When Majel Barrett died in 2008, she took with her the distinction of being the only person to appear in every Star Trek TV series, either on-screen as characters like Nurse Christine Chapel or feisty ambassador Lwaxana Troi, or as the soothing voice of the computer system installed on every Federation ship. Now, it sounds like Barrett—the widow of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry—might get to extend her six-show streak to a seventh.
Earlier this week, the Roddenberry family Twitter account announced that Barrett’s voice had been recorded phonetically before she died, and that the family—including her son, Eugene Roddenberry Jr., an executive producer on CBS’s forthcoming Star Trek: Discovery—was working to synthesize it for potential use on a number of upcoming projects. According to the tweet, those include Apple’s Siri, and possibly even the voice of the Discovery computer.
It’s worth noting, though, that neither CBS, nor showrunner Byran Fuller, have confirmed that there are any plans to use Barrett’s phonemes for the computer’s voice. (Meanwhile, Discovery might already have a nod to Barrett in the form of lead character “Number One,” whose nickname probably references an otherwise-unnamed character Barrett played in the original Star Trek pilot “The Cage.”)
In other Discovery news, Fuller also dropped a more concrete link to The Original Series this week, tweeting out that Discovery will use “Balance Of Terror”—the fan-favorite episode that introduced Trekkies to the sinister Romulans and the Neutral Zone that keeps them out of Federation space—as a “touchstone” for its story arc.