Lt. Nyota Uhura was the communications officer on the original Enterprise in the first series of Star Trek, and went on to reprise her role in several subsequent films. However, an answer in this question states that she once also held the rank of Captain.

When did this happen, and under what circumstances? Futhermore, did it have any lasting impact?

I am aware that Uhura's presence as an officer on the Enterprise was already groundbreaking, given the social situation in the United States at the time.

  • She wasn't. Her highest rank was Commander; startrek.com/database_article/uhura
    – Valorum
    Commented May 24, 2016 at 7:39
  • 2
    "Holding the rank of Captain" is (even while serving aboard the Enterprise) not the same as "being (the) Captain of the Enterprise". Commented Jan 14, 2018 at 15:23

5 Answers 5


Ep.4 of The Animated Series has Uhura taking command after all the male crew get seduced by the latest planet's ladies.

My understanding is that naval traditional would hold that during that time she was "Captain of the ship". But she didn't change her insignia or claim the rank of Captain.

  • 1
    There was a fan made series, in which she was captain of the USS Hyperion, and married to Dr M'Benga.
    – user60283
    Commented Aug 11, 2016 at 18:31

As Valorum said, I do not believe this ever happened in canon. However, there is an unofficial miniseries in which Uhura was at least a captain, though perhaps not of the Enterprise:

Star Trek: Of Gods and Men

This is a non-canon miniseries, but contains many of the actors from TOS, including, crucially, Nichelle Nichols. From a transcript:

"Captain Uhura. Welcome aboard. Do you like the ship?"

According to the film's website:

Captain Nyota Uhura has been serving as Director of Starfleet Linguistics, a post she finds extremely interesting, though she feels there may be something missing in her life.

Here's Uhura in her Captain's uniform:

Captain Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Captain Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), and Captain John Harriman (Alan Ruck) in red Captain's uniforms from the unofficial "Star Trek: Of Gods and Men"

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    In that shot, she's not wearing rank insignia. Is that an outfit reserved for Captains? Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 14:19

All hands brace for retcons. I repeat, all hands brace for retcons. This is not a drill!

A plaque seen on the Stargazer in an episode of ST: Picard confirms that she was made captain before her retirement and even mentored a young Jean Luc Picard at Starfleet Academy.

Sometime after the Enterprise-A was decommissioned, Uhura was promoted to Captain and given command of the USS Leondegrance. From 2301 to 2305, Uhura and the Leondegrance carried out a five-year mission to the Lesser Magellanic Cloud, and participated in over one hundred first contact missions with the civilizations encountered there. Following the five-year mission, the Leondegrance became an Academy training ship in 2317, with Uhura retaining command until her retirement in 2333. During that time, many Academy cadets experienced faster-than-light travel for the first time under Uhura's command; one of these was a young Jean-Luc Picard

Memory Alpha - Nyota Uhura

  • And yes, this is dumb, but then the whole of ST Picard was dumb. This doesn't even make the top ten dumb things.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 10, 2023 at 14:21

Uhura was once captain in the REGULAR series for a few seconds, because she was the highest ranked officer on the ship during that episode, so Kirk told her that she was captain, and she took his seat for a few seconds.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F! This is likely to be the correct answer if it can be verified; do you happen to know what episode it was? As it is the answer isn't really complete.
    – DavidW
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 20:13
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    incorrect - don't conflate being left in command vs holding the rank of captain
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 21:11

She takes command of the Enterprise in the Animated Series s1e4, where all men of the Enterprise are victimised by beautiful women who stay immortal by draining the lifeforce of men.

It's called The Lorelei Signal.

  • 1
    This appears to simply replicate the information that's already in the accepted answer.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 11, 2018 at 13:40

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