Interview: Michael Dorn And Marina Sirtis On Wanting Laughs For Troi And To Explore Worf Being A Bad Dad

Among those honored this year at the Saturn Awards were Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis, who picked up lifetime achievement awards as part of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. TrekMovie had a chance to talk to them about their returns in Star Trek: Picard, what they think could be next for their characters, and how their journeys fit with Gene Roddenberry’s original vision.

Jonathan Frakes said he felt he did his best work in season 3 of Star Trek: Picard. Do you feel you did your best work?

Marina Sirtis: I think Jonathan said that because he got to do stuff that he’d never done before. It was outside the box for him. I don’t that it was my best work. I don’t think I was in it enough for it to be my best work. But it was fun. It was definitely fun.

Terry [Matalas] designed the season to be what he called a “proper send-off” but others, including Patrick [Stewart], seem invigorated by it with a desire to do more. Is that also the case with you guys?

Michael Dorn: I don’t think that people have a clue what’s going to happen. I really don’t. I think that they look at something and they may have thought of a thought of it as a send-off for us and then something happens and they go, “You know what, maybe we should continue.” But, you [Marina] don’t believe so…

Marina Sirtis: I don’t believe it’s going to continue.

Michael Dorn: I don’t know either. I have no idea. I wouldn’t say oh, we are going to do it or we’re not going to do it. I just don’t know.

Marina Sirtis: I think if we were going to continue, they would have ridden on the success of Picard. Do you know what I mean? And then come on the back of that, and they didn’t. So I’m not sure that it’s going to continue.

Ed Speleers as Jack Crusher and Marina Sirtis as Deanna Troi in “Vox” (Paramount+)

Michael, Terry recently talked to you about the possibilities of continuing, like exploring the Klingon Empire in the 25th century and Worf’s relationship with Alexander. So have you put thought into what you’d you would like to see for Worf, if it did continue?

Michael Dorn: Yeah, I think that I think that Alexander—his son—is a good story, because Worf has been a terrible father. I think it brings a sort of realism to it. But once again, his ideas are great. And I think it’s a good idea. But you got to go to the higher-ups and see what they say.

Marina, you said you didn’t get to do a lot, because they mostly brought you in for the second half of season 3. So are there certain kinds of things you would like to do to stretch into with Troi?

Marina Sirtis: Well, being that I am very dramatic, generally, I’d love to do more comedy, actually. Because, in real life, I’m funny, right? Ask my friends. And I never get to be funny. So I would like to do—like in First Contact I got to be funny. But, I’m not complaining. I’m an actress.

Dorn got all the good comedy lines, and Frakes too, in season 3…

Marina Sirtis: He always got the good lines.

Michael Dorn: Hey, he’s a straight man. That’s his thing. He says something and ever everybody reacts and they think he’s funny, but he’s looking around going, “Why is everyone laughing at me?”

Michelle Hurd, who would be part of Legacy, said she feels it is “necessary” for Worf and Raffi to be paired up again…

Marina Sirtis: I agree, yeah.

Michael Dorn: I think it was one of the pairings that they thought, “Oh, this is a decent idea.” But they didn’t count on the chemistry and they didn’t count on the sort of stuff that we’re doing back and forth with each other.

Marina Sirtis: That relationship really worked.

Michael Dorn: Yeah, there was talk, there’s always talk, but I would say they’re missing the opportunity if they don’t pair us up.

Marina Sirtis: I think there’s a series there, actually… If they were really smart, that would be the way to go.

Michelle Hurd as Raffi Musiker and Michael Dorn as Worf in “The Bounty” (Paramount+)

Michael, what do you think Gene Roddenberry would think about how your character evolved through TNG, DS9, the movies, and into Picard?

