The Next Generation: Actors Who Were ALMost Cost In the Star Trek

For almost any show, it must be difficult to cast actors. Much of the reception for a character is dependent on an actor and leads to a lot of fuss at the beginning of a show, while you try to balance the requirements of the series, the demands of showrunners, and more.

Certainly, this was twice difficult for the people who played the leading role in Star Trek: The Next Generation. TNG was already compared with his predecessor, the original Star Trek series, in its first episode "Encounter at Farpoint," which was the first broadcast by IMDb on Sept. 26, 1987.

In the end, Vulture was able to say that TNG was 'Star Trek's platonic ideal.' In fan polls like that conducted by SyFy, which had more than 50,000 respondents, Captain Jean-Luc Picard, played by Shakespearean actor Patrick Stewart, now ranks consistently the top Star Trek captain.

Yet everything could have changed even the smallest casting decision. Stewart almost missed the opportunity for the first time to join the Star Trek team. And other key characters were once to be played by entirely different people from the Android Data to ship advisor Deanna Troi. As it turns out, several players in Star Trek were almost cast. Next Generation is a favourite science-fi show for an interesting alternative universe.


Edward James Olmos is a player you can't escape from. In IMDb's style, it has all appeared in Blade Runner in 1982, Selina in 1997, and Battlestar Galactica's modern prestigious regeneration in TV. Odds are pretty good that you have once or twice come across his face at some point in your film and television career.

However, Olmos was once more active in the world of science fiction television as the eighties ended. Olmos recalled that showrunners called and offered the lead role of the Enterprise Capitaine for him, according to The Los Angeles Times. He was not interested, however. Not too much was the 1982 science fiction classic of Ridley Scott, Blade Runner, after Olmos' turn. "Scientific fiction wasn't where I was going," said Olmos, although at the Battlestar Galactica in 2003 he would finally go back with his role as Adm. William Adama.

How would Jean-Luc Picard's role in the chair of the captain be different from Olmos? Through his work on Battlestar, he would have likely brought a great deal of gravity to the role, though you imagine that when Patrick Stewart interpreted it, he might not have been so many of a philosopher-king type.


Yaphet Kotto also rejected Jean-Luc Picard, but as shown by a 1987 Paramount memo was on the shortlist for the studio (via Trek Movie). For Alien, who was a Science Fiction Horror Film by Ridley Scott back in 1979 and a villain in the movie James Bond in 1973, Live and Let Die, this was no easy decision. He came to regret this move later. The Big Issue, he said, "In my life, man, I think I've made a few wrong choices. But I walked away. I should have done that."

If it had been for the role, Star Trek and much prime time TV would be a true breakthrough step even in the 1980s and 1990s. The first black lead to Star Trek was Picard, as played by Kotto. This would have been the case years before Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Avery Brooks, first performed in January 1993 as reported by Star Trek. Kotto, who pointed out in his interview with The Big Issue that James Bond was not supposed to play by the black players, said however that the black actors should perform a wide range of characters, and that he would have liked the company's command of Paramount Studios very much.


Star Trek fans may be better acquainted with Rosalind Chao as Keiko O'Brien, the engineering chief's botanist and wife and Starfleet's constantly undermined officer Miles O'Brien is an enlisted official. She was first shown in Star Trek. According to IMDb, the next generation, but both her role in the cast of Star Trek and that of Miles, played by Miles (Colm Meaney), was enlarged.

However, in 1987 Chao would have played a very different character if things went just slightly differently. AccOn behalf of the Security Director Tasha Yar, Chao is a "favoured one," according to the 1987 Paramount casting memo published by Trek Movie.

It certainly meant more work to Chao, because Keiko O'Brien was not released until the fourth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, as ScreenRant reports. Although it's difficult to speculate how, exactly, Chao's role would have changed, she could have been more stuck than Denise Crosby, who was chosen to take part of Yar. After Crosby decided to leave the show, in the first season her character was killed abruptly. The only Asian American member of the principal cast would also have been Chao.


