Star Trek was perhaps the most groundbreaking series to ever grace television. The show broke a lot of social barriers at the time, took science fiction television into the next level and featured the first interracial kiss. It was written in such a way that it usually parrelled the realities we were living in. When the race was an issue, it was Star Trek that shared that mixed race kiss. It gave us an interracial crew that worked together and even put women in the driver’s seat at times. This show was all about pushing the limits. Here are some of the strong women of Star Trek.
Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew)
1995 saw Star Trek: Voyager debut on CBS. It was amongst the most popular of the Star Trek series and gave new form to the Star Trek format. Before Voyager we only ever had male captains. This show gave us Captain Kathryn Janeway. Portrayed by Kate Mulgrew, Janeway was tough as nails and never afraid to take chances. On many episodes she didn’t hesitate to go against protocol if it meant the safety of her team. She was dedicated and loyal to her team before anything else. The show producers painted us a captain that was both thoughtful and intelligent. It was a trait that made her appear very human and very relatable. Outside of her character, Kate Mulgrew still acts and is currently portraying Galina Reznikov in Orange is the New Black.
Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden)
Beverly Crusher was often the voice of reason when it came to Star Trek: The Next Generation. She didn’t only take care of all things medical, but she’d also find herself on the bridge most of the time and watching over her son Wesley. Throughout the show one doesn’t need to go far to realize that her and Captain Picard have feelings for each other. Sadly, this never materializes. Gates McFadden played Crusher on six of the seven seasons. She was fired for the second season and then rehired for the third and kept the role throughout the series. Her career slowed significantly after the show ended, but she did appear on all the Star Trek movies.
Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby)
Tasha Yar was big news when Star Trek: The Next Generation was first released. She was the chief of security and never hesitated to kick some butt. She was a tough woman of the 80’s. Sadly, she quit the show at the end of the series and was killed off. Denise Crosby, the actress who portrayed Tasha immediately regretted the decision, but it was too late to get her job back. She portrayed Lt. Yar in an episode that featured alternate timelines and had some guest roles as unrelated characters.
Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis)
Deanna Troi was the ships half Betazoid counselor. Being half Betazoid, Deanna was able to read other people’s emotions. When the captain or anyone on the crew was upset, she was usually quick to pick up on it. This was one counselor you wouldn’t be able to lie to. The actress who portrayed Deanna Troi, Marina Sirtis had little luck finding roles before Star Trek and little luck once the series ended.
Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg)
Whoopi Goldberg was already an established actress when she took the role as Guinan and would continue to be successful after shows end and well into present time. She currently is host on The View. The role of Guinan was essential on many episodes. She was basically the only person that the captain would turn to when in need. He felt he could vulnerable and she was one of those types of all knowing characters. She was basically Picard’s therapist.
Dr. Katherine Pulaski (Diana Muldaur)
When Dr. Crusher was written out of the script for season 2 of Star Trek: The Next Generation, she was replaced with the firm and strict Dr. Katherine Pulaski. Season 2 is a bit awkward when compared to the rest. We no longer had Lt. Yar whom we got attached to and Crusher was randomly replaced with the significantly less lovable, Dr. Pulaski who was portrayed by Diana Muldaur. Thankfully, things we back to their proper form on season 2 and we never heard from Dr. Pulaski again.
Lt. Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols)
Lt. Uhura was a ground break character on television. Not only was she a woman in a powerful position in the 1960’s, but she was a woman of color. She was also one half of the first interracial kiss on television. This was all during the heat of the Civil Rights Movement. The actress who played Uhura was Nichelle Nichols. When she considered leaving the role to be more involved in the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King contacted her and said that she was doing her part by portraying the character. She went on to act as Uhura from the 1960’s all the way until the 1990’s.
Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney)
Janice Rand was far more than just a damsel in distress, she was Captain Kirk’s yeoman. She took care of all the clerical things that were needed doing. Sadly, Grace Lee Whitney didn’t hold the role of Janice Rand for long. She was only a few episodes before she was fired, but due to popularity was brought back for the majority of the Star Trek original series films.
