A photo of the Star Trek: The Next Generation season one characters in costume
Star Trek: The Next Generation first-season cast photo. Six of the main actors appeared in all seven seasons and all four movies.

Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series that debuted in broadcast syndication on September 28, 1987.[1] The series lasted for seven seasons until 1994,[2] and was followed by four movies which were released between 1994 and 2002.[3] The series was a follow-up to the original Star Trek series which was broadcast on NBC between 1966 and 1969,[4] with characters from the original series appearing in The Next Generation on several occasions; a crossover movie titled Star Trek Generations was also released.[5] The Next Generation was developed by creator Gene Roddenberry, who served as an executive producer until his death in 1991,[6] along with Maurice Hurley, Rick Berman,[7] Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor.[8][9] The series was filmed primarily on the Paramount Studios lot in Los Angeles, California.[10]

Preliminary casting began during March 1987, and the main cast was announced on May 15.[11] The initial press release highlighted the casting of LeVar Burton, known for appearing in the miniseries Roots, as Geordi La Forge.[12] Burton had auditioned for the role following a suggestion from executive producer Robert H. Justman, who had previously worked with him on a television movie.[13] The only other two members of the cast mentioned were Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard and Jonathan Frakes as William Riker.[12] Stewart was cast in the lead role after being spotted by Justman at a dramatic reading at the University of California, Los Angeles.[12] However, the series' creator, Roddenberry, wanted a French actor and was considering the role of Data for Stewart. Both Justman and Berman campaigned for Stewart to have the role of Captain Picard, and Roddenberry relented.[14] Frakes became Roddenberry's favorite for the role of Riker after the actor went through seven auditions for the role.[14]

The producers sought a black actor to portray Worf, as it would make the Klingon make-up easier. Michael Dorn was cast due to his theater training and the lack of a "street-accent".[15] The character was intended to appear in seven of the first thirteen episodes, but after Dorn's performance in the pilot "Encounter at Farpoint", this was expanded to a series regular.[15] Roddenberry's intention for the casting of the new series was to avoid using characters similar to those that appeared in The Original Series.[16] However, some of the elements of the characters of Riker and Deanna Troi were modeled on the characters of William Decker and Ilia, who were originally conceived for the unfilmed Star Trek: Phase II and later appeared in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.[17] During casting, the role of Troi was originally assigned to Denise Crosby, with Marina Sirtis cast as Security Chief Macha Hernandez. Roddenberry believed that Sirtis would be better in the role of Troi and switched the two actresses; Crosby was cast as a modified version of the security chief, called Tasha Yar.[14] Several candidates for the main roles were later cast in guest or recurring roles, including Eric Menyuk, who was second choice for the role of Data, and Rosalind Chao, who was originally considered for Tasha Yar.[18] Tim Russ, who was considered for the role of Geordi La Forge, had a guest role on the series and would later be cast in main cast of Star Trek: Voyager as Tuvok.[18]

Crosby left the series before the end of the first season,[19] while Gates McFadden as Beverly Crusher was dropped after season one.[20] Diana Muldaur joined the cast as Katherine Pulaski to replace McFadden but declined a place in the main cast list, instead receiving a "Special Appearance By" credit on the episodes where she appeared. Muldaur left after only one season and McFadden returned in season three.[21] Crosby reprised the role of Yar in the season three episode "Yesterday's Enterprise", and returned for several more episodes as Yar's half Romulan daughter Sela.[22] Wil Wheaton left the main cast during season four, but returned for a number of episodes in season five as well as a final appearance in season seven.[23][24]

Several actors were cast in roles which recurred throughout the seven seasons on television and into the four feature films. Majel Barrett, referred to as "The First Lady of Star Trek" due to her marriage with Roddenberry,[25] appeared both as the voice of Starfleet computers and as Lwaxana Troi. The part of Lwaxana was specifically created for her.[26] She had appeared in The Original Series and two Star Trek films as Christine Chapel, and as Number One in the original pilot "The Cage".[25] John de Lancie was cast as Q despite missing his first audition as it conflicted with a play he was in at the time. A second audition was arranged, where de Lancie impressed Roddenberry, who told him that "You make my words sound better than they are."[27] Colm Meaney was originally cast as an unnamed Ensign in "Encounter at Farpoint", but was subsequently cast as the Transporter Chief Miles O'Brien, appearing in 52 episodes in that role.[28] Whoopi Goldberg approached the producers and asked for a role in the series, resulting in Roddenberry writing her the role of Guinan.[29] She credits Nichelle Nichols as Uhura in The Original Series as inspiring her, saying "when I was nine years old Star Trek came on, I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, 'Come here, mom, everybody, come quick, come quick, there's a black lady on television and she ain't no maid!' I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be."[30] She made her first appearance in the second season episode "The Child" and went on to appear in a total of 28 episodes plus both Star Trek Generations and Star Trek: Nemesis.[31][32]


