Dave Blass tells Den of Geek that the idea of creating a backstory for Uhura’s ship came from the “braintrust,” of John Eaves, Doug Drexler, Geoffrey Mandel, and Michael Okuda. He also makes note that John Eaves had created a separate plaque for “Picard’s first Faster Than Light Certificate,” and that certificate has him as a cadet on the Leondegrance in 2327. This certificate was briefly glimpsed in the Picard season 1 episode “Remembrance,” which means that, as Blass said, it’s normal to ask the question: “Wait, did Picard serve Uber Captain Uhura?”
Was Uhura Picard’s First Captain?
Because all of these details exist as Easter eggs on background plaques, Blass stops short of saying that all of this is real-deal canon. “We never locked it in as we then end up creating these big story moments that ‘technically’ didn’t happen,” he explains.
Still Star Trek canon wiki Memory Alpha (not the non-canon Beta!) lists all the information about Uhura captaining the Leondegrance as canon, including the detail about Jean-Luc Picard serving on the ship during his first faster-than-light trip. Because this period of Star Trek history is largely unexplored it would be amazing to get some kind of story that took place here, either in a novel, comic book, or even an episode of Short Treks. There’s nothing right now to indicate that we’ll be getting the adventures of Captain Uhura anytime soon, but the idea that it’s possible, and that a very young Jean-Luc Picard could appear, is amazing.
We never got to see Nichelle Nichols’ Uhura become captain of her own starship onscreen in Star Trek canon, but it looks like it may have happened anyway. As we remember Nichols, it’s also exciting to think that somewhere, out there in the future, Captain Uhura is teaching the next generation how it’s done.