Majel Barrett-Roddenberry To Play Computer Voice In New Star Trek Movie

In another nod to Star Trek history, it has just been officially announced that Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, the widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, will reprise her role as the voice of the computer for the Enterprise in JJ Abrams 2009 Star Trek movie. The news came late tonight in a brief mention in Variety.

 

The entirety of the Variety story:

Majel Barrett-Roddenberry will reprise her role as the voice of the starship Enterprise computer in J.J. Abrams’ upcoming "Star Trek" feature. She’s voiced the role in four "Star Trek" TV series and three films.

The late announcement of the casting of Barrett-Roddenberry is likely due to the sound mix being the last element of post production before Paramount puts the film in the can, awaiting the May 2009 release.

It’s not Star Trek without Majel doing the computer
Majel Barrett Roddenberry has been part of Star Trek since the first pilot ("The Cage") where she played ‘Number One.’ Although that role was not carried over to the main series, she did get a recurring role on the show as Nurse Chapel and also played Deanna Troi’s mother Lwaxana Troi on The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine.

Majel Roddenberry’s most prolific Trek work was providing the voice for Starfleet computers, mostly for the various Enterprises. Barret-Roddenberry did computer voice acting for all six Trek series (including the Animated Series) and four feature films. Here is a nice tribute video to Roddenberry’s voice work over Star Trek history

Like the casting of Leonard Nimoy as Spock, the inclusion of Roddenberry in the new film is surely to be very popular with Star Trek fans and is certainly a nice nod to Trek history by the film makers.

 

UPDATE: Roddenberry Productions has issued a press release on this, it can be seen at Roddenberry.com.

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Xplodin' Nacelle
December 11, 2008 12:08 am

Awesome news! – now she has come full circle.

That One Guy
December 11, 2008 12:08 am

Ah! That’ll be nice. I always liked her voice for the computers. Not to mention, Lwaxana was always an…. interesting character.

I thank Kahless that she’s not MY mother-in-law.

Zeo
December 11, 2008 12:10 am

W00t!

Harry Ballz
December 11, 2008 12:11 am

Hey, what can I say, she gives great voice!!

Federali Aundy
December 11, 2008 12:11 am

Cool news

Illogical (Bink)
December 11, 2008 12:15 am

Yae!! Best news of the day!

peter
December 11, 2008 12:21 am

right on ! gene must be smiling in heaven. his legacy will be carried through her voice!

Sean4000
December 11, 2008 12:22 am

Very fitting.

MattTheTrekkie
December 11, 2008 12:23 am

That is something I was not expecting. Wow… this really is good news. Its kinda like a:

“I know we’re rebooting and everything, but we’re not forgetting the things that came first,” gesture.

Its a nice feeling :)

Jeffries Tuber
December 11, 2008 12:40 am

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that once they have her voice in a modern computer system, they can synthesize her voice going forward.

Another actor could eventually be hired to read the computer’s lines, but using the same technology that turned Maria and JLo into pop stars, the actor’s voice can be modified to sound like Majel’s.

Gene gave his wife the roll of several lifetimes.

sebimeyer
December 11, 2008 12:40 am

I had been wondering about this! Excellent news indeed!

the king in shreds and tatters
December 11, 2008 12:47 am

Cool.

December 11, 2008 12:48 am

I love it when a plan comes together.

Thomas Jensen
December 11, 2008 12:50 am

Will the voice be in the style of the halting, tinny robotic cadience from the original series? Or will it be the smooth and soothing computer from the 24th century? I wonder if it could be something in between?

December 11, 2008 12:54 am

Yes! buy’ ngop!
I wondered about this “out loud” on another thread.
I am *SO* glad she made it into the film.
She *belongs* in the film.
Like the article says, she’s been around since day one with “The Cage”. Her and Nimoy were the only ones to do that, and they’re BOTH in the film.
I actually pulled over to the side of the road to type this. I’m THAT excited.

#10 If that’s true, I’m going to need her voice on my TomTom GPS, and in my car warning me that my “door is ajar”.

AJ
December 11, 2008 1:04 am

What great news.

Majel is wonderful.