  = Main cast (credited)
  = Recurring cast (4+)
  = Guest cast (1-3)
Actor Character Seasons Films
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 GEN FCT INS NEM
Main cast
Patrick Stewart Jean-Luc Picard Main
Jonathan Frakes William Riker Main
LeVar Burton Geordi La Forge Main
Denise Crosby Tasha Yar Main Guest Guest
Michael Dorn Worf Main
Gates McFadden Beverly Crusher Main Main
Marina Sirtis Deanna Troi Main
Brent Spiner Data Main
Wil Wheaton Wesley Crusher Main Guest Guest Guest
Recurring cast
Majel Barrett Lwaxana Troi Guest Guest
John de Lancie Q Guest Guest
Colm Meaney Miles O'Brien Guest Recurring Guest
Brent Spiner Lore Guest Guest Guest
Eric Menyuk The Traveler Guest Guest Guest
Carel Struycken Mr. Homn Guest
Diana Muldaur Katherine Pulaski Recurring
Whoopi Goldberg Guinan Recurring Guest Guest
Lycia Naff Sonya Gomez Guest
Robert O'Reilly Gowron Guest
Suzie Plakson K'Ehleyr Guest Guest
Andreas Katsulas Tomalak Guest Guest
Dwight Schultz Reginald Barclay Guest Guest Guest
Tony Todd Kurn Guest
Rosalind Chao Keiko O'Brien Recurring Guest
Denise Crosby Sela Guest
Barbara March Lursa Guest Guest
Gwynyth Walsh B'Etor Guest Guest
Patti Yasutake Alyssa Ogawa Recurring Guest
Brian Bonsall Alexander Rozhenko Guest1 Recurring Guest
Jonathan Del Arco Hugh of Borg Guest Guest
Michelle Forbes Ro Laren Recurring Guest
Ashley Judd Robin Lefler Guest
Ken Thorley Mot Guest
Natalia Nogulich Alynna Nechayev Guest
  1. ^ Alexander was played by Jon Steuer for one episode of Season 4.

See also



  1. ^ "Encounter at Farpoint, Part I". Star Trek.com. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  2. ^ Ordway, Holly E. (December 31, 2002). "Star Trek the Next Generation – Season 7". DVD Talk. Internet Brands. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  3. ^ Cloud, John (December 11, 2002). "Star Trek Inc". Time. Archived from the original on April 8, 2005. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  4. ^ "The new frontier of Star Trek". Independent Online. May 7, 2009. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  5. ^ Asher-Perrin, Emmet (May 6, 2011). "In the End, Was it Worth It? An Appreciation of Star Trek VII: Generations". Tor.com. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  6. ^ "Gene Roddenberry". The Daily Telegraph. October 26, 1991. Archived from the original on February 20, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  7. ^ "Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One Credits". Star Trek.com. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  8. ^ "Piller, Michael". Star Trek.com. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  9. ^ "Taylor, Jeri". Star Trek.com. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  10. ^ "Stage 8". Paramount Studios. Archived from the original on March 9, 2013. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  11. ^ Nemecek (2003): p. 16
  12. ^ a b c Nemecek (2003): p. 17
  13. ^ Nemecek (2003): p. 19
  14. ^ a b c Nemecek (2003): p. 18
  15. ^ a b Nemecek (2003): p. 20
  16. ^ Nemecek (2003): p. 2
  17. ^ Gross (1989): p. 65
  18. ^ a b Sciretta, Peter (August 27, 2010). "Star Trek: The Next Generation Casting Memo". /Film. Retrieved December 24, 2012.
  19. ^ "Catching Up With Denise Crosby, Part 1". Star Trek.com. March 13, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  20. ^ "The Doctor Is In: Gates McFadden Interview, Part 1". Star Trek.com. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  21. ^ "Catching Up With Diana Muldaur, Part 2". Star Trek.com. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  22. ^ "Catching Up With Denise Crosby, Part 2". Star Trek.com. March 14, 2012. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  23. ^ "Wheaton, Wil". Star Trek.com. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  24. ^ "Crusher, Wesley". Star Trek.com. Retrieved March 3, 2013.
  25. ^ a b "Barrett, Majel". Star Trek.com. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  26. ^ Patrick Stewart (2006). Star Trek: The Next Generation Season Three (DVD). Paramount Home Entertainment. Majel was... was always a welcome part of any story. Of course, we had her with us every day because she is the voice of the computer too. But the character that they created for her, Deanna Troi's mother, Lwaxana Troi, was perfect for Majel, for her style, for her sense of humour, for her flamboyance, and to get her involved in the way that she was with the captain in that sort of semi-humorous romantic way, provided all of us with a... with a lot of entertainment. A lot of us consider really to be, you know, a member of the inner circle.
  27. ^ Vary, Adam B. (September 25, 2007). "Star Trek: TNG: An Oral History". Entertainment Weekly. Time Warner. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  28. ^ "Meaney, Colm". Star Trek.com. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  29. ^ "Interviews: Nichelle Nichols on Whoopi Goldberg". BBC Cult. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  30. ^ "Goldberg, Whoopi". Star Trek.com. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  31. ^ Winfrey, Lee (November 26, 1988). "Whoopi Goldberg Joins 'Star Trek'". Chicago Tribune. Tony W. Hunter. Retrieved March 13, 2013.
  32. ^ Stape, Will (October 6, 2008). "The Best Whoopi Goldberg Star Trek: The Next Generation Episodes". Yahoo! Voices. Yahoo! Inc. Archived from the original on April 12, 2013. Retrieved March 13, 2013.


  • Gross, Edward (1989). The Making of the Next Generation. Las Vegas: Pioneer Books. ISBN 9781556982194.
  • Nemecek, Larry (2003). Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (3rd ed.). New York: Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-5798-6.