The Women of the Star Trek Universe Discuss the 50th Anniversary of the Franchise. Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek, Star Trek: Missions NY brought actresses of both Star Trek series The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine to discuss how their characters have impacted them as women and to fans everywhere. Hosted by Trekspert Amy Imhoff, the panel consisted of Terry Farrell and Nana Visitor of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine along with Marina Sirtis from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Giving their thoughts on the franchise, the women shared stories of being on set and what they hope the future will bring to Star Trek moving forward.
With The Next Generation celebrating it’s 30th anniversary next year, Marina started the conversation on how she got involved with the series. She stated that she wasn’t a sci-fi fan at first when she got hired to do the role of counselor Deanna Troi. After working on the show for many years, Marina said she “realized I was part of something much bigger than me. Being involved in Star Trek totally changed my life. It’s a blessing and a privilege that I got involved in this franchise.” Nana added that the series showed her and many fans about hope.
The actresses also shared some stories about their first conventions. Terry said that someone reached out to her at one convention and told her that she became a doctor because of her character Jadzia Dax. Speaking on the Star Trek’s effect on fans, she said, “It feels so amazing to be a part of this Star Trek movement. To be an ambassador of this Star Trek world.” Marina also had a similar story where she met a vet who had lost his legs but ended up watching The Next Generation to keep his spirits up. After hearing that from him, Marisa felt honored to have that effect on people.
Next, the female stars went on to talk about the nature of their characters and how they’ve changed throughout the series. Terry spoke about her character’s gender fluidity, which was not in the norm of TV at the time. She stated that she was able to tell the story to everyone she knew and felt honored to do it. Seeing that relationships on TV has changed, Terry offered hope that more of that would become normal in society. Nana mentioned that her character Kira Nerys started out as a wild animal as she dealt with PTSD but later recovered over time. Nana said she wouldn’t have played a flawed character, but she was glad she took on the role of Kira and was able to experience these changes to her after seven years on the show.
The other topic that the cast went over was doing the love scenes on the show. Nana discussed her relationship with character Odo saying that she enjoyed sharing scenes with him. Marina had a completely different experience describing her character’s love life as being the “bike of the Enterprise”. However, Marina said she enjoyed having Troi date whoever she wanted and didn’t mind the title. Terry discussed playing a bisexual in a time where it wasn’t regularly shown on TV. She said not a lot of people accepted that and felt hurt by it, causing some of the American market to completely take out scenes that involved her scenes with other women.
Nana then talked about how her character Kira connected to so many fans when they felt alone and vulnerable. She said that people saw her as more of a person than a fictional character. Marina added that the shows did mirrored the times that we face today. Despite the show being written by men, Marina stated that the men were also growing to accept and respect women with each episode. Nana even said that the writers weren’t afraid to push the envelope for some of their characters.
The cast touched on their favorite female characters on TV outside of their own. Marina mentioned her love for Madea and Game of Thrones, which she envisioned would be a wonderful show to work on. Nana answered that she would love to return to the show and become commander of the ship. Terry also had the same answer saying she would also like to come back to the show if given the opportunity. “I would love to go back to the world I know”.
The girls ended up sharing some advice to females. Marina talked about equality for women, saying that sometimes women can’t have it all in America. Despite that, Marina said she would be willing to fight for those rights. Nana added that young women should accept their imperfections no matter what. Terry spoke out about being a mother to her son and how much time she got in being human than just being an actress.
During the Q&A portion, the cast mentioned the new Star Trek series coming out, offering advice to the actress who gets picked to play the female lead. Marina says that she hopes the actress has to have enough will power and have the courage to say no when necessary.
Marina mentioned that she loved playing the victim on the series as an actress rather than a woman, saying she always looked forward to these kinds of roles. Nana shared that she was once at an all-girls school where she had the freedom to be herself. However, when she got to the real world, Nana said she realized that it wasn’t like that as men had more freedom than women did. Despite that, Nana explained that females have just as much of a voice as men do. Marina had similar views, honestly saying that actresses can’t be themselves or speak out in Hollywood or else they can’t find work. Marina says that not a lot of women support other women and that has to become an agenda to do that. Terry shared an experience she had where she was put in a tough spot to negotiate a contract when she wanted to leave. Because of that, Terry said she ended up losing a year on the show. Terry said that she now has the courage to stand up for herself and for those behind her as well.
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