Majel Barrett Roddenberry-Number One

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by James Wright, Feb 19, 2010.

  1. James Wright

    James Wright Commodore Commodore

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    Majel Barrett Roddenberry was first officer of the Enterprise in the first pilot episode of Star Trek "The Cage" and would go on to play nurse Chapel in later episodes of TOS.
    Now my questions. If M.B.R. hadn't been cast as Chapel and TOS had run longer then 3 years do you think M.B.R.'s number one could've been transferred off the Enterprise and promoted to Captain of a starship? Would she have been a good Captain?
    I'd have liked to have seen her as Captain of a starship on TOS!

    James
     
  2. Captain Pike

    Captain Pike Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Real world - I don't think it would happen due to prevailing prejudices.

    In story - I would have loved to have seen her make Captain. She would have been great too imo - remembering that the 'cool, logical attitude', encyclopedic knowledge & instant recall we associate with Spock's character were really hers to begin with..
     
  3. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Since the suits didn't like GR's mistress as Number One I cant see them giving the okay to use Majel for anything more than a reoccurring role like Chapel.
     
  4. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    I agree with previous comments from Nerys Myk, and especially Captain Pike.

    1960s television was not fertile ground for a female command figure. The only way we got to see the female Romulan commander in "The Enterprise Incident" was in the context of a story that underscored her as a sucker for Vulcan men.

    In-universe, however, I am shocked that I've never heard of any novels, comics or fanfic that ever capitalized on this opportunity. If "Number One" was first officer of the Enterprise when the ship first visited Talos IV, and that was 13 years prior to Spock returning the crippled Pike to the Talosian "Menagerie", then 2267-13=2254, which would suggest that by the time of TOS, providing "Number One" stayed in the Service, she could have easily rose through the ranks (presumably through other assignments).

    Could she have assumed command of another unseen starship, starbase, deep space station, science vessel or other expedition elsewhere in the Galaxy, far away from the Enterprise? Why not?

    It would be interesting to see who could be cast as "Number One", and if someone could be found to capture the "M. Leigh Hudec as Number One" look and voice.

    It definitely could not have happened in the 1960's, but it would be interesting to imagine a TOS-era "prime universe" spin off of that character in a command role on some distant mission, maybe something like STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE ONE, set aboard a K-class space station. She could be the first commander of the Federation's first "deep space" series of frontier stations.
     
  5. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Given the sexist opposition to a woman in a command role in the sixties I was disappointed that the 21st century version of Trek left out Pike's first officer, especially when there were no other women in command roles shown anywhere in the movie (even T'Pau was absent). Obviously, they wanted to showcase Kirk and Spock but they could have injured or killed her in the battle at Vulcan to make way for Kirk and Spock.
     
  6. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    The opposition was to a mistress of the producer getting the role, not to a woman playing it. All GR had to do was recast the role. Instead he eliminated it and never tried to reintroduce a similar character.
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Nerys Myk is right. According to Inside Star Trek, the network actually quite liked the idea of a female first officer, but they didn't like the married Roddenberry casting his mistress in the role. But Roddenberry couldn't admit that, so he claimed that he was forced to drop the character because of sexism.

    After all, this was the time of The Avengers, where Emma Peel was every bit as tough, smart, and capable an agent as John Steed. Similarly, Agent 99 on Get Smart was the most competent character on the show. And on ST's sister show Mission: Impossible, Cinnamon Carter's primary role may have been as a vamp and seductress, but she was also shown to be smart, courageous, resourceful, and able to hold her own in a fight.
     
  8. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    But then there's "Turnabout Intruder", with Dr. Lester stating that starship captaincy was essentially a good ol' boys club. True there were female characters on certain TV shows and movies that were ahead of their time back then, but then there were never any female Federation commanders in TOS, and the context of that era also included Taylor's non-speaking love interest in PLANET OF THE APES.
     
  9. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    Didn't we decide Janice Lester was just plain crazy, and shouldn't be paid any attention?
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, yes, it's not all-or-nothing, of course, because we're talking about a whole society and an entertainment slate produced by many different people. The point is that there are examples demonstrating that 1960s American media culture was not completely hostile to a strong portrayal of women.

