Robin Williams made no attempt to disguise his unabashed love for the Star Trek franchise. The legendary actor and comedian was a true fan of the property and there were apparently a number of instances where he proved his love of everything Star Trek. In fact, it got to a point where he was actually going to star in a very notable episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation that was written especially for him.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “A Matter of Time” was written by Rick Berman specifically for Robin Williams to play the part of Berlinghoff Rasmussen, a time traveler who claims to be from the future but is revealed to be a thief from the past who is stealing artifacts and technology from the future for his own profit. Scheduling issues ended up preventing Williams from playing the part and character actor Matt Frewer ended up in the role. It is often considered one of the better episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and it would have been incredible to see Williams in the role of the goofball thief.
But, Robin Williams’ love of Star Trek does not end there. He has had a number of interactions with the property over the years. Back in the late ’70s when Star Trek: The Motion Picture was being shot on the Paramount soundstage, Williams was working on the sitcom Mork & Mindy. He would ride his bike over to the Paramount lot and was actually able to stand on the set for the bridge of the USS Enterprise. This definitely shows that the actor and comedian was enraptured with the property for a very long time.
There are also accounts of Robin Williams visiting the sets of Star Trek: Voyager while it was in production. Captain Janeway herself, Kate Mulgrew, talked about playing softball with Williams when he came by the set in 1996. It sounds like Robert Duncan McNeill had a similar (if not the same) experience with him around that same time. And Neelix actor Ethan Phillips recalled Williams wanting to be on Star Trek: Voyager as well. It sounds like he was adamant about trying to make an appearance in Star Trek but the fates were never able to align.
It is always disheartening to hear that an actor like Robin Williams tried to pursue involvement with some property that they were a fan of but it never came to be. A similar story involves none other than Eddie Murphy who was originally slated to be one of the lead characters in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. That was another instance of a high-profile celebrity being a genuine fan of Star Trek and wanting a chance to play in one of their favorite sandboxes. Sadly, that also never came to fruition.
Matt Frewer did a wonderful job as Berlinghoff Rasmussen, but it will be tough to watch that episode now and not dream about Robin Williams in the part. Nowadays, we wonder if someone will go to the lengths of creating a deepfake version of just that. Stranger things have happened.