Michael Dorn: The interesting thing is, Gene hired us. He was the guy for the first two years of the show and was very clear that he wanted me to make the character my own. And the great thing about writers and good writers and good directors is that once you give them something—like I gave them Worf’s stoicism and his anger and his nationalism and his egotistical nature—and they ran with it. And the writers are the ones that really created it and made him who he was. So I think he’d be happy about it, because it definitely is his creation, and he was an incredibly smart guy. He was incredibly smart about television. And he was smart enough to give me the freedom to say, “Just do it yourself,” because he knew that if an actor created something, it’s more personal to the actor, and he’s more invested.

How do you think he would feel about some of the darker elements of DS9 and Picard?

Michael Dorn: Gene’s vision is The Next Generation. That’s the vision. It was always hope. It was always on a ship going out in the out into space. And so I think [what came after] probably isn’t his vision, but the thing is that we had to have somebody take over. And I think their vision fits into Star Trek. And I always believe there’s room for all kinds of Star Trek.

And Marina, same question about how you think Gene would feel about Troi’s journey?

Well, Gene always thought that mental health would be as important as physical health by the 24th century. And as is the case in very, very, very many cases, he was ahead of his time, because mental health is important already in the 21st century, where we’re already dealing with that, or trying to deal with that. He was a visionary. And people pooh-poohed him and didn’t take him seriously, but he knew what he was doing.

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What a lovely article. It’s really refreshing to read something that’s longer than a sound bite. I appreciate the detailed comments from the actors.

…was just about to say the same. This was a treat to read.


Dorn has been looking gaunt. It seems like today would be a good day to dine. (How many steakhòuses could he have opened with that line?)

Dorn doesn’t need people commenting on his physical appearance.

Pretty sure that was a stab at dry humor. Might have worked better on Wednesdays…..

He’s slimmed out some. He’s in his 70’s. It happens, not that its any of our business.

Dorn was truly amazing in Picard. One of the best things about the season.

Absolutely loved the work he did that season. Talk about character development, it was fantastic. I’d watch him in the role again in a second.

So would I!

Totally agree Tiger 2. His parting scenes with Rafi had me in tears when it was revealed what he had done for her.

Totally agree. While Data was my favorite of the season, I absolutely loved Worf as well. (Also, Riker, Seven, Shaw, and Sydney).

Great interview! Dorn is right. Worf was a GREAT straight man. What a character he created, and it’s really nice that he credited the writers and directors as well in the Worf character’s creation.

Marina Sirtis is delightful as always.

TNG, like TOS, just had such a great cast. It took Michael Pillar to be onboard for the writing part to take off (although TNG season 2 was certainly much much better than season 1), but the pieces were all in place as far as characters and the ship.

Oh, and seeing as Terry Matsalas is nominated for a writing award, why in the world has his ST: Legacy idea not be greenlighted?

I just think the Academy thing is being pushed through because its a Kurtzmann or a higher up idea. Someone higher up the food chain in the ST department is pushing it.

IMO, it’s very foolish for them not to go with Mr. Matsalas’ show.

Agreed. Most fans don’t even sound like they want the Starfleet show but many want Legacy.

Terry Matalas is the best thing to come for Star Trek since Manny Coto.

I think there may be Kurtzman’s ego at work here. He probably doesn’t want Matalas to overshadow him and his control of the franchise. I mean in terms of the success and accolades Picard season 3 is getting even vulcan logic would dictate there needs be some kind of a continuation, but then when feelings and egos are involved logic rarely takes the front seat.

I agree. It’s an ego thing for Kurtzman and Goldsman, they don’t like the attention that Matalas is getting. There is that one interview with Kurtzman when he something along the lines of the third season could not have happened without the set-ups in the first two seasons, basically saying that his and Goldsman’s work was just as important as Matalas’.

Berman did the same thing, taking more credit and trying to tamp down the criticism he got for the stupid decisions he made with TNG and how he pretty much messed up with 3 out of 4 of the TNG films. And then there’s the criticism with Enterprise. Over and over it showed that 1. Berman had no real appreciation or sense of the importance or what was so great about TOS and 2. He didn’t have a good sense of story and 3. He was lousy at being a movie producer. So many of the reasons why GEN, INS, and NEM didn’t work are attributable to Berman and Paramount.

