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Star Trek Voyager Producers Considered Adding Sarah Silverman As Series Regular

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."

 

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Anon
April 26, 2011 6:55 pm

god no good decision.

Chroniton
April 26, 2011 6:56 pm

Good god, further evidence the Voyager writting team needs straight jackets.

Red Dead Ryan
April 26, 2011 7:03 pm

Sarah Silverman is vastly overrated and annoying. THANK GOD THIS DIDN’T HAPPEN!

Jeri Ryan was (and definitely still is) the superior actress!

Gabriel Bell
April 26, 2011 7:10 pm

Love me some Rain Robinson. She would have been a welcome addition to the Voyager crew. “Future’s End” is one of my favorite episodes. Henry Starling was a badass.

nikkitahil
April 26, 2011 7:12 pm

Jeri Ryan .. any day !

April 26, 2011 7:15 pm

Dodged a phaser blast here.
Unfunniest comedian around.

Phil
April 26, 2011 7:17 pm

Can’t quite envision Sarah in the catsuit…

Tanner Waterbury
April 26, 2011 7:28 pm

Hey you got to admit though, Silverman WAS pretty hot back then.

Dennis Bailey
April 26, 2011 7:39 pm

I’m not sure that Ryan was the better choice. Certainly she worked out well. That said, her character fit quite neatly into the way Trek had been done as a TV franchise since 1987, and by the time of “Voyager” Trek was wobbling under the weight of that mannered and predictable style of characterization and storytelling.

If a character like Robinson had successfully added some kind of contemporary attitude and a spark of real humor to the show, maybe the Franchise wouldn’t had continued to slump and lose public interest until the point of near-extinction in 2005.

April 26, 2011 7:50 pm

I would have loved to have Sarah on Voyager. I thought she rocked in Future’s End. Great character and a lot of fun. Too bad that didn’t happen.

Thorny
April 26, 2011 7:51 pm

I don’t care much for Sarah Silverman, but I did like her Rain Robinson character and I agree she and McNeill had good chemistry together, something that was usually lacking in Voyager.

Magic_Al
April 26, 2011 7:58 pm

This isn’t the worst idea ever. Silverman wouldn’t have been writing so it shouldn’t be judged on the basis of her own material (just like Guinan on TNG has nothing to do with what Whoopi Goldberg says on The View). Star Trek has had many interesting guest stars in its time travel stories and it would have been a novel idea to keep one of them around. In Voyager’s case, I’d certainly have traded Neelix for Silverman’s character.

MikeTen
April 26, 2011 8:05 pm

Jeri Ryan was probably the better choice, but I think 7 of 9 should not have been in a catsuit. In my opinion she looked hotter in a starfleet uniform in the episode “Relativity” and she didn’t need any rank insignia. I like some things to be left to the imagination ;)

Rain would have been ok as a semi regular, if she was on as much as Jeri Ryan I don’t think Voyager would have made it to the end of season 4.

DeafPoet
April 26, 2011 8:20 pm

Sounds good in theory, but I cringe when I think of the schlocky crap the VOY writers would have put in her mouth every week. Better that the damage was limited to the poor souls they already had on the hook. And Jeri Ryan.

Kathy Murray
April 26, 2011 8:20 pm

I thought at the time, that it would be cool if they actually took someone from the past with them. I only saw any of the franchises do it once. It was on Next Gen and the crew was doing info gathering on a planet to see if the people of the planet were ready to deploy warp drive. Riker was hurt on the planet and discovered to be alien. Picard beamed down to talk to the planet leader about his missing first officer. Of course, chaos insues and the scientist that Picard & Dr. Beverly contacted becomes an ally and has dreamed of meeting aliens her whole life so, eventually, they allow her to leave with them. However, that was it. We never saw her again.It would have been cool to see her adjusting and integrating with the crew. This has nothing to do with Jeri Ryan because I loved her, I think Rain would have been fun to watch leaving on Enterprise, flirting with McNiel, being terrified by the Borg, etc.

VOODOO
April 26, 2011 8:21 pm

Sure, I enjoyed looking at a supermodel in a catsuit, but I always thought that was playing to the lowest common denominator… Star Trek’s ideals are better than that and I thought it’s audience was far too intelligent to be so easily manipulated.

Jeri Ryan was fine as 7 of 9, but ST in all it’s various forms had become safe/stale at this point. Maybe Silverman could have given the series a jolt of energy and propelled the series into a different direction.

Deflector Dish Guy
April 26, 2011 8:23 pm

Worst addition to a Star Trek series, ever. From her shrill, annoying voice to her obscene and uninformed vulgarities outside of the television, she’s just a disaster. Keep that screeching harpy away!

