Now that the 50th Anniversary of “Star Trek” has come and gone, the franchise has been seeing more and more attention in the media lately. 2016 saw “Star Trek Beyond” hit the big screens, while it seems like every other month is getting us another casting announcement for the upcoming “Star Trek: Destiny” TV series, which is set to hit the CBS: All Access streaming platform in 2017.
Even more recently, fans were excited to throw their money a crowd-funded documentary looking back at “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” With nostalgia and Trek excitement hitting hardcore fans and casual ones alike, we at CBR figured now would be a good time to look back on the classic series at well, specifically to the crew members of the famous starship Enterprise who nobody ever seems to remember.
15. CAPTAIN CHRISTOPHER PIKE
Likely to be our most remembered entry, Christopher Pike was actually shown in the first two Kelvin Timeline (the films making up the JJ Abrams continuity) movies, played by Bruce Greenwood. In regular continuity, Captain Christopher Pike was actually the commanding officer of the Enterprise prior to Kirk, as seen in “The Cage,” the original pilot episode for “Star Trek” that NBC passed on. He was portrayed by Jeffrey Hunter in the pilot and later by Sean Kenney when the character reappeared in the show’s famous “The Menagerie” two-parter.
Rather than ignore the existence of the first pilot, Gene Roddenberry decided to have it set 11 years prior to the events of the show. “The Menagerie” shows us that Pike had been wounded in that timeframe and was now confined to the 23rd-Century equivalent of a wheelchair, with his only means of communication being a blinking light that indicates yes or no for him. Rather than have him live out such a horrible life, Spock and the Talosians, the psychic aliens encountered in “The Cage,” conspired to have him transported to Talos so that the Talosians could telepathically provide Pike with a hospice of sorts, using illusions to make him believe he’s still living out his old glory days.
14. CAPTAIN WILLARD DECKER
Willard Decker was almost a “Star Trek” household name. Back in the ’70s, the original series almost got a sequel in the form of “Star Trek: Phase II,” which would have been a follow-up five-year mission taking place shortly after the first one. Multiple episodes were scripted, but the show never saw daylight. However, the two-part pilot got reworked as “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” which is the first and last time we see Decker appear.
In the film, Decker was initially meant to be Kirk’s replacement as Captain of the Enterprise, following Kirk’s promotion to Rear Admiral. However, the dangerous arrival of V’ger saw Kirk take command of the Enterprise again, with Decker being temporarily demoted to first officer. V’ger – the Voyager 6 probe which had been insanely upgraded by a race of living machines to the point of becoming sentient – was looking to evolve by combining with its creator. As its definition of “creator” meant “a human being,” Decker saved the world by sacrificing himself, allowing V’ger to merge with him and become a new form of life in order to avoid catastrophe.
13. COMMODORE ROBERT APRIL
Robert April was the very first captain the Enterprise had ever seen, being its commanding officer back when it was still under construction in the 2240s (roughly two decades prior to “TOS”). Once it was built, his wife, Sarah, was brought on to serve as the ship’s chief medical officer. After his five-year mission ended, he was promoted to the rank of Commodore, where April would then spend the rest of his career as a highly decorated ambassador-at-large for the United Federation of Planets.
During the “Star Trek: The Animated Series” episode “The Counter-Clock Incident,” Kirk and crew have the distinguished pleasure of escorting April and his wife to the planet Babel, where the Federation’s many ambassadors are waiting to honor him now that he’s reached the mandatory retirement age of 75. However, events lead to the Enterprise being pulled into a reverse universe, where time moves backwards, causing the entire crew to become younger and younger, eventually becoming helpless children. With the help of April and his wife, the ship is able to return to regular space and everyone returns back to normal. His heroic actions lead the Federation to consider removing the mandatory retirement age in order to allow him to remain an ambassador.