    And if anything, the relatively low status of women in TOS argues against Roddenberry's claim that he was a pioneer in gender equality fighting against a sexist network. My point is that if you look at the whole spectrum of portrayals of women in 1960s television, Star Trek was not the most progressive show out there.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2010
  11. Wingsley

    Wingsley Commodore Commodore

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    ^ Agreed. Not the most progressive, but far from being blatantly demeaning as some examples I choose not to remember. And it is a positive testimonial that Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. approached Nichelle Nichols and asked to stay on the show as Uhura, even though the character grew only in spurts.

    I do like the idea of "Number One" being brought back in some form, maybe a comic or novel or fan film. I could see her being put in charge of a "Deep Space One" station on the frontier. I posted a link in the "Trek Tech" forum recently to Georffrey Mandel's K-7 blueprints. Look like the K--class space station has lots of potential for drama, just as DEEP SPACE NINE did.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Well, there were some particular low points. "Mudd's Women" was particularly egregious in its objectification of women; if not for Uhura's token presence, you'd think the entire Enterprise crew was male and saw women strictly as sex objects. And "The Enemy Within" is frankly horrible in its attitude toward Evil Kirk's attempted rape of Rand -- first having Rand act like a total doormat afterward, saying "I can understand" and "I don't want to get you into trouble" to Kirk, and then at the end having Spock make a tasteless insinuation to Rand about the "interesting qualities" of the impostor who brutally assaulted her. The show got better, but right at the start, for a couple of episodes, it was really disquieting in the extent of its sexism.
     
  13. James Wright

    James Wright Commodore Commodore

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    in other words Star Trek(1966-1969), was ahead of it's time in some respects but behind the times when it came to showing women in command positions, aka starship captain's ? Some vision of the future, eh, just for fairness when was the first female captain referred to on TNG?

    James
     
  14. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Then you haven't read John Byrne's recent three-issue comic mini-series, "Schism" for IDW, in which Number One is a featured commodore on a Constitution class vessel.

    The omnibus collection containing it has just come out. It's called "Pawns of War" and collects "Alien Spotlight II: Romulans", plus a new-for-the-trade adaptation of the episode, "Balance of Terror", plus the two-part "The Hollow Crown", the aforementioned "Schism", plus a gallery of art and covers.

    Also, Number One was slated to be an admiral sitting beside Robert April commenting on a televised event in the "Lost Years Saga" novel, "A Flag Full of Stars" by Brad Ferguson, but it was during a time of tight control and she had to be renamed Timothea Rogers, with no reveal that she was a promoted Number One.

    In DC Comics' first annual (for their Series I line), Number One was to be Kirk's Number One, but there's an accident in the cargo bay that crushes her legs and Kirk must choose between Spock and Gary Mitchell as her replacement.

    First came ST IV, with the captain of USS Saratoga, in the opening scenes.

    Then in TNG, Captain Tryla Scott ("Conspiracy"), end of Season One.
     
  15. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    People have speculated that the female Vulcan rescued at the katric ark was T'Pau!
     
  16. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    IIRC the first female captain seen on Star Trek was the captain of the Saratoga in the opening scene of TVH, a little short of a year shy of TNG's premier.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    The first female Starfleet captain, that is. There was, of course, the Commander from "The Enterprise Incident," whose rank was apparently the equivalent of a captain (or maybe even a fleet captain or commodore, since she seemed to be in command of the whole 3-vessel force).
     
  18. Neutral Zone

    Neutral Zone Captain Captain

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    I think she would have made a good Captain or even a doctor, hell she has a great computer voice!!!
     
  19. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Chapel was a doctor in TMP.
     
  20. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Majel had a very strong presence and her voice could carry a lot of authority. She would have been great. Personally, I'd have preferred if they had focused on her scientific background and made her head of life sciences rather than remaining an appendage to McCoy. At the very least she is qualified in biology, paleobiology, and atrobiology because of hre background with Roger Korby - the Louis Pasteur of arhaeological medicine. She would then have had reasons to work closely with both McCoy and Spock and would not have been tied to sickbay so much.

    As it is, NuTrek has decided to keep her as a nurse (so Korby must have gone missing already in the new timeline). I hope they change their minds and use her in a wider context.