Deering in 2491.
|Role||Officer, Earth Defense Directorate|
|Portrayed by||Erin Gray|
|Wilma Deering in the separate continuity|
|Wilma Deering in the primary continuity|
Deering in 2492.
- For an overview on the Wilma Deerings from various Buck Rogers incarnations, see: Wilma Deering (disambiguation).
Initially, Wilma was depicted as a cold, aloof military officer and starfighter pilot, with little interest in Captain Rogers. However, she quickly warmed to him and, throughout the weekly series, Wilma Deering's character became warmer, sexier, and more humorous. Often, it was Wilma who came to the rescue of Buck, as opposed to the other way round. Erin Gray has commented that her role as Colonel Deering was an inspiration for many women who watched the program, particularly with regard to careers in the military. She also commented that she was aware of the highly sexualised one piece uniform she wore and its effect on the show's male audience. She was once described by Clive James as Wonder Woman with brains.
Revisions to the program in its second season changed Wilma from the central role of a Colonel directing Earth's space defense, to more of a co-pilot role on the spaceship Searcher. This change was never entirely explained, but along with Buck and Twiki, hers was the only character viewed central enough to migrate to the revamped show.
After the release of the film in 1979, Erin Gray initially opted not to reprise the role for the weekly television series and actress Juanin Clay was cast in the part. However, Gray then decided she would continue with the role. Clay actually did appear in an episode of the series as Major Marla Landers, a Wilma Deering-type character, in the 1979 episode "Vegas In Space".
- Interview with Erin Gray on the podcast The Future and You (anecdotes about how she broke into Hollywood and how she feels about being remembered as Wilma Deering)