Paper Moon wrote:
Really, given the premise that this is an alternate timeline that diverged from the original, they're limited by the character casting of
the original, which was heavy on the white males by dint of being a 1960s TV show. They'd be freer to add diversity if it had simply been a wholesale reboot, Galactica
-style. Then they could have, say, a black McCoy, a female Sulu, whatever. (Khan Noonien Kaur
Yeah, that's crossed my mind more than once. For the 1960's, the TOS cast was pretty diverse. Nowadays, the lack of women is really
noticeable. And I have to admit that I think Abrams et al could've made better efforts to incorporate non-stereotypical female characters into the film. But that's a discussion for another sub-forum.
Am I right in remembering that there actually were rumors going around, probably in '07 or '08, that Sulu was going to be reimagined as a woman? I'm pretty sure I remember Graham Kennedy over at DITL running a poll on the question, but I can't remember what motivated him...
I think the BSG reboot was very good, but it was only really Starbuck that was re-imagined as a woman - and very well I might add. The other characters were basically different characters with the same name. But BSG did not have the same loyal fan base as Trek. I think re-imagining the characters' gender in Trek would be a big mistake.
However, it's also true to say that NuBSG didn't treat the original female characters with any kind of respect. Athena, Cassiopeia, Serena, and Sheba were largely absent in anything resembling their original forms. A version of Athena crops up, although as a different character with the same name, it's arguable that Six has adopted a few traits of Cassiopeia, but she has a different name, although I think a fairly decent version of Sheba appears in Razor.
There is a difference between improving the gender imbalance and being true to the characters. For my part, I think they should have saved Chekov for a sequel (much like Robin in the Batman franchise) and made room for one or both of the other recurring women. Rand could have been updated as a more security trained Pike's Yeoman and could have been sent to Delta Vega as Kirk's security escort (although by transporter instead of an escape pod) and should maybe have taken on Chekov's transporter role and manned the transporter on Delta Vega to give her an extra niche and give us a nod to her role in TMP. Chapel could have been a biologist drafted in as a nurse by McCoy following the attack to avoid her being pigeonholed as McCoy's helper from the start.
Featuring all three women, even in minor roles (and none of the above would have altered the plot significantly) would have bumped the profile of females in the franchise slightly and if new characters like Marcus come along, they help to even the balance a bit more instead of being a drop in the male ocean.
Non-fans would not know or care who Chekov is and fans would understand that he's too young to be an officer at this time. I don't think there would have been an uproar.
The comics have an opportunity to feature more women and have featured Rand and Zahra as recurring security guards alongside Hendorff and Boma but I think if they do want to even up the roles a bit more they do need to give Rand a slightly more prominent role. They should also take a look at some of the other women who featured in TOS and slot them in where appropriate. Stick Carolyn Palamas on any landing party featuring pre-industrial societies, use Mulhall alongside McCoy for any astro-biology plot, use Masterson when dealing with phaser repairs, use Noel when dealing with psychology or pshychiatry (instead of nobody as in the reboot of WNMHGB). There are more than just a few yeomen out there - the writers just need a list of characters and roles to work from.
NB: It would be nice to see Reilly, Kyle, DeSalle, Decker, and Ilia too, as well as some new aliens but they should put a bit more effort into the laydeez IMHO.