Cobalt 1365
December 11, 2008 1:07 am

Strange, as a Trekkie since my childhood days with TNG, I never really thought about Majel reprising her role in the new movie. It makes perfect sense! But now that I’ve heard about it, of course! Thank you JJ and crew!

December 11, 2008 1:19 am

Great to hear this! Majel is a brilliant actress, I’ve loved every role she’s done.

I still love hearing her tell Capt. Janeway to “Make it yourself”. LMAO

December 11, 2008 1:21 am

This is great, so unexpected.

I got goosebumps reading that.

OR Coast Trekkie
December 11, 2008 1:25 am

Interesting. I thought Majel was battling health issues.

#14 – I would have to say that the computer will sound closer to the 24th century. ANY sort of a talking computer in the 60’s was seen as futuristic The roboticness of it was seen as MORE futuristic. However, in “In a Mirror Darkly” the computer on board the Defiant did not have that tinny, robotic cadence. Heck, even today, computer voice software sounds superior to the voice tone that Barrett chose. If she uses that original tone, you would essentially, be asking the audience to believe that computer voice technology has gone backwards.

I’m sure I just started some sort of “canon violation” argument. I apologize for that…

Mickey MET
December 11, 2008 1:25 am

>> 10. Jeffries Tuber – December 11, 2008

Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that once they have her voice in a modern computer system, they can synthesize her voice going forward. . . .<<

Don’t they really already have her voice then? I mean she’s already been in so much Trek, can’t they already feed her voice into a ‘puter and run with it if that’s the case?

Crewman Darnell
December 11, 2008 1:27 am

It’s a smart decision to include Majel in this way. I’m looking forward to that touch (or sound, rather) of TOS familiarity.

December 11, 2008 1:28 am

Anthony, the Cast Page needs updating now!

December 11, 2008 1:36 am

That’s AWESOME really exciting I am sure she’s thrilled to be included. Thats really makes me happy they included her.

She’s really a great and sweet person.

Will H.
December 11, 2008 1:36 am

Good choice I think. True, some will say its kinda a cannon violation, but with as much as its already been violated, this doesnt mean much, you know, compared to the enterprise being built in freaking iowa. I think its good to give us trekkies, you know, the people responsible for keeping the franchise going as long as it did, a little something like this.

Toddk
December 11, 2008 1:37 am

Hooray For Majel!! and Hooray For Star Trek! :) Masterstroke!

December 11, 2008 1:41 am

Awesome!!!!

I am not Herbert
December 11, 2008 1:43 am

EXCELLENT!!! =)

Spock – Chapel nod would be nice as well…

4 8 15 16 23 42
December 11, 2008 2:07 am

25 Will H. — “True, some will say its kinda a cannon [sic] violation”

As others have pointed out, she lent her voice to the computer on TOS, however, the point in question in regard to canon is what style of voice she will use. I am with 20 OR Coast Trekkie in thinking it’s better to violate canon on the style of voice and not go with “Robbie the robot” enunciation, but rather go with an accurately futuristic voice by today’s standards — which is to say, the computer has a natural language enunciation.

Rob
December 11, 2008 2:15 am

all I need now is a cameo by Shatner and I’m happy :-)

Vance S
December 11, 2008 2:31 am

Remember in TOS when the Enterprise computer was given “more” feminine personality by some amazonian-style culture? They felt the computer lacked personality and gave it a sultry, come-hither regard for the Captain, referring to him as “Dear”.

So it was likely the birthplace of the smoother voice we enjoy now. Kirk ordered the computer to be less affectionate, but never ordered it back to the tin can.

Sean
December 11, 2008 2:39 am

Great news! Majel is a great actress and, in my eyes, the best representation of the lasting power of Star Trek (sorry, Mr. Nimoy, you’re a close second). She deserves to be able to play any role she wants, and especially the one she turned from just an ordinary background voice into a character of its own!

Jordan
December 11, 2008 2:51 am

She’s the best when it comes to computer voices. Oh how I wish my computer would talk to me like that. You know, in the future people will try and replicate her voice onto actual computers.

