What If Star Trek: The Next Generation Were Cast Today

The Next Generation - Complete Guide to Star Trek

The Star Trek franchise is making a comeback, with a third film set to hit theaters next month and a new TV series airing next year. Some might say that it hasn’t really dropped in popularity since the Original Series first aired in the '60s, but others would argue that the years of Star Trek: Nemesis and Star Trek: Enterprise were a less-than-stellar period in the franchise’s history. Either way, Star Trek is back aboard the reboot train. The new films are rock-solid, and there are high hopes for the upcoming series.

However, the current appetite for reboots and the lack of information about the new series has some fans wondering: could we be seeing a remake of a classic Star Trek chapter in the near future? For many, Star Trek: The Next Generation remains the jewel in the crown of the sci-fi franchise, and it would be incredible to see it re-created in the way that the Original Series has been on the big screen. It may just be a pipe dream, but if a Next Generation reboot is on the way, we’ve already come up with the perfect cast…

(Note: This casting attempts to find new actors with a very similar physical appearance to the original cast. Although gender or race-bending would be welcome in a reboot, we’ve chosen to go for a more straightforward recasting.)

12 Q - John Barrowman

Recasting TNG: Q, John DeLancy John Barrowman

The mischievous Q is a recurring character in The Next Generation – a member of an omnipotent race, played by John DeLancey. Despite having power of all of time and space, Q develops something of a fascination with Picard and the crew of the Enterprise. He often appears to set them “tests” or play elaborate games with the crew – treating them casually, although they are often life-threatening situations. Although he first appears as something of a villain, Q later becomes more of a friendly face – but he is still far from human.

John Barrowman, known for his roles in Doctor Who, its spin-off Torchwood, and more recently, Arrow, has just the kind of ageless playfulness to bring Q back to life. He is used to crossing the line between friend and foe, and has a boundless energy that would be perfect for this role.

11 Tasha Yar - Gwendoline Christie

Recasting TNG: Tasha Yar Denise Crosby Gwendoline Christie

Lieutenant Tasha Yar has been described as one of the original “strong women” in sci fi – a security officer, with a tragic and violent past, she gave everything to Starfleet. Although she dies early on in the series, the character is resurrected during a story arc that sees an alternate timeline created, and she is able to avoid her death thanks to some timely advice from Guinan.

Portrayed by Denise Crosby, she is much more than just a “strong woman” – much like the character of Brienne of Tarth, played by Gwendoline Christie. Another female character with a somewhat masculine appearance, Brienne has a lot in common with Tasha – including some unexpected romantic moments. Gwendoline would be a phenomenal choice for a reboot of the series.

10 Guinan - Viola Davies

Recasting TNG: Guinan Whoopi Goldberg Viola Davies

Bartender at Ten-Forward, Guinan is the ultimate personification of the bartender stereotype. Wise and always ready to dispense advice, her wisdom comes in part from her incredibly long lifespan – as an El-Aurian, she can live for hundreds of years (and is estimated to be between 500 and 700 on the show). She has a special connection with Captain Picard, and is a huge help to the crew on several occasions.

While it would be difficult for anyone to fill Whoopi Goldberg’s shoes, Viola Davies could be the perfect actress to do it. Known for her roles in The Help and How To Get Away With Murder (as well as in the upcoming Suicide Squad), this Oscar-nominated actress exudes calm and capability. She’d even be able to pull off Guinan’s signature hat!

9 Miles O'Brien - Chris O'Dowd

Recasting TNG: Chief O'Brien Colm Meaney Chris O'Dowd

Chief O’Brien actually appeared in both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Originally more of a background character, O’Brien was the transporter operator for the Enterprise, before being promoted to the Chief of Operations on DS9. Known for his Irish background and curly hair, Miles is one of the few married characters in the show, and has a daughter.

Originally portrayed by Colm Meaney, Chris O’Dowd would be a fantastic replacement for the chief. The Irish actor and comedian is well-known for his starring role in British comedy The IT Crowd, and is currently working on several films, including Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children. He even had a bit part in Thor: The Dark World as Jane Foster’s date.

8 Wesley Crusher - Freddie Highmore

Re-casting TNG: Wesley Crusher Wil Wheaton Freddie Highmoor

The son of Enterprise medical officer Beverly Crusher, Wesley was one of the less popular characters on the show, and the youngest major player. Originally, he was kept off the bridge by Picard (who is not a fan of children), but as time went on, Wesley proved himself to be intelligent and very capable. Eventually, Wesley becomes a Starfleet Cadet, before taking off with a being known as the Traveler to explore other realms of existence – something of a Deus Ex Machina storyline.

The role that put Wil Wheaton in the annals of nerd history, it would be a fantastic role for up-and-coming young actor Freddie Highmore. Best known for his leading roles in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Spiderwick Chronicles, he’s at the perfect age to grow into a young Star Fleet cadet – and has an impressive acting resume already under his belt.

7 Beverly Crusher - Ruth Connell

Re-casting TNG: Beverly Crusher Gates McFadden Ruth Connell

The red-headed medical officer of the Enterprise, Beverly has a complicated history…and an even more complicated relationship with Captain Picard. A widow and mother, Beverly is a powerfully maternal presence on board the ship, close with Deanna Troi. She and Picard have deep romantic feelings for each other, but the two never manage to actually make it work – although their chemistry is phenomenal to watch.

