If you’ve ever wondered which fanbase cares the most about the smallest details, then you might be a Trekkie. Fans of “Star Trek” are known throughout fandom as having fans who closely follow the shows and films and can catch the most minuscule detail which might not fit.
In fact, the creator of “Star Trek: Lower Decks” was himself one of these uber-geeks who knew all the details of “The Next Generation.” For years, Mike McMahan ran the hilarious “TNG Season 8” Twitter feed, which made suggestions for plots for what could have been. As it turned out, McMahan worked in animation on “Rick and Morty,” so his Trek show idea made sense. And “Lower Decks” is full of references to the older Trek shows and features many cast members from the past.
While McMahan might be one of the biggest Trek fans to ever run a show, it is clear that many who are involved in the franchise don’t know all the details.
Whoopi Talks Trek on ‘The View’
On an episode of “The View,” which aired on November 22, 2021, on ABC, Whoopi Goldberg welcomed Sonequa Martin-Green. Martin-Green is the main character and face of the franchise for “Star Trek: Discovery,” the flagship show of the Paramount+ network. Her portrayal of Michael Burnham has gained the attention of fans across the world.
Goldberg is no slouch as she can be considered Trek royalty, having portrayed the mysterious Guinan on “The Next Generation” and in the film “Generations.” Goldberg is even supposed to be returning to Trek, as Patrick Stewart announced on an episode of “The View” some time ago.
As she started the conversation with “The View” hosts and Martin-Green, Goldberg said the following:
“You are the first black woman to be captain on any starship at any time.”
The audience applauded.
“Now, she knows pressure because she used to kill zombies!” Goldberg said of Martin-Green, referencing her role on “The Walking Dead.”
“Now she’s taking everybody through the universe,” said Goldberg. “How’s it feel?“
Whoopi Is Wrong
At that moment, it might have been as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror as they turned to Facebook to point out Goldberg’s error. It was Trek fan Brett Slovacek who garnered the most attention for his post on the “Star Trek Universe” Facebook group.
“Just saw Whoopi Goldberg interview Sonequa Martin-Green on The View, calling her the ‘first Black woman to play a starship captain,’” wrote Slovacek on Facebook. “However, that’s not accurate.”
Slovacek reminded those who read that the actual “first woman of color to play a starship captain” was Madge Sinclair, who appeared as the captain of the U.S.S. Saratoga in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.”
Madge Sinclair & ‘Star Trek’
While Slovacek is correct, Sinclair actually appeared twice in the franchise — both times as a captain. As Slovacek described, Sinclair was in “Star Trek IV,” and it was her ship that encountered the alien vessel at the start of the story. But she also was in a “Next Gen” episode, where she played Geordi La Forge’s mother, Captain Silvia La Forge.
Fans may remember Sinclair from her roles on Trek, but she was a very busy actor who appeared in many films and shows while she was active. Sinclair died in 1995. She is also remembered for her part in “Coming to America” and was not recast for the sequel.
‘Lower Decks’ Captain Too
Later in the conversation, Trek fan Jeffrey Harlan correctly pointed out that Carol Freeman (voiced by Dawnn Lewis) actually beat Burnham by a “couple of seasons.” Freeman appears on “Lower Decks” as the captain of the Cerritos, starting in 2020, while Burnham did not become captain until the Season 3 finale (which aired in 2021).
Sonequa Got It Right
Even though Goldberg probably did not mean to gloss over Sinclair and Lewis’ portrayal of Black female captains, Martin-Green did not waste a moment correcting Guinan’s error.
“Making history in this way as the first black female captain of a ‘Star Trek’ show…” said Martin-Green. She used the opportunity to pay homage to all who came before her, including Goldberg and Nichelle Nichols.
The actress spoke of how Goldberg meant a lot to her and her family growing up and spoke about the difficulties of losing her parents. The hosts and Martin-Green also talked about Nichols and her positive influence on a generation of African Americans.
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