The cast and crew of Star Trek series from across the decades have paid tribute to their friend and co-star Nichelle Nichols, who has died aged 89. Nichols’ son Kyle Johnson broke the news on his mother’s Facebook page.
“Friends, Fans, Colleagues, World, I regret to inform you that great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years,” Johnson wrote. “Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away.” In response to the news, several members of the Star Trek cast and crew from different Trek series have paid tribute to Nichols.
“I shall have more to say about the trailblazing, incomparable Nichelle Nichols, who shared the bridge with us as Lt. Uhura of the USS Enterprise, and who passed today at age 89,” tweeted George Takei – who played helmsman Hikaru Sulu on the original Star Trek series. “For today, my heart is heavy, my eyes shining like the stars you now rest among, my dearest friend.”
Brent Spiner, who’s played multiple characters across different Trek series but is best known for the role of Data on The Next Generation, tweeted, “Farewell to a fine woman. RIP Nichelle. You were a groundbreaker.” Tawny Newsome, who plays Beckett Mariner on the animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks, simply tweeted, “Thank you for giving so many of us a place in the universe.”
Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Janeway on Voyager, the first female captain to serve as the lead character on a Star Trek series, admitted we were unlikely to see another like Nichols again. “Nichelle Nichols was The First,” she tweeted. “She was a trailblazer who navigated a very challenging trail with grit, grace, and a gorgeous fire we are not likely to see again. May she Rest In Peace.”
Her co-star Jeri Ryan who played the former Borg drone Seven of Nine on Voyager and Star Trek: Picard, called Nichols a “true legend” on Twitter.
“Nichelle Nichols. Her light will keep shining. Brighter & stronger than ever,” wrote Melissa C. Navia, who plays Erica Ortegas on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. “All the rest to her now and peace to her family. Cannot wait for the celebration of her life that is to come and all the stories that those who knew her best will share.”
Meanwhile, Marc Bernard, the supervising producer on Picard, shared his experience meeting Nichols. “The one time I met Nichelle Nichols was at a San Diego Comic-Con party five years ago,” he tweeted. “It was the kind of party filled with nerd celebrities—I think both Neil Gaiman and George R.R. Martin were there—but the belle of the ball was Nichelle because everyone there knew the role she’d played in helping define a future. Our future.”
“Peace and long life. Thank you, Nichelle Nichols, for everything,” tweeted Star Trek: Prodigy executive producer and head writer, Aaron J Waltke. David Blass, the production designer on Star Trek Picard, called Nichols a “beacon of representation” and said “she embodied all that Star Trek stands for.”
Nichols will be remembered for her groundbreaking role on Star Trek as well as her work as an advocate for women and African Americans in the sciences.