Majel Barrett – Voice of Starfleet
Star Trek fans rejoice. It looks like Star Trek: Discovery may be getting the same voice featured in every series, and a few of the movies; Majel Barrett. A tweet posted by an insider just a few days ago hints at what could be in store for us.
Majel Barrett played Nurse Chapel in Star Trek: The Original Series, and Lwaxana Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In addition to her characters, most fans instantly recognize her voice as Starfleet’s computer voice. Her vocals are featured on each of the USS (and NX) Enterprises, the USS Defiant, USS Voyager, and countless other vessels. Barrett has literally voiced hundreds of Star Trek episodes over the years.
The voice of the computer has become synonymous with Majel Barrett. So when she passed in 2008 it was difficult to picture who would, or even could, take her place as Starfleet’s computer voice. Rod Roddenberry recently hinted that his mother may indeed return as ship’s voice of the USS Discovery. Rod is son of Majel Barrett and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.
Majel's voice is recorded phonetically, &we're working to get her voice for things such as Siri, maybe voice of the computer on #STDiscovery
— RODDENBERRY (@roddenberry) September 4, 2016
So there you have it. Barrett’s voice was captured phonetically – making it possible to synthetically reproduce words in her voice. It’s actually already been used in parts of the 2009 Star Trek reboot movie by J.J. Abrams.
It’s nice to know that there was forethought put into this and that Majel Barrett was willing to allow her voice to continue on with the mission of exploration. And what a great way to be able to immediately tie-in Star Trek Discovery with the other series in the franchise.
Also mentioned is Siri, the iPhone and iPad’s built-in assistant. If that were to happen, it’s an interesting twist of events. Star Trek has always been known for pushing the boundaries on technology, envisioning what the future may hold. Steve Jobs, for example, was quoted as saying the Apple iPad was inspired by the pad computer devices in Star Trek.
It’s interesting that those same devices may end up with the same computer voice on them that, in part, drew the original inspiration for their creation.