dream cast: hypothetical ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ movie

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to remake an 80s classic TV show or movie with an all-new cast. This week: Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 1987-1994 syndication science fiction show. Hey, if J.J. Abrams can do it with the old Trek, we can do it with the new.

(If you have a suggestion for an 80s TV show or movie we should play with, feel free to email me.)
The original cast included:

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Patrick Stewart
Commander William T. Riker: Jonathan Frakes
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: LeVar Burton
Counselor Deanna Troi: Marina Sirtis
Lt. Commander Data: Brent Spiner
Lieutenant Worf: Michael Dorn
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Gates McFadden
Wesley Crusher: Wil Wheaton
Chief Miles O’Brien: Colm Meaney
Lieutenant Tasha Yar: Denise Crosby
Guinan: Whoopi Goldberg
Q: John de Lancie
Barclay: Dwight Schultz

My dream remake cast:

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Linus Roache
Commander William T. Riker: Nathan Fillion
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Will Smith
Counselor Daniel Troi (gender switch!): Milo Ventimiglia
Lt. Commander Data (gender switch!): Vera Farmiga
Lieutenant Worf: Hugh Jackman
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Gillian Anderson
Wesley Crusher: Michael Cera
Chief Miles O’Brien: Daniel Craig
Lieutenant Tasha Yar: Kerry Washington
Guinan: Frances McDormand
Q: Sam Rockwell
Barclay: Seth Rogen

Who would you cast (Feel free to reimagine the show as you like, too.)

Boldly reimagining credit sequences:

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Nayana Anthony
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 2:43pm

The Star Trek geek in me violently resisted at your suggested gender switches (especially Troi’s)…

but how fabulous would Frances McDormand be as Guinan??? Almost as amazing as Michael Cera’s Wesley, I’m thinking. He’s affable and angsty… could he be science-y, too?

John
John
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 3:07pm

I’m totally OK with the gender switches. I particularly like the idea of Gillian Anderson as Dr. Crusher. I like Nathan Fillion as Riker. I’m even OK with the idea of Michael Cera as Wesley. But… Seth Rogen? No. Just, no.

Chris
Chris
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 3:15pm

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Michael Keaton
Commander William T. Riker: Matt Damon
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Harold Perrineau
Counselor Deana Troi: Kerri Russell
Lt. Commander Data: Keanu Reeves (my body is human)
Lieutenant Worf: Vin Diesel
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Elizabeth Mitchell
Wesley Crusher: Michael Cera
Chief Miles O’Brien: Simon Pegg (I know, I know)
Lieutenant Tasha Yar: Kerry Washington
Guinan: Frances McDormand
Q: Sam Rockwell
Barclay: Kevin Smith

Bill
Bill
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 3:19pm

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: David Morse
Commander William T. Riker: Nathan Fillion
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Don Cheadle
Counselor Deanna Troi: Lauren Graham
Lt. Commander Data: Keanu Reaves
Lieutenant Worf: John C McGinley
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Allison Janney

I was not a fan of this show. I think I was busy with Young Riders at the time. But from what I remember of the characters, I think this group would do.

PaulW
PaulW
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 4:29pm

This is wrong on soooooooo many levels. I’ve got a hard enough time accepting the new cast for the ToS series (except for Pegg as Scotty… and okay, having Sylar as Spock is good for giggles). Now you want me to picture Nathan Fillion, CAPTAIN REYNOLDS, as Riker?!?!?!?! Ayaaaaaa!

PaulW
PaulW
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 4:31pm

And here’s something else: nobody so far is suggesting an actual Frenchman play, you know, a French Picard. Great actor, did a great job in the role, but the character bio was sooooo wrong from the start, they should have put him in as a Brit and not pretend Stewart was French… damn, I’m nitpicking…

C. David Dent
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 4:55pm

I say we hire the folks from Dr. Who (and Spin-offs)

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Christopher Eccleston
Commander William T. Riker: John Barrowman
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Noel Clarke
Counselor Daniel Troi: Catherine Tate
Lt. Commander Data: Burn Gorman
Lieutenant Worf: James Marsters
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Billie Piper
Wesley Crusher: Tommy Knight
Chief Miles O’Brien: Gareth David-Lloyd
Lieutenant Tasha Yar: Eve Myles
Guinan: Elizabeth Sladen
Q: David Tennant
Barclay: Mark Warren

Sarah
Sarah
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 4:56pm

Replace “Linus Roach” with “Patrick Stewart” and you’ve got my money.

There is no reason to replace Patrick Stewart. In anything. Ever. Unless he dies, and even then you could reanimate his corpse and still surpass the abilities or most living actors.

C. David Dent
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 4:57pm

@PaulW

I never accepted Jean Luc as a Frenchman. I mean, sure his family lived in France and everything, but I always got the impression he wasn’t raised in France…although it was never implicitly stated.