12. LIEUTENANT NUMBER ONE
Number One is so forgettable that nobody even remembered her actual name! Ok, so that’s not entirely true. What actually happened is that she only appeared once: in the rejected pilot episode, “The Cage.” By coincidence, she just never got mentioned by name, because Captain Pike chose to refer to her by the nickname of “Number One” (something captains often call their first officers in the “Star Trek” universe). Meanwhile, the only other times she was addressed was by her subordinates, so they all called her by her rank of lieutenant.
Number One was played by Majel Barrett, who would later marry show creator Gene Roddenberry and become “The First Lady Of Trek.” Despite only being a helmsman, Number One was second in command of the Enterprise. Having a woman in such an important role was too forward-thinking (as in, “unbelievable”) for ’60s network executives, however, who forced Roddenberry to remove her from the show when he made the second pilot episode starring William Shatner as Captain Kirk. However, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry would return in several other roles over the decades, including Lwaxana Troi on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” the ship’s computer voice in all sequel series and even two other entries on this list.
11. CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER DOCTOR MARK PIPER
If you were to ask who the chief medical officer of the Enterprise was during Kirk’s tenure, then pretty much everybody would either say Leonard McCoy or his nickname of “Bones.” For what it’s worth, those people wouldn’t be completely wrong. However, they wouldn’t be completely right, either. Bones was, in fact, the Enterprise’s second C.M.O. while Kirk was in command of the ship. The first was Doctor Mark Piper.
If you’ve never heard of him before, he was essentially a blip on everybody’s radar. Doctor Piper only served on the Enterprise in the first year of the historic five-year-mission. Meanwhile, the second pilot episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” is basically the only episode of the series taking part during that year (“The Animated Series” taking part during the ending portions of the five-year-mission). Piper was portrayed by Paul Fix, whom the casting directors felt was too old to portray the type of character you know Bones for being on the rest of the show. With Roddenberry wanting any excuse to work with DeForest Kelley, the latter was cast as Leonard “Bones” McCoy, Doctor Piper’s replacement on the ship, and the rest is history.
10. LIEUTENANT-COMMANDER GARY MITCHELL
Another senior officer who only appeared in “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” Lieutenant-Commander Gary Mitchell actually has a lot more backstory than most one-off characters. He first met Kirk in Starfleet Academy, when he was a cadet and Kirk was still a Lieutenant serving as an Academy teacher. Years later, when Kirk received his first command, the captain offered a position to Mitchell. They would continue to serve together aboard this unnamed vessel until Kirk was given command of the Enterprise, at which point he requested that Mitchell be transferred to serve as his new helmsman.
Later that year, the Enterprise would pass through the Galactic Barrier, a rim of negative energy that surrounds the rim of the Milky Way galaxy. Being exposed this energy caused crew members with the highest E.S.P. ratings, Mitchel and Dr. Elizabeth Dehner, to become powerful psychokinetics. So powerful, in fact, that it drove him mad and made him treat everyone like he was a god. Unfortunately, Kirk and Dehner had to kill him, with Dehner dying in the process.
9. LIEUTENANT JUNIOR GRADE SAAVIK
Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Saavik is the first female Vulcan we see on the bridge of the Enterprise. First played by Kirstie Alley in Saavik’s debut appearance in “Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan,” she was later portrayed by Robin Curtis in movies III and IV. Saavik is introduced to us as captain-in-training of the Enterprise, commanding familiar faces like Sulu, Uhura and Spock, among others. However, this was during the no-win scenario test of the Kobayashi Maru, so it was actually a doomed simulation.
Later, Saavik accompanies David Marcus, Kirk’s son, during a survey of the Genesis planet. There, they discover that the recently killed Spock has been brought back to life, albeit as a child who is growing rapidly. Fearing Genesis is actually a weapon of mass destruction, they are taken prisoner by Klingon officers, one of whom murders David in front of her. She was last seen on planet Vulcan with Spock’s mother after the Enterprise crew brought him to reintegrate Spock’s katra (basically, a Vulcan’s mind and soul) into his body.
