Crazy Eddie wrote:
I agree that the background characters on the bridge are not too bad. We're generally just missing women in speaking roles and senior positions. They missed numerous opportunities - Marcus, Spock's new commanding officer, Cupcake's assistant, a female deputy chief engineer, leaving out Chapel and Rand again, or flipping the role of the parents so the mother is more active.
Carol was RAISED by her mother, who (I'm only guessing here) didn't turn out to be a crazy megalomaniac. There's also the previous film in which Spock is depicted as being strongly influenced by his mother through most of his childhood, so much so that it is an insult (more likely a history of insults) against his mother's heritage that leads him to turn his back on Vulcan and seek a career in Starfleet. Amanda is, in fact, a far more important figure in Spock's characterization than just about anyone else on the Enterprise.
As for missed opportunities: Carol Marcus disarms a photon torpedo and saves McCoy's life. Uhura stares down a Klingon warrior in his own language and eventually stabs him in the leg when the shit hits the fan; later, she personally beams down with a phaser and helps Spock defeat Khan.
As for Chapel and Rand, let's be honest with ourselves: you cannot and SHOULD not attempt to introduce those characters unless you've got some time to really develop them into something dynamic. Both of these made it through three seasons of TOS and appearances in the movies without getting so much as a background story. In these films, they wouldn't even be ancillary characters, just repeat extras with an unusually large number of lines (sorta like Cupcake).
You're also ignoring one other thing: as far as background characters, the casting directors don't generally think that deeply into who they're giving that particular role to. You put out a casting call for extras and you get thirty eight and ninety two men; what's the ratio gonna look like in the actual film?
1. Carol could have been raised by her father and her mother could have been the villain without changing either character or the plot. Watch the Manchurian Candidate - mothers can make great villains!
2. Amanda is the personification of Spock's emotional human half rather than just his mother. The TOS version was a lot more fun though - she had a wicked sense of humour and clearly enjoyed duelling with Vulcan logic. NuAmanda felt a bit dull by comparison.
3. If anything, Uhura and Chekov were used imappropriately just to use them. I approved of Uhura on the Klingon mission but she should have been on the Romulan mission in the last movie for the same reasons. This was progress. Carol forgot how transporters work so don't give her too much credit but overall, I thought she was a good addition. They seem to be making use of her in the comics too, which is a good thing.
4. Chapel was a research biologist. She would be more relevant as an exobiologist than a nurse and it's the only way she'd get out of McCoy's shaodw but they keep plugging her as a nurse because the title 'Nurse' Chapel is well known. Yeoman Rand has been used as security support in the comics. As the Captain's yeoman she has every reason to be by his side and as a security trained crewman she could easily have contributed to either movie. These would be third tier characters, similar to Darwin, Keenser, and Cupcake but nonetheless Chapel could have been recruited as a temporary nurse following the crisis with Nero's attack and she'd be qualified to carry out research on a tribble. Rand could have been the second security guard on Qo'nos. It's not that hard.
It's obvious that they don't think much about casting the extras. Making some noise will hopefully think a bit more.
And while we're at it - more Andorians dammit!