Intriguing Facts About Original Star Trek Characters (Part III)

Lieutenant Commander Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy

DeForest Kelley, who played Lieutenant Commander Leonard “Bones” McCoy, the Enterprise‘s chief medical officer and one of Kirk’s confidants, almost wasn’t in the original Star Trek series. When he was offered the part, he didn’t want it.

Although NBC turned down the initial Star Trek pilot, “The Cage,” the network wanted Roddenberry to try again. With Shatner as Kirk and Nimoy as Spock, Kelley agreed to play McCoy.


Lieutenant Commander Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott

James Doohan, who played Lieutenant Commander Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott, titled the Enterprise‘s engineer after his mother’s father. An expert in many accents, Doohan picked a Scottish dialect for Scotty since, in Doohan’s experience, Scotsmen were top engineers.

Even though Scotty and Kirk appeared to get along well on camera, Doohan stated he liked Captain Kirk, but he didn’t like Bill. He felt Shatner was self-centered and insecure.


Lieutenant Nyota Uhura

Despite how the show embraced multiculturalism, Uhura still battled racism. 

Roddenberry’s 1st choice of a name for the Enterprise‘s communications officer was Zulu. Though, since the actress, Nichelle Nichols, is African-American, Roddenberry thought a different name might be better. He picked Uhura. In Swahili, Uhuru means “freedom.”

Unfortunately, even though the show embraced multiculturalism and diversity, Nichols at times encountered racial hostility on the set. When she found out she was the only lead on the series who didn’t have a contract, she almost quit. One of her admirers, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., talked her into staying, praising her as an amazing role model.


Ensign Hikaru Sulu

The name originally meant for Lieutenant Uhura became that of Ensign Hikaru Sulu. The Enterprise‘s Asian helmsman was portrayed by George Takei. Roddenberry planned to develop and expand the character during the second season, but Takei had agreed to appear in The Green Berets, alongside John Wayne. In the episodes in which Takei was absent, actor Walter Koenig took his place.

This entry was posted in Star Trek. Bookmark the permalink.