Here we are! The final installment of the Unseen Women of Star Trek series. It has been such a treat learning about all of these incredible women who devoted their time and talent to a universe that is so dear to my heart. Unearthing their stories has been hugely rewarding, and while I've been disappointed by all of the lingering oversights, I'm encouraged by the fact that this franchise is still very much alive and continuing to make history. I hope you've found this all as fascinating and inspiring as I have. So without further ado, here we go!
Well, maybe a little more ado... If you're just stumbling into this series now, feel free to start at the beginning with Trek's women writers. Or be a non-conformist and skip around, checking out producers, directors, music & sound, art & design, costumes & makeup, and production in whatever order your anarchist heart desires!
P.P.S. Most of the info below was drawn from imdb.com, memory-alpha.fandom.com, and linked interviews. While I've done my best to be thorough, I admit my fallibility and welcome corrections. The vast majority of women credited with working on Trek have little to no information available about them, and photos are even more scarce. Also, shorts, video games, books, comics, and fan-made media are not included.
Casting may not be an odd job, per se, but it didn't really fit anywhere else, and I'm not about to finish this series without paying homage to the women who helped bring our beloved Trek characters to life. While final casting decisions are made by the directors and producers, the casting director manages the process up to that point, narrowing the vast field of possibilities down to a few prime candidates. Mary V. Buck is a legend in the industry, casting for countless hit shows including "The Big Bang Theory," "The Wonder Years," "Malcolm in the Middle," and "Party of Five." The last eight years of her forty-year career were spent as head of casting at Warner Bros. Television, but what we're interested in is her work for Wrath of Khan, which is her only Trek credit. Of course Ricardo Montalban had played Khan in TOS, so he was the natural choice for the titular character, but as the first female casting director for Trek, Buck launched the career of newcomer Kirstie Alley, who also happens to be an ardent Trekkie. Additional credits include the films Steel Magnolias, Disney's The Little Mermaid, and Oliver & Company.
With more than 1100 credits and counting, I doubt there's anyone in Hollywood as busy as Barbara Harris. Harris is a casting director who specializes in voice-over roles, meaning any voice acting that happens off-screen, like animation, video games, commercials, etc. She's also worked on numerous live-action films and shows, including Picard, Discovery, Nemesis, Insurrection, First Contact, Generations, The Undiscovered Country, The Final Frontier, The Voyage Home, and The Search for Spock. She is the first woman of color both to work in the casting department for a Trek property (The Search for Spock), and to hold the title of casting director (Discovery). With so many credits to her name it's hard to find a movie or show she's not connected to, but just some of the hits she's worked on include Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, Captain Marvel, Ready Player One, Black Panther, and World War Z.
photo via latimes.com
Casting director Junie Lowry-Johnson may have won eight Emmys, but her most prestigious distinction is undoubtedly as record holder for casting for the most Star Trek shows and movies. Between every episode of TNG, DS9, Enterprise, and Voyager, plus the Generations, First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis films, she's had a hand in the casting for more than 600 Trek stories. While that seems like enough work for a lifetime, she's also cast for such shows as The Umbrella Academy, True Blood, Desperate Housewives, and Bruce Almighty.
photo via IMDB
Moving away from casting to the less typical roles, we meet planetary scientist Carolyn Porco, who served as a science consultant for both 2009's Star Trek and the 1997 Jodi Foster film Contact. Being a science consultant can mean a lot of different things, and in Star Trek's case, she was brought on to help with a specific plot point, namely how to hide the Enterprise from the Romulans in our solar system. While Porco's idea of hiding in Titan's atmosphere was deemed "brilliant" by J.J. Abrams, she had nothing to do with the incorrect science around leveraging the "magnetic field of Saturn's rings" (which doesn't exist). If you've seen any documentaries on the planets within the past two decades, you've probably seen her. And you know that "Pale Blue Dot" image of Earth, taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft back in 1990? (You have, trust me.) She helped make that possible, working with Carl Sagan to calculate and implement the iconic image.
photo via carolynporco.com
Mika McKinnon has the best college degree ever. Ready? She is, literally, a Master of Disaster. I'm not kidding! This geophysicist and physicist earned her master's degree in disaster research, and has become a science evangelist, devoting her time to identifying ways to better communicate the power of science, which has made her a highly in-demand science consultant. Not only has she worked on Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe, and Discovery, she also helps science-fiction authors, and her own writings have appeared in numerous publications, including Vox, BBC, and Wired.
photo via seti.org
Do you know how to say, "Hi, I speak fluent Klingon," in Klingon? Robyn Stewart does, and she's one of only a handful of people in the world who really mean it. She has been a member of the Klingon Language Institute since the mid-nineties, and moderates the Learn Klingon Facebook group. Hired as a Klingon translator for Discovery from the very beginning, Stewart (whose Klingon name is Qov) translates all sections of the script that will be spoken in Klingon, as well as assists the vocal coach in teaching the actors how to speak their lines. She's also written a novel in Klingon, nuq bop bom (What is the Song About?), which holds the record as the longest original story written in this difficult language.
photo via klingon.wiki
Thank you so much for joining me on this fun journey. If you missed any of the posts, swing on over to the blog home page. Be sure to tell everyone you know about these Awesome unseen women of Star Trek!