April 26, 2011 8:40 pm

I really enjoyed her character and think she would have made a good addition to the cast. She could have added present-day commentary on the Utopian Federation mindset.

Wes
April 26, 2011 8:43 pm

@ 15. They brought Gillian Taylor forward in time from the 20th to the 23rd century in STIV as well. :)

Daoud
April 26, 2011 8:53 pm

Would have saved Jimmy Kimmel a lot of grief, for sure!
.
Dennis, glad to see you posting. I know you always followed TNG, DS9 and VOY from the writers’ point of view. I agree the character Rain Robinson was an interesting one, and might have given a bit of that Leon Rippy TNG’s “Neutral Zone” feel to Voyager. (Heck, they shoulda brought that character back in TNG… he could have been Data’s ‘family friend’.) If they’d only gone ahead and had Harry Kim die, they could have added both Rain and 7 of 9. And kept Kes.
.
Imagine: a Star Trek series with more regular female roles than male roles!

4 8 15 16 23 42
April 26, 2011 8:58 pm

I hated the Future’s End episodes, and I love the Scorpion episodes, so I have to say it looks like they made the right decision (except for the atrocious catsuit). This is not to say I have a negative opinion of Silverman, per se. I think I wouldn’t have enjoyed the “cheese” factor of the present-day astronomer somehow ending up on Voyager.

That would have been like making a full series based on Star Trek: The Voyage Home, with Gillian Taylor on board the Enterprise as a permanent crew member. No thanks.

April 26, 2011 9:19 pm

I’m gonna keep it simple and just say I’m not a fanof Sarah Silverman and while I didn’t /hate/ her on Voyager I’m pleased with how it turned out.

Phil
April 26, 2011 9:53 pm

Would have to agree with the people who think she would have brought a little 20th century excitement to the show, EXCEPT that the writers would probably have given themselves two weeks to completely nuter her character. The Borg were bad-ass bad guys when they were introduced and were completely harmless by the end of the shows run….

Browncoat1984
April 26, 2011 9:54 pm

I could see her as maybe a recurring character, ala Naomi Wildman. They could still have brought on Jeri Ryan as a lead and had Silverman as a recurring. Would have much preferred her in a relationship with Paris over Torres, as there wasn’t much chemistry at all in that relationship.

April 26, 2011 10:41 pm

I have to Wonder, if Jeri was never brought on-board would O be in office?
Now where was that non-interference directive when we needed it?

quietbynature
April 26, 2011 10:56 pm

I really enjoyed Future’s End and thought that Rain gave it just the right touch. It would have been fun to see more of that character along the way. :)

Khan was Framed!
April 26, 2011 11:03 pm

Damn-

Too bad!

Sarah Silverman is hot.

This would have made Voyager better.

:(

Jack
April 27, 2011 12:09 am

9. Agreed. It could have been interesting, although I wonder if the writers would have made it work. They abandoned all the flimsy human characters (I include Tuvok and Neelix in that bunch) really. It kind of became The Doctor and Seven Hour after Ryan joined, but was that just because the two characters were less boring (crazy Borg stories, crazy hologram stories) to write for? Both characters helped explore sone neat stuff about identity, I guess.

Hat Rick
April 27, 2011 12:12 am

Sarah Silverman is known for her comedy, I think. She is quite creative. I think some of her work, if I remember correctly, could be considered raw and a bit too “nightclub material,” but to each her own. I think she would have been great in Voyager.

Thogar
April 27, 2011 12:15 am

Voyager was bad enough without bringing the completely un-funny and vulgar Silverman on-board full-time. She has no redeeming value whatsoever.

sci-fi bri
April 27, 2011 12:39 am

in the alternate reality where sarah silverman was added, voyager sucked less.

April 27, 2011 1:03 am
Okay, I’m going to try to be objective here, since I’m Chinese American and Sarah Silverman used the “ch_nk” word as a joke. (Wiki link below; you can get the video on YouTube; type Sarah Silverman and “ch_nk”) First, I get how she would be a proxy for the audience but frankly if you’re watching the fourth version of TV Star Trek and season three of Voyager, you should get it by now. Sarah would have ended up as annoying as Dr. Smith from “Lost in Space.” However, Sarah is tremendous talent. She’s very funny. Love watching her on Bill Maher’s shows. And she is beautiful. So what was her controversial comment? On Conan O’ Brien’s Late Night show, she told him how she would get out of jury duty. Told to write something inappropriate she said, ” like ‘I hate chinks.'” She then said that she didn’t want to sound racist so she said she would write, “”I love chinks’ – and who doesn’t?” Okay, I get the joke. It is satire. She’s making fun of racism, primarily because I know she is not a racist. That’s because a proud Aryan German woman as she would not disrespect people of color. (That’s a joke, Put down the bat’leths.) One last thing. Hail Voyager. She ws lost in the Dellta quadrant but a return to a theme of Star Trek, space exploration. LINK) Sarah’s wiki and controversial remark about her love for my kind. Sarah, we heterosexual Chinese males love… Read more »
Jack
April 27, 2011 1:58 am

It would have been entertaining if she’d just played herself and written her own lines, and maybe everyone else’s.

