Powered by i.TV
September 1, 2015

'Star Trek: The Next Generation' Casting Memo: Reggie Jackson as Geordi La Forge and More Goofiness

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 26th 2010 7:00PM
The first season cast of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'This memo has been floating around the web for a few years, but it was brought to the surface again today by the websites The Daily What and Letters of Note, and I thought it would be a fun item to give you at the end of a slow pre-Emmys, pre-fall-premiere week.

After the jump is an internal Paramount casting memo for 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' that was sent to the studio's television head in the spring of 1987, a few months before the series was set to debut. The memo lists actors who were being considered for each of the show's major roles with some notes as to how the auditions were going so far.

Looking at the memo, the "what might have been" possibilities are tantalizing... and at the same time, shows how easy it can be to ruin a show with misguided casting.Here are some of the more fascinating tidbits from the memo:

-- Patrick Stewart wasn't the only one In the running to play Jean-Luc Picard. Among the other choices were Yaphet Kotto, who went on to play Lt. Giardello in 'Homicide: Life on the Street,' and Belgian actor Patrick Bauchau. According to the memo, Bauchau and Stewart were the finalists for the role.

-- Casting for Geordi La Forge was wide open; in addition to LeVar Burton, who landed the role, the list included Reggie Jackson (yes, that Reggie Jackson), Wesley Snipes (yes, that Wesley Snipes) and Tim Russ, who eventually landed the role of Tuvok on 'Star Trek: Voyager.'

-- According to the memo, "the only possibility" for the role of Troi was Denise Crosby. Of course, by the time the series hit the air, Crosby was playing security chief Tasha Yar (beating out Rosalind Chao, among others) and Marina Sirtis was playing Troi. It goes to show you that nothing in Hollywood is a sure thing.

-- Another role that seemed to have only one possibility was Wesley Crusher, who the casting folks thought would be played by J.D. Roth. Of course, we all know what happened there: Friend of Squad Wil Wheaton ended up with the role, earning the obsessive scorn -- and later, slavish love -- of geeks everywhere. Roth did OK; he's one of the most prolific reality producers out there, with his name attached to everything from 'The Biggest Loser' to 'Petfinder.'

-- Jonathan Frakes wasn't a favorite for the role of Ryker, and Brent Spiner didn't even make the list of those considered for the role of Data.

Peruse the rest of the memo below and let us know what you think. Could 'ST:TNG' have made it with, say, Mr. October as LaForge?

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

1 Comment

Filter by:

Oh my God, the quarterback is TOAST!

August 27 2010 at 9:44 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners