4.09.2013

And So It Begins...



New movie poster
The release of Star Trek Into Darkness (the highly anticipated sequel to the 2009 blockbuster Star Trek for the uninitiated) is still nearly two months away, and--surprise, surprise--the Uhura hatred has already begun reignited ramped up. 

Again.

Apparently, some folks are upset that she's on the new movie poster (read some of the cringe-worthy comments on Trekmovie here). Go figure.  One of the major stars of the film is prominently displayed on a poster that advertises said film and people are freaking out about it.  Or more specifically, some people are feeling some kind of way because Uhura is on the poster and McCoy isn't.  Seems there's this impression out there that J.J. Abrams has some kind of diabolical plan to "replace" Bones with Uhura in the Kirk/Spock/McCoy triumvirate for some strange reason.  *blink*  Yeah...I don't get that one either.

Now don't get me wrong.  I love Bones as much as the next Trekkie, but really?  Why are the two characters being pitted against each other?  Why does one have to be "better" or more important than the other?  Would Uhura be more acceptable if she was slated as the "fourth wheel" and not the love of Spock's life?  (I think we all know the answer to that last one.)  McCoy is a staple in the Trek 'verse and specifically within the Kirk and Spock dynamic, so it's quite a safe bet that Uhura won't be replacing anyone.  Nor would I want her too.  I want her to be her own character with her own arc and her own dynamic within the circle of major Enterprise crew members--not get McCoy's sloppy seconds.
 
I think that some people are forgetting that not only is Zoe Saldana the only female/POC lead in the movie, but as of right now, she has mad name recognition.  J.J. didn't get this far in his long, successful career by being stupid. He's doing what he thinks will get butts in the seats, period.  And I'm sure there are a lot more people who like Uhura (and her relationship with Spock) than who don't. 

As excited as I was when I saw the reboot movie four years ago, I remember being just as disheartened at how Uhura was (and still is) treated by the fandom.  It's ugly, both racist and sexist, and it's been absolutely unrelenting.  Even by some people who supposedly love the character. 

Uhura's mere existence seems to drive a subset of Trek fans into depths of irrationality that I still can't fathom. Her fairly prominent role in the first movie (and now what looks to be an expanded role in the sequel), along with her fully realized, requited romantic relationship with the iconic Spock has left a whole horde of people very, very unhappy.  She's been white-washed and downgraded in fanfiction, made into a manhandling brute for daring to comfort her man on a turbolift  after his mother was killed or simply dismissed as a love interest and therefore, deemed unimportant. 

Then there's the concern trolling.  Uhura is so awesome, that by putting her in a romantic relationship, her character was lessened somehow.  She deserved so much better than that.  The sixties iteration of the character was so much better than Nu!Uhura because she never had and didn't need a love interest (nor a first name, apparently).  Gene Roddenberry had such a wonderful, idealistic view of the future where race (and gender) doesn't matter, wouldn't it be feasible that Uhura could have a white parent or grandparent?  What's the big deal if a fanfiction author changes her genetic makeup?  Why does it matter?  Sadly, these were real questions.  By real people.

I'm sure that any fan of Star Trek 2009 remembers this period of rampant racefail.  Never mind Uhura's prodigious linguistic skills, or her high IQ, or her all around BAMF-ness.  Because everyone knows there's no way that she can be all those things, be black and be so utterly fabulous that a hard-to-please, scary-smart Vulcan like Spock no less would fall head-over-heels in love with her.  Nope.  Perish the thought.

*sigh*

Although it's completely nonsensical, the same qualities that would be lauded by the fandom if it was any other white character, are suddenly ignored, downplayed or--incredibly--made into negatives when applied to Uhura.  Like I said...completely nonsensical. 

The only thing that makes me feel even slightly better about any of this is that scriptwriters Kurtzman and Orci consistently push back against the sexism and racism rampant in the fandom over Uhura and the Spock/Uhura relationship.  Orci's responses can frequently be seen in the comments section on Trekmovie.com countering people's ridiculous statements about the character.  Along with J.J., neither Kurtzman or Orci seems sorry about the direction they took with any of the characters, but specifically about Uhura and her relationship with Spock.  And I say, good on them.  It's about time someone in Hollywood grew a spine and straight up told the whining minority in the fandom to get over it already.

But I digress.

Now there also seems to be an issue with Uhura appearing on the front cover of Empire magazine's three-page cover spread for their May issue (read some more equally cringe-worthy comments on TrekMovie here).  Apparently, McCoy should have replaced her on there too.  Seems to me that some people won't truly be satisfied until Uhura goes back to being just a "space operator" á la Star Trek:  The Original Series

*shrugs*

I'm just sayin'...


Highly recommended reading: 
 
*Cross-posted on The Black Girls Club.

9 comments:

  1. Oh...here we go. Again.

    Girl, when you're on fire, you're on fire. Just needed to get that out of the way.

    And...

    The sixties iteration of the character was so much better than Nu!Uhura because she never had and didn't need a love interest (nor a first name, apparently).

    Nor a personal life. Nor an independent identity, or story arc. And folks keep forgetting pairing Spock w/ Uhura was Roddenberry's original intent. What kept it from manifesting were all those pesky death threats from the KKK and the network's insistence that she be fired for being black.

    That being said, thanks for all the link love, sweetie!

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    1. Which reminds me...how's the Sulu commentary? Nonexistent as usual?

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    2. I haven't seen any Sulu commentary, but will TOS!Sulu fan art do?

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    3. Haven't seen any Sulu commentary really, whether good or bad. But he's definitely getting some love over on Tumblr.

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  2. I don't read the stuff, but if I were to start, I would probably be blocked or kicked off for repeatedly replying to people the same question over and over again: would you feel the same way if she was white?

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    1. LOL! True! I can't say I've seen any comments about how Black Widow was hogging up valuable space in the Avengers posters/franchise, or interfering with some fevered fan slash pairing with her mere presence. Now if she was really a Black Widow...

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    2. @Vrum

      THIS! And we all know the answer: no, they wouldn't. Of course, they'd lie and say they would. But the fact that so many of them kept trying to bolster their arguments by saying that Chapel would've made more sense (even though Spock never expressed any interest in her at all) kept giving them away.

      @Leo

      OMG, I never even thought of that. You're 100% right. I never heard any complaints about her character. In fact, people ship her with Hawkeye. Hard.

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  3. SO EXCITED I am a HUGE star trek fan....i bought the EMPIRE mag just for that pull out poster. It would have been weird if the poster had ALL MEN on it and Uhura is a very important/popular character. It's weird that people are complaining about that. Doctors (McCoy) are always my fave characters in sci-fi :-) i dream of being a intergalactic space doctor. Unfortunately that doesn't exist. People are really strange..........wow..........

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  4. ALSO from the way the first film was set up, there is a lovely dynamic between Spock, Kirk and Uhura...So it makes sense....I think as you said the ppl complaining are in the minority. Nerds and geeks should not be racist, it's weird...

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