So the other day, Te made a long, thinky post about why the treatment of characters of colour in both canon (primarily DC comics, but by no means exclusively) and fandom (same deal) creative works continues to be disappointing, and why that's not okay. Her post is part of a larger discussion going on in various parts of the internet about race and gender in fandom -- both what fans create and what we consume -- and generated its share of discussions and follow-up posts.
In one of the discussion threads on that post (begun by vassilissa here), discussing why the character of Teal'c on Stargate: SG-1 gets such short shrift, Te made a comparison between SG-1 and classic Trek when she raised the question,
"Really, what would slash fandom have looked like -- if anything -- if Leonard Nimoy had had darker skin?"
Like Te, and not a few others, I was stunned and inspired by Elena's response, "I'd like to imagine that maybe if they'd cast Nichelle Nichols as Spock (she wanted the role when she read the script)" -- I grew up in Trek fandom, but I've grown away from it as an adult, and I had never heard that story before.
It would, of course, have changed everything.
If Jim Kirk's Vulcan First Officer had been played by a black woman...
I kind of had to do this. The notion is so compelling... I may yet write fanfiction around this 'what if?' too. Rewrite some classic episodes, maybe ("Amok Time," "Mirror, Mirror," so many choices...) or put -- It's hard to say what to call her, isn't it? Spock was Spock in the script, and I don't think Vulcan naming conventions were set until later in series history, so that could just become a female-appropriate name; T'Pock is frankly awful, but T'Pura has a lovely ring to it, I think. -- First Officer T'Pura into an original story.
It was crazy fun making this manip. It's difficult to make a red as rich as TOS communications uniforms were into the decidedly pastel blue of science/medical (though if T'Pura is the First Officer, she should be in command yellow, unless she still is the science officer as well...). The ears, on the other hand, drove me nuts, and I can't even lay the blame on the fact that most of them ought to be a cheap late-60s television prosthetic, because the shading is all wrong. I did better smoothing out her expression, though that wasn't a complete success either -- it's *hard* to make Nichelle Nichols not smile! At least I can be unconflictedly pleased with how her eyebrows came out.
(Incidentally, I know the rank stripes on her uniform are wrong, designating her a lieutenant's rank, but I just haven't been up to tackling *creating* a meandering line of textured metallic braid, much less allowing for folds on the fabric.)
While I'm here nattering on about Star Trek... The internets and fandom have *both* failed me! How is it that I didn't find out until nearly a year after the fact that George Takei, who played Hikaru Sulu in ST:TOS and most of the films that followed, came out to the news media as a gay man?! Ah well. In honour of my finally catching the clue, new icon.
No wonder I've always been so hot for Goerge Takei.