Thanks to ‘Strange New Worlds’ Fans Know How Unique Uhura Really Is

Two Uhuras and a Scotty


Two Uhuras and a Scotty

In the movie “Star Trek Into Darkness,” the Enterprise’s mission was to hunt down and kill the traitor they knew as John Harrison (played by Benedict Cumberbatch). The crew, led by Captain James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), traced him to the planet Qo’noS — which is the Klingon homeworld.

Kirk, Spock (Zachary Quinto), and Uhura (Zoe Saldana) took a smaller ship (which the crew captured from Harry Mudd) to Qo’noS to capture Harrison. When they landed the spacecraft, Uhura asked to speak to the Klingons alone. Kirk hesitated.

Uhura Speaking Klingon

Nyota Uhura (Zoe Saldana) on a negotiations. Star Trek Into Darkness 2015Star Trek Into Darkness 2015 Directed By: J.J. Abrams Written By: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Damon Lindelof Cast: Chris Pine (Capt. James T. Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Karl Urban (Dr. Leonard McCoy), Zoe Saldana (Nyota Uhura), Anton Yelchin (Pavel Chekov), Simon Pegg (Montgomery “Scotty” Scott), John Cho (Hikaru Sulu), Benedict Cumberbatch (John Harrison), Alice Eve…2020-10-06T19:00:03Z

“You brought me here because I speak Klingon,” said Uhura. “So let me speak Klingon.”

She left the spacecraft and spoke to the assembled Klingon warriors, but it did not go well. Eventually, Harrison popped up and started fighting the Klingons alongside Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Starfleet crew members. 

The twist of the scene and the film “Star Trek Into Darkness,” as most fans know, was that Harrison was really Khan Noonien Singh. This is the same augmented superhuman who terrorized Prime Kirk (William Shatner) in the classic episode “Space Seed” and “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.”

The point is, Uhura was able to speak perfect Klingon to these warriors. It was not her fault that they wanted to fight and kill the ‘aliens’ who had just landed on their planet. That all happened in the Kelvin Universe, which means it happened in an alternate timeline and did not affect events for the rest of the “Star Trek Universe.” But it stands to reason that Uhura in both the Prime and Kelvin Universe was able to speak Klingon and possibly other alien and Earth languages as well. In fact, in “Star Trek (2009),” Uhura replaces another communications officer because he cannot discern between Vulcan and Romulan — but she can.

So why did Uhura struggle to communicate with the Klingon listening outpost in “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country?” If she could speak Klingon in the Kelvin Universe, shouldn’t she be able to speak it in the Prime Universe?

Uhura Struggling With Klingon

Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country (4/8) Movie CLIP – Speaking Klingon (1991) HDStar Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country movie clips: BUY THE MOVIE: Don’t miss the HOTTEST NEW TRAILERS: CLIP DESCRIPTION: Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) tries to speak Klingon to the outpost monitor. FILM DESCRIPTION: The plot involves a peace conference between the Federation of Planets and the troublesome Klingons. The Klingons are hoping to…2011-11-22T22:55:55Z

In a recent episode of “The Inglorious Treksperts” podcast, Daren Dochterman rightly pointed out some of the ridiculousness of that scene. The great Nichelle Nichols portrayed Uhura in “Undiscovered Country.”

“One of the scenes that I find absolutely appalling is when they are trying to communicate with the Klingon outpost,” said Dochterman. “And they have a bunch of Klingon translation books. Books? This is Nick Meyer’s love of the printed word sneaking in, yet again, completely inappropriately.”

Nicholas Myer is the director of both “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and “The Undiscovered Country.” He’s also written a script for a three-episode mini-series on Khan’s life on Ceti Alpha V.

“And Uhura being … out of her element for some reason,” said Dochterman. “This is not what should happen.”

“What should happen is, some of her underlings are trying to deal with this situation, and [Uhura] comes in, and she speaks to the Klingons,” said Dochterman. “And she gets them past this situation because she is qualified. She is one of the stars of the movie. She does something that is laudable and heroic. But there’s none of that!”

‘Strange New Worlds’ Sets Things Right

Pike is telling a joke • Star Trek Strange New Worlds S01E02#uhura #pike #knifescene #fun #episode2 #spock #logic2022-05-12T17:57:10Z

In the second episode of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” Captain Pike (Anson Mount) invited the crew to his quarters for dinner. It was then that Cadet Uhura (played by Celia Rose Gooding) told the captain that she was fluent in 27 different languages. This announcement sets up the rest of the episode when Uhura must figure out the alien language the sentient comet was using to communicate. 

Fans also now know — for sure — that she is a language expert and that she was the Universal Translator before the device was invented. As Dochterman pointed out, the scene from “The Undiscovered Country” was a “horrible oversight.”

READ NEXT: ’Strange New Worlds’ Pays Homage to ‘The Motion Picture’ Director

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.