Emil
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 5:11pm

I realize half the fun of exercises like this is finding the biggest possible star for each role, but if you’re really trying to assemble a cohesive cast, sticking A-listers like Daniel Craig and Will Smith in supporting parts like Geordi and O’Brien will only lead to trouble (Halle Berry as Storm, anyone?). With that in mind:

First, the “lead” roles of Picard/Data/Worf (always TNG’s answer to Kirk/Spock/Picard – no other characters had the lead in more plot lines):

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Christopher Eccleston
Lt. Commander Data: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Lieutenant Worf: Jeffrey Wright

As for the rest:

Doctor Beverly Crusher: Rosario Dawson
Wesley Crusher: Jaden Smith
Commander William T. Riker: Brandon Routh
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Kal Penn
Chief Miles O’Brien: Kevin Corrigan
Lieutenant Tasha Yar: Rhona Mitra
Guinan: Sonja Sohn
Barclay: Robert Webb

And the two bits of casting I’m totally with you on:

Q: Sam Rockwell (or Crispin Glover if you’re prepared to get weird)
Counselor Daniel Troi: Milo Ventimiglia (but only if he’s still Riker’s ex)

Emil
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 5:12pm

Did I say Kirk/Spock/Picard

Obviously meant Kirk/Spock/McCoy.

bitchen frizzy
bitchen frizzy
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 5:14pm

No, he was raised in France, in a vineyard, no less. There’s an episode about him visiting his childhood home.

Picard’s background is France centuries from our present. Accents and cultures change.

Martin
Martin
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 5:55pm

Patrick Stewart was born and raised in a town a few miles away from me. One of the highlights of Steamboy was hearing him speak in his native accent.

It just about cancelled out Anna Paquin’s butchering of the English accent.

But yeah, you with either retcon Picard as British, hire a French actor or get someone to try a French accent.

bitchen frizzy
bitchen frizzy
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 6:09pm

*Sigh*

If you can suspend disbelief enough to accept that the galactic standard language is 20th century American English, what is the point of nitpicking the accents in which it is spoken?

Cathy
Cathy
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 6:38pm

I’m not too crazy about the gender switch for Data. Troi I don’t mind so much, but I don’t really want to see another sexy female robot/android on TV.

Newbs
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 7:44pm

If you can suspend disbelief enough to accept that the galactic standard language is 20th century American English, what is the point of nitpicking the accents in which it is spoken?

This is not how Star Trek TNG works: they have a “universal translator” that lets them understand all languages, except the enigmatic metaphors of the Children of Tama.

Also: Nathan Fillion as Number 1? Captain Tightpants is second to nobody, not ever!

JoshB
JoshB
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 8:44pm

Can’t resist the urge to poach actors from my favorite show.
Picard: Hugo Weaving
Riker: Nathan Fillion
Geordi La Forge: Omar Epps
Deanna Troi: Amy Acker
Data: poor Keanu
Worf: Dwayne Johnson
Beverly Crusher: Lisa Edelstein
Wesley Crusher: Mary Sue
O’Brien: Paul Giamatti
Tasha Yar: Lena Headey
Guinan: Francis McDormand (inspired pick!)
Q: Hugh Laurie
Barclay: Kevin Smith

John
John
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 9:14pm

Oohhh, Hugh Laurie for Q! Most excellent. :D

Cate
Cate
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 9:54pm

OMG, I love Linus Roache! He’s the reason I’m watching Law & Order again.

Ken
Ken
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 10:55pm

Commander William T. Riker: John Barrowman

I like this!

How about Gina Torres as Yar?

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Thu, Dec 04, 2008 10:59pm

Lt. Commander Data: Keanu Reeves (my body is human)

Oh man, that’s so perfect. Wish I’d thought of it.

OMG, I love Linus Roache! He’s the reason I’m watching Law & Order again.

Me too. :->

angel
angel
Fri, Dec 05, 2008 7:21am

C. David Dent, you are brilliant!!!

Eccleston as Piccard makes my brain explode.

bitchen frizzy
bitchen frizzy
Fri, Dec 05, 2008 9:49am

–“This is not how Star Trek TNG works: they have a “universal translator” that lets them understand all languages, except the enigmatic metaphors of the Children of Tama.”

I know. And that universal translator translates everything into American English. Or not, if we assume it’s translating everything into some other language the Enterprise crew is actually speaking. Doesn’t matter, we just accept that it works.

So why nitpick the accents?

Ozzy
Ozzy
Fri, Dec 05, 2008 12:07pm

Whoopi Goldberg as Guinen and Dwight Schultz as Barclay are the only “unrecastable” characters in my opininon. Both actors are huge fans of Star Trek and fans kept the francise alive for over 40 years. Show them some respect.
Actually is think that Liam Neeson might be a good choice for Picard.

