Star Trek, as an overall franchise, is at an interesting inflection point right now. The universe has gained massive popularity on the back of new shows in recent years, telling new stories and introducing a bevy of cool characters. But they’ve also drawn into past performances as well, hat-tipping and more to works of the past. So it’s reasonable that those who’ve played roles in other Star Trek shows might want a shot at what’s happening with the current franchise. One of those guys is LeVar Burton who gave an interview with Newsweek about where he stands with his character of Geordi La Forge and if the latter will appear anytime soon in future Star Trek works.
Levar Burton was very candid in his interview discussing where he is mentally and emotionally around the La Forge character as well as his expectations about ever taking part again in the Star Trek franchise. One telling quote from the interview, that left the door open for a possible return was this:
“I’m really happy with where Geordi sits in my life. And even though I feel like it would be fun to revisit him now and again, living in his skin every day, I don’t necessarily need to go back to doing that.”
This is an honest quote but also an interesting hedge. It’s clear that he enjoyed playing the part, which he did for seven seasons on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was a fan favorite and it while not a career-defining role for the actor, remains one of his longest-running gigs. It makes sense that he’d look back at the part with affection. He went on to describe what he believes to be some of the thought process in casting around Star Trek: Picard and how the writers likely wanted to work in elements of the past show without having it being a The Next Generation reunion. LeVar Burton had this to say:
“I’m sure that it was a big concern of Patrick’s (Stewart) and important for him that the stories that they told had an energetic departure from Next Gen. I think they’ve successfully done that. And I know that for the first season, there was a strong desire to not continually have people reference back to Next Gen.”
In large part, LeVar Burton appears correct in this assessment of how the folks at Star Trek: Picard approached the first season of the show. While there were some nods to previous stories, with a Jonathan Frakes sighting as well, by and large, the show told its own, new story. If there was a calling to distance themselves from the shows of the past, outside of the titular captain, they, by and large, did this.
But LeVar Burton having a desire to begin a return to the Star Trek universe would be in light of the recent casting news for Picard’s second season. That’s because it was recently teased and then confirmed that John de Lancie would be returning to reprise his character of Q. In fact, it was a major reveal in those teasers meaning the character most likely has a major role in this season’s narrative arc. It doesn’t appear to be the aforementioned The Next Generation reunion, but it’s clear that past stories and characters will come into play for this season.
And Star Trek, as a whole, has worked to keep other past characters in the mix when possible. Frakes’s Riker appears in the animated show Lower Decks and Kate Mulgrew’s Captain Kathryn Janeway will appear in holographic form for the first season of the animated series Prodigy. Even Michael Dorn recently teased a possible return to his Worf character in some form.
LeVar Burton appeared on all seven seasons of The Next Generation and it would be great to get him back into the mix at some point. It just doesn’t look imminent right now.