List of Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members
Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series that debuted in broadcast syndication on September 28, 1987. The series lasted for seven seasons until 1994, and was followed by four movies which were released between 1994 and 2002. The show was a follow-up to the original Star Trek series which was broadcast on NBC between 1966 and 1969, with characters from the original series appearing in The Next Generation on several occasions; a crossover movie titled Star Trek Generations was also released. The Next Generation was developed by creator Gene Roddenberry, who served as an executive producer until his death in 1991, along with Maurice Hurley, Rick Berman, Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor. The show was filmed primarily on the Paramount Studios lot in Los Angeles, California.
Preliminary casting began during March 1987, and the main cast was announced on May 15. The initial press release highlighted the casting of LeVar Burton, known for appearing in the miniseries Roots, as Geordi La Forge. Burton had auditioned for the role following a suggestion from executive producer Robert H. Justman, who had previously worked with him on a TV movie. The only other two members of the cast mentioned were Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard and Jonathan Frakes as William Riker. Stewart was cast in the lead role after being spotted by Justman at a dramatic reading at the University of California, Los Angeles. However, the show's creator, Roddenberry, wanted a French actor and was considering the role of Data for Stewart. Both Justman and Berman campaigned for Stewart to have the part of Captain Picard, and Roddenberry relented. Frakes became Roddenberry's favorite for the role of Riker after the actor went through seven auditions for the role.
The producers sought a black actor to portray Worf, as it would make the Klingon make-up easier. Michael Dorn was cast due to his theater training and the lack of a "street-accent". The character was intended to appear in seven of the first thirteen episodes, but after Dorn's performance in the pilot "Encounter at Farpoint", this was expanded to a series regular. Roddenberry's intention for the casting of the new series was to avoid using characters similar to those that appeared in The Original Series. However, some of the elements of the characters of Riker and Deanna Troi were modeled on the characters of William Decker and Ilia, who were originally conceived for the unfilmed Star Trek: Phase II and later appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. During casting, the role of Troi was originally assigned to Denise Crosby, with Marina Sirtis cast as Security Chief Macha Hernandez. Roddenberry believed that Sirtis would be better in the role of Troi and switched the two actresses; Crosby was cast as a modified version of the security chief, called Tasha Yar. Several candidates for the main parts were later cast in guest or recurring roles, including Eric Menyuk, who was second choice for the part of Data, and Rosalind Chao, who was originally considered for Tasha Yar. Tim Russ was considered for the part of Geordi La Forge, and would later be cast in the part of Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager.
Crosby left the show before the end of the first season, while Gates McFadden as Beverly Crusher was dropped after season one. Diana Muldaur joined the cast as Katherine Pulaski to replace McFadden, but Muldaur left after only one season; McFadden returned in season three. Crosby reprised the role of Yar in season three's "Yesterday's Enterprise", and returned for several more episodes as Yar's half Romulan daughter Sela. Wil Wheaton left the main cast during season four, but returned for a number of episodes in season five as well as a final appearance in season seven.
Several actors were cast in roles which recurred throughout the seven seasons on television and into the four feature films. Majel Barrett, referred to as "The First Lady of Star Trek" due to her marriage with Roddenberry, appeared both as the voice of Starfleet computers and as Lwaxana Troi. The part of Lwaxana was specifically created for her. She had appeared in The Original Series and two Star Trek films as Christine Chapel, and as Number One in the original pilot "The Cage". John de Lancie was cast as Q despite missing his first audition as it conflicted with a play he was in at the time. A second audition was arranged, where de Lancie impressed Roddenberry, who told him that "You make my words sound better than they are." Colm Meaney was originally cast as an unnamed Ensign in "Encounter at Farpoint", but was subsequently cast as the Transporter Chief Miles O'Brien, appearing in 52 episodes in that role. Whoopi Goldberg approached the producers and asked for a role in the show, resulting in Roddenberry writing her the part of Guinan. She credits Nichelle Nichols as Uhura in The Original Series as inspiring her, saying "when I was nine years old Star Trek came on, I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, 'Come here, mom, everybody, come quick, come quick, there's a black lady on television and she ain't no maid!' I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be." She made her first appearance in the second series episode "The Child" and went on to appear in a total of 28 episodes plus both Star Trek: Generations and Star Trek: Nemesis.
|Stewart, PatrickPatrick Stewart||Jean-Luc Picard||Main|
|Frakes, JonathanJonathan Frakes||William Riker||Main|
|Sirtis, MarinaMarina Sirtis||Deanna Troi||Main|
|Spiner, BrentBrent Spiner||Data||Main|
|Burton, LeVarLeVar Burton||Geordi La Forge||Main|
|Dorn, MichaelMichael Dorn||Worf||Main|
|McFadden, GatesGates McFadden||Beverly Crusher||Main||Main|
|Wheaton, WilWil Wheaton||Wesley Crusher||Main||Recurring||Guest||Appeared|
|Crosby, DeniseDenise Crosby||Tasha Yar||Main||Guest||Guest|
|Muldaur, DianaDiana Muldaur||Katherine Pulaski||Main|
|Meaney, ColmColm Meaney||Miles O'Brien||Recurring||Guest|
|Barrett, MajelMajel Barrett||Lwaxana Troi||Recurring||Guest|
|de Lancie, JohnJohn de Lancie||Q||Recurring||Recurring||Guest|
|Struycken, CarelCarel Struycken||Mr. Homn||Recurring|
|Menyuk, EricEric Menyuk||The Traveler||Guest||Guest||Guest|
|Goldberg, WhoopiWhoopi Goldberg||Guinan||Recurring||Appeared||Appeared|
|Naff, LyciaLycia Naff||Sonya Gomez||Recurring|
|O'Reilly, RobertRobert O'Reilly||Gowron||Guest||Recurring|
|Plakson, SuzieSuzie Plakson||K'Ehleyr||Guest||Guest|
|Katsulas, AndreasAndreas Katsulas||Tomalak||Recurring||Guest|
|Todd, TonyTony Todd||Kurn||Recurring|
|Schultz, DwightDwight Schultz||Reginald Barclay||Recurring||Recurring||Appeared|
|Chao, RosalindRosalind Chao||Keiko O'Brien||Recurring|
|Yasutake, PattiPatti Yasutake||Alyssa Ogawa||Recurring||Appeared|
|March, BarbaraBarbara March||Lursa||Recurring||Guest||Appeared|
|Walsh, GwynythGwynyth Walsh||B'Etor||Recurring||Guest||Appeared|
|Crosby, DeniseDenise Crosby||Sela||Recurring|
|Bonsall, BrianBrian Bonsall||Rozhenko, AlexanderAlexander Rozhenko||Recurring|
|Forbes, MichelleMichelle Forbes||Ro Laren||Recurring||Guest|
|Judd, AshleyAshley Judd||Robin Lefler||Recurring|
|Jonathan Del Arco||Hugh of Borg||Guest|
|Thorley, KenKen Thorley||Mot||Recurring|
|Nogulich, NataliaNatalia Nogulich||Alynna Nechayev||Recurring|
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Majel was... was always a welcome part of any story. Of course we had her with us every day because she is the voice of the computer too. But the character that they created for her, Deanna Troi's mother, Lwaxana Troi, was perfect for Majel, for her style, for her sense of humour, for her flamboyance, and to get her involved in the way that she was with the captain in that sort of semi-humorous romantic way, provided all of us with a... with a lot of entertainment. A lot of us consider really to be, you know, a member of the inner circle.
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