Because she didn’t join the crew of the Enterprise right at the start of the original series, Nyota Uhura is definitely among a list of characters who could make a surprise appearance on Star Trek: Discovery. Unless of course, an older version — played by Nichelle Nichols herself — uses time travel to stop by and say hello.
“It depends on what Star Trek: Discovery is about,” Nichols told the Radio Times regarding a possible appearance on the new show. “Somebody from the show was talking to me about it. Maybe I am, I don’t know.”
If Nichelle Nichols played Uhura on Discovery, we’d definitely be dealing with time travel from the future, which could in some way —large or small — create changes in the established Trek timeline. Depending on what the specific mission of the USS Discovery is all about, an extremely knowledgeable Uhura from the future would be handy as hell. You know she’s an expert on alien languages, right?
But, if we believe Discovery showrunner Bryan Fuller about his claims that there is no time travel in the first season of the new show, then an elder Uhura seems less likely. But what about a younger Uhura? Chronologically, the first Star Trek episode featuring Captain Kirk running the Enterprise is “Where No Man Has Gone Before” and at that point, Uhura isn’t on the ship yet. What was she up to before? Could she have dropped in on some existing Starfleet projects — like the starship Discovery — prior to being assigned to the Enterprise? In this scenario, a younger Uhura might have an older relative — mother or an aunt — who could easily be played by Nichelle Nichols.
Of course, these speculations will probably end up being something entirely different. But, if Nichelle Nichols really did talk to the powers-that-be on Discovery there are always — as certain Vulcan said — possibilities.