Spockish
December 11, 2008 2:52 am
So when Microsoft comes out with their voice controlled OS how long until Majel Replaces that computers voice. It will be a natural fit. Most of the then user base will have already been use to using the computer, since I guess some if not many have thought what they wanted the computer to say. /hopefully as we develop into Trekhood in the next centuries her voice will bring The Great Bird’s visions of a better future for humanity. Indirectly this can almost make Gene an analogy to GOD by giving us a desire for a better future, and Majel would be like Gods connection to humanity. In todays stupidity of Political Correctness I’ve used the the big four letter word of ‘GOD’ and here is another Majel could be a similar analogy to being the Star Trek Universes Jesus. An addition note, when I first started reading the Comment trails here they were short comments like from Grade schoolers, and now Some two years later many of the comments are true works of thought and comment making the reading have much more value. There are still one liners but that may be attributed to the depth that others have worded and most likely said what others wanted to say but did not desire to sound like a echo. One day someone may take the comments and fill them in with the history at the times they were made. And as a result they could author books and maybe historical… Read more »
James
December 11, 2008 2:59 am

It wouldn’t be Trek without her. Excellent news.

T2
December 11, 2008 3:01 am

icing on the cake….coincidentally watched TNG’s “Dark Page” today…Lwaxana or the Computer…I’ll be happy.

Vernon Wilmer
December 11, 2008 3:02 am

At least they’re doing something right

John
December 11, 2008 3:03 am

At the 2006 Las Vegas convention, she got a standing ovation when she answered, “In a heartbeat” when I asked her if she would voice the computer in the new movie if asked to do it. Nice to see she lives up to her word. :)

December 11, 2008 3:23 am

What’s up Vernon? This is good news, I loved waiting on her at Quarks when it was open the stories she would tell me about her late husband and Star Trek were fantastic.

CmdrR
December 11, 2008 3:23 am

It’s just great that Majel is still…

…”wor-king.”

CmdrR
December 11, 2008 3:24 am

Will there still be a teletype soundfx to go with her voice? tee hee

Lancelot Narayan
December 11, 2008 3:36 am

Wonderful news!

Trekmatt
December 11, 2008 3:59 am

I think its great news! She was the only natural choice to voice the computer :) well done JJ and gang!

Rod of Rassilon
December 11, 2008 4:01 am

Just GREAT news!

P Technobabble
December 11, 2008 4:13 am

Of course this is great news.
I got to meet her once, about a year after Gene Roddenberry’s passing. She is wonderful, a real class-act.

Iowagirl
December 11, 2008 4:19 am

Wasn’t there another character she used to be famous for in TOS? One that could be heard *and* seen? Ah stuff it – I suppose that one didn’t fit in.

Clever move nevertheless…

Paul
December 11, 2008 4:22 am

Wow – I am really pleased at this development. It doesn’t make up for my extreme disappointment at the absence of Rand (who has great potential for comic relief in addition to Chekov and Scotty) and Chapel. Nevertheless, if we can count the computer voice as one of the recurring female characters, we have two out of four, so things are improving! Go Majel!

I really hope that the writers wise up and learn how to use women in the franchise. Star Trek has been left in the dark ages of equality by shows like Battlestar Galactica and, considering its pioneering start, that is a huge disappointment. Plus, who doesn’t want to see more hot chicks in short skirts? It’s a win / win scenario!

Right now I’d be happy if Rand just got to serve coffee in the movie as long as she’s there! Longer term, I want her to be a bad-a** martial-arts expert / bodyguard for Kirk. “Look at my legs…” Thwack!

Sweeeet.

Republikraut
December 11, 2008 4:26 am

Did anyone doubt they would do this?
I mean, she and Nimoy are the only two actors to have gone all the way from the pilot to the reboot, and shes the only star trek actor to have appeared in some shape and form, in every show that span forward from the original (we ignore Enterprise around me :P).

She had to take part, and JJ knew it.

Ashley
December 11, 2008 4:41 am

yay ^_^

I kinda hope they do some sort of reverb or flanging or something with her voice, to make it seem a bit retro without being unrealistically old…but no matter what I’m happy she’s in it :)

Dr. Cheis
December 11, 2008 4:41 am

Glad to hear it. I was afraid she wasn’t going to be in the movie when I didn’t read anything about her involvement on trekmovie before now.

(Although I can’t help thinking if she was announced this late in the process, Shatner could still possibly be as well. Not that I’m counting on it or anything…)

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