Compare:

Sarah Silverman: When God gives you AIDS – and God does give you AIDS, by the way – make lemonAIDS.

Neelix: I had no right to push that (hair) pasta in your lap.
Tom Paris: Well – think of it this way: it saved me from having to eat it.

April 27, 2011 3:23 am

I had quite a crush on her back in the day, I don’t mind telling you.

Too bad she was fΏ©king Matt Damon. :)

CmdrR
April 27, 2011 4:21 am

I wonder whether, for Braga, it came down to choosing between: The Doctor’s mobile emitter or the horse-faced gal who talked about mud flaps.

I’m glad they chose the emitter.

In her defense, she was the 2nd least funny comedian on Trek… after Joe Piscopo.

Now, the war between Silverman and Kimmel was FUNNY!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZRLcp9dhcU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwIyLHsk2h4

CmdrR
April 27, 2011 4:27 am

34 — Thanks for the reminder.

Hugh Hoyland
April 27, 2011 4:50 am

Hmm not sure about this actually. While Im not a big time fan of her crude humor, she might have brought some much needed “edge” to the show (keeping in mind if she would have had some input in that is) Still glad 7 of 9 came aboard though, dispite the obvious reasons why it drew me in, her two beautiful eyes…and acting skills.

Robert H.
April 27, 2011 4:59 am

Nothing against Rain Robinson, but bringing her back to the future would sound like a rip off of Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home. Besides, I doubt Captain Braxton would let her stay on the ship, even though they left the Doc’s mobile emitter.

Damian
April 27, 2011 5:38 am

I never gave the idea much thought. I thought the character was fine for the episode and agree the chemistry with her and Paris was good. But I just assumed all along she would have to stay behind. I don’t see why, though, why we would have a Robinson vs Seven. It certainly was possible to keep the two.

12–Have to agree re: Neelix. I liked Voyager, but of all the characters, his grated on me the most. There were only two or three times I thought his character was ok. One was early on when Voyager stopped to explore an anomaly and he started getting annoyed that every time they found something, they had to stop and look. The other was when they brought him back to life and he was bothered by the fact that he did not go to the afterlife. It disturbed him to the point he considered suicide. I thought that was actually a powerful Neelix moment (one of the very few on the series). I was actually glad he stayed behind in the Delta Quadrant.

GilmourD
April 27, 2011 6:36 am

It makes me sad to think that she was ever a guest star to begin with… She and Andy Dick have to be two of the most obnoxious, unfunny people on Earth.

April 27, 2011 7:24 am

I love Sarah — gorgeous, funny, kooky, and a New England girl!

Pat Payne
April 27, 2011 8:25 am

32 — “That’s because a proud Aryan German woman as she would not disrespect people of color. (That’s a joke, Put down the bat’leths.)”

Umm, you do realize she’s Jewish, right?

Pat Payne
April 27, 2011 8:27 am

Oh and BTW, Although she was cute, I agree that it was probably a better idea to leave her off. (Though I wasn’t sold on 7 of 9 either, outside of my being an adolescent male at the time…)

Dr. Image
April 27, 2011 8:30 am

Nothing would’ve fixed the crap writing on that show.

April 27, 2011 9:02 am

This was part of the downfall of trek. When they started basing characters on trekkies, loading the shows with geeks.

It didn’t work with jaja binks either when Lucas tried it.

seven of nine was a great character and whatever anyone thought about Voyagers writing their Borg episodes were vastly superior to Next Generations, including First Contact.

Captain Ransom
April 27, 2011 9:27 am

“Ryan was likely the better addition to re-energize the series”

wow are you kidding me? seven of nine was one of the absolute worst characters in trek history. it’s painful to watch epidodes focused on her. she is exactly the kind of character that turns people away from star trek – boring, rude, typical IT nerd superiority complex. she was a character that no one could relate to = TOTAL FAIL.

silverman would have been the exact opposite.

Tonester777
April 27, 2011 9:50 am

Sarah would be good on Star Trek Enterprise. :-)

Desstruxion
April 27, 2011 10:33 am

Not a big Silverman fan but the episodes were pretty good.

Anthony Thompson
April 27, 2011 11:20 am

Love Sarah! See her movie, “Jesus is Magic”. It’s hilarious! Seven of Nine wasn’t a credible character.

April 27, 2011 12:01 pm

Yeah, Silverman’s a great talent and cute to boot.

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