When the original Star Trek series was cancelled in 1969, some may have thought the adventures of Starfleet were over. However, due to its cult status and growing legions of fans, the show would not only be followed by several more series, but also a plethora of feature films that helped turn the cult show into one of the most beloved sci-fi franchises of all time.
After the first movie released in 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, proved a financial success (though, not so much a critical one) sequels were all but guaranteed. Five follow-up adventures of the USS Enterprise crew went on to be released, which were next followed by four films centered around the characters of popular spin-off Star Trek: The Next Generation. Now, since 2009, the movie series has been revamped (well, technically going through an alternate timeline) to feature younger versions of the original Enterprise crew.
However, while the Star Trek franchise has given us many great characters on screen (who can forget actor Ricardo Montalbán's performance as Khan Noonein Singh?), many fans have their own ideas on which actors should've played certain characters.
This list will primarily focus on actors who were previously considered by producers for roles in the Star Trek movies series before being recast, but who some fans believe would've been a better fit.
So, prepare to go where no fan has gone before in the world of Star Trek fan casting because we're taking a look at the 20 Star Trek Fan Castings Better Than The Movies.
20 Jude Law as Praetor Shinzon - Nemesis
Actor Tom Hardy's career certainly hasn't been a boring one. He's broken Batman, fought Leonardo DiCaprio, and is currently headlining Sony's new Marvel franchise as Eddie Brock/Venom. In fact, in one of his earliest roles, he got the chance to play Praetor Shinzon, a clone of Patrick Stewart's Captain Jean-Luc Picard, in Star Trek: Nemesis.
While Hardy's performance wasn't bad (what Hardy performance is?), he certainly didn't prove a standout villain for the franchise. However, if director Stuart Baird had given the role to Jude Law (whose supporting role in 1999's The Talented Mr. Ripley landed him an Oscar nomination), his experience could've made the role more impactful. Regardless, even Law couldn't have saved the movie, as its financial failure warranted J.J. Abrams' 2009 reboot seven years later.
19 Marlon Brando as Tolian Soran - Generations
The first movie based on TNG, Star Trek: Generations was unfortunately not the best representation of the show's greatness. While the film is mostly remembered for the unheroic passing of William Shatner's James T. Kirk, some fans still can't shake the movie's unremarkable plot and villain, which is unfortunate since he was played by Malcom McDowell (who more than proved his villainous talent in A Clockwork Orange).
Dr. Tolian Soran is somewhat of a tragic villain, stopping at nothing to return to the Nexus (a dimension where dreams are reality) in order to be with his deceased family (or, at least, an illusion of them). While McDowell is talented, Marlon Brando seemed more suited to play a tragic character. Unfortunately, a high pay demand and his overweight figure ended the idea.
18 Mark Wahlberg as George Kirk - Kelvin Timeline
While Chris Hemsworth portrayed James Kirk's father George two years before debuting as Marvel's God of Thunder, if he were to reprise the role in Star Trek 4, it would be a bit more distracting.
Enter Mark Wahlberg, whose franchises vary in success but never tie him down to one role. While he's known by many for his comedic movie roles and early rapping success, he's proven himself capable of dramatic roles (look no further than The Departed or The Fighter). Besides, George Kirk's time onscreen was more or less a glorified cameo, so it wouldn't take much for Wahlberg to pull off a memorable performance. Also, with Hemsworth unsure of his return to the series, maybe fans will get their wish soon.
17 Sigourney Weaver as Martia - The Undiscovered Country
Actress Sigourney Weaver is an expert on sci-fi roles (with some calling her the "Sci-Fi Queen"), from the Alien franchise's main heroine Ellen Ripley to Avatar's (possibly) dead biologist Grace Augustine. So, it's a shame that she's never got a shot at Star Trek.
Well, if model and cosmetics entrepreneur Iman hadn't portrayed the shape-shifting alien Martia in The Undiscovered Country, Weaver may have had her chance. The role was brief, seeing Martia pretend to bust James Kirk and Leonard McCoy out of prison, only to have her betray them and get shot by prison guards. However, adding Weaver would've still been a treat for fans. Plus, we would've got to see her shape-shift into Kirk. How strangely awesome would that have been?
