Jack Crusher actor Ed Speleers says he auditioned for a different Star Trek role that he is not certain of.
Ed Speleers didn’t originally audition for Star Trek: Picard, but for another Star Trek series and a role he can’t be certain of, though he has his suspicions. As Jack Crusher, namesake of Beverly Crusher‘s late husband, Speleers had a tall order in front of him as Jack is revealed to be the son of Jean-Luc Picard. Filling the role of the offspring of one of Starfleet’s most storied captains is no mean task, nor is measuring up when your onscreen dad is the legendary Patrick Stewart, but Speelers proved himself more than up to the task.
The final season of Star Trek: Picard had a lot riding on it—the weight of the Next Generation legacy, no less—and, by all accounts, it more than lived up to the task at hand of giving Picard and company a fitting send-off. Ed Speleers was a crucial part of that mix, as he had to be believable as the son of both Picard and Beverly Crusher. His performance delivered with excellence as he captured not just the compassion and determination of Beverly alongside the poetic soul of Jean-Luc, but something of his father’s somewhat overlooked roguishness and charm, along with a healthy disrespect for rules that get in the way.
Speleers was a long way from Downton Abbey in Star Trek: Picard, but he fit right in in the 25th century, quickly stirring up believable, well-matched conflict with his estranged father. But it wasn’t necessarily going to be this way for Speleers, as his original audition was for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, or so he surmises in an interview with /Film. He’s not sure either, but he thinks he knows what role he was up for.
The Star Trek: Picard star read a few audition pages known as “sides,” which contain dialogue and scenes written specifically to be used in auditions and not for production. These sides can and often do have little to nothing in common with the final script, which protects the privacy of high-profile productions like Picard. Nonetheless, the clues surrounding the audition lead Speleers to surmise that he might have been up for the role of James T. Kirk himself, as ultimately portrayed in the series by Paul Wesley.
It would have been quite a role for Speleers, but a huge loss to Star Trek: Picard had he been cast in Strange New Worlds instead. Paramount famously had an extraordinarily difficult time casting Picard clone Shinzon (played by Tom Hardy) for Star Trek: Nemesis, and it’s easy to imagine that finding an actor to play Picard’s “Next Generation” could have been a similarly daunting task. Thankfully, the role of Jack Crusher went to Speleers instead, and Star Trek is all the better for it.
Sure, in a world where Speleers wasn’t cast in Star Trek: Picard, we can imagine the dashing young star in the center seat as Kirk, but he is such a perfect fit for Crusher that we can hardly imagine anyone could have been better. Of course, we like to imaginatively recast roles on occasion around here—as we recently did with Star Trek’s Data—but we’re perfectly happy with Speleers right where he is.