Star Trek has spanned decades as the original mega-franchise. As such, it’s a universe filled with weird and unexpected tales, strange side trips, and odd adventures for the cast and fans outside of what we see on film. In this space, over time, we plan to detail all of them.
Here’s the strange Star Trek trivia and odd pieces of fandom we’ve collected so far.
James McAvoy’s Star Trek Parody
James McAvoy took over the role of Professor X from Patrick Stewart and now he seems ready to take over for him as Star Trek’s next great Captain. He stars in the following, hilariously strange Star Trek parody video: Star Force. Watch…
How Data Missed Out On A Promotion
In the Star Trek: The Next Generation season 6 episode “Second Chances” the crew of the Enterprise discovers a duplicate version of Will Riker, who was stranded on a planet years ago before Will got promoted to Commander. The other Riker takes on the name Lieutenant Commander Thomas Riker and goes on to live a separate life before being killed off years later on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. But it almost happened differently.
The original plan for “Second Chances” was for Will Riker to be killed off. Thomas Riker would then have taken his place as the ship’s new Operations Officer with Data being promoted to the rank of Commander and taking over as Captain Picard’s First Officer.
However, showrunner Michael Pillar vetoed the idea before they could go through with it, and the rest is history.
Captain Kirk As A Woman
There’s been talk recently of changing Captain Kirk’s sexual orientation so it was only a matter of time until someone transitioned him into a woman. The image below comes from, well, Shatner himself. Presumably he didn’t do the photoshop, someone else did. Here’s the image…
It should surprise no one that Shatner is attracted to himself. He loves two things: Women and himself. This checks both boxes.
How Garrett Wang Nearly Killed Harrison Ford
Garrett Wang played the never promoted Ensign Harry Kim on Star Trek: Voyager, and it was his first big acting role. But on his way to getting the part, he nearly killed Harrison Ford.
Here’s how he tells the story of auditioning to get the role of Harry on his new podcast with fellow Voyager alum Robert Duncan McNeill, The Delta Flyers…
“I’m actually speeding around the parking lot, and I come around this one bend, and this guy in a suit walks between two cars right in front of my car, so I slam on my breaks… You know when you almost have an accident; your heart is beating a thousand miles a minute? I lock eyes with this dude in the suit, and it’s Harrison Ford! I look at him, and I go ‘Oh my god! I almost killed Han Solo!’ I would have been hated by nerds everywhere!”
Apparently Ford was on the Paramount Studios lot for a specific purpose, as Garrett found out the next day…
“I remember reading the Variety paper, our Hollywood trade paper, the next day, and on the front page was a photo that said ‘Harrison Ford at Paramount Studios for the Clear and Present Danger screening.’ He was there for that, based on the Tom Clancy novel, wearing that same suit I almost maimed him in. He could have been a cripple, because of me.”
Afterward Harrison Ford went on to not die and make many more movies. Meanwhile Garrett Wang got the part on Star Trek: Voyager where he manned a console for seven seasons.
Legends Of Tomorrow Parodies Star Trek
In an upcoming season 5 episode titled “The One Where We’re Trapped on TV” the CW’s superhero show Legends of Tomorrow will, as the title suggests, send its characters into a variety of TV shows. Chief among them, as evidenced by the following photos, is Star Trek.
Ok it isn’t exactly Star Trek but it’s definitely a parody of Star Trek. There are a couple of key differences though. In particular you may have noticed that in this version of Gene Roddenberry’s future most of the women wear pants and the men wear… short shorts?
Meanwhile pictured above is Mick Rory who appears to be doing a pretty good impression of Ricardo Montalban’s Khan.
Everyone Kept Stealing Khan’s Necklace
During the shooting of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the prop department had a problem: They kept running out of jewelry for Khan. His signature starfleet necklace, the one with the starfleet symbol surrounded by the broken circle, kept getting stolen.
The item in question is the one hanging above Ricardo Montalban’s bulging chest in the picture below…
According to Inglorious Treksperts, the prop department kept having to make new ones, over and over again, as the item in question repeatedly disappeared off the set.
Why did people in the crew keep stealing it? Of course no one knows for sure, but aside from the fact that it’s pretty awesome looking, some people theorize that those that were on the set watching Ricardo Montalban’s performance knew they were watching history in the making.
Ricardo’s Khan is one of the great iconic villains in the history of cinema. And apparently it was obvious that what he was doing could end up being iconic, even to people simply watching him perform on set. People watching that wanted a piece of what they knew would be something the world would remember.
Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan Originally Had A Different Title
When Star Trek II began its marketing campaign back in 1982 it appeared with the title of Star Trek II: The Vengeance of Khan. They even put the name on a poster…
Though many of you have never seen that original title you’ve definitely heard the tagline that goes with it, which remains in the Wrath of Khan movie trailers. The tagline “At the end of space, lies the beginning of vengeance” remained part of the movie’s marketing material after the title change.
Here’s the trailer with the vengeance taglin still in it…
So why’d they change it? The third Star Wars movie was due to be released and around the time they started marketing Star Trek II, the film’s PR team learned that that movie was going to be called Star Wars: Revenge of the Jedi. Wanting to avoid any association with that title and thinking that “Vengeance” and “Revenge” were too similar, Star Trek II: The Vengeance of Khan was changed to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Later, after Wrath of Khan was already a thing, Star Wars changed its title to Star Wars: Return of the Jedi when George Lucas decided “revenge” wasn’t a very Jedi concept.
John Belushi Spent His Last Day Alive On The Wrath Of Khan Set
Actor and hilarious SNL cast member John Belushi died on March 5, 1982 of a drug overdose. At the time one of the many impersonations Belushi was known for, was his impersonation of Captain James T. Kirk. So earlier on in the day he died, Belushi was studying up. Here’s how Star Trek historian Mark A. Altman tells the story…
“Also an interesting story, one day John Belushi came to visit the set of Star Trek II. … He came because he wanted to perfect his [William] Shatner impersonation. So he came and watched Shatner on set all day. And that night, they wanted to have him sing and play The Blues Brothers at the wrap party, and they were going to ask him. And that night was the night he died of a drug overdose at the Chateau Marmont.“
Some people dispute this account since the official record says Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan finished filming in January of 1982. However, movies often end up doing additional photography after they’ve completed principle filming, so it’s not entirely possible that they still could have been shooting some final scenes as late as March.
Here’s Belushi playing Captain Kirk in one of Saturday Night Live’s Star Trek skits…
Brian Fuller’s Original Plan For Star Trek: Discovery
Brian Fuller was the man who originally created Star Trek: Discovery. However, at some point tensions between Fuller and CBS resulted in him being fired before the show actually started shooting.
Before he went he’d laid out a lot of plans for the series. Some of them were kept (like that bad redesign of the Klingons) others were jettisoned… like his plan for the Mirror Universe.
Fuller recently appeared on the show Robservations and explained what he had in mind for the Star Trek: Discovery mirror universe. He says, “The thing that really fascinated me in sitting down and crafting the story for Discovery was the human condition. I thought that there are elements in the Mirror Universe that we have seen that have sort of boiled to the broadest ends of the spectrum and everything felt really binary. And what I really wanted to do in setting out was looking at the minutiae of simple decisions that have a cascade effect on our lives. So, it’s not about gold lamé sashes and goatees versus no sash and clean-shaven. It is more about we are at forks in the road every moment of our lives and we either go left or right.”
Brian Fuller, who worked on shows like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and is a longtime Trek fan himself, was pulling influences from Star Trek: Voyager. He explains, “It makes me think of Joe Menosky’s speech in [VOY ‘Latent Image’], where The Doctor has a Sophie’s choice, he can only save one life. And he chose Ensign Harry Kim versus this other ensign and it is a split-decision and it causes his entire program to unravel because he can’t handle how his choice was always going to cost a life. It was his Kobayashi Maru.”
Fuller wanted to create his own Kobayashi Maru for Discovery’s characters. Here’s how it would have played out…
“So, there was something in the mistakes made by Burnham in ‘Battle of the Binary Stars’ that had this ripple, but the Mirror Universe was always meant to be an exploration of a small step in a different direction. So, it wasn’t necessarily the Mirror Universe we know from all of the other series. It was something that was closer to our timeline and experience, so you can still recognize the human being and go, ‘What did I do? How did that seem like a good decision for me in that moment and how do I continue with my life forward?’ And everything was a sort of an extrapolation out on that. So, there were things that I wanted the Mirror Universe to function in a narrative exploration of like ‘Oh f***, if I just didn’t do that one thing, everything would be better.’ As opposed to, ‘I don’t recognize that person, I don’t know who that person is, because they are a diametric opposite of who I am.’ So, that is kind of what the goal was.”
Did Data And The Borg Queen Have Sex?
One of the big lingering questions left hanging by Star Trek: First Contact is: What really happened between Data and the Borg Queen anyway? At one point of in the film the Borg Queen tempts Data with various sensations and then things get pretty sexually charge. When last we see them they’re locked in an embrace, and the scene ends.
So that begs the question: Did Data and the Borg Queen have sex? Until now we never really had an answer. But First Contact director Jonathan Frakes (who also plays Commander Riker in the movie) just delivered one for us.
When asked in a Q&A if we should assume Data and the Borg Queen had sex off camera Frakes said, “I would,” and then followed that with a more definitive “yes”.
I think the only correct reaction here is: Gross. Because seriously, the Borg Queen is just gross.
The Origins Of The Riker Maneuver
During his time playing Commander William T. Riker on Star Trek: The Next Generation, actor Jonathan Frakes had a very strange way of using chairs on screen. It’s since been dubbed “The Riker Maneuver” by fans and it looks like this…
Riker never steps in front of a chair to sit down, at least not when he can step over it.
For a long time it was believed he did this not as part of the character, but because Frakes has a long history of back problems. You can see him leaning on the furniture, in a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation scenes and making it look cool like this…
The reality is that he hurt his back when he used to have a job moving furniture. Actor Wil Wheaton even confirmed this as the cause of the Riker Maneuver in a Reddit post, but it seems Wesley Crusher got it wrong.