16 Rosario Dawson as Nyota Uhura - Kelvin Timeline
While many fans are hoping to see Rosario Dawson's turn as a live-action Ahsoka Tano, a portrayal requiring less make-up would've been nice to see in J.J. Abrams' series relaunch.
Though Zoe Saldana does a great job of portraying communications officer (and Spock's romantic partner) Nyota Uhura, Dawson's no slouch when it comes to strong female characters, as she's currently portraying nurse Claire Temple in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and voicing Barbara Gordon/Batgirl in last year's The Lego Batman Movie. She's also a huge Trekkie (even knowing a bit of Klingon), so that doesn't hurt either. While we probably won't get to see her as Uhura, she recently revealed interest in playing a Klingon on Patrick Stewart's upcoming Picard-centered show.
15 Alan Rickman as the Viceroy - Nemesis
It's bizarre how 1999's Galaxy Quest served as a second chance for rejected Star Trek movie actors. Another forgettable villain from Star Trek: Nemesis, Ron Perlman's Viceroy was intimidating (though, that's because he was Ron Perlman) but felt miscast, since his character was portrayed as Shinzon's top advisor and tutor in his telepathic abilities.
It sounds like Star Trek's version of Professor Severus Snape, doesn't it? The late, great Alan Rickman was known for his villainous roles (and that voice), so it's a shame fans didn't get to see him serve as Tom Hardy's teacher and face off against William Riker. His character even falls to his demise, which could've paralleled his iconic passing in Die Hard.
14 Sean Connery as Sybok - The Final Frontier
Now, one might be asking: why would anyone want one of the most beloved actors of all time acting in arguably the worst Star Trek movie ever? Well, if any fan of Sir Sean Connery has seen Zardoz or The Avengers, they would know playing Spock's bearded half-brother who's on a quest to find god in the center of the galaxy wouldn't be that much of a stretch for him.
Despite being one of the lamest Star Trek villains, Sybok would've proved an interesting role for Connery (imagine him singing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" with William Shatner in Yosemite National Park). However, it was probably for the best that Connery didn't do the role, as he wouldn't have been able to work on Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
13 Benicio del Toro as Khan - Into Darkness
J.J. Abrams' second (and, so far, last) entry in the franchise, 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness, had a tough act to follow, and several fans didn't think it accomplished this very well. While the action and visuals were praised (though, the lens flare did get annoying sometimes), Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of Khan angered many fans, who deemed it a case of galactic whitewashing.
It's pretty much fact that Cumberbatch can't deliver a bad performance, but having him portray a non-white character originally played by Ricardo Montalbán wasn't the best idea. Actor Benicio del Toro, on the other hand, would've been a much better choice, as he would've delivered another scene-stealing performance in his long line of acclaimed roles.
12 Tom Hanks as Zefram Cochrane - First Contact
Previously appearing in the original series episode "Metamorphosis", Zefram Cochrane introduced humanity to deep space travel with the creation of Earth's first warp drive system. So, he's a pretty big deal for the series, and it only makes sense to have one of Earth's greatest living actors portray such an important individual.
Tom Hanks is loved in practically everything he does and has shown his dramatic range in hits like The Green Mile, Captain Phillips, and Sully. While James Cromwell's performance didn't hurt the movie, Hanks would've given a memorable dramatic, as well as funny, portrayal of a man responsible for humankind's first contact with alien life. Also, Cromwell was a bit older than Cochrane's character was supposed to be, so Hanks could've also given more realism to the role.
11 Joshua Jackson as Leonard "Bones" McCoy - Kelvin Timeline
Stepping into the shoes of actor DeForest Kelley is no easy task. Portraying the role of Enterprise doctor ("not a(n)...") Leonard "Bones" McCoy for 25 years, his impactful presence led him to becoming one of Star Trek's most memorable actors. Karl Urban, a longtime fan of the franchise, has received praise from fans for his younger portrayal of McCoy in the reboot film series.
