At the second annual Silicon Valley Comic Con on Saturday there was a Star Trek: The Next Generation mini-reunion featuring Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Denise Crosby and Robert O’Reilly. The nearly 90 minute panel was moderated by William Shatner and was primarily done as an audience Q&A.
One of the first questions asked of the group was if they would be interested in appearing on the new CBS All Access Star Trek: Discovery series currently in production. After Sirtis and Crosby answered the question directly (in the affirmative), it sparked an interesting discussion in general about the new show and what it means for the franchise. The full exchange is below.
Marina Sirtis: I would do it but they would have to pay me a lot of money to get back in that space suit. Because I would have to go to the fat farm and lose about 15 pounds. So I would do it if they paid me a lot of money, and I don’t care what she does, I’m an actress. So just point me in the right direction.
Denise Crosby: Who would I be? Would I be Tasha? Would I be Sela? Something in between. But of course, yeah, it would be great fun to do. Just want to see if I could get back in that space suit again.
Jonathan Frakes: I am looking forward to Star Trek: Discovery. You know Jason Isaacs is the new captain of the Enterprise [actually it’s the USS Discovery].
William Shatner: I know nothing…I couldn’t have followed it less, is it supposed to be good?
Jonathan Frakes: I haven’t seen it.
Gates McFadden: I bet is going to be great.
Brent Spiner: We are hoping it is.
Jonathan Frakes: I am an eternal optimist.
Brent Spiner: It is good for everybody if it is good. Because it goes on and on and on and we are part of this giant epic which is the great American epic, Star Trek.
Jonathan Frakes: Remember how you felt when Star Trek: The Next Generation came out?
William Shatner: Awful. [joking, crowd laughs]
Jonathan Frakes: We could all embrace that.
TNG crew on the casting process
- When auditioning, Gates McFadden was given a choice of reading for Crusher, Troi or Tasha Yar. She chose Dr. Crusher because the scene seemed humorous and she thought the character would be comic relief, noting “that was the only funny scene I got in seven seasons,” to which Denise Crosby replied “at least you got one.”
- When auditioning for Troi, the only direction Marina Sirtis got from casting director Junie Lowry was “just think of her as Norwegian.”
- When given a choice to read for Commander Riker, Spiner replied “Riker?! Who wants to play Riker?” to which Frakes quipped “What time did you go to work in the morning?” (referring to Spiner’s extra makeup requirements)
- In general all agreed “they really didn’t know what they wanted for anyone” when casting TNG.
- Sirtis noted many people auditioned for Picard, including Bo Svenson, adding “Can you imagine if he got the part? We might not be here today.”
Cast talk TNG stinkers
- When asked to identify episodes that weren’t the best, Jonathan Frakes pointed to “Code of Honor,” saying it was “a real stinker” for being both racist and misogynist.
- Denise Crosby said she felt the entire “first season was dicey.”
- Gates McFadden picked “Angel One” as the worst of the series.
- Discussing that episode, Sirtis noted: “I love Riker as much as the next person, but this planet has been run by women for all of eternity. And OK the boys are dressed in ballerina outfits, but that is how they dress. And then Riker comes down and he makes one speech and they decide to change their form of government.”
- Spiner noted “We were doing 26 episodes a season…at least 6 of them were really good, and maybe another another 15 were pretty good and then 4 or 5 were really horrible.”
There is much more fun with the TNG cast. You can watch the full video below (thanks to Steven Alvarez).
Keep up with all the Star Trek events, reports and news at TrekMovie.