Having given a significant portion of their careers to going where no man has gone before, it’s only fitting that Star Trek legends Nichelle Nichols and DeForest Kelley, who respectively portrayed Lieutenant Uhura and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy in the original series, will have their ashes laid to rest amongst the stars.
Nichols and Kelley are set to fly off into the unknown together aboard memorial space flight company Celestis’ inaugural ‘Voyager’-level offering, named The Enterprise Flight in honor of its prestigious guests, which “will launch from planet Earth and travel beyond the Earth-Moon system, beyond the James Webb telescope, and into interplanetary deep space – where it will join the other planets, moons, comets, and asteroids in our solar system on a never-ending journey through the cosmos.”
These are the on-screen voyages of Star Trek, a now-massive and popular franchise with 13 movies and over 800 episodes and counting. Star Trek: The Original Series went off the air in 1969, and was followed by two decades of movies about those same characters. Yet it wasn’t until the launch of the second TV series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, that we got to see new characters in this universe. Aptly named, Next Generation moved into the future from the original series, exploring new technology such as holodecks, and the universe-changing replicators, which could create almost any item you wanted in an instant.
As said in an article in the New Yorker, “It is hard to overstate how much of a departure the ‘Star Trek’ franchise’s eighties-and-nineties-straddling incarnation, ‘The Next Generation,’ was from the original series.” The show moved the Trek universe into a utopian future of post-scarcity. In one episode, for instance, Jean-Luc Picard, the current Captain of the starship Enterprise-D, tells a twentieth-century human concerned about his old stocks that, “People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We’ve eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We’ve grown out of our infancy.”
When word came in early April that almost the entire lead cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation was returning for the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard, there were a few noteworthy absences; among them any mention of Denise Crosby returning as Lieutenant Tasha Yar.
This wasn’t much of a surprise, of course, since Yar not only died but–because of the kinds of time travel shenanigans Trek is known for–actually died twice.
But apparently, Enterprise-D’s first security chief may have another life left, since Denise Crosby recently confirmed her character will return for Picard‘s final season.
However, several members of the “Star Trek” family have passed on. These great losses were felt by both the actors in the “Star Trek” family and the fandom. Luckily, their legacies will never be forgotten.
These are all of the major “Star Trek” cast members who’ve died over the years.
Brian, Kayla, Matt, and the co-host of TrekMovie’s All Access Star Trek podcast, Laurie Ulster, talk about the life of Captain James T. Kirk and try to separate myth from reality. Was he an arrogant, rule-breaking womanizer who never looked before he leaped as pop culture says? The answers we came up with may surprise you. We also look at the newest iteration of the character, played by Paul Wesley on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and our hopes for how Kirk will be portrayed in the show’s upcoming second season.
Also recommended: Star Trek DC Comics Annual #2 from 1991 shows the young “deadly serious” cadet Kirk at the academy. Click here to preview a page from the comic. This comic is an example of how Kirk wasn’t yet considered the “frat boy” he would slowly become in the zeitgeist over the next couple of decades.