Celia Rose Gooding Talks Expanding Uhura’s Role In Season 3 Of ‘Star Trek: Strange New Worlds’

Celia Rose Gooding’s portrayal of Nyota Uhura became an instant hit when Star Trek: Strange New Worlds premiered in 2022. Fans appreciated how Gooding’s performance tracked well with the character as previously portrayed by original actress Nichelle Nichols and later Zoe Saldana in the Kelvin movies. Gooding recently wrapped up filming season 3 of the series and the actress is dropping some hints about what we can expect to see from Uhura and the show.

Closing in on Nichols’ Uhura

The writing for Strange New Worlds has offered more depth to the character than was offered in previous iterations of Star Trek, giving Celia a perfect opportunity to deliver sides of Uhura which had never been shown on screen. As Gooding grows into the role, fans are naturally curious how Uhura as portrayed in Strange New Worlds will dovetail into the image of her from The Original Series. In a recent interview with Ayla Ruby from Awards Radar, Gooding offered some insight into what’s next for Uhura. Acknowledging that Season 1 showed Uhura not feeling right for her position and not even certain of remaining in Starfleet, Gooding assures the fans that we’ll see a lot more of Uhura in the coming season:

“I think in season 3, she’s just continuing to expand on taking space and really ownership over her responsibilities and her contributions to the Enterprise crew. And so we’re just continuing to see her expand and expand and expand, and I’m really excited about her journey in season 3.”

Some fans were taken aback seeing Uhura as a cadet lacking the confidence to even attend an informal dinner with the bridge crew. It’s certainly a far cry from the seasoned officer who will later pull a phaser on a cocky lieutenant so that she could assist in stealing the Enterprise. Gooding hints that we will see elements of that more assured Uhura in season 3:

“She’s just taking up space, really owning her title and her role, and her confidence is really blossoming and blooming. I think, as the seasons go on, I’m trying to get closer and closer to a recognizable version of Uhura, really trying to emulate Nichelle Nichols’ Uhura. And I think season 3, we’re just getting closer and closer and closer, so it’s very exciting for me.”

A notable challenge, and one that Gooding is likely prepared for, is meshing this bold, complex vision of Uhura with the under-utilized version from early TOS.

Celia Rose Gooding as Uhura of the Paramount+ original series STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS. Photo Cr: Marni Grossman/Paramount+

The shy, noncommittal Nyota of season 1 will be a thing of the past

Growing into the role

According to Gooding, one of the key points in growing the character came from the grisly season 2 episode “Lost in Translation.” When Uhura has to process traumatic visions of her family dying in a shuttle accident, Gooding  struggled with how to step into the moment. Admitting to managing anxiety offscreen, Celia had to find common ground with Nyota, even if their personal reaction to such a problem would likely be different. From the Awards Radar interview:

“It was definitely a big undertaking for me because I really had to put Celia’s fears aside and really embrace that. We’re really not holding back and displaying how trauma affects a person’s mentality, their emotional wellbeing, their mental health. And Uhura, someone who really prides herself on her ability to just keep going, we see her really break down in a way that… I have something very similar to Uhura, where it’s my instinct to just keep going and to really deny that instinct and really sit in this very wounded, very vulnerable, very soft and fleshy place. It was very uncomfortable.”

Nevertheless, Gooding is aware that portraying a long-cherished character with such conflict, especially when that character was historically shown as being resilient, is a task that requires discretion. Clearly, they are well aware of how this could shift fans’ perspective. Gooding continues in the interview:

“And Uhura, I think this was the most vulnerable she had been on camera for the first few seasons. This is probably one of her most vulnerable moments where she’s expressing to the superior officer that she just does not think she can go on, which is a big deal, especially for a legacy character, especially for a character as beloved and as historic as Uhura. To hear her say, ‘I don’t think I can do this anymore,’ is really, it’s a gut punch.”

“Lost in Translation” had a big impact on Celia Rose Gooding.

Connected to Lower Decks

Throughout the interview, Celia Rose Gooding was eager to credit many, many members of the Star Trek production family for providing a supportive atmosphere for them to work. When it comes to watching the character of Uhura evolve, however, much of the credit went to Lower Decks actress Tawny Newsome and the influence Beckett Mariner had on a burned-out Uhura from the season 2 crossover episode “Those Old Scientists.” Celia told Awards Radar:

“Mariner is the one who teaches her how to relax and exhale and let her, at the time, very short hair down and take a little bit of pressure off herself. And that gave Uhura permission to move to a version of herself that is, again, more recognizable. I think the Uhura that generations of Trek fans have gotten to know and love is somebody a lot more relaxed than the Uhura that we’re seeing today. And she’s a lot more carefree, a lot more joyful, a lot more… She flirts with life.”

The side of Uhura we see after “Those Old Scientists” echoes the Uhura who was known to treat the crew to a song or toast a Klingon delegate with Romulan Ale. It is unknown if Uhura and Mariner will cross paths again onscreen, but offscreen, Celia and Tawny have a great rapport which will certainly influence the actresses’ respective performances. Gooding offered high praise as the interview drew to a close:

“It reminds me of how I love Tawny Newsome. Tawny Newsome is the love of my life. I love her so much. And so to get to work with her and really have a very honest conversation, it felt at times very much like Celia and Tawny talking as opposed to Uhura and Mariner, just because she was someone who I talked to a lot about just showing up in this franchise and how to be a person in Trek.”

Mariner and Uhura

Mariner gets a lot of credit for making Uhura who she is. Don’t tell Temporal Investigations.

Star Trek fans can next expect to see Celia Rose Gooding when Season 3 of Strange New Worlds is released on Paramount+ in 2025. Paramount+ has also ordered a fourth season, which is expected to start shooting in the spring of 2025.

Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.

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It is nice to see Uhura’s character expand and become more developed, certainly much more beyond what she got on TOS.

And I really like the actress as well. She brings her own style to the role and it works. And would love to see Uhura and Mariner together again. They could have the ultimate girls trip adventure!

Can’t wait for season 3!

Am I the only one who was relieved not to read the words “big swings” in a SNW interview?


Definitely NOT the only one, no.

No. Then again I would be ok with more episodes that focused on some strange new worlds or strange new aliens. This show hasn’t done much alien world building.

She already gets a large amount of screen time. What about Ortegas? So far that character is a cardboard cut out.

It’s so bizarre how Ortegas has basically been ignored the last two seasons in terms of charactergrowth. We gotten more development with Sam Kirk and he only shows up a few episodes a season.

Hopefully season 3 will change that.

I was thinking the same thing. For whatever reason, the producers just don’t want to use her. In fact, her first “big story” was a b-plot which said, in effect, be grateful for what you have.”

Maybe they could do a Geordi and kick her downstairs to engineering, or maybe phaser control? If the latter, she could bond (or not) with Stiles, who in BoT said his first assignment was in phaser control.

That irked the heck out of me.

I am pretty sure I read somewhere Ortegas finally gets an episode this season. In fact I think the actress herself said that at a convention? However, in general I agree that the writing has been uneven where some cast members are concerned. I hate to say it but those people are usually the ones that aren’t going to be main characters on TOS. Everyone else falls somewhere after them on the spectrum. Let’s hope season 3 starts to iron out some of those kinks.

So will she see a haircut similar to the one Uhura had in TOS?🤔

“Mariner is the one who teaches her how to relax and exhale and let her, at the time, very short hair down and take a little bit of pressure off herself.”

I was hoping the same thing…

She’s so pretty. More Celia in season 3 sounds good!