8. LIEUTENANT CHARLENE MASTERS
It’s easy to forget who Lieutenant Charlene Masters was. In fact, wardrobe even forgot to give her any sleeve ribbons to denote her actual rank (an officer without anything on the sleeves would normally be an ensign, not a lieutenant). What doesn’t help is that she only appears in one episode, “The Alternative Factor,” and it wasn’t exactly as memorable as some of the other stories in the series.
Despite seeming so unimportant, Masters had the rare privilege of being the only other black woman on the ship apart from Uhura. Just like Uhura, she’s a feminist and racial equality icon, only nobody seems to have realized this. In fact, she’s arguably even more important in-story than Uhura herself. While Uhura is a bridge officer and also a lieutenant, her job as communications officer basically entailed answering Kirk’s space phone for him. Meanwhile, Masters is shown to be in a position of higher authority, as her role involved taking over for Scotty as Acting Chief of Engineering while he was off-duty. Remember that this episode aired in 1967, when women ordering men around was still exceptionally rare. Now, a black woman giving orders to white male officers? Unheard of.
7. LIEUTENANT AREX
Lieutenant Arex served aboard the Enterprise during the last two years of the historic five-year-mission. You just didn’t see him in “The Original Series” because, by pure coincidence, he was off-duty during the events of all episodes that took place during his tenure aboard the ship (which is another way of saying he was retconned into existence years after the series had already ended). As a result, the Edosian navigator can only be seen in “Star Trek: The Animated Series.”
The name of his species and homeworld of Edos were originally only referenced in a non-canonical reference guides for decades. However, the name was officially made canon when referenced in passing during the series finale of “Enterprise” in 2005. Edosians have three legs, three hands and three fingers on each hand. As for Arex himself, he had served as the ship’s navigator in several episodes, as well as a relief science officer when an outbreak of choriocytosis took Spock out of commission in the episode “The Pirates of Orion.” While under the influence of a love potion brought aboard by the swindling Harry Mudd in “Mudd’s Passion,” we also learn that he can play the lute. Along with Robert April and countless other roles on this series, Arex was voiced by James Doohan, the actor who played Scotty.
6. LIEUTENANT M’RESS
Like Arex, Lieutenant M’Ress is an officer of the Enterprise who was only aboard the ship during the final two years of the historic five-year-mission. She’s a member of the Caitian species, of which males can be seen in the background during several scenes of “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (unofficially known among fans as “Star Trek: The One With The Whales”). Live-action female Caitians are depicted as being very different, essentially being shown as aroused identical twin humans with cat-like tails who are desperate to continue bedding Kirk. Though to be fair, live-action female Caitians only appeared in the second Kelvin Timeline film, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” which wasn’t exactly known for being nice to Trek mythos or women in general.
M’Ress was a communications officer and was usually seen whenever Uhura was off-duty. She also frequently acted as the ship’s science officer whenever Spock was busy on away missions. Like many female characters showing up on “The Animated Series,” she was voiced by Majel Berry Roddenberry.
5. LIEUTENANT ILIA
Lieutenant Ilia, like the previously discussed Willard Decker, only shows up in “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” Also like Decker, she was meant to be a series regular in the never-produced “Star Trek: Phase II.” Played by Persis Khambatta, Ilia was a Deltan, a species in which almost everything in its culture is sex-oriented. In order to make sure they can interact with other species properly, Deltans swear an oath of celibacy while serving in Starfleet. Years prior, she was in a relationship with Willard Decker, which would serve as inspiration for the Riker and Troi dynamic during “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (the “TNG” Troi-central episode called “The Child” was even a rework of a “Phase II” script about Ilia).
Ilia technically didn’t have much screen time during the film. When V’ger first probed the ship, the process had killed her. V’ger then created another type of probe, this one essentially being a clone of Ilia programmed to interact with the crew of the ship, serving as a liaison between them and V’ger. This probe-clone remained with Decker and V’ger when they became a new life form.
