NEW YORK — Sometimes on TV, art imitates life, and a character becomes much more popular after her untimely demise. Such was the case with Lt. Natasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Although Tasha lived for only one season, her character took on a meaningful afterlife. Actress Denise Crosby guest-starred in alternate-timeline episodes and wound up playing her own half-Romulan daughter, Sela. Now, Sela has made her way into Star Trek Online, just in time for the game's console launch.
I spoke to Crosby at Star Trek: Mission New York, and although she was loath to spoil Sela's new storyline, she had plenty to say about returning to her Star Trek roles, and her own prowess as a gamer. Even her involvement in the game was something of a funny story.
Various fans started telling her how much they enjoyed Star Trek Online, and she mentioned at a panel that she'd love to do voice work for it. Little did she know that the game's lead designer, Al Rivera, was in the audience.
For those who haven't seen Star Trek: The Next Generation in a while, Sela is a Romulan warlord and sometimes enemy of Captain Picard. Star Trek Online takes place many years after the familiar Star Trek shows and movies, and fans may remember that the planet Romulus was in pretty bad shape after the events of Star Trek: Nemesis and the 2009 reboot.
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"Sela is trying to reform Romulus, which was blown apart," Crosby said. "She wants to collect her people and lead them back to glory. It's an interesting process."
Crosby was hesitant to share much more about Sela's role in the latest Star Trek Online story, since she wants players to experience it for themselves. However, she did hint that she reprised her role as Tasha Yar for certain missions, too. She enjoyed voicing both characters equally.
"Tasha had a different spirit," she said. "Tasha is about exuberance and compliance. Sela is about power and control. She's cunning and manipulative. It's very Romulan."
In addition to Sela's story arc, the other big Star Trek Online news is that as of tonight (Sept. 6), the game will be available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One as a free-to-play title, just as it is on computers.
Crosby herself is unsure if she'll play, seeing as she's had some bad experiences with consoles in the past. When her son was 15, she tried joining him on a multiplayer game, and found herself "banned from the Xbox" shortly thereafter when her skills didn't meet his exacting standards.
Otherwise, Crosby has kept busy with a recurring role on the Showtime drama Ray Donovan, as well as spots on Scandal, Castle and an indie film called Raven's Watch. But what she'd really love is for Sela or Tasha to somehow show up on the upcoming TV show Star Trek: Discovery.
"Bryan Fuller is amazing," she explained, referring to the show's executive producer, "and the fans would be thrilled."
In the meantime, fans can find Crosby in her new role in the Agents of Yesterday mission set from Star Trek Online. If you're just jumping in tonight, though, keep in mind that the quests are much later on in the game. After all, you need to establish your main cast before you get to the cool guest stars.
This piece was supplemented by notes taken by Sarah Lewin, staff writer for our sister site, Space.com, at a Star Trek Online panel.
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Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.