There may not be a more iconic TV franchise than Star Trek and many actors have made careers out of their performances on various iterations on the franchise.
For some, performing along side the cast of Star Trek was a life-changing positive experience that made them a part of one of the most passionate fan communities in the world and led to great opportunities further down the line in their career.
However, for others, Star Trek was a bad experience that led to them being boxed in or typecast.
Furthermore, there are many parts on Star Trek that were just straight-up uncomfortable to play. In a show filled with aliens and all manner of strange events that was shot mostly before the time of special effects, Star Trek actors had to do some crazy things to fill their roles.
While Star Trek developed some incredibly interesting and complex characters, there were also some actors who felt like their roles got the short end of the stick.
Without further ado, here are 10 Actors That Regretted Being In Star Trek (And 10 Who Adored It).
20 Regretted: Jeri Ryan
Jeri Ryan’s tenure on Voyager was full of controversy. Her character, Seven of Nine, was met with mixed responses because she was highly (some would say unnecessarily) objectified. Ryan’s experience on set didn’t help either.
For one, the costume that Seven wore was highly constricting and difficult to perform in.
Because of this, Ryan passed out several times during filming.
Ryan also never really felt like she had the support of her coworkers. The cast of Voyager had been together for three years already and they didn’t take too kindly to a new character being introduced that stole a lot of the attention both in public and in the writers room.
Ryan’s relationship with Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Janeway on the show, was particularly bad.
Mulgrew famously disliked the character of Seven of Nine, which made Ryan’s working conditions especially difficult.
19 Adored: Leonard Nimoy
Leonard Nimoy’s portrayal of Spock was more than a marquee role for the actor, it was a legitimate cultural phenomenon.
While Nimoy struggled at times with being known only for his role as Spock and not for any of his other work, in the end he was very glad to have had the opportunity to be a part of the show.
“When I was 17,” Nimoy said in an interview, “I made the decision that I wanted to be an actor, not only to entertain people but to offer some kind of enlightenment to help people understand their lives and the world we live in."
"Being involved with Star Trek has accomplished that with an exchange of ideas and enlightenment that I’m very proud of,” he said.
Nimoy is synonymous with the original Star Trek series and he wouldn’t ask for it any other way.
18 Regretted: Brett Spiner
The thing about being on a show with such a wide following as Star Trek is that sometimes it makes it hard for actors to be cast into other roles. They become so interchangeable with their roles on Trek that it would seem strange to see them in any other context.
That’s what happened with Brett Spiner, and it’s why he has some regrets being on Star Trek: TNG, as the character of the android Data.
While Spiner did go on to have an acting career outside of Star Trek, he wishes that he wasn’t reduced to just one character in the minds of fans.
“The only thing that bothers me — and it happens all the time — is when people see me and shout, 'DATA! DATA!' I’m fine with people recognizing me. I just wish they shouted, 'Guy who played Data!'” he said in an interview
17 Adored: Marina Sirtis
Marina Sirtis played the character of Deanna Troi on Star Trek: TNG. She had a great experience on the show, especially once Troi started to morph into a more interesting role that was less about her appeal and more about her complex and interesting character.
Sirtis loves the culture surrounding Star Trek and has many great relationships with the cast.
She still attends Star Trek conventions on occasion, and enjoys the opportunity to reconnect with all of the people she worked with over the course of the show’s run.
Early on in Star Trek: TNG, Troi was somewhat of a mystery, but as the show progressed, the audience got the opportunity to learn more and more about her.
Sirtis loved being the one to share that with them.
16 Regretted: John Billingsley
John Billingsley played Dr. Phlox, the Denobulan Chief Medical Officer, on Star Trek: Enterprise for four seasons.
He was happy to have formed the relationships that he did with the other cast members, but he hated the prosthetics that he had to wear during his performance.
Billingsley also was put off by the audience reaction to Enterprise, which wasn’t as positive as it was to many of the other Star Trek iterations.
He didn’t believe that the production company had put as much effort as it could have into making the show and he worried that the show was seen as the outing that ended the run of Star Trek on TV.
Billingsley loves the Star Trek community, but he’s never sure what they think of him and the show he was a part of, so that makes things harder.
15 Adored: Patrick Stewart
Patrick Stewart’s stately Captain Picard is one of the most iconic characters in the Star Trek universe.
Picard has captured the imaginations of generations of fans with his British accent, love of Earl Grey, and calm decision making, and Stewart is very happy to have been the one to have brought the character to life.
In fact, in many ways he considers his performance on Star Trek his life’s work.
