One of the smartest things director J.J. Abrams did with his Star Trek reboot films was enlisting the considerable talents and fan cachet of Leonard Nimoy, returning to the role of Spock which made him an icon. Regardless of how well you think the films themselves were handled, having the classic Spock appear essentially bestowed his blessing on Abrams’ take on the franchise. With William Shatner now rumored for an appearance alongside Nimoy in Trek 3, many have been wondering what other familiar characters might someday pop up in the new Trek timeline. What about the Next Generation cast, for instance? Well, they have a few things to say about that…
Most of the core Next Generation actors were reunited last weekend at the annual New York Comic Con. Shatner hosted the panel, which included Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Denise Crosby, and Q himself, John de Lancie. A fan asked the assembled Enterprise-D crew if they’d consider visiting the new Trek universe, and their responses (via IGN) ranged from snarky to diplomatic.
LeVar Burton may be busy bringing Reading Rainbow to schools across the country after his mega-successful Kickstarter campaign, but would he take time to visit nü Trek? He said, “No! … That would be a no, Bill.” Not terribly surprising, given that Burton is on the record as not being a fan of Abrams’ brand of Trek.
Brent Spiner (Data) dodged the question with sarcasm, replying, “I certainly would be honored to be in the third Star Trek film that they’re making now, playing all of the characters. And all of their families.”
Gates McFadden (Dr. Crusher) declined with a simple, “I’m going to have to pass on that.”
Sir Patrick Stewart gave a more thoughtful reply, as is befitting a distinguished British gentleman and knight of the realm:
I think it would smack of kind of cute casting to have any of us play another role in a Star Trek movie. … I just think it would be a little awkward. I mean, I know that we’ve got half our panel still to speak. But for me, LeVar kind of said it all in one word: No.
Wow, mostly bad news for the new Trek producers so far. Maybe Michael Dorn (Worf) can turn things around? “No,” said Dorn. “It’s just because, I agree with Patrick at a certain point it just gets to be a little too much.”
So no fans of stunt casting here in the Next Gen cast. Fair enough. But wait, here comes Marina Sirtis (Troi) with an upset! “Yes! And I would be… Nurse Chapel.”
Sadly, Jonathan Frakes was AWOL, so somebody else will have to track him down to see if he’d be game. But what about John DeLancie? Q is a mirthful nigh-omnipotent godling, so presumably it’d be easy for him to pop into the new universe and harass young Kirk, McCoy, and the rest. Alas, DeLancie thinks one inescapable force is standing in the way: time.
It would put a lie to the notion that I’m immortal, I’m afraid. … No, I don’t even think about those things. It’s somebody else’s dinner party, and if they’re going to invite me, I’ll think about it then. But I don’t even think about it.
So who gets the last word? How about Denise Crosby, whose death as Tasha Yar traumatized my young nerd brain back in the day? She’s in, she just has has one request: “I’d probably want to play Karl Urban’s lover… I mean, I’m sorry, mother. Mother!”
Star Trek 3 doesn’t have an official release date yet, but it’s likely targeting a 2016 release in order to tie in with Trek’s 50th anniversary. And hey, maybe the Trek 3 producers can call Wil Wheaton, I bet he’d be up for a cameo.