Image: Paramount Pictures
Without Star Trek: The Next Generation,the franchise wouldn’t have grown into the enormous brand it is today. It was the first TV iteration of the series in over a decade and the first one that didn’t feature Captain Kirk and company. NBC originally wanted to air a new series that starred William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy in their original roles, but the show wouldn’t be profitable enough to justify the stars’ hefty salaries. So they decided to create a “new generation.”
Creator Gene Roddenberry wasn’t on board in the beginning stages, and even though The Original Series and subsequent movies were still massively popular, NBC and ABC were only interested in taking this direction with a miniseries that could potentially become a series down the road with the right ratings.
Spoiler alert: It got the ratings. It consistently fell into the top ten hour-long dramas, won 18 Emmy Awards, and became the only syndicated TV show to be nominated for Best Dramatic Series. It had a killer cast, despite not being about the original Enterprise crew. Knowing what you know now, it’s hard to imagine without Patrick Stewart and the charismatic captain, Jean-Luc Picard. He wasn’t the original captain, though, and even he was hesitant about playing the role.
“Why would they cast a middle-aged bald English Shakespearean actor in this iconic role as captain of the Enterprise? It made no sense,” he told Pete Hammond of Deadline Hollywood.
The Trek Files, a podcast beloved in the Trek community dropped a number of previously unknown bombs regarding the original concepts for the show. Not only was the ship going to be the U.S.S. Odyssey, but the captain of the ship was going to be a Vulcan named Rhon… who was killed in the first episode.
But how could a ship go on without a captain at the helm? The original pitch stated that though Captain Rhon’s physical body died in the pilot, he would live on as a hologram in the ship’s computer and the crew could always turn to him for guidance. The acting captain was going to be named Richard Kincaid, a 29-year old orphan who looked to Rhon as a father figure. According to Inverse, the only aspect of the original concept that actually made it into Next Gen was a Klingon who served on the Odyssey — only his name was Mynk instead of Worf.
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