…Guinan for me. She wasn’t a favorite character. She didn’t even stand out as anything other than Whoopi Goldberg. Uhura was the first black woman in outer space, so Guinan didn’t have that to set her apart. One thing I have always liked about the character is that she was the last character Gene Roddenberry created and developed before he passed away.
I grew up on Whoopi being the psychic in Ghost and the lead in Sister Act, so to me she was always a superstar. By the time I saw her in Star Trek, I found it distracting, like that one time Madonna showed up in a James Bond film. I didn’t watch TNG in its original run. (I know, I know!) But, I have been exploring the female characters of all of the Star Trek shows and movies lately. My friend and fellow convention panelist, Jamala Henderson has a deep affection for the character. She sent me this video and I was deeply moved by it.
Some people saw her as a calculated move to put a famous person in that role. Plus, why do we need another counselor type when we have Deanna? Much less one that is the cliche bartender? Well, I say just as Seven of Nine evolved from a ratings-booster into a complex character, Guinan proved she was there to listen not because she had to, but because she wanted to. Her unsurpassed closeness to Picard and untold backstory (which I now appreciate as a writer), always added emotional depth and charm to the show. Whoopi could hold her own with Patrick Stewart in any scene, which is no easy task. She wasn’t in as many episodes as you would think and there’s an air of mystery about her that I really like. Thanks Jamala, for helping me see her as more than just a barkeep with a famous face!