However, some may feel an actor with a closer connection to science may have been a better fit. Joshua Jackson, known for playing fringe science consultant Peter Bishop in the hit Fox series Fringe, certainly fits the bill. In the series, Jackson searches for logical explanations and his genius-level intellect makes him a force to be reckoned with. Spock would certainly have to up his game in an argument with him.
10 Susan Sarandon as Gillian Taylor - The Voyage Home
The final chapter in Star Trek's "Spock trilogy," The Voyage Home saw the series take a humorous turn by having the Enterprise crew travel to 1986 Earth in order to search for humpback whales (don't worry, it got great reviews). A highlight of the movie was new character Gillian Taylor (played by 7th Heaven and Child's Play actress Catherine Hicks), a biologist caring for a pair of whales at a California aquarium.
However, having an actress like Susan Sarandon to portray a tougher, sassier version of the character who fights to protect the whales and hilariously clashes with the future space travelers could've made the movie a tad more interesting (her humorous sharp tongue nabbed her an Oscar nomination for Thelma & Louise). It certainly would've been better than the Eddie Murphy version of the character.
9 Peter Capaldi as Spock Prime - Kelvin Timeline
Actor Leonard Nimoy was and always shall be the definitive Spock. For nearly 50 years, Nimoy's performance across TV, film, and video games has been loved by fans. However, when 2009's Star Trek split the timeline (due to Nero and Spock's time-travelling feud), an alternate reality was created. While Nimoy did reprise his role (credited as "Spock Prime"), the changes made to Khan in Star Trek Into Darkness may have indicated a change in certain character's anatomy.
Since the movies act as sort of a blank slate, J.J. Abrams could've used this as a perfect opportunity to recast the older Spock. Peter Capaldi could've definitely pulled off the Vulcan officer, since his run on Doctor Who gave him plenty of experience playing a character alienated from others and less understanding of humans.
8 Edward James Olmos as Kruge - The Search for Spock
There's no denying Christopher Lloyd's acting ability beyond the Back to the Future franchise. Known for his various villain roles in film and TV (notably Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Hacker in Cyberchase), it made sense for Lloyd to be able to pull off arguably one of the franchise's most underrated villains, Klingon commander Kruge.
Seeking to use the terraforming Genesis device (previously used by Khan against the Enterprise crew) for evil, Kruge went to great lengths to achieve his means, including taking down his wife and Kirk's son, David. However, actor Edward James Olmos' superior sci-fi experience (including Commander William Adama from Battlestar Galactica and L.A. Detective Gaff in Blade Runner) could've given Kruge a more commanding attitude. Besides, it would've been more believable to see Olmos as Kruge than Picard.
7 Jack Palance as Gorkon - The Undiscovered Country
As one of the great stars in the Western movie genre, Jack Palance (who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Curly in City Slickers) had a commanding presence on screen, which would've come in handy for the role of Klingon Chancellor Gorkon in The Undiscovered Country.
While English actor David Warner was known for his sinister roles in live-action and animation (voicing Ra's al Ghul in Batman: The Animated Series and the Archmage in Gargoyles), he also had two additional roles in the Star Trek franchise with The Final Frontier and The Next Generation, while Palance had none. Also, Palance was the inspiration behind legendary DC foe Darkseid, so he certainly had that going for him as well.
6 James Kyson as Hikaru Sulu - Kelvin Timeline
John Cho's portrayal of Enterprise helmsman Hikaru Sulu has so far been pretty good (displaying both leadership and impressive fighting skills), but he's not quite the standout character he could be. James Kyson, who originally wanted the role, is remembered by Heroes fans as hired hero Ando Masahashi, who started out as a powerless human sidekick but later gained energy projecting and amplifying powers.
