Star Trek: The Next Generation was premiered in 1987 – it was a low-budget sci-fi show that disappointed the fans of Star Trek: The Original Series, more than it excited them, in the beginning. The series included seven seasons, won 20 primetime Emmys and introduced Professor X, Patrick Stewart, in the American film industry.
They just celebrated their 33rd anniversary this September (2019) and remains beloved by both old and new fans. If you are also one of them, you will find this article very informative as we have gathered the most interesting facts about your favorite show that might amaze you as well:
The Enterprise Bridge Was To Have a Conference Table in the Middle
Roddenberry wanted to have a huge view screen for the Enterprise-D Bridge, which was to be four times the size of the screen on the original Enterprise. It would’ve had a conference table right in front of the screen as well. He also planned to add an observation lounge as part of the bridge, but later, it ended up becoming a separate room.
Gene Roddenberry Was a Difficult Person to Work With
Although Roddenberry was an undisputed genius as he came with the iPad before Apple, he was known to be a bit of a difficult person to understand when it came to his writers department. He demanded a total lack of interpersonal conflict between the cast and maintained a serious attitude that resulted in confusions here and there on the set.
Once, he hired a new writer who was also a dedicated fan of Star Trek and gave him a job on TNG. Roddenberry first complimented his quality writing then fired him the next day without giving him any reason.
The Truth behind Teleportation
Does the idea of teleportation sound cool to you? It is indeed, but do you know the truth behind adding this technology in the show? It wasn’t introduced in the show for the reason that you might think of. Actually, they couldn’t afford the scenes of shuttling characters to planets in smaller space crafts, so they came up with this latest technology, teleportation, to fix the budget problem.
Read more here.
Rock Star Cameos
You might not have noticed it, but Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac appeared on the show, but he shaved off his famous beard for a guest spot in the episode “Manhunt” – eventually, he was assigned the role of an Antedean, a fish-like alien. His face was completely covered up; that’s why people, who even knew him, couldn’t recognize him.
Patrick Stewart’s Toupee was Special Delivered for His Audition
True fans of Stewart might know that he has been bald since his late teens. However, this hasn’t done much to stop him from performing remarkably both on and off-screen. When Robert Justman suggested Patrick Steward as a potential Picard, Gene Roddenberry, the screenwriter, immediately rejected him due to his baldness. Fortunately, Patrick had a wig, but he was already present in LA, teaching a workshop at UCLA, and didn’t bring it with him.
His toupee was specially delivered for his audition, so Roddenberry could ignore his baldness and focus on his fantastic acting skills.
George R. R. Martin wasNot Selected for a Writing Job
George R. R. Martin, the mastermind behind the Game of Thrones TV show, was rejected for a writing job on the new Star Trek series in its opening seasons. Before he created one of the most popular fantasy series of all time, he used to work as a TV writer in Los Angeles. Despite Martin’s accomplishments as a writer and a few Hugo awards for his work in sci-fi, he was rejected in the interview. Just wonder how the Star Trek: TNG show would turn out to be if George R. R. Martin wrote it?
Ronald Reagan Visited a Star Trek Set
Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S President, visited a Star Trek set during the 1991 filming of the episode “Redemption.” He commented that “I like the Klingons. They remind me of Congress.”
Roddenberry Was Not Interested In Doing another Star Trek Show
When Paramount saw the fan following and potential for another Star Trek series based on the success of previous Star Trek movies, Roddenberry’s involvement was considered essential. While the studio owned the rights of the show and everything, Roddenberry was the creator and mastermind of the series, and the president of Paramount TV, John Spike, wanted him on board at all costs.
Gene Roddenberry was 64 years old when the Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered, and he was deciding to retire soon, as his health was in decline. Fortunately, after lengthy negotiation, he proved valuable to paramount, and they worked together in creating a new series, which resulted in a hefty portion of future profits for Roddenberry.
Borg Was About To Combine Data and Picard into a Single Born Unit
In one version of the episode “Best of The Both Worlds” storyline, the Borg was about to combine Data and Picard into a single Borg unit. But the producer Michael Piller said that someone asked, “Why would the Borg even do such a thing,” and nobody had a solid answer to this question, so this idea was dropped from the storyline.
Levar Burton was in pain due to the Visor
The band-like device that Levar Burton wore during the Star Trek show was pretty painful to wear. He commented about his experience of acting in it as: “It’s pretty much a living Hell.” Although it was a 24th-century gadget in the show, it made it impossible for him to see anything, so he bumped into different objects and had a tough time navigating on the set.
During the second season of the Star Wars, the Geordi’s Visor underwent a redesign that made it more painful for him because the newer version was heavier to wear. It also required actual screws to tighten it on Burton’s head. He complained to the producer Rick Berman more than once that he had to go through severe headaches on a daily basis due to the visor, but Berman didn’t want to eliminate such an obvious technical gadget of the 24th century from the show.
Denise Crosby Got Frustrated from Her Role in the Show
If you are a true fan who has watched the first season of Star Trek: TNG more than once, then you might have noticed Tasha Yar, Denise Crosby, the security chief, doing merely any action in the show. She was assigned the same position at tactical behind the captain’s chair for all of her scenes. Many people might not have noticed it, but she was tired of her lack of action and decided to quit the show in order to do a wider variety of roles elsewhere.
She left the show on very good terms; this is why she was cast again as Yar’s daughter, Sela, in Yesterday’s Enterprise, in season 4 and 5.
Time And Budget Constraints of the show
We saw many action moments in the show, including alt-Riker getting killed in the final movements of the episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise” during the bloody final battle. We were to see more action and deaths in the episode, but all that was dropped due to time and budget constraints. We also missed out on seeing alt-Wesley’s head getting decapitated, plus Data would also have gotten electrocuted if it wasn’t for the budget and time constraints of the show.
Troi Was About To Had Three Breasts in the Show
The producers wanted Troi to have three breasts, in early brainstorming. But the producer D.C Fontana objected and said that women already have trouble with two, plus how would they line them up? Fortunately, everyone agreed on her point and dismissed this idea of having three breasts.
Whoopi Goldberg Never Got Credited For Her Appearance as Guinan
Strangely, Whoopi Goldberg, who played Guinan in selected episodes of the Star Trek: The Next Generation from season two to six, was never credited for her appearance. She also did a cameo in Star Trek: Nemesis as Guinan at the start of the film, which went uncredited as well.
Some more interesting facts about Star Trek: The Next Generation:
- The Borg was supposed to be a race of insectoids, but it was too costly to create.
- Stephen Hawking played himself on the Star Trek show and was the only one to do so.
- Wesley Snipes was initially intended to play the role of GeordiLaForge.
- Patrick Stewart was fully nude, and on a closed set to film the torture scene (episode: Chain of Command). He wanted it to be as realistic as it could be.
- The character ‘Lore’ was originally supposed to be a female android, but Brent Spiner, commander Data, came up with the idea of an evil twin instead.
Deforest Kelly appeared in the show’s first episode “Encounter at Farpoint”. However, it was his first and only appearance in the show.
If you are interested to learn about another Roddenberry series, you must read our article about Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict TV Show for more information.