“To have been a part of that for a while feels very good,” he said in an interview. “I’ve often been quoted as saying, and I’ll say it again, if the world were to end tonight and all I was remembered for was this show, I would be content with that.”
14 Regretted: Malcolm McDowell
Malcolm McDowell’s character, the villainous Dr. Soran, was responsible for the demise of one of the most beloved characters in the universe — James T. Kirk.
However, in McDowell’s eyes, Kirk deserved a better ending.
“It’s so nuts. It’s really a shame, to be serious for a moment, considering all of the history. This is an icon, loved for decades,” he said of Kirk’s last scenes.
While McDowell himself wasn’t happy with how things went with his character, he gets a fair amount of hate from Star Trek fans for being the one that ended Kirk’s legendary run.
He has been sent many threats from hardcore Trekkies, some of them even written in Klingon.
Remember Trek fans, the actors are people separate from their characters.
13 Adored: Michael Dorm
Michael Dorm loved playing the character of Worf so much that he even lobbied for the character to get its own dedicated spinoff.
While the spin-off hasn’t happened yet, and may never, Worf has had a ton of screen time.
Dorm’s gruff security officer has appeared on seven seasons of Star Trek: TNG, four seasons of Deep Space Nine, and four different Star Trek movies.
Dorm loves the character of Worf especially because he thinks that the Klingons make for very interesting subject matter.
“I’ve always thought that they were the most interesting aliens outside of the Vulcans and all that,” he said. “There’s a certain Shakespearian bent with the Klingons. They’re very nationalistic — there’s coups, there’s assassinations, there’s takeovers, there’s all these kind of things.”
12 Regretted: Garrett Wang
Getting the role of Ensign Harry Kim on Star Trek: Voyager was a big break for Garrett Wang, but similar to other actors on this list, he didn’t feel like the writers of the show did enough with his character.
“[An] odd turn, in my opinion, was the non-promotion of Ensign Kim,” he said. “I mean, come on people! Kim was probed, beaten, tortured, and held the distinction of being the first Voyager crew member to [pass away] and come back to life. What more does a guy have to do to get promoted to Lieutenant for frak’s sake?”
Wang also badly wanted to direct an episode of Voyager, as many other actors on the show had, and felt that his genuine love of the material made him a good candidate.
However, he was denied the opportunity.
11 Adored: George Takei
George Takei is an internationally-recognized superstar, largely due to his performance as Sulu on the original Star Trek series.
Though Takei definitely has had his issues with Trek, and didn’t always get along with co-star William Shattner, he is very glad for the chance that Star Trek gave him to speak out about issues that are important to him.
“It has enhanced my life and amplified my voice in so many ways,” he said in an interview.
“The idea was to use science fiction as a metaphor for the issues of the time,” Takei stated.
While Takei wanted to use the show to push progress on social issues even more than it did, his fame allowed him to do a lot with his platform as an individual.
10 Regretted: Denise Crosby
Denise Crosby was an original cast member of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Though the show would eventually become a huge success, Crosby didn’t see much of a future in her character, Tasha Yar.
It’s true that Yar wasn’t the most interesting role. As the chief of security, she mostly stood guard on the bridge and didn’t have much of an opportunity to develop.
However, Crosby thought that even within the limitations of the character, the showrunners could have done a better job.
Crosby originally had high hopes, as the scenes she auditioned with showed a lot of potential, but those hopes never came to light and she asked to be released from the show.
Crosby is glad she made that request to this day.
9 Adored: Avery Brooks
Avery Brooks loved the character of Benjamin Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine because it offered him the opportunity to play a complex role of a family man dealing with a great loss and a black man in a position of command.
While Sisko has made it clear that he strives to be more than just a Star Trek actor, the role has opened up a lot for him.
“I was very grateful for the part, and remain very grateful today for what Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has meant to me in terms of my career,” he said.
“The program is one that I am extremely proud to have been a part. I will always have fond memories," Brooks stated.
8 Regretted: Susanna Thompson
Susanna Thompson got to play the Borg Queen in the Star Trek universe, one of the most compelling villains on the show.
However, despite the interesting part she was cast into, the physical difficulties of the costume almost made her want to quit the show.
Thompson’s costume was almost a full-body prosthetic and she even had to wear contacts with some metal in them. Though Jeri Ryan, who also played a Borg woman, gave her a lot of moral support, Thompson still didn’t have a great experience.
“After my first day of filming, which was, I think, twenty hours, I cried myself to sleep. And said I didn't care how much money they paid me, I wouldn't do it again! But I came back and I finished out that episode and then indeed I did come back again,” she said.