While Sulu has always been an important part of the Enterprise crew, Kyson's experience playing an insecure character that often feels undervalued could've made for an interesting new conflict for Sulu in the 2009 movie, which saw him become acting captain in the absence of Kirk and Spock. Plus, fans could've had the beginning of a Heroes reunion (since Zachary Quinto portrayed the villainous Sylar in the series).
5 Sydney Tamiia Poitier as Nyota Uhura - Kelvin Timeline
While Rosario Dawson is definitely a great choice, as previously mentioned, she's known for juggling several franchises, which would make a starring role in the Star Trek movie series a bit difficult. However, Sydney Tamiia Poitier (daughter of legendary actor Sidney Poitier) is a promising performer that could use a promising franchise in her career.
While she's starred in several TV series (including First Years, the 2008 relaunch of Knight Rider, and currently in the Canadian crime drama Carter), several of them have been quickly cancelled. With a role like Nyota Uhura, Poitier could finally get a chance to flex her dramatic and action muscles (which are necessary to have in the reboot series) in front of a larger audience.
4 Christopher Doohan as Montgomery Scott - Kelvin Timeline
Son of original Montgomery "Scotty" Scott James Doohan, Chris Doohan has been sought after by fans to portray the reboot series' Chief Engineer since before the release of the 2009 movie. While Simon Pegg's funny personality has made for a memorable performance, it would've certainly been nice to keep the Doohan streak alive by casting Christopher (who, along with his brother, appeared as an Enterprise crewmember in Star Trek: The Motion Picture).
Even though he received a cameo in both Star Trek and Into Darkness, this still wasn't enough for some fans. Thankfully, their wishes didn't go entirely unanswered, as not only did Doohan portray the role in the 2013-17 fan-made web series Star Trek Continues, but he also voiced the character in the online game Star Trek Online.
3 Lance Henriksen as Willard Decker - The Motion Picture
Stephen Collins' performance as temporary USS Enterprise captain Willard Decker in the franchise's debut film was well-received by some. However, his 2014 confession of abusing three minors between 1973 and 1994 (keep in mind that Star Trek: The Motion Picture was released in 1979) certainly casts a dark shadow over his career.
As a well-known veteran of the sci-fi genre, Lance Henriksen is recognizable to fans as the android Bishop in the Alien franchise (and his voice was heard by many as Fleet Admiral Steven Hackett in the Mass Effect video game series) and would've been a welcome addition to the franchise. With his distinctive vocals, Henriksen could've amplified the tension between Collins and Kirk and made for a more tear-jerking sacrifice at the end.
2 Adrien Brody as Spock - Kelvin Timeline
There's no denying that Zachary Quinto's portrayal of Spock is introducing the character to the "next generation" in a new and fascinating way. However, the reboot series is known by fans for taking the usually calm and collected character and putting him in somewhat-controversial positions (mainly the fact that he's got into multiple uncharacteristic fistfights).
If the series intends to continue this trend, perhaps having an actor known for a wider range of emotions would've been better (fans still won't forget Quinto's interesting rendition of the iconic "KHAN!" line). Adrien Brody (who's gained acclaim with movies Midnight in Paris, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and, of course, The Pianist) was definitely worth slapping some Vulcan ears on, as his dramatic and comedic roles would suit him well for a monotone Vulcan ready to snap.
1 Mike Vogel as James T. Kirk - Kelvin Timeline
Yes, Chris Pine has been doing a pretty phenomenal job as Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk, and, yes, his charm and wit does mirror that of original Kirk William Shatner. However, Pine's not the only actor with a strong screen presence that could've taken on the role of Kirk.
Mike Vogel's most well-known performance is probably as Iraq War veteran Dale Barbara in the CBS hit Under the Dome, in which he must work with residents of a small town to figure out the origin behind a mysterious dome trapping the town inside. Portraying an experienced individual caught in a mysterious, life-threatening situation certainly made Vogel qualified to sit in the captain's chair. Besides, with Pine unsure of his return to the series, producers may need to turn to Vogel to move the series forward.
Who do you think should've been cast in these Star Trek movies? Let us know in the comments!