How much do you know about Star Trek: The Next Generation? Probably not as much as you think! Here are 10 facts about the show that you might not have known before reading this article!
1) Riker got his rank by cheating in Star Trek The Next Generation
Jonathan Frakes, who played Commander William Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, was so much better at fencing than his co-stars. He received a special dispensation from the Screen Actors Guild to play an officer. There’s no such thing as a free lunch in space, but rank has its privileges.
Because of all the time spent perfecting their fencing skills, Riker and Worf are actually one of TV’s greatest bromances. They could’ve used their training to foil some bad guys instead of just playing around with holodeck programs! (And then they’d probably have been in Deep Space Nine.)
Shooting The Best of Both Worlds: During shooting for Star Trek: The Next Generation’s two-part The Best of Both Worlds episode, actor Brent Spiner (who played Data) accidentally broke a camera. The time when his character fought off an attack by Lore (Brent Spiner). Oops! But at least it wasn’t intentional. Spiner also had to deal with Patrick Stewart throwing himself into every scene.
2) The Holodeck was from an Isaac Asimov story
Star Trek’s Holodeck isn’t as far-fetched as it seems. The term was first coined by Isaac Asimov in his 1942 short story The Last Question, about a futuristic character named Multivac.
In Asimov’s world, characters can insert themselves into an artificial environment known as Multivac’sosms.
Sound familiar? That’s because holodecks were used for much of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and have been featured in several episodes of Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. That’s because Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry took inspiration from Asimov’s work when he created Star Trek: The Next Generation.
3) Patrick Stewart was almost cast as Geordi La Forge
In 1986, Stewart was considered for a role in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Although he turned it down because he didn’t want to be tied to a television show.
He starred in a successful film that year, Lionheart, and later signed up for Star Trek: The Next Generation. He played Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry disliked Q:
When Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry died in 1991, many people were surprised by his will. Roddenberry left behind his wife Majel Barrett (who went on to play Nurse Chapel and Lwaxana Troi) but disinherited their son from his estate entirely.
4) Whoopi Goldberg auditioned for Deanna Troi
Roddenberry originally wanted TOS star Nichelle Nichols to reprise her role as communications officer Uhura in TNG. She was unavailable due to a prior commitment with Broadway’s Blues Brothers.
At one point, Roddenberry considered casting Whoopi Goldberg (who would later go on to play Guinan) as Troi before casting actress and former Star Trek guest star Marina Sirtis.
5) Jonathan Frakes’ first episode as director was season 4’s First Contact
In 1996, just a year after directing his first episode of TNG, Frakes went on to direct First Contact – which featured all-new special effects and an all-new cast. He was only the third director to go on to direct one of Star Trek’s Next Generation movies (the others being Robert Wise and Nick Meyer).
6) A TNG guest star became head writer
Although he was only on board for one season, legendary Star Trek writer/producer Brannon Braga got his start on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Braga went on to create and executive produce dozens of episodes of television series including 24, Salem, and Terra Nova before becoming a full-time feature film screenwriter. He is credited with writing or co-writing eight feature films. These include some of Hollywood’s highest-grossing movies such as Armageddon and National Treasure.
7) Two actors played Tasha Yar’s daughter, including Denise Crosby in Yesterday’s Enterprise
Denise Crosby, who played Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation, reprised her role as Sela in Yesterday’s Enterprise. She was joined by Sandra Piller, an actress whose real-life mother is none other than Sally Kellerman. After Kellerman made her Star Trek debut in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, she later appeared in one episode of TNG with Crosby.
Piller had a recurring role on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and another member of that cast also had a connection to TNG. Marc Alaimo played Gul Dukat on DS9 and Commander Branch in Parallels.
Another notable actor from Deep Space Nine, Andrew Robinson, also appeared in Star Trek: Generations as Dr. Soran (who would later return for Star Trek: First Contact). He was also seen in Past Prologue alongside Kipleigh Brown (Starfleet Admiral Bullock) and Brian Markinson (Ogawa).
In addition to these actors appearing in both series, several others have connections to Star Trek: Voyager or Star Trek films.
8) Worf had two pet targs named Porthos and Danilo in Star Trek The Next Generation
Although he was bald, Worf kept two pet targs named Porthos and Danilo in his quarters. They keep my blood flowing, he joked.
9) Brent Spiner plays poker with a crew member every Friday night on set
Everyone knows that Star Trek loves to poke fun at itself, especially in later seasons of TNG.
One of those jokes is Dr. Soong’s poker visor, which Data often wears when playing poker with Geordi La Forge or other crew members on board the ship. However, many people don’t know that Brent Spiner—Data himself—played poker on set every Friday night from season 1 through 6!
10) Both series finales were filmed together on the same day
Originally, All Good Things… and The Pegasus were intended to be one two-hour series finale. When executives at Paramount saw a rough cut of Part I, they suggested that it would work better as an open-ended conclusion. This meant that both series finales were filmed together on June 2–3, 1994 in order to save costs.
The first time Q appeared was not in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Q originally appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation’s pilot episode, Encounter at Farpoint (1987), which was actually only his second appearance. His first appearance took place in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989).
In fact, Q’s role was so minor in Farpoint that he wasn’t even credited for his performance!