Fans of Star Trek may remember Nichelle Nichols as the unflappable communications officer Lieutenant Uhura of the Enterprise, but Nichols’ involvement in humanity’s journey into space goes beyond the confines of a television starship.

Nichols was involved in one of the most incredible recruitment drives for America’s space program in history. Her epic and inspiring story charts her early work with education in the sciences, technology, engineering, and maths for women and minorities that would lead to much needed diversity in NASA. 

Whilst the documentary is primarily about her work away from the screen in later years, there is a nice blend of biopic with television legacy underpinning the story. The film touches upon her rise to becoming the household name she is recognised as today. Woman in Motion documents her early life and her role on the original 1966 series of Star Trek, where Nichols pushed gender and racial boundaries on television before bringing her force of positive change to the world of real life space travel. 

Discussed in a series of interviews with Nichols and others such as Neil deGrasse Tyson, Gene Roddenberry’s son Rod, Walter Koenig, and George Takei, the legacy of Nichols has been vastly understated, even by herself. The presence of the first African American in space, Guion Bluford, amongst the interviewees emphasises the impact of Nichols on changing the culture of NASA. Littered throughout is archival footage that adds credence to the reality of Nichols’ legacy which holds up well amongst the interviews. 

Earnest in its portrayal of Nichols’ life and legacy, Woman in Motion is a documentary for lovers of Star Trek and science alike, but you don’t have to be interested in either very deeply to be taken aback by the magnitude of this tale.



DIRECTOR: Todd Thompson

SYNOPSIS: Nichelle Nichols of the original Star Trek series is responsible for a blitz of diverse recruitments for NASA, inspiring 8000 people to apply from a range of backgrounds.