Emil
Fri, Dec 05, 2008 1:34pm

The more I think about this, there are only a few good reasons to remake (or “reboot”) anything:

1. The original was flawed to begin with, or else has aged poorly, yet had a few really cool ideas that remain relevant today (Battlestar Galactica)

2. The original took a certain tone with a story and characters that could just as easily lend themselves to other interpretations (the various incarnations of Batman, from 1960s camp to 1990s weirdness to 2000s post-9/11 grittiness)

3. The original was very specific to one culture, and could stand to be adapted to make it more directly relevant to another (‘The Departed”s translation of ‘Infernal Affairs’ from Hong Kong to Boston)

4. The remaker intends some radical deconstruction of the source material wherein the act of remaking is, in itself, a form of artistic expression (‘Alphaville’ with its appropriation of the established detective character Lemmy Caution… ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘The Tailor of Panama’ do this, indirectly)

One could argue that the original series stands to be remade on counts 1 and 2 (Shatner’s gloriously bad acting; dated special effects; its specifically 1960s mindset; the sometimes campy tone). However, I’d say the 1980s films already gave us a darker, more serious ‘Trek’ and TNG did much to improve the acting and effects of the franchise while carrying on in the movies’ mood.

Maybe, after some years have passed and the effects of TNG become more laughable or its attitudes become more conspicuously early-90s, we’ll find good reason to remake it, but as for now… it’s just too soon.

Also, I think somewhere in the very late 1980s, special effects crossed a threshold of realism where – with the exception of certain kinds of CGI – they don’t seem all that cheesy. I mean, I can actually imagine cybernetic aliens looking exactly like the Borg do on TNG (apart from the racial homogeneity).

blake
blake
Fri, Dec 05, 2008 3:34pm

Picard = Derek Jocobi
Data = Jonas Armstrong
Troi = Kathy Griffin
Riker = Craig Bierko
Dr. Crusher = Cassandra Peterson (AKA Elvira)
Geordi = John Simm

Borg Queen = MA.J.

Kidding, MA.J.

Kurn
Kurn
Fri, Dec 05, 2008 7:35pm

This is absolutley the most stupid idea i’ve ever heard of.

John
John
Sat, Dec 06, 2008 12:08am

I have a suggestion for a vital member of the Enterprise crew everyone has left off of their own lists!

Nameless red-wearing Away-team member: Kurn.

blake
blake
Sat, Dec 06, 2008 10:15am

“Nameless red-wearing Away-team member: Kurn.”

Brilliant.

Picard, Riker, Data and Nameless Red-Wearing Away Team Member Kurn beam onto a alien planet.

One of them isn’t gonna return to the Enterprise.

Guess who ?

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Sat, Dec 06, 2008 11:22am

Show them some respect.

This is absolutley the most stupid idea i’ve ever heard of.

I adore Dwight Schultz too, but, guys, come on! This isn’t about dissing anyone, and it isn’t even saying anyone *should* remake STTNG (or any other show or movie we play this game with). It’s just a playful exercise is imagining actors we like in roles we’re already familiar with.

It’s just meant to be fun, not any kind of directive to Hollywood or any kind of slap in the face to other actors we love.

blake
blake
Sat, Dec 06, 2008 11:43am

Worf = Philip Glenister
Q = Bill Nighy

Shadowen
Shadowen
Sat, Dec 06, 2008 6:38pm

I have a couple problems with the gender switches, MAJ.

The first problem is this: the new Star Trek movie, with its new cast, is not a reboot or remake; it’s a prequel. From a practical standpoint, doing the same thing with TNG wouldn’t be feasible, because most of the crew was brought together in the first episode. (Picard had only recently transferred to the Enterprise, they hadn’t even picked up Riker yet, etc.) All their adventures together have been largely documented. In TOS, they’d been together for some time; we didn’t know as much of what happened before that.

The second problem is this: it is not a reboot or remake, but a prequel. The characters are all the same gender and race (and species). From that standpoint, there’s no reason to change that part of it. It’d be like making Obi-Wan black or Yoda a woman in the Star Wars prequels. There’s no rule saying the characters can’t be…as long as you explain how he got so pale and she got a sex change in time for the original trilogy.

That being said, I’d welcome an actual reboot or remake, at least of the first two seasons, which were campier than the Boy Scouts. It’d also be nice for Wesley to be portrayed as something other than Gary Stu.