Christine Chapel (Majel Barrett)
Majel Barrett portrayed two characters in the Star Trek universe and the first was Christine Chapel. Chapel was the Dr. McCoy’s trusty nurse in the original series. She also reprised the role for the original series Star Trek movies. It was during this time that her and Gene Roddenberry fell in love. The two were eventually married and she has since been deemed as the First Lady of the Star Trek universe.
Lwaxana Troi(Majel Barrett)
If you loved the original Star Trek series, you’ll likely remember Maje Barrett as Christine Chapel, Dr. McCoy’s trusty little nurse. For fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, she’ll forever be remembered as Lwaxana Troi, the annoying mother of Deanna Troi. She was never featured in a very serious manner, but would often chase after men, particularly Captain Picard. You either loved or hated the character.
Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes)
Ro Laren played a significant role in the 5th season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Extremely rough around the edges, Ro is a member of the Bajoran race and chooses to work on the Enterprise over going to prison. She is very loyal to her people and faces many struggles when she must choose between her allegiance to Starfleet or the wellbeing of her people. She eventually joins the Deep Space Nine so she could fight for the Bajoran cause.
Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor)
Kira Nerys was always tough and fiesty. It’s not surprising see as she was a guerrilla fighter during Cardassian Occupation of Bajor. She is also second in command of the whole base. Being a Bajoran, Kira is also a deeply religious character. Is portrayed throughout the shows seven seasons by Nana Visitor. She was in luck as role was first offered to Michelle Forbes who turned down the role. They initially wanted her to reprise the role of Ro Laren from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell)
There is perhaps no character that is more complex than Terry Farrell’s Jadzia Dax. She is bonded with a Dax symbiont which is very wise and very old. Although she appears to be a young woman, she actually has the memories of all the symbiont’s former host. Her personality is a mixture between her and the creature that is part of her. She ends up being killed toward the end of the show, but later comes back as a new character.
Ezri Dax (Nicole de Boer)
After Jadzia Dax passes on, we are introduced to her replacement, Ezri Dax. The Dax symbont attaches itself to her after it loses Jadzia. Unlike Jadzia, Ezri often found herself struggling with the Dax personality and all the memories of its past host. The actress who portrayed Ezri, Nicole de Boer was casted simply because they didn’t want Nana Visitor to be the only female lead once Terry Farrell left the show. She held the position for one season before the show ended.
Keiko O’Brien (Rosalind Chao)
Rosalind Chao first portrayed Keiko on Star Trek: The Next Generation. She was not at all a main character, but rather just used as a live interest for Miles O’Brien. She became more of big deal as the two reprised the roles on Deep Space Nine. She opened up a school on the station. Later, her and her husband, Miles relocate to earth.
B’Elanna Torres (Roxann Dawson)
Roxann Dawson scored it big when she got the role of B’Elanna Torres. Portraying a character that is half Klingon, Roxann had to pull out that mean streak to make the role work. B’Elanna Torres was the chief engineer of the Voyager and also was a member of the Maquis Rebellion. She had very little luck in bringing her career to the heights it was at once the show ended, but she will always be remembered for her role on Star Trek: Voyager.
Kes (Jennifer Lien)
Kes was a very interesting character. She was Mayfly which meant she had no assigned gender and had a lifespan of only seven year. That said, one each season she’d look significantly older. She left the series at the start of the 4th season and made one brief appearance in a season six episode where she looked significantly aged. With Jennifer Lien portraying her, Kes was no doubt one of the more interesting characters in the series.
Seven of Nine (Jeri Ryan)
For seasons upon season, Starfleet has been in battle with the Borg. They can perhaps be called Starfleet’s greatest foe. That said, it was so shocking when Voyager announced that one of their main characters would be a Borg member turned to Starfleet. No doubt, Seven of Nine was one of the most interesting characters on the show. Her backstory was especially tragic.The stunning Jeri Ryan was casted as the character and stayed with the show from start to finish.
T’Pol (Jolene Blalock)
No character on Star Trek: Enterprise went through as many changes as T’Pol. She was originally part of the Vulcan High Command and is tasked with making sure that the humans don’t get into any trouble. It doesn’t take long for her to form a bond with Captain Archer and become a member of Starfleet. When this happens, T’Pol takes on the role of the ships Science Officer. Once the show ended, Jolene Blalock said goodbye to the character of T’Pol and went on to have a successful career in films. You can catch her in movies like Slow Burn and Sinners and Saints.