Oh, yeah, and Berman and Braga also get credit for VOY not fully reaching its potential. It was, ultimately, TNG v2. I enjoyed it, mostly, but it could have and should have been much better and had more of its own identity.

Say what you want about Discovery being woke and the like, but I have really dug its serialized story telling and action. I don’t love this cast as much as TOS, TNG, and DS9’s, but the rest of it is just great.

Berman needed to understand that he was never gonna be a movie producers and let someone else produce the TNG movies. But at the same time he did get guys like Brannon Braga, Ron Moore, Naren Shankar, Ira Steven Behr into the business so that’s gotta count for something. Berman himself admitted that he was never a fan of TOS so I can see why we would get a movie like Generations under his tenure.

Actually ‘Insurrection’ and ‘Nemesis’ may have gone awry because of Stewart and later Spiner having a bit too much say in how those films were developed.

As well a bad choice for director of Nem.

That’s what I’m thinking too. I mean, they ran with Strange New Worlds after introducing Pike and Spock in Discovery Season 2. People loved the characters so Strange New Worlds was a logical result. So what the heck is going on with Legacy? Why are they sticking with the Academy idea when Season 3 of Picard got such huge accolades?

The only explanation that I can see is its what you said, ego, money, studio politics and that’s vry lame. It doesn’t seem like it’s good for business and its not good for the fans either.

Legacy just seems like a slam-dunk idea whereas Academy, has what, Tilly in it? I’ve read enough message boards to know 1. A lot of fans really really don’t like Discovery and 2. I don’t think Tilly, as a character is a big draw, like, I dunno, Daryl Dixon of the Walking Dead Franchise or, even better, Jean-Luc Picard in Picard.

Really simple. Give the fans what they want.

Just put it to a vote. Do that. See what the results are.

Critically and commercially, Picard season 3 was a hit. Let’s be honest, SNW season 1 was a success, but beyond that…..

Starfleet Academy and S31 are going to bomb I think.

I don’t understand the logic in Paramount’s thinking for SFA at all. Young people don’t watch Star Trek and probably don’t know P+ even exists. I work with teens and young adults and I haven’t found any trekkies among them, yet….I came close once….he watched Orville.

I’m in for the S31 film all because Michelle Yeoh’s Empress Georgiou was my favorite character on Discovery (well, next to Pike and Spock). She was great fun. The S31 film is certainly not going to be a conventional ST film, since all the prior ones were about the crew of the Enterprise (original, A, D, E, and Kelvin Timeline). But I’ll watch it.

This academy thing, though, I have no interest in it at all. I doubt I’ll watch it. Tilly is no draw to me and I’m not interested in a show set at school. I don’t feel obligated to watch every ST show. I pretty much gave up on Enterprise, since it just looked to me like ST v3 when I expected or wanted something more unique or at least, harkening back more to TOS (it didn’t help that the NX-01 was pretty much shoved into existing continuity). Lower Decks just seems to totally rely on cameos and poking fun at continuity. I’m just not interested. I saw the first few episodes of prodigy and that was pretty good. I’ll watch it if I don’t have to stream it.

Ent improved massively under Cotto by s3, 4.

This was indeed a great interview. Michael Dorn is such a gentleman and classy guy. I had the pleasure meeting him a few times.

I really hope if the Legacy show happens he will appear on it.

Worf was totally amazing in Picard. He’s one of the characters they should’ve brought out In season one. Slicing up Romulans is one of his favorite hobbies. 😂


S3 was fantastic; Dorn, along with Frakes and McFadden, really shined. Of the TNG cast, those three owned that season.And Worf and Raffi … I’m so glad they didn’t try to link them romantically .. like basically just two bad ass heroes saving the day. If anything happens as far as the Legacy series goes, it would at least be nice to get a guest spot for Dorn so Worf and Raffi can do combat together again.