As for my cast…

Picard: Patrick Stewart. Like the other person said, you don’t replace Stewart without a damn good reason. And he’s now about as old as he was supposed to be in TNG.
Riker: Hugh Jackman.
Data: Keanu Reeves. (If we go with your gender-switch idea, Tilda Swinton.)
Yar: Either Katee Sackhoff (for obvious reasons) or Amy Allen. It’s kind of a shame we never got to see Aayla Secura be a real badass, but just get an ignominious death (like all the other Jedi). At least Allen will get to beat some people up and shoot them this before getting uncermoniously offed in the first season. Assuming, again, this is a remake and not a reboot.
Troi: Liv Tyler. (If we go with the gender-switch idea, Edward Norton.)
Beverly Crusher: Christina Hendricks.
Pulaski: Joyce Sutherland. She’s awesome.
Wesley Crusher: Michael Cera is always good as the gawky teenager which he had better bloody well be this time ’round.
Guinan: Angela Bassett. The key word, I think, is gravitas.
La Forge: Dwight Ewell.
Worf: Tahmoh Penikett. (I guess changing the race of the actor doesn’t matter so much in this case, as he’s a different species.)
O’Brien: Paul McGillion. Yes, he plays Scottish, but he’s actually Canadian.
Q: Ideally, many actors would play the part, to reflect Q’s nature. Practically, it would be hard for more than one actor to develop a similar rapport with all the main characters. For that reason:
Barclay: Simon Pegg. :D

Oh, and that reimagined credits is kind of bad. The point of a credits sequence nowadays is to show the characters in either multiple scenarios, dynamic action sequences, or both. That version has the advantage that, upon viewing the show, you’d know who each character was, but in every other way the original was superior. :p

Mark
Mark
Sun, Dec 07, 2008 12:18pm

The second problem is this: it is not a reboot or remake, but a prequel.

Actually, the premise is that this is a movie-length remake of an ’80s TV show. The new Trek movie has nothing to do with it. It’s really just an exercise in talking about dream casts for old favorite shows, and gender-switches are totally on the table for that.

obCast, with some changes in skin color and gender.

Picard: Samuel L. Jackson
Riker: David Boreanaz
LaForge: Wil Wheaton
Troi: Michael C Hall
Data: Summer Glau
Worf: Gina Torres
Beverly Crusher: Laurel Holloman
Wesley Crusher: Ellen Page
O’Brien: Alan Tudyk
Yar: Christina Cox
Guinan: Julie Benz
Q: Bruce Campbell
Barclay: Kristen Bell

Patrick
Patrick
Sun, Dec 07, 2008 12:37pm

Ian McKellan as Jean-Luc Picard.
Leland Orser as Reginald Barclay.

I’ll have to think about this about more.

[But come on, folks! The casting of TNG, was like it was cast by God, herself!]

JoshB
JoshB
Sun, Dec 07, 2008 1:16pm

@Mark: Lots of Whedonverse alumni there. If you’re gonna go that route I think Juliet Landau fits better as Guinan. Laurel Holloman is a natural choice for Yar. I do give points for Gina Torres as Worf.

MaryAnn
MaryAnn
Mon, Dec 08, 2008 2:08pm

The first problem is this: the new Star Trek movie, with its new cast, is not a reboot or remake; it’s a prequel. From a practical standpoint, doing the same thing with TNG wouldn’t be feasible

You’re thinking way too much about this. Just have fun with it. :->

Susie-Flyhead
Susie-Flyhead
Thu, Dec 11, 2008 12:30pm

Nathan Fillion AND Linus Roache???

Mary Ann, you are a woman after my own heart!!

Malcolm Reynolds & Michael Cutter are the two best characters to ever grace my TV screen. Fillion & Roache are both excellent actors. Of course, the talents of Joss Whedon & Rene Balcer have a lot to do with that too!

But I’d watch ANY show that featured Roache & Fillion – even an hour long instructional video on eating cereal.

And Cate, it is Roache that has me anticipating L&O every Wednesday now too. He is superb! In fact, I found this article from a link at IMDB, while trying to learn more about the man & his career. :)

bronxbee
bronxbee
Thu, Dec 11, 2008 12:51pm

“But I’d watch ANY show that featured Roache & Fillion – even an hour long instructional video on eating cereal.”

Oh, have you seen that video? it’s really quite awesome. they take something as simple as pouring cereal and turn it into a witty and compelling battle between good and evil in such an interesting and subtle way — you’d hardly know it was happening unless you’re paying attention. choices of cereal determine your character. i thought it was interesting they decided to go with Roche as the “dark side” because of Fillian’s work as the evil preacher on Buffy, but it worked really well because Roche just looks so elegant and sophisticated, and the Canadian Mountie outfit on Fillian is awesome.

not an easy video to get ahold of — General Mills is trying to suppress it, you know — but you can look for pirate copies of it under the title “Behind the Cupboard Door” or “Death Among the Pink Hearts.”

Susie-Flyhead
Susie-Flyhead
Thu, Dec 11, 2008 3:11pm

*LOL* You understand perfectly, Bronxbee. AND you are WAY funny! Thanks for that! :)