Star Wars may be blowing up everybody’s social media feeds right now, but it’s not the only infamous science fiction series out there. Star Trek has just as rabid (if not more so) of a fanbase.
With over 700 episodes spanning 31 seasons of seven different series, not to mention the 13 different Star Trek movies debuted over the years, there’s something for everyone to love. Add to that the massive cast featuring major Hollywood stars spanning multiple generations, and it’s no wonder Star Trek has successfully captured lightning in a bottle over and over again.
However, what if things had been different? What if we had never met the infamous Captain Picard? What if Wesley Snipes had dared to go where no man had gone before? What if the show had been more progressive than it was? How would our pop culture have been irretrievably changed?
We may never know the answers to those questions, we do at least have an idea of how different one of the franchise’s most beloved series almost was.
Writer’s strikes, cast feuds, and intense body odor– there was seemingly no end to the obstacles forcing big changes to The Next Generation‘s potential storylines.
Here are the 15 Ways Star Trek: The Next Generation Was Almost Way Different.
15. Gene Roddenberry Super Did Not Want Captain Picard Or Patrick Stewart
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry did not like Patrick Stewart. Actually, that’s putting things pretty lightly. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry hated Patrick Stewart.
He didn’t want Stewart to play Captain Picard, he didn’t even want him to audition for the part. The creator famously described Stewart as both “too old and too bald” to play the iconic captain.
Roddenberry pushed heavily for Yaphet Kotto to play the ship’s captain. While we can’t imagine The Next Generation without Stewart’s devilish smile and never-ending sense of fun, but it’s hard to actually argue with Roddenberry on this one.
Had Kotto been cast in the role, he would have given the Star Trek franchise their first black captain decades earlier. There’s just nothing wrong with that.
14. The Show Almost Had Two Gay Characters
Writer David Gerrold felt the world had gone long enough with LGBTQ+ representation in science fiction and he wanted to use The Next Generation to change that.
He had worried that Roddenberry would be opposed to the idea but was pleasantly surprised by the showrunner’s enthusiastic reaction. Roddenberry fully agreed with Gerrold and lobbied hard to put two gay characters in the show.
Gerrold had gone as far as to plan an episode thinly veiled with an AIDS allegory in which the history of a gay couple’s relationship would be discussed casually and without fanfare.
Unfortunately, the episode would become a point of contention for the crew, with some believing viewers would be offended by the progressive content, and was ultimately dropped from the script.