Originally played by Gates McFadden, we would replace her with Ruth Connell. Another redhead, Connell has shot to fame as the evil Rowena in the hugely popular series Supernatural. Although her strong Scottish accent is very different to McFadden’s original portrayal, she would make a fantastic Beverly – although as a very different kind of mother to the one she plays at the moment!

6 Data - Rami Malek

Recasting TNG: Data Brent Spiner Rami Malek

Everyone’s favorite android was originally portrayed by Brent Spiner – in heavy white makeup, of course. Data’s struggle to understand human emotion (and his adventures with an “emotion chip”) were some of the most heart-wrenching parts of the series, and his lack of expression was actually impressively expressive, at times.

Rami Malek, star of dark tech drama Mr Robot, would be a perfect fit as a new Data. As Elliot, he has the kind of oddly-detached awkwardness down pat. Transferring that experience to an android who is desperate to understand his crew would be a stunning transition. The  wide-eyed actor would just need to find an orange cat to complete the transformation.

5 Worf - David Ramsey

Recasting TNG: Worf Michael Dorne David Ramsey

A Klingon orphan raised by humans, Worf is an interesting mix of two cultures. As security officer on board the Enterprise, Worf found the perfect way to exist within a primarily human environment, yet still utilize his warrior nature. A master of the bat’leth, Worf is physically intimidating and a skilled fighter.

Originally played by Michael Dorn, we would like to see David Ramsey take on the Klingon’s role in a reboot. Ramsey is best known for his role as John Diggle on the hit CW series, Arrow. As such, he has more than enough experience with stunt work and fight scenes to be able to bring Worf to life – not to mention the physical stature. Of course, we don’t know how good Ramsey’s Klingon is…

4 Deanna Troi - Vanessa Hudgens

Recasting TNG: Deanna Troi Marina Sirtis Vanessa Hudgens

Counselor on board the Enterprise, Deanna Troi is half-human, half-betazoid. Her empathy and betazoid telepathy were particularly useful as counselor, and were part of the reason that her personality was very gentle.

The ice-cream loving, leotard-wearing officer was originally played by Marina Sirtis. In a reboot, we would love to see her brought to life by Vanessa Hudgens. Not only do the two look incredibly similar (down to the naturally curly dark hair that Deanna sported in earlier episodes), but Hudgens has established herself as a talented young TV actress. Best known for her role in High School Musical, Hudgens has been branching out from her Disney channel roots with sexier roles like Blondie in Sucker Punch and Rizzo in Grease: Live! Deanna is a fantastic balance of femininity and depth for Hudgens to tackle next.

3 Geordi La Forge - Shemar Moore

Recasting TNG: Geordi LaForge LeVarr Burton Shemar Moore

Helmsman-turned-engineer Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) was best known for his appearance, rather than his personality. Blind from birth, the character spent much of his on-screen time wearing a gold visor that completely covered his eyes (and allowed him to see). In later appearances (on the big screen), his trademark vision was replaced by implants, but we’d love to see a rebooted version with the visor back on.

The perfect man to sport it? Shemar Moore, best known as Derek Morgan on Criminal Minds or as Malcolm Winters on The Young and the Restless. Moore’s work has earned him a Daytime Emmy (as well as multiple Image awards over the years), and he would be an incredible addition to a new ensemble show. With Criminal Minds wrapping up this year, a Next Generation reboot could be a perfect next step for the actor.

2 William Riker - Dominic Cooper

Recasting TNG: Riker Jonathan Frakes Dominic Cooper

Picard’s right-hand-man has a confidence that borders on arrogance, a talented officer who turns down other commands to remain on the Enterprise, all the while rocking some impressive hair.

Originally brought to life by Jonathan Frakes, we would love to see Dominic Cooper play Number One. Currently playing both Jesse Custer on AMC’s Preacher and the young Howard Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Cooper is just the right kind of dashing for the role. As Stark, Cooper has more than proven his ability to play a charmer and a ladies’ man (which Riker definitely is!), and the beard he grew for Preacher is absolutely spot-on. A Next Generation reboot could be the perfect way to fill Cooper’s free time now that Marvel’s Agent Carter is (sadly) no longer on the air.

1 Jean Luc Picard -  Bryan Cranston

Recasting TNG: Jean Luc Picard Sir Patrick Stewart Bryan Cranston

It’s almost impossible to imagine anyone other than Sir Patrick Stewart at the helm of the Starship Enterprise, but if someone new takes over, there would be no-one better suited to the task than Bryan Cranston. Best known as the star of Breaking Bad, this incredibly talented actor has already proven that he can play a charismatic leader (and rock baldness!).

Another well-known role as Hal on Malcolm in the Middle shows him as a much less capable leader, but brings an element of comedy and charm that any good Star Trek captain needs. At sixty, he’s significantly older than Stewart was at the start of TNG, but much like the original Picard, he just doesn’t seem to age – the biggest problem would be finding time in his packed film schedule! Cranston currently has eight projects on the go, including some in post-production, some in pre-production, and one that has just been announced.


Who would you cast in a reboot of Star Trek: The Next Generation? Sound off in the comments.

More in Lists