Number One (Star Trek)

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Number One
Star Trek character
Number One Star Trek.jpg
Una at the Helm
First appearance"The Menagerie" (1966)
(The Original Series)
Last appearance"Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2" (2019)
(Discovery)
Portrayed byMajel Barrett (1966)
Rebecca Romijn (2019)
Information
SpeciesHuman
GenderFemale
TitleNumber One
PositionUSS Enterprise executive officer
AffiliationStarfleet

Una, also known as Number One, is a fictional character who, in "The Cage", the original pilot episode of the science-fiction television series Star Trek, was the unnamed intellectual, problem-solving second-in-command serving under Captain Christopher Pike. She performs the same role for Pike "as Spock later does for Kirk".[1] [2]

The character was played by Majel Barrett, who went on to play Nurse Christine Chapel in the original Star Trek and Lwaxana Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well as the computer's voice. Initially the character appeared only in the unaired pilot and in the footage used in "The Menagerie." In 2019, Una appears in the second season of the prequel series Star Trek: Discovery, played by Rebecca Romijn.

Biography[edit]

Although not shown on-screen, it is implied that Una briefly takes command of the Enterprise when Captain Pike and his landing party first beam down to Talos IV. She later beams down to the planet several times herself. During "The Cage," Una proves to her alien captors that humans would rather die than be slaves.

Her official biography notes that she is secretly attracted to Pike.[3]

Una appears in the Star Trek: Discovery episode "An Obol for Charon," where she visits Pike on the USS Discovery. She briefs Pike on the repairs being made to the Enterprise, and also provided Pike with information regarding the whereabouts of Lieutenant Spock. Una is said to be a very resourceful individual (Pike wryly points out that "people have a tendency to end up owing her favors"), and also has a predilection for extremely spicy food – in the mess hall scene with Pike, she orders a cheeseburger with habanero sauce.

Controversy[edit]

During the development of the first pilot for Star Trek: The Original Series ("The Cage"), Roddenberry wrote the part of Number One specifically for Barrett.[4][5] There was reluctance from the NBC executives to agree to an actress who was almost unknown.[6] Roddenberry did see other actresses for the part, but no one else was considered.[5]

According to Gene Roddenberry and Stephen Whitfield, the prominence of a woman among the crew of a starship was one of the reasons the original Star Trek pilot was rejected by NBC, who, in addition to calling the pilot "too cerebral," felt the alien Spock and a female senior officer would be rejected by audiences,[7] although Roddenberry also related the tale of how women of the era had difficulty accepting her as well.[8][9] Executive producer Herb Solow attempted to sell NBC executives on the idea that a fresh face would bring believability to the part, but they were aware that she was Roddenberry's girlfriend. Despite this they agreed to her casting, not wanting to upset Roddenberry at this point in the production.[6] After the pilot was rejected,[10] a second pilot was produced.[11] While it was generally explained that the network disliked a female character as the second-in-command of the Enterprise, Solow had a different opinion of events; he explained, "no one liked her acting... she was a nice woman, but the reality was, she couldn't act."[12] In his book Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, producer Herbert Solow suggested the network was fine with the character, but was infuriated when a relatively unknown actress was cast simply because she was having an affair with Roddenberry.[citation needed] Because of NBC's rare order of a second pilot, Roddenberry compromised by eliminating Number One,[citation needed] but aspects of her character—specifically, her cool demeanor and logical nature—were merged into Spock (who does appear in "The Cage") during the regular run of the series.[1]

Influence[edit]

On the series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Commander William Riker is usually (and informally) called "Number One" by Captain Picard, because of his position as first officer on the USS Enterprise. On the series Star Trek: Discovery, set in 2256 (two years after the events of "The Cage"), female Commander Michael Burnham is referred to as "Number One" by Captain Georgiou, because of her position as first officer on the USS Shenzhou. Series creator Bryan Fuller had originally intended only to refer to the character as Number One, in honor of Majel Barrett's character, but the name Burnham was instead revealed during the first episode.[13][14]

Number One was first referred to as Una in the non-canonical 2016 novel trilogy Star Trek: Legacies, which was published by Pocket Books to make the original series's 50th anniversary. Authors Greg Cox, David Mack, Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore gave her a first name because she would have a central role in the novels. Michelle Paradise, executive producer of Discovery, confirmed that the show had taken the name from the novels.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Coppa, Francesca (21 August 2008). "Women, "Star Trek," and the early development of fannish vidding". 1. doi:10.3983/twc.2008.0044 – via journal.transformativeworks.org.
  2. ^ Reilly, Ken (2019-04-19). "INTERVIEW: Diving Into STAR TREK: DISCOVERY's Finale with Season 3 Co-Showrunner Michelle Paradise". TrekCore Blog. Retrieved 2019-04-19.
  3. ^ "Number One". StarTrek.com. Retrieved 21 May 2017.
  4. ^ Cushman & Osborn (2013): p. 52
  5. ^ a b Alexander (1995): p. 210
  6. ^ a b Cushman & Osborn (2013): p. 53
  7. ^ Daniel Bernardi (1998). Star Trek and History: Race-Ing Toward a White Future. Rutgers University Press.[page needed]
  8. ^ Wildermuth, Mark E. (2014). Gender, Science Fiction Television, and the American Security State: 1958-Present. Springer. p. 79. ISBN 9781137408891.
  9. ^ Foster, Amy E. Integrating Women into the Astronaut Corps: Politics and Logistics at NASA, 1972–2004. JHU Press. ISBN 9781421403946.
  10. ^ Cushman & Osborn (2013): p. 65
  11. ^ Cushman & Osborn (2013): p. 69
  12. ^ Engel (1994): p. 65
  13. ^ "New Star Trek TV Show Details on Characters and More Revealed".
  14. ^ "New Star Trek: Discovery Details Reveal Timeline and Names". 29 August 2016.
  15. ^ "INTERVIEW: Diving Into STAR TREK: DISCOVERY's Finale with Season 3 Co-Showrunner Michelle Paradise".


Bibliography[edit]

  • Alexander, David (1995). Star Trek Creator: The Authorized Biography of Gene Roddenberry. New York: Roc. ISBN 0-451-45440-5.
  • Cushman, Marc; Osborn, Susan (2013). These are the Voyages: TOS, Season One. San Diego, CA: Jacobs Brown Press. ISBN 978-0-9892381-1-3.
  • Engel, Joel (1994). Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 0-7868-6004-9.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]