be left alone to sort of find out who you are because you’re interested and you’re curious. I like this autonomy that’s happening with women right now.”