Deeper Space Relationships

For Zoe Saldana, who portrays Uhura, this ‘Trek’ gets emotional


When J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek” came out in 2009, the canon-rocking news was the romance between Spock (Zachary Quinto) and Uhura (Zoe Saldana). Shippers of Spockura (Spura?) will be pleased to know that in “Star Trek Into Darkness,” the romance continues — but it’s not the defining element for either character.

“I never really had an ounce of doubt that Uhura’s evolution was going to be based on her evolution, and not as a character only serviceable to Spock,” Saldana says. “Or any other character.”

That said, the deepening relationship between the two characters is a driving force in the sequel — after all, people fall for co-workers all the time. The frustration Uhura faces is that the half-human, half-Vulcan Spock prefers to keep his emotions under tight control.

“I can imagine that it must be very frustrating and also frightening to be in love with someone [who] almost feels incapable of feeling,” Saldana says.

Beyond that, Uhura “sees how much he struggles with it and how much it affects his relationships with everyone besides her.”

Saldana says her girl-loves-Vulcan storyline finds emotional echoes in the relationship between Spock and Captain Kirk, as Kirk warms up to his pointy-eared friend without seeing a similar development in Spock.

With “Star Trek Into Darkness” being this crew’s second time around, relationships lie at the center of the story. It’s evident that friendships have formed and respect has grown, which poses more problems: Now that your crew members are your friends, the real possibility of losing them is a lot scarier.

“They have to develop deep relationships because at any moment, anyone’s life, or a whole bunch of lives, depend on making the right decision or pushing the right button,” Saldana says.

Heroine Addict

Director J.J. Abrams, above, has a well-deserved reputation for telling stories that feature strong women — before he got ahold of Uhura, there was Sydney Bristow of “Alias” and the titular character of “Felicity.” “Star Trek Into Darkness” differentiates itself from most sci-fi films and 2009’s “Trek” by having (gasp) TWO women in featured roles; Alice Eve plays — spoiler alert —Carol Marcus, who both has a doctorate and appears in her underwear.

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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Kristen Page-Kirby · May 16, 2013