While it wasn't included in the 1987 Trek Movie casting memo, British-American actress Marina Sirtis has been among the people who have tried the role of security leader Tasha Yar. The character wasn't named Tasha unless Sirtis made it into the final group.

The character who would eventually become Yar, instead, was called "Macha Hernandez" according to The Next Generation Companion. Sirtis, who had been only five months in the U.S., read the role of D.Crosby as counsellor Deanna Troi in auditions. They both liked showrunners, but the creator Gene Roddenberry chose to switch roles from the two actors. Sirtis, whose "exotic" looks they thought, was considered a better match for the slightly alien Troi.

However, things did not move fast, or at least not from the point of view of the actors. Sirtis was expecting the exhibitors to dither on the exact cast before they told her she finally had the role of Troi. Sirtis almost left the country.


Who once played Tasha Yar as the security lead, if both Marina Sirtis and Rosalind Chao, what about Denise Crosby? At least in terms of casting, she was still in a mix but was originally going to play another role in the company.

As Crosby clearly stated in the 1987 casting memo via Trek Movie, the role of Deanna Troi, a ship's counsellor, had become "the only option." Although it may seem odd for fans from Star Trek who are now so familiar with Sirtis playing the typically soft, measured Troi, which is so often equipped with ultra-stretching jumpsuits, it is originally very different in character.

Forgotten Trek reports that, in Crosby's words, Troi would originally be very "Spock-like." The consultant would have been a more detached figure with a quite logical way of tackling the various problems of the ship's staff. Maybe there is a cool, nearly shrill Troi on the bridge of the company in some other universe, while Sirtis was decking up the hostile enemies as head of the security.

Crosby became a safety leader after the decision of Roddenberry and, as reported by The Next Generation Companion, changed its person to "Tasha Yar." The character of the Latin "Macha Hernandez."


Baseball star Reggie Jackson had been auditioned to play the role of Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge before he regularly appeared on TV and film screens. Yes, according to the casting memo of 1987 in Paramount, the next generation is in fact circulation before Star Trek (via Trek Movie). True, La Forge's role at this point was clearly undecided, since it had a few more opponents than any other character in the memo. Nevertheless, it would have been interesting not to see one-off films and performances such as The Naked Gun, Richie Rich, Diff'rent Strike, and The Love Boat in Jackson's long-standing series as IMDb report.

Jackson obviously had some kind of role to play in front of the camera. So, why did he not seem to be pushing for La Forge's role harder? While he did not talk about his personal inclinations for the show, there is a clue about the timing of his career. As Yahoo News pointed out, it had been in the middle of the baseball season when Jackson was running for a role on Star Trek: TNG. Despite the fact that this will be his last baseball season, the famous "Mr October" might have found it difficult to abruptly leave his diamond life.


Yes, the US Dad is a pretty dedicated Trekkie, by all accounts. Tom Hanks himself was the British player who was then well known to be Capt. Jean-Luc Picard from The Entertainment Ship, as Patrick Stewart told his Entertainment Weekly in 1994. Hanks told Stewart to look at the credits of each episode, and "know the name, past, present, and I think future of each character in Stewart's words. In the middle of what sounds like a fan who gushes about his favourite show, Hanks wanted a real Star Trek episode.

Even fans of the science-fi franchise with their half heart might guess that Hanks hasn't done it yet in Star Trek. He's closed, however. In the Star Trek: First Contact film featured in the TNG crew, Futurism reports that Hanks almost secured the role of starship pioneer Zephram Cochrane. Sadly, his first film, This Thing You Do was too busy. James Cromwell of Babe's fame came as the faulted inventor of the warp drive, Cochrane, with Hanks out of the picture.


Data is a favourite in the Star Trek world: The Next Generation. The hyper-intelligent and ultra-sensitive Android is not really soothing by struggling to find his human version (come, white skin with yellow eyes and back hair is not exactly soothing). A compelling and profoundly influencing character arc, which made the interpretation of android by actor Brent Spiner all the stronger.

But what about the auditions if Spiner never did. What if, instead, nobody but Freddy Kreuger played Data?

