|New movie poster|
Apparently, some folks are upset that she's on the new movie poster (read some of the cringe-worthy comments on Trekmovie here). Go figure. One of the major stars of the film is prominently displayed on a poster that advertises said film and people are freaking out about it. Or more specifically, some people are feeling some kind of way because Uhura is on the poster and McCoy isn't. Seems there's this impression out there that J.J. Abrams has some kind of diabolical plan to "replace" Bones with Uhura in the Kirk/Spock/McCoy triumvirate for some strange reason. *blink* Yeah...I don't get that one either.
Now don't get me wrong. I love Bones as much as the next Trekkie, but really? Why are the two characters being pitted against each other? Why does one have to be "better" or more important than the other? Would Uhura be more acceptable if she was slated as the "fourth wheel" and not the love of Spock's life? (I think we all know the answer to that last one.) McCoy is a staple in the Trek 'verse and specifically within the Kirk and Spock dynamic, so it's quite a safe bet that Uhura won't be replacing anyone. Nor would I want her too. I want her to be her own character with her own arc and her own dynamic within the circle of major Enterprise crew members--not get McCoy's sloppy seconds.
As excited as I was when I saw the reboot movie four years ago, I remember being just as disheartened at how Uhura was (and still is) treated by the fandom. It's ugly, both racist and sexist, and it's been absolutely unrelenting. Even by some people who supposedly love the character.
Uhura's mere existence seems to drive a subset of Trek fans into depths of irrationality that I still can't fathom. Her fairly prominent role in the first movie (and now what looks to be an expanded role in the sequel), along with her fully realized, requited romantic relationship with the iconic Spock has left a whole horde of people very, very unhappy. She's been white-washed and downgraded in fanfiction, made into a manhandling brute for daring to comfort her man on a turbolift after his mother was killed or simply dismissed as a love interest and therefore, deemed unimportant.
Then there's the concern trolling. Uhura is so awesome, that by putting her in a romantic relationship, her character was lessened somehow. She deserved so much better than that. The sixties iteration of the character was so much better than Nu!Uhura because she never had and didn't need a love interest (nor a first name, apparently). Gene Roddenberry had such a wonderful, idealistic view of the future where race (and gender) doesn't matter, wouldn't it be feasible that Uhura could have a white parent or grandparent? What's the big deal if a fanfiction author changes her genetic makeup? Why does it matter? Sadly, these were real questions. By real people.
I'm sure that any fan of Star Trek 2009 remembers this period of rampant racefail. Never mind Uhura's prodigious linguistic skills, or her high IQ, or her all around BAMF-ness. Because everyone knows there's no way that she can be all those things, be black and be so utterly fabulous that a hard-to-please, scary-smart Vulcan like Spock no less would fall head-over-heels in love with her. Nope. Perish the thought.
Although it's completely nonsensical, the same qualities that would be lauded by the fandom if it was any other
The only thing that makes me feel even slightly better about any of this is that scriptwriters Kurtzman and Orci consistently push back against the sexism and racism rampant in the fandom over Uhura and the Spock/Uhura relationship. Orci's responses can frequently be seen in the comments section on Trekmovie.com countering people's ridiculous statements about the character. Along with J.J., neither Kurtzman or Orci seems sorry about the direction they took with any of the characters, but specifically about Uhura and her relationship with Spock. And I say, good on them. It's about time someone in Hollywood grew a spine and straight up told the whining minority in the fandom to get over it already.
But I digress.
Now there also seems to be an issue with Uhura appearing on the front cover of Empire magazine's three-page cover spread for their May issue (read some more equally cringe-worthy comments on TrekMovie here). Apparently, McCoy should have replaced her on there too. Seems to me that some people won't truly be satisfied until Uhura goes back to being just a "space operator" á la Star Trek: The Original Series.
I'm just sayin'...
Highly recommended reading:
*Cross-posted on The Blasian Narrative.