7 Adored: LeVar Burton
LeVar Burton got the opportunity to play Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: TNG after already having made a splash playing the lead role on Roots — which he landed in his first-ever audition.
Burton had a great experience in the Star Trek universe, and though he wished that the show had developed his character more, he is happy for the experience.
One of the best parts of the role for Burton was getting fan mail from people who were dealing with physical challenges or who were inspired by Geordi to become engineers.
The one thing that Burton hated about Star Trek was his visor, which wasn’t the easiest accessory to perform in.
“Comfortable is not a word I would ever introduce into a conversation about the visor. In fact, it was anything but comfortable,” he said.
6 Regretted: Jeffery Dean Morgan
Jeffrey Dean Morgan has done a lot since his time on Star Trek, most notably playing the evil Negan in The Walking Dead.
While his experience on Star Trek might have been a character-building one, it was not enjoyable.
In his role as a reptilian alien, he had to wear intense prosthetics that made his life extremely difficult. Though it paid the bills, he would rather have never done the role.
“I got a call saying I needed to go in for a prosthetic fitting,” he recalled in an interview. “I remember them dripping goop on my face, and I had straws sticking out of my nose. I couldn’t eat lunch. I was claustrophobic. I’d go home in tears. This was the job that made me want to quit acting.”
5 Adored: James Doohan
James Doohan has fully bought into the Star Trek experience. While some actors didn’t like it when people only recognized them for their roles on Trek, the actor who played the iconic role of Scotty on the original Star Trek series loved the attention.
After his passing, his agent Steven Stevens recalled that Doohan always had time for Trek fans.
“He even enjoyed the endless Star Trek conventions,” Stevens said. "Some people might think, 'Ugh, the poor guy's got to sit and sign autographs.' He'd have done it for free."
Scotty is one of the most beloved characters on a very beloved show, but the actor who played him might have been even more of a gem.
Doohan loved Star Trek and it loved him right back.
4 Regretted: Teri Garr
Teri Garr had a role in an episode of the third season of Star Trek: The Original Series that was also supposed to serve as a pilot for a different Trek spinoff. That show never got off the ground, and Garr is glad it didn’t.
Garr is happy that she didn’t end up having her career defined by the show.
"Thank God," she said. "Otherwise, all I would get would be Star Trek questions for the rest of my natural life — and probably my unnatural life."
While some Trek fans might be upset at Gar’s takedown of the show and its fan base, being a Star Trek character is not a role to be taken on lightly, so it’s understandable that it wasn’t Gar’s cup of tea.
3 Adored: Walter Koenig
Despite the difficulty of being on a long-running TV show like Star Trek, it comes with the benefit of really feeling like you are a part of something bigger than just a show.
This is exactly the experience that Walter Koenig, who played ensign Chekov, had on the show.
“The things I love hearing now … we all want to feel that we’ve contributed something after all these years. That we’ve somehow made our culture a better place,” he said. “People always say to me, ‘My father and I used to hang out and watch Star Trek together. My mother and I, that’s what we did together.’ That’s wonderful to hear.”
Koenig was a big part of Star Trek’s success, so it’s great to hear that he had a good experience with it.
2 Regretted: Robert Beltran
On Star Trek: Voyager, Robert Beltran played the Native American officer Chakotay.
Beltran had a good time with the role and it gave him a ton of exposure, but he didn’t like how he felt his character was sidelined later in the series, especially with the entrance of Jeri Ryan’s character Seven of Nine.
“I think writers have an obligation to fill out all the characters if they’re regular characters on a series," he said in an interview.
"I think several of the characters were diminished – Chakotay and Tuvok and Kim and Neelix,” Beltran stated.
Beltran has had a relatively successful acting career outside of Star Trek, so he probably doesn’t have too many regrets, but it’s a common refrain from Trek actors that the writers of the show didn’t do enough with their characters.
1 Adored: Nana Visitor
In the character of Kira Nerys, Nana Visitor found a perfect vehicle to address issues that she thought were important in the world.
Nerys is a former warrior who suffers from PTSD, and the portrayal of the difficulties of that mental condition was not common when Star Trek: DS9 first aired.
Visitor has a son who suffered from PTSD after his time in the military, so this issue hits close to home.
She appreciated the thoughtfulness and intelligence with which the show approached many themes. Visitor married Alexander Siddig, her co-star on the show, and her pregnancy was actually even included as a plotline.
Visitor’s time on Trek had a huge effect on her in many ways, and she’s certainly happy to have had the experience.
Are there any other actors who regretted or adored their time on Star Trek? Let us know in the comments!