LeVar Burton Would Change One Thing About His Iconic Star Trek Character

By Tyler Pisapia | 3 weeks ago

levar burton

LeVar Burton has seen his fair share of iconic roles over the years. Whether it’s captivating people as Kunta Kinte in Roots or introducing an entire generation of kids to books in Reading Rainbow, the actor was always nailing it in show business. However, there is one aspect of what is arguably his most iconic role, Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation that still rubs him the wrong way. 

For those unfamiliar, LeVar Burton played the Starship Enterprise D’s intrepid lead engineer. The character is perhaps most recognizable for his trademark VISOR, a device he wore over his eyes that enabled him, a blind man, to see through various other frequencies perceptible to his brain. 

Speaking in an interview with Rolling Stone, LeVar Burton noted that he is grateful to have played such a capable character that inspired so many people to get into engineering and painted a vision of the future in which Black men were present. However, he says that the show missed an opportunity to give Geordi a real romantic arc in the series. 

levar burton star trek the next generation

Although he’s grateful for the representation his role presented for young Black men, LeVar Burton believes that cultural biases among the largely white writers room on Star Trek: The Next Generation contributed to his character never getting a true romantic storyline. In fact, he noted that people often comment on how Geordi was inept around women and found himself befuddled quite often around pretty ladies. To this day, the actor takes issue with this portrayal and believes it was the writers not being able to relate to nor approach a romantic storyline with a person of color, opting instead to be “cute” in a way that made Geordi seem “uncomfortable.”   

LeVar Burton notes that his only two real forays into romantic storylines had to do with a being that turned out to be a monster and the unattainable holographic image of the ship’s designer. In his interview, LeVar Burton called the idea that Geordi never found his way with a woman “insulting” (via SlashFilm). 

LeVar Burton’s comments echo those he made in 2012 in a conversation with Gizmodo in which he said again that he wished the show explored Geordi’s sexuality a bit more and gave him a romantic interest to bounce off of. He says that he remains disappointed to see that the character was painted as merely the stereotypical “nerdy” guy who is portrayed as being inept or otherwise self-conscious around women. The actor stops short of getting into “Geordi was an incel” territory because he doesn’t believe he had a hatred of the opposite sex, just a lack of understanding and gumption. 

Still, there may be time to rectify that mistake. Thanks to the spinoff series Star Trek: Picard, the Star Trek: The Next Generation continuity is still very much alive and well. Perhaps there’s room for LeVar Burton to reprise his role as Geordi La Forge after all these years — maybe this time with a wife by his side to prove to fans that he finally figured it out after all?