‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ star Nichelle Nichols, known for her iconic and historic role as Nyota Uhura, passes away at the age of 89. It was confirmed by her son Kyle Johnson on the actor’s official Instagram that Nichols died of natural causes in her home on Saturday, July 30. Johnson shared a photo of Nichols’ star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which she was awarded in 1992.
“I regret to inform you that a great light in the firmament no longer shines for us as it has for so many years,” Johnson wrote. “Last night, my mother, Nichelle Nichols, succumbed to natural causes and passed away. Her light however, like the ancient galaxies now being seen for the first time, will remain for us and future generations to enjoy, learn from, and draw inspiration.”
He continued, “Hers was a life well lived and as such a model for us all. I, and the rest of our family, would appreciate your patience and forbearance as we grieve her loss until we can recover sufficiently to speak further.” Nichols’ services will be held for family and close friends.
Nichols was born on Dec. 28, 1932, in Robbins, Illinois. Before her work on Star Trek, Nichols performed on the stage, making her acting debut in the 1961 musical Kicks & Co. by Oscar Brown. She’d go on to act, model and even sing for musicians like Duke Ellington and Lionel Hampton. Nichols became a cultural icon for her role as Lt. Nyota Uhura in Star Trek: The Original Series as one of the first black women to have a starring role in a major television series. The series first aired in 1966 and ran for three seasons, and Nichols would go on to portray the character in six subsequent movies with the rest of the original television cast.
Following Star Trek’s cancellation, Nichols founded Women In Motion, Inc. in 1977 as part of her campaign to bring diversity to NASA, inevitably helping to recruit thousands of women and minorities to the space agency. Among those recruits was Sally Ride, the first American female astronaut and Guion Bluford, the first African-American astronaut. In 2021, a documentary titled Woman in Motion: Nichelle Nichols, Star Trek and the Remaking of NASA was released, which explored Nichols’ efforts to diversify NASA. This was an effort the actor continued until 2015, which was the same year she suffered a mild stroke.
In recent years, Nichols was the center of a three-way legal battle over who would be her conservator. The three parties include her son, Johnson, who became her conservator in 2018, her former manager, Gilbert Bell, and her friend Angelique Fawcette.
‘Spider-Man Noir’ live-action series in the works at Amazon
A Spider-Man Noir live-action series is in the works at Amazon, GeekAfrique has learned via a Variety report. The untitled series will follow an older, grizzled superhero in 1930s New York City. An individual with knowledge of the project says that the show will be set in its own universe and the main character will not be Peter Parker.
This is the second known project based on the Sony-controlled Marvel characters at Amazon Prime Video and MGM+. It was previously announced that Amazon was moving forward with the series ‘Silk: Spider Society’ from showrunner Angela Kang, with several other shows in the works. It is unknown at this time which other Marvel characters will be featured in the other Amazon shows, though Sony currently controls over 900 such characters associated with the Spider-Man franchise.
The Spider-Man Noir comics originally debuted in 2009 as part of the Marvel Noir universe. That version of the iconic superhero lives in New York during the Great Depression. He is bitten by a spider hidden inside a stolen artifact, causing him to have visions of a spider-god who grants him superpowers. Nicolas Cage voiced the character in ‘Into the Spider-Verse’.
The Amazon show will be the first live-action iteration of Spider-Man Noir.
Sony has released multiple Spider-Man live-action films in the past and currently works with Marvel Studios on the rebooted film franchise starring Tom Holland via Columbia Pictures. Sony is also behind ‘Into the Spider-Verse’, which won the Academy Award for best animated film in 2019. Two sequels to that film are currently in the works, with the first — ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ — due out in June 2023.
‘Spartacus’ sequel series in the works
A sequel to hit historical drama series ‘Spartacus’ is in development, with Steven S. DeKnight, who created the original series, serving as showrunner and executive producer. ‘Spartacus’ was inspired by the story of the gladiator of the same name who incited a massive slave rebellion against Rome in the year 73 BC. Per the logline, the sequel series will be set after the defeat of Spartacus and his revolution, depicting “a new tale of treachery, deceit and blood unfolding beneath the foreboding shadow of Rome.”
The original show debuted in 2010, with Season 1 carrying the title ‘Spartacus: Blood and Sand’. Starz then debuted a prequel limited series, ‘Spartacus: Gods of the Arena’ in 2011, before producing two more seasons of the flagship titled ‘Vengeance’ (2012) and ‘War of the Damned’ (2013).
The sequel series will be produced by Lionsgate Television.
‘God of War’ live-action TV series ordered at Amazon
A live-action adaptation of PlayStation’s hit video game franchise ‘God of War’ has been ordered to series at Amazon’s Prime Video, with ‘Wheel of Time’ boss Rafe Judkins set as showrunner. Based on the massively popular 2018 video game, the show follows Kratos, the God of War, who, after exiling himself from his blood-soaked past in ancient Greece, hangs up his weapons forever in the Norse realm of Midgard, per Amazon’s description. When his beloved wife dies, Kratos sets off on a dangerous journey with his estranged son Atreus to spread her ashes from the highest peak — his wife’s final wish. Kratos soon realizes the journey is an epic quest in disguise, one which will test the bonds between father and son, and force Kratos to battle new gods and monsters for the fate of the world.
“‘God of War’ is a compelling, character-driven franchise that we believe will captivate our global customers as much with its expansive and immersive worlds as its rich storytelling,” Vernon Sanders, head of global television at Amazon Studios, said. “We are honored to share in the adventure of exploring the God of War mythology in such a momentous way with Sony Pictures Television, PlayStation Productions, and Santa Monica Studio.”
The ‘God of War’ TV series marks the latest show based on a video game that is either in the works or in production, including Amazon’s ‘Fallout’ adaptation from ‘Westworld’ creators Lisa Joy and Jonathan Nolan, HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’ (based on another PlayStation property), Paramount+’s ‘Halo’, the Anthony Mackie-led ‘Twisted Metal’ at Peacock, among others.
“We are so proud and excited to be working with our friends at Amazon Studios and our partners at PlayStation Productions to adapt this beautiful and heart-breaking game into a premium live-action series,” Katherine Pope, president of Sony Pictures Television Studios, said.”
A sequel to the 2018 ‘God of War’ game, titled ‘God of War: Ragnarok’, was just released last month. At last week’s Game Awards, it won for best narrative, action/adventure game, score/music, audio design, performance for Kratos actor Christopher Judge and innovation in accessibility.