Hoshi Sato (Linda Park)
The Enterprise would have never gone far without Hoshi Sato. She was the communications officer and had the amazing ability to pick up alien languages very quickly. When the crew was faced with alien beings, she was the one that usually did the talking. Hoshi Sato was portrayed by Korean actress, Linda Park. Her career has moved rather slowly .since Star Trek: Enterprise ended, although you will catch her guest starring on a television show every so often.
Ilia (Persis Khambatta)
Ilia was one of the key characters in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. She was the Deltan navigator. Without her the Enterprise crew would not have been able to save the world at the end of the movie. Ilia was played by Persis Khambatta. When the actress first signed on for the role, Roddenberry warned her that she’d have to shave her head. She went along and took the role anyway. Sadly, her career was cut short in 1998 when she passed away at the age of 49.
Saavik (Kristie Alley and Robin Curtis)
Saavik first appeared in the Star Trek universe of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It was on this movie and this movie only that she is portrayed by Kristie Alley. When we meet her, Saavik is a nervous trainee upon the Enterprise. Needles to say, she proved herself completely and becomes permanent fixture on the Enterprise. Her role was never at central to any plots as it was her. Kristie Alley left the role of Saavik behind and in stepped Robin Curtis. She appeared on the two follow up films, but she was never as front and center as she was when portrayed by Kristie Alley.
T’Lar (Judith Anderson)
T’Lar was the Vulcan high priestess who brought Spock back to life in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Her role, although a very important one was brief to the series. What’s most impressive was that this was acting legend, Judith Anderson’s big comeback to the screen after a 14 year retirement. You’ll best remember her from films like Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca and All Through The Night.
Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Hicks)
Everyone will remember Catherine Hicks from the hit 1990’s television series, 7th Heaven. On the other hand, few will remember her for her role in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. It was the stand out movie in the series, the one that saw the Enterprise crew end up in 1980’s San Francisco. Hicks played the leading lady and 20th century biologist, Dr. Gillian Taylor. She was Kirks love interest and eventually even went with him to space, leaving her earth life behind without saying bye to any of her friends and family.
Valeris (Kim Cattrall)
Kim Cattrall, famous English/Canadian actress showed up to take on the role of Valeris in the final original series Star Trek movie, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Valeris was a helmsman on the Enterprise and the first Vulcan to ever graduate at the head of her class. She was setup to be Spock’s replacement and he trains her throughout the movie.
Demora Sulu (Jacqueline Kim)
Jacqueline Kim was casted as playing Sulu’s daughter, Demora Sulu. She followed in her father footsteps and was a second generation helmsman onboard the Enterprise. She only kept the role for the Star Trek: Generations movie. After the role, Kim found little work in television and some bit parts in movies. Her career was never anything to really write home about. She once appeared on Xena.
Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana)
In 2009 the original Star Trek was reprised in a new film series featuring brand new actor. In this series Uhura is played by Zoe Saldana and we’d say she has done the role plenty of justice. Being a Trekkie is real life, it was a dream come true for Zoe to get this role. She was doing pretty good in Hollywood before she took on the role of Uhura, but since being in Star Trek her career has shot up and she is now getting plenty of offers.
Amanda Grayson (Jane Wyatt, Majel Barrett, Cynthia Blaise, Mia Kirshner and Winona Ryder)
Amanda Grayson is the human mother of Spock and she has appeared throughout the Star Trek’s fifty year run. In the original series she is portrayed by Janey Wyatt. In the animated series it was Majel Barrett who provided the voice of Amanda. The original film series gave us an Amanda Grayson played by Cynthia Blaise. It was Winona Ryder who took on the role in the 2009 movie and finally in the newest show, Star Trek: Discovery, we have Mia Kirshner playing the role.
Carol Marcus (Bibi Besch and Alice Eve)
Carol Marcus was first portrayed by Bibi Besch in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. She is the love interest of Kirk and the mother of his only child. The role is reprised in Star Trek Into Darkness. This time over the role is played by Alice Eve and is much more central to the plot. Sadly, she did not come back for the sequel, although it could have something to do with how fast her career is blooming.
