From December 2-3, Resort World New York City hosted the annual nerd event Winter Con 2023. One of the main draws for me making my way out to the far end of Queens was one of the stars of the Paramount+ hit show Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, actress Celia Rose Gooding.
If you’ve never met this young star, she’s the full package. Beyond her acting and singing skills, she’s a dynamic and effervescent person, with a quick intelligent wit. Before her spotlight panel, she was kind enough to give us a little bit of her time and answer a few questions.
BlackSci-Fi: With regards to Strange New Worlds playing Uhura, let’s just say she has this type of plot armor that you know where she’s going, but you also have the ability to fill in some of it. How much of that do you get to do or is it the writers and what they want to do to help give her a fuller type of character?
Celia Rose Gooding: Well, a lot of the plot work that is done for Uhura, especially in seasons one and two so far had been a lot of our incredible writing team just sharing with me what their vision for her is and sort of explaining why she is the sort of person that we get to know and explaining to sort out how the events came about that allowed her to be the lieutenant that she becomes.
And so a lot of it’s the writing team and then my job as an actor is to just flesh it out and give it life and really work on the intricacies of how she responds to a lot of stimuli on the bridge or in space. Figuring out what works for her, deciding if she wants to stay with the Star Trek crew, deciding how she wants to mourn and continue and a lot of it’s collaborative. And so I get some of it’s mine, some of it is the writing team, but I think all of it together is the joint vision of what we want.
BSF: I know I was cursing up a storm when I saw the season two finale.
Gooding: Yeah, the cliffhanger.
BSF: I got to see a screening for it and it just ends, how soon are you guys back? And how much of your story arc continues from their growth in terms of where your Ensign Uhura is now, when did you get to get those Lieutenant bars? How much more of that do we get in the upcoming season?
Gooding: I actually cannot say unfortunately, I am not allowed to give spoilers but I will say that since Strange New World is a prequel, I think the goal of the show is to grow these characters into the versions of themselves that we’re familiar with in the original series. And yeah, so I think naturally this character will grow, I don’t know when we’re going to reach the titles that I think everyone’s looking for.
But the thing that I love about this process and the thing that I love with my iteration of the character is that we get to take our time and really grow her and maybe we won’t see her put on those lieutenant bars, maybe not until the series finale, whenever that may be, but she’s continuing to grow continuing to advance herself up the Federation totem pole, but it’s all in due time.
BSF: What’s new and exciting for you outside of Star Trek? Are you going to be doing any albums because I loved the musical, your solo and the opening song are the ones I have on steady rotation, or anything you want to let fans know about that is coming up?
Gooding: Nothing for me, I think I’m just really excited to get back into the Trek universe, really excited to continue to flex my TV and film actor muscles. I’ll say anything that fans want to just keep an eye on, things that inspire me, look up The Next Generation Project, It’s a nonprofit that helps trans, nonbinary artists in New York.
They are working to get more queer, Black and Brown people in spaces that they are often excluded from because of disenfranchisement and marginalization. So yeah, fans that are interested in what I’m doing or what inspires me check out The Next Generation Project. It’s run by my friend, so I like to shout her out whenever I can. Season 3 of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds returns in Summer 2024 on Paramount+.
George Carmona 3rd is a contributing writer on comics and nerd culture for BlackSci-fi.com and Comics Beat. He is the author of the DC Super Friends Joke Book from Penguin Random House and a co-creator of the Access Guide to the Black Comic Book Community.