While it might seem exceedingly odd, it is true. Robert Englund, an actor known today for his time as Freddy Keruger, was in the process of becoming Data in the Nightmare on the Elm Street series. Englund participated in the hearings for that character, at least as ScreenRant reports. Why did Englund not cut it, it's not clear. Perhaps producers were concerned about the visual presentation that someone so deeply connected to a fearsome horror franchise was presenting, though you wonder whether Englund wanted to break from the harmful horror film.


Eric Menyuk may not be a household name in itself, yet the supporters of the Star Trek probably do know that he eventually appeared in TNG as the mysterious and transcendental alien, the "Traveler." Again, for the upcoming show, a small change might have made all the difference. Menyuk appeared to be the leader to play Data, according to Trek Movie.

Data was originally going to be soon, as reported by ScreenRant. This was fine for Menyuk, who lost his hair clearly in the late 1980s as TNG was cast. Then, Capt. Jean-Luc Picard was cast by Patrick Stewart. While Stewart's acting pedigree was no doubt a source of enthusiasm, it was clear that Stewart's hair was precious too. That seemed to be a visual issue when manufacturers realized that two almost bald characters might have seemed strange. Thus in Menyuk's place were Brent Spiner and his whole head of hair cast.

Although not fully confirmed, Menyuk might have had his hair on the boot. His agent told him during an interview with Star Trek that the producers of the show had baulked at the very question of his hair. "I like to think I could have been data if Patrick Stewart alone had hair," he said.


Prior to Blade, according to the 1987 casting memo, another candidate for the role of chief engineer Geordi La Forge could have made his mark in the Enterprise's department (via Trek Movie).

LeVar Burton, who had the role to play, later confirmed via Twitter that Snipes had really been taken into account. In the same tweet, he said that the opportunity for Reggie Jackson, a baseball player, to play La Forge was real too. And is it possible that the La Forge of Snipes would have been pretty cool with respect to Burton's interpretation of the character? Naturally, this can be affected as a supercool, leather-clad vampire jumper with virtually iconic sunglasses by his later work in the film series Blade.

Again, perhaps, audiences needed a Geordi La Forge as LeVar Burton played it — a lovely, skilled nerd whose heads made for interesting, if occasionally furious TV (as if creating a holodeck-like image of a friend engineer at "Booby Trap" and "Galaxy' s Child").


Naturally, many Star Trek fans dream of being included in one episode or one of the accompanying movies. Of course, you may be able to achieve this dream, if you are famous or at least well connected. Look at the former NASA astronaut Mae Jemison and the very first Black woman in the world, who is a great Trekkie, too. She got a blink-and-you-miss on Star Trek for Smithsonian magazine: Six episodes of the Next Generation Season, "Second Opportunity." Once she learned of her love of the franchise, LeVar Burton, the director of the episode.

Then again it's no guarantee you'll land a place, being a vocal super-fan. Another Star Trek fan, Robin Williams, almost landed a guest spot on TNG but had to leave the last minute. He was supposed to play the Berlinghoff Rasmussen, an experienced guy who was on tour in "A Matter Of Time" in the fifth season, according to Screen Rant. Williams had already pledged to star in Hook as Peter Pan although the role had allegedly been written for him.


Jeffrey Combs was a group auditing Cmdr William Riker, the Enterprise's second-in-command. While he didn't pass this procedure into Star Trek: The Next Generation's regular casting, Combs felt that he was bound to come back as a guest, not only in the following series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but in a total of nine characters in two more series and a Star Trek video game.

He became a fan of the original Star Trek series as Combs told Elm himself by 1428, although his father often told young Combs to turn it off. When his agents told Combs as an adult that the series was rebooted and they got him an audition, he baulked. He admitted, "I said I didn't do it right.".

"I might not have gone as well because it didn't matter," he said, "but it doesn't really matter." He proceeded to the Deep Space Nine audition. He caught the eye of Jonathan Frakes, one episode manager at his third audition. Frakes was, as supporters probably already know, finally cast as Riker. Combs could establish himself in this series with that in mind. He had 9 characters, including a recurrent role as a series of villainous clones on the Deep Space Nine, according to Screen Rant.

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