Follow Us & Boldly Be Social RSS Feed Like us on facebook follow us on twitter Find us on flickr Watch us on youtube

The TNG Cast That Never Was, Revealed In A 1987 Studio Memo

The TNG Cast That Never Was, Revealed In '87 Studio Memo

Over the years, we've all heard stories about certain actors who were up for roles on "Star Trek: The Next Generation", but for one reason or other didn't want or get the part.  Now, thanks to (via, we have an April 1987 dated Paramount studio memo that sheds light on the actually prospects for the TNG crew.  

Among the many names listed, Yaphet Kotto was up for the role of Captain Picard, Ben Murphy (Alias Smith & Jones) was a candidate for Riker (spelled Ryker in the memo), Denise Crosby was considered to play Troi, & kid's game show host J.D. Roth was the only actor listed for Wesley.  Here's something that we learned at Vegas Khhaaan (that the memo confirms, Eric Menyuk (aka The Traveler from TNG) was a possibility for our lovable android, Data.

The memo also details a few suprises. Could you imagine a visor / banana clip wearing Wesley Snipes?  Don't laugh, it was a possibility.  Not only Snipes, but Reggie Jackson & Tim Russ were up for the part of Geordi.  One interesting choice was Rosalind Cho as Tasha Yar.  I'm sorry, but I'm having a hard time picturing that... "Oh, Miles!"

Not only does the memo give us a full cadre of possibilities, but the real shocker is that less than half of the final Enterprise-D crew were even considered to be the acting front runners.  One thing that seems to be missing is the role of Worf. We're not sure if Michael Dorn had already been cast or if Worf was a last minute edition to the crew.  If you have any insight, leave us a note in the comments.

Check out the full memo transcript below.

(Transcript source

DATE: APRIL 13, 1987

Per your request, following is a list of actors who are being considered for their respective roles in STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.
Patrick Stewart
Mitch Ryan
Roy Thinnes
Yaphet Kotto
Patrick Bauchau
Lianne Langland
Julia Nickson
Rosalind Chao
Leah Ayers
Bunty Bailey
Mark Lindsay Chapman
Eric Menyuk
Kevin Peter Hall (also for Geordi)
Kelvin Han Yee
Michael O'Gorman
Gregg Marx
Jonathan Frakes
Ben Murphy
LeVar Burton
Reggie Jackson 
Tim Russ
Wesley Snipes
Victor Love
Chip McCallister
Clarence Gilyard Jr.
Kevin Peter Hall
Anne Twomey
Jenny Augutter
Cheryl McFadden
Denise Crosby
J.D. Roth
The above actors will be brought in to read for Gene Roddenberry starting next week. However, Patrick Bauchau did come in to read for Gene today for the role of "Picard." His reading was well received; he and Patrick Stewart seem to be the favorites for the role of "Picard."
For the role of "Ryker," Michael O'Gorman seems to be a favorite. He's sort of an atypical choice for the role, however, a good one. 
Denise Crosby seems to be the only possibility for the role of "Troi" at this point; the same for J.D. Roth for the role of "Wesley."
There are several contenders for "Tasha," "Geordi," and "Data." However, Rosalind Chao seems to be a favorite for "Tasha"; Reggie Jackson for "Geordi"; and Mark Lindsay Chapman for "Data."
For the role of "Beverly," Cheryl McFadden is the favorite. However, her schedule may pose a problem. She's currently performing in a play in San Diego. 
General reading sessions are continuing; our next one is on April 14. 
cc: Jeff Hayes

Also check out the full scanned version of the memo, over at

Bye Bye, Robot: Official Licensed Star Trek Fine Art