Exactly! That’s why so many people loved this season because we didn’t just get all these characters back after 20 years but they were all amazing, Worf, Riker and Beverly especially. I loved them being badasses but I just loved all the conversations and great one liners they had. None of it felt forced, they all had great chemistry together.

That’s why this season feels so different and special because we got to see the family together again and saw how great they all came together.

As for Raffe, she was my least favorite character on this show after season 2. But after season 3 I’m truly excited to see her in Legacy. Because Matalas is actually a great writer and really honed in on her positives.

Maybe if he was writing for MU Georgiou I could feel the same way about her too… maybe lol.

Like Spiner, they downplay the chances of Legacy, and that’s a good thing. They’re happy to work again under the right circumstances, but at the end of the day, it’s not a show that’s actually in development. It’s an idea by Matalas that has taken on a click bait life of its own. I feel like we’ve crossed the line into stringing fans along.

Reading between the lines, the powers that be are not really interested in continuing the 25th century without Patrick Stewart headlining it.

I disagree with this. Everyone seems to understand it’s not a show in development and may not ever be. But you could literally say the same thing about SNW. Again people want to have revisionist history over that but the reality is that show was never in development until fans started pushing for it. In fact it didn’t get announced until after Discovery season 2 has finished over a year later.

Now that was a different time, granted. That was when everyone was spending like crazy and they were trying to have Trek shows on a year. But ALSO remember Section 31 DIDN’T happen because they could still afford to only put so many shows on and that show was not only in development they had already written the first few episodes and had a starting date. I was in fact one of the people saying that SNW was NOT going to happen because Section 31 was already a thing… until it wasn’t.

My only point is we don’t know what will happen in the long term and fans do in fact influence these decisions. Maybe it will never happen, but if people don’t push for it then it won’t happen. Which is why it’s so bizarre to tell Star Trek fans to stop pushing for something even if it’s a long shot.

This is what we do lol.

Sorry when they were trying to have 5 Trek shows a year.

I think they knew a TNG reunion would catch a lot of eyeballs for their Picard finale but they couldn’t take it much farther than that. A Seven Spin off would be cool, but Jeri Ryan is more “Star Trek famous” while Stewart, like Yeoh, has crossover appeal.

The Academy show will create some new, younger characters the franchise needs. It’s probably a lot more affordable, basically moving into Discovery’s old work space. I’m looking forward to it. A Starfleet Academy show has been on my wishlist for decades.

I don’t believe in throwing anything away, and I don’t want to tell anybody what they should or shouldn’t be excited about. Things change and something might come up later. But right now everyone is telling us Legacy is not a thing, and I’m ready to live in the now. I don’t want to develop “Legacy tunnel vision”. I’m just pragmatic like that.

Ok fair enough. As long as people aren’t chaining themselves to the Paramount’s gates or putting themselves on fire to demand the Legacy show I don’t see any harm writing about on a message board.

Of course at some point if a few years go by and still nothing then it’s probably time to hang it up. I mean people were still pushing for the Tarantino movie even after the guy himself said he wasn’t interested. Not once did I ever tell anyone to move on because people just want what they want and the Internet is the place to push for things.

Worf is still the one Trek character who appeared the most in the franchise and you gotta appreciate how the character was developed over the years starting from the first season of TNG. Lots of props to Dorn’s work here and the writers/producers. It goes to show that if you create a really good character, no matter if it is an alien or a human, that character will go on forever.

Much appreciated their comments about Gene Roddenberry and his vision, because I really, really miss it.

I have been watching TNG since its inception in 87. I love the show, plot characters and the NCC-1701-D is by far the best looking ship in the entire starfleet. I love this show so much in fact I just bought the complete series in blu ray, I bought Picard the complete series and I just purchased the 5 movies with TNG characters. If the cast is healthy enough and willing to do it let them continue to bring that joy I once had as a child watching TNG. By far the best of the genre. It was awesome watching Geordi command the enterprise and even more so watching Dr. Crusher manually operate the weapons in Picard. You can tell the cast are like family and enjoyed doing these movies and shows. Please bring legacy to fruition!!!