'Star Trek' Remake Beams Up Zoe Saldana

The 'Pirates of the Caribbean' star will play Lieutenant Uhura.

Trekkies rejoice! The cold vacuum of space just got a heck of a lot hotter: 29-year-old actress Zoë Saldana is the first female to join the cast of J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek," according to Variety. The "Haven" and "Pirates of the Caribbean" star will play Lieutenant Uhura, a role made famous in the original television series (and first six feature films) by Nichelle Nichols.

Saldana joins a cast that already includes "Heroes" star Zachary Quinto, who has signed on to play Spock, and Anton Yelchin, set to appear as Chekov (see " 'Star Trek' Earmarks A 'Hero' To Play New Spock In J.J. Abrams Flick" and " 'Star Trek' Remake Finds Its Chekov"). Original Spock Leonard Nimoy has signed on as well, leading many to speculate that most of the new film will take place in flashback. Little is known about the plot for Abrams' franchise reboot.

A communications officer under Captain James T. Kirk, Uhura served loyally on the USS Enterprise, ultimately rising to full commander in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." An Earthling from the "United States of Africa," Uhura gets her name from the Swahili word for "freedom."

The moniker is appropriate for a character that was not just the woman in the show's main cast, but the only African-American as well. In an original series episode titled "Plato's Stepchildren," Uhura was involved in the first interracial kiss ever shown on U.S. television.

"Star Trek" arrives December 25, 2008.

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