One of the first TV roles for actress and comedian Sarah Silverman was a two-episode guest spot on Star Trek: Voyager in 1996. And according to Voyager writer/producer Bryan Fuller, there was talk about making her a regular on the series. Exclusive details below.
Sarah Silverman considered for Voyager Series Regular
Before writer/producer (and Trekkie) Bryan Fuller created shows like Dead Like Me and Pushing Daisies, he got his start working on Star Trek, writing 22 episodes of DS9 and Voyager. Yesterday Fuller was apparently feeling nostalgic and posted an interesting Star Trek memory on Twitter:
LIL’ KNOWN: STAR TREK: VOYAGER producers considered making @SarahKSilverman a regular after her S3 turn as plucky present day astronomer.
Fuller was referring to actress/comedian Sarah Silverman’s two episode stint on the season 3 Star Trek: Voyager two-parter "Future’s End." Silverman played the SETI astronomer Rain Robinson, who worked with Tom Paris and Tuvok after the Voyager traveled back in time back to 1996 Los Angeles.
Star Trek: Voyager Producers considered adding Sarah Silverman (above as Rain Robinson in "Future’s End") to cast during Season 3
Fuller has provided some more details on his intriguing tweet, exclusively telling TrekMovie that the idea to bring Silverman on came from Voyager co-executive producer Brannon Braga. Fuller also confirms that Braga was thinking about Silverman joining the crew USS Voyager in her role as Rain Robinson (presumably following the crew back through time). According to Fuller:
It was Brannon’s desire to bring Rain on board because he enjoyed writing for Sarah and the freshness she brought to the show.
Silverman might have made an interesting addition to the Voyager cast. As a contemporary, she would be able to act as an audience proxy, which could help new viewers. Plus Silverman’s comic talents could have been put to use to add more humor to the series. The addition of Rain Robinson also added possibilities for a Tom Paris romance as Silverman and McNeill showed good chemistry in “Future’s End,” and that romance could have created good dramatic tension with Roxann Dawson’s B’elanna Torres.
Alas the idea was dropped, but Braga eventually did find a new actress to join the Voyager cast, with Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine) who became a series regular at the beginning of season 4 in 1997. Given a choice, Ryan was likely the better addition to re-energize the series.
Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine was added to Voyager in Season 4
For her part, Silverman’s career did just fine without Star Trek as she has continued to work regularly in the fifteen years since Voyager, including her own Comedy Central series The Sarah Silverman Program and co-starring with Seth Rogan in the upcoming comedy Take This Waltz.
To re-familiarize yourself with Sarah Silverman’s work on Voyager, here is a clip from "Future’s End, Part II."