Nichols portrayed Nyota Uhuru in the original Star Trek series and its film sequels, a character Saldana would also bring to life in the 2009 film Star Trek and its two sequels.
“We have lost a true star- a unique artist who was ahead of her time always,” Saldana captioned a photo of Nichols via Instagram on Monday. “She’s an icon, an activist and most importantly an amazing woman- who blazed a trail that has shown so many how to see women of color in a different light. Her strive for equality was unwavering. Meeting Nichelle was truly a very special moment in my life. Her energy was infectious every time I was in her presence. She convinced me in believing that anything was achievable, if you put your heart into it.”
On taking on the iconic role, Saldana said she knew she had “big shoes to fill” but it was her predecessor who “made me feel safe, told me to play her with all the confidence in the world.”
“My hope is that we continue to keep her memory alive by celebrating her amazing body of work, and by spreading the message of peace and equality amongst all people. She lived a long, impactful life and not only prospered, but helped so many others prosper too,” she added.
Read her tribute in full below.