Can you imagine what Star Trek: The Next Generation would have been like without Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard? Or LeVar Burton as Geordi LaForge, Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi or Brent Spiner as Data? The memo below shows us what Paramount executives were thinking prior to the first season of the series being shot and aired.
Imagine, if you will, Homicide star Yaphet Kotto as Picard; Mark Lindsay Chapman, who played Chief Officer Wilde in Titanic, as Data; baseball great Reggie Jackson or action icon Wesley Snipes as LaForge; Denise Crosby as Troi rather than Tasha Yar. And the scrumptious Jenny Agutter as Beverly Crusher! The mind boggles at alternate casting possibilities, but in the end fans know that things worked out the way they should have. The series lasted for seven years and generated four feature films, and three more Star Trek spin-offs — Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise — followed in its wake. Still, it’s fun to imagine what it might have been like with an alternate cast. (For all we know, there may be software at some future time that allows us to recast our favorite shows with alternate choices. Wait, that sounds cool at first, but it’s horrible idea…)
By the way, the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation arrives on Blu-ray on July 24th. The entire season was ambitiously remastered in high definition from the original 35mm negatives, complete with recomposited special effects and 7.1 DTS-HD surround soundtracks.