20 Star Trek Women You Should Know

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LOS ANGELES – OCTOBER 20: Majel Barrett as Nurse Christine Chapel in the STAR TREK: THE ORIGINAL SERIES episode, ‘What Are Little Girls Made Of?’ Season 1, episode 7. Original air date, October 20, 1966. Image is a frame grab. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

19. Christine Chapel (The Original Series)

The role of Nurse Christine Chapel was something of a consolation prize. Majel Barrett had played Number One in the series pilot, a commanding and groundbreaking role that left executives cold. Said executives were also displeased that Barrett, who was dating series creator Gene Roddenberry, would get a major role seemingly because she was the showrunner’s girlfriend.

So, Barrett remained in the revamped series, but in a very different role. Instead, she played Nurse Christine Chapel, assistant to the crotchety Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. In the original series, Chapel has a few shining moments here are there, but she’s largely a pushover. In “Amok Time”, she meekly serves Mr. Spock a bowl of soup, only to be rewarded with said soup thrown against the wall and her Vulcan crush yelling at her.

Barrett herself wasn’t overly fond of the character. Some critics agreed: David Gerrold argued that Nurse Chapel only existed to enhance the character of the seemingly emotionless Mr. Spock. However, in other media, Chapel was eventually promoted to Doctor and left the Enterprise. In the reboot films, she’s briefly mentioned but never seen.

Majel Barrett would have the last laugh, however. She eventually married Roddenberry and managed to appear on every single Star Trek series currently filmed. She has played, variously, the ship’s computer, a bevy of animated characters on The Animated Series, and Ambassador Lwaxana Troi in The Next Generation.