Jonathan does have back problems and while those are responsible for the lean they aren’t responsible for his total disregard for the backs of chairs. In a Q&A with IGN Frakes finally revealed the real origin of The Riker Maneuver. He says, “That started in [the TNG set] Ten Forward because the backs of the chairs were so low, it was easy. And then I thought, this is really a hotdog, asshole thing to do. Nobody’s going to let me do this. And then nobody stopped me! It’s such a cocky, unattractive, kind of bad cowboy move.”
Apparently Frakes now does this in real-life too. He says, “I do when the chairback is below the danger zone… I measure twice and cut once!”
As for whether he’s seen all the YouTube compilations of him executing The Riker Maneuver Frakes says, “Whoever did the YouTube compilation of Riker sits down, it went viral and was even more embarrassing, and made me strangely even more proud!”
Predicting Virus Cures With Ultraviolet Light
One of the hot topics in the month of April is the idea of using ultraviolet light to defeat viruses, specifically the deadly Coronavirus. Even President Trump, somewhat controversially, mentioned it as a possible solution to the pandemic. Though Trump’s comments weren’t well-received, ultraviolet light treatment is a real thing being used by doctors right now, not only to disinfect hospitals but to kill virus inside patients. And Star Trek predicted it.
In the final episode of Star Trek season 1, titled “Operation – Annihilate!” the crew of the Enterprise defeats a global pandemic using Ultraviolet light to kill the virus. And someone took a clip from that scene and replaced all the characters with Trump and his Whitehouse staff. Here it is…
Whether Ultraviolet light ends up working or not, this is hilarious.
Jonathan Frakes Played Captain America
Before he landed the role of Commander William Riker, actor and now director Jonathan Frakes was just a struggling actor willing to do just about anything to make a buck. One of the things he did was to play Captain America.
In a recent appearance at GalaxyCon, Frakes explained how he ended up in Red, White, and Blue…
“I did it for a couple of years. I was in New York and a friend of mine, Charlie Davis, and I were dating girls that stayed in the same house in New York which was the same house that used to be in the movie Backstage… It was like a sorority of actors if you will. … [Charlie] had been hired by someone to go out as Spider-Man to open up comic book stores. And Marvel on 575 Madison Avenue, the eighth floor, had built him a costume. And he did a couple of them and he said, ‘They’re looking for a guy to do Captain America. You should go meet the people over there.’ So I went over there and, to make it long story short, he and I ended up going out on this weird tour.”
As part of that tour, Frakes even ended up at the Whitehouse with Stan Lee and then First Lady Rosalynn Carter. Here he is in Captain America’s tights…
It actually sounds like he really enjoyed the job…
“We’d go out on a Friday, much like a convention, and we’d go to Omaha or we’d go to Chicago and we’d have a schedule and somebody… would pick us up at the airport with a rented Taurus and we’d have a schedule. We’d get to a 7-11, then we’d do a comic book store, then we’d got to a supermarket. Every 20 minutes we’d have to be somewhere, and we’d have these spacesuits on, we’d pull up a block away, I’d get on the hood of the car — first of all, I’d take the garbage can lid that had the big ‘A’ on it out of the thing, I’d gripper on the two wings that Captain America has on his cowl — I’d hold the garbage can lid, I’d stand on the hood of the car, ride into the parking lot of the 7-11 on the Ford Taurus. It was a very glamorous time and we made 50 bucks a day.”
Patrick Stewart Couldn’t Keep His Uniform
When Star Trek: The Next Generation ended it was a big deal. It was a big deal not just for the audience, but the cast. In particular it meant a lot to Patrick Stewart and when he’d finished filming “All Good Things” and had his last day on the set, he wanted to take something with him to remember the good times he’d had there. But the show wouldn’t let him.
When Star Trek: The Next Generation was finished filming Patrick Stewart went to production and asked them to let him take one of Picard’s uniforms with him as a momento. This is what happened…
“I was kind of cross. I had gone to the production office and said ‘Look: I would like to have one of my uniforms. And whatever it costs to make these uniforms, I will reimburse that cost. [Paramount] wouldn’t sell it to me. Even though I had numerous uniforms.“
Soon after Patrick was doing the talk show rounds and told the story of how Paramount wouldn’t let him take a uniform. Then this he got a surprise…
“I went on the same show to do an interview, and halfway through the interview I was told: ‘Oh, by the way, we have something for you.’ And onto the set walked out an executive from Paramount, with my uniform in his hands.“
One enterprising Star Trek: The Next Generation fan has taken the show’s blooper reels and re-integrated them into the episodes. The result are a series of hilarious, alternate versions of some of the show’s best moments called Star Trek INtakes.
For example here’s Worf and Geordi celebrating inappropriately after a rescue…
And in the episode “All Good Things” (cited above as one of the best) Data shields his eyes calmly as everything blows up. But here’s how it could have happened…
And perhaps my favorite, something’s very wrong with Worf…