4. LIEUTENANT LESLIE
Lieutenant Leslie is likely to give many hardcore “TOS” fans a serious case of deja vu. That’s because he’s a senior officer who’s had quite the illustrious career aboard the Enterprise, but never had a starring or even co-starring role in any of the episodes. Played by Eddie Pasky, Lieutenant Leslie was a background character who simply showed up in a ton of episodes. He was in 57 episodes, to be precise, which really saying something when you consider how Sulu only appeared in 52 episodes.
Since you weren’t supposed to be focusing on him, you may not have noticed that he was a blueshirt, goldshirt and, of course, a redshirt over the years, as well as died twice (I know you can’t keep a good man down, but yeesh!). For the most part, Leslie served as a helmsman, navigator or security officer. While under the influence of alien spores in “This Side of Paradise,” Lieutenant Leslie even told off Captain Kirk to his face.
3. LIEUTENANT VALERIS
Before she was having “Sex In The City,” Kim Cattrall was busy being Spock’s protege as the Vulcan Lieutenant Valeris in “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.” The film is a massive Chernobyl metaphor, with the sudden explosion of Praxis (a moon that holds the Klingon empire’s largest energy mine) leading to the end of the Klingon-Federation Cold War. Not having the resources necessary to save themselves, the Klingon High Chancellor is left with two options: finally go to war with the Federation and take their resources by force or ask them for help and end the decades-long feud between them. He opts for the latter, to the joy of many and the anger of just as many others.
Not everyone among Starfleet, the Klingons and even the Romulans want the two super-powers to become allies. Valeris is eventually revealed to be one of these people, who helped orchestrate a conspiracy that made it look like the Enterprise had fired on and boarded the High Chancellor’s ship, murdering him in order to force the two powers to go to war. She fit right in among the senior staff while they investigated who the traitors were, so it’s particularly difficult to see Spock have to force the truth from her via a mind meld.
2. NURSE CHRISTINE CHAPEL
As mentioned earlier, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was brought back to the “Star Trek” show despite her character in the original pilot being banned by studio execs. The workaround was simply to recast her in another role. Now she was Christine Chapel, the head nurse of the Enterprise and Doctor McCoy’s most trusted assistant, who served aboard the ship throughout the entire five-year-mission. Nurse Chapel took her work seriously and served as a great way to keep Bones in check. She also had several scenes implying that she and Spock would have been in a relationship, if only he could look past his cold Vulcan logic and embrace his emotions. She was also close friends with Uhura,
After the show, she was later seen in “The Motion Picture” having become a full medical doctor, and again in “The Voyage Home” helping to coordinate relief efforts. By the time this film is set, she had achieved the rank of commander.
1. YEOMAN JANICE RAND
Janice Rand was the only recurring non-commissioned officer on the show. She was Captain Kirk’s personal yeoman, a fact which he initially detested because she was a woman (remember: this was the 2260s in-story, but only the 1960s in real life). Besides handling his clerical duties, bringing him coffee and helping to oversee subordinate yeomen, Rand also went on several away missions. In fact, the official writer’s guide for the show mentioned that an away mission episode plot should almost always involve the captain, Spock and a pretty yeoman like Rand in some way.
Unfortunately, Grace Lee Whitney, the actress portraying Rand, suffered from addiction to alcohol and diet pills, so she had to leave the show after only eight episodes. However, once she was clean, they jumped at the chance to give her cameos in several of the films. In “The Motion Picture,” we see Rand had been promoted to Chief Petty Officer and served as a communications officer in “The Voyage Home,” while “The Undiscovered Country” shows she eventually completed officer training and served under Captain Sulu aboard the Excelsior as a Lieutenant (Junior Grade). Whitney also got to cameo as Woman In Cafeteria, an unnamed Starfleet Commander during “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.”
Which forgotten Enterprise crew member was your favorite? Be sure to tell us in the comments!