Jaylah (Sofia Boutella)
We were all taken by surprise when Sofia Boutella popped up in the newest addition to the film series, Star Trek Beyond. She played the alien scavenger, Jaylah who saves the life of Scott. She then becomes a central part of the movie and even helps saves the day. Odds are she won’t be returning for the next feature, but you can catch her in a number of other movies and music videos.
Sylvia Tilly (Mary Wiseman)
She represents all the people that are the bottom of the Starfleet ladder. Just graduating from the Starfleet academy, her job aboard the Discovery is her first. Despite this, she is often the most optimistic of the bunch. Sylvia Tilly is portrayed by actress, Mary Wiseman. This isn’t her first role, but it’s definitely her biggest so far and the start of what is likely to be a very promising career.
Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green)
Sonequa Martin-Green scored it big when she got casted for the role of Michael Burnham, the lead in the newest Star Trek series, Star Trek: Discovery. She is the first officer of the ship, second to only the captain. She was raised with the Volcan culture by Spock’s father, Sarek. That said, she is a very logical and smart character. Star Trek Discovery marks the first time a captain isn’t the main character of the show.
Philippa Georgiou (Michelle Yeoh)
Producers wanted a strong woman to play the role of Philippa Georgiou, captain of the Shenzhou. That said, what better actress to portray the character than Michelle Yeoh. Being in movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Drag, we already knew that Michelle would be perfect for the role. After all, Rotten Tomatoes has labeled her as the greatest action heroine of all time.
Ellen Landry (Rekha Sharma)
Like Lt. Yar in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Ellen Landry is a security officer on the Discovery. We have seen her tough side pop out more than once in the show’s nine episodes. Ellen is portrayed by Rekha Sharma. Sharma is no stranger to the world of science fiction, in fact many will remember her as Tory Foster in Battlestar Galactica. She held onto that role from 2004 until 2009.
Katrina Cornwell (Jayne Brook)
Katrina Cornwell is a Starfleet admiral in the newest series, Star Trek: Discovery. Before her role in the Star Trek universe, the veteran, 57-year-old actress can best be remembered in movies and shows like Kindergarten Cop and the beloved medical drama, Chicago Hope. She first came into light in the 1980’s when she played a teacher in 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.
Keyla Detmer (Emily Coutts)
Emily Coutts has finally come across her big break in Star Trek: Discovery. Her role as Keyla Detmer stands out like a gem against an array of shorts and brief TV spots. Keyla Detmer is serving upon the Shenzhou in the show and is a Lieutenant who has already had her share of bumps and bruises. We have high hopes that Star Trek: Discovery will launch this Emily’s careet into something amazing.
Lieutenant Commander Airiam (Sara Mitich)
Sara Mitich has come along way from her Ballet school in Canada. Before finding herself in Star Trek: Discovery, Mitich’s passion was in dancing. She than tried her luck in Hollywood where she found herself in a number of bit roles and short films. Through all of that came Star Trek where she plays Lieutenant Commander Airiam. In the show she is a augmented human with artificial skin.
Alyssa Ogawa (Patti Yasutake)
It was a stroke of luck that saw the relatively unknown actress, Patti Yasutake get the bit role of Alyssa Ogawa. She is a nurse who gets a job on the Enterprise as an ensign in the medical department. Her work soon proves good enough to promoted to lieutenant junior grade. She ends up marrying Lieutenant Andrew Powell and even gets pregnant. Sadly, the show ended before she could ever have the baby.
Leeta (Chase Masterson)
Leeta appears off and on throughout the run of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. When we first meet her she is a Dabo Girl as Quark’s bar. Initially she was casted as being an airhead, but as the series goes on she begin showing that she actually pretty smart and even starts a union. Throughout the series she had a number of romantic affairs ranging from Dr. Bashir to getting married to Rom.
Kasidy Yates (Penny Johnson Jerald)
Kasidy Yates never had a huge role in the series, but it was an important one surely. She was a freighter captain from season 3 until the shows final and 7th season. She is introduced to the Captain by his son, when he feels his dad should start dating again. She soon becomes the Captain’s lover and even after she is arrested, the two resume their affair. By the end of the series, Kasidy marries Captain Sisko and becomes pregnant with his child.