Star Trek: TNG’s Geordi On Star Trek: Voyager Almost Happened

Geordi La Forge almost appeared in Star Trek: Voyager season 2, but his character was eventually swapped for another noteworthy TNG character.

Geordi La Forge from Star Trek: The Next Generation looks up off-screen while the USS Voyager flies through space in the background.


  • Geordi La Forge was originally planned to appear in a season 2 episode of Star Trek: Voyager, but was replaced by Reg Barclay.
  • Geordi’s cameo would have elevated the episode and provided an interesting dynamic with Dr. Zimmerman.
  • Barclay’s later involvement in Voyager’s storyline made him an important character, solidifying the decision to include him instead of Geordi.

Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) almost made a cameo in an early Star Trek: Voyager season 2 episode. Although Voyager season 2 was plagued by scheduling issues initially, the season delivered some interesting opening episodes. One of these was season 2, episode 3, “Projections,” which dealt with an existential crisis for the Doctor (Robert Picardo) when a series of events caused him to question whether he was a hologram or a human.

During “Projections,” the Doctor became trapped on a malfunctioning holodeck that caused a feedback loop in his program. This led the Doctor to believe that he was actually his creator, Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, and the USS Voyager was all a program Zimmerman had created to study the effects of long-term isolation on starship crews. Feeding into this delusion was the hologram of a familiar face from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Initially, this familiar face was supposed to be Geordi La Forge, TNG‘s Chief Engineer, but Voyager ended up switching Geordi for someone else.

George Takei as Sulu, Dwight Schultz as Reg Barclay and Marina Sirtis as Troi in Star Trek: Voyager
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Geordi La Forge’s Star Trek: Voyager Guest Appearance Was Changed To Barclay

Star Trek TNG Geordi La Forge

Although Geordi would have been an undoubtedly great addition to “Projections,” Voyager instead chose to include Reginald Barclay (Dwight Schultz) as the episode’s TNG cameo, this was seemingly due to the direction that writer Brannon Braga wanted to take the episode rather than any issues getting LeVar Burton to agree to the appearance. In fact, Burton would eventually go on to make his cameo appearance as Geordi in Voyager season 5, during the the show’s 100th episode “Timeless.” That cameo was brief and not nearly as involved as “Projections” would have been, but still provided a great TNG tie-in to an important Voyager episode.

It is a shame though that Geordi wasn’t the one who appeared to the Doctor in “Projections.” The episode was already an interesting story with a fascinating existential dilemma, but having Geordi appear would likely have elevated it to a more famous status, maybe even making it one of Voyager‘s best episodes. Along with this, Geordi was a logical choice to aid Dr. Zimmerman, and LeVar Burton and Robert Picard would almost certainly have had great chemistry with each other. However, even though Geordi’s initial cameo never came to fruition, replacing him with Barclay facilitated the creation of an important storyline in Voyager‘s later seasons.

Why Barclay Was So Important To Star Trek: Voyager’s Later Seasons

Robert Picardo as Lewis Zimmerman and Dwight Schultz as Reg Barclay in Star Trek: Voyager

After his initial appearance in “Projections,” Reg Barclay went on to become quite important in Voyager season 6 and 7. Beginning in season 6, episode 10, “Pathfinder,” Barclay was revealed to be one of the people working on a special Starfleet project to help Voyager return to the Alpha Quadrant. It was Barclay who, through a risky technical maneuver, managed to create a way for Voyager to communicate with Starfleet for the first time in six years. Barclay went on to make a few other appearances in Voyager episodes and was instrumental in finally bringing the ship home.

Although Star Trek: Voyager‘s creative team might have come up with the idea to use Barclay on their own, his first appearance in season 2 very likely laid the groundwork for his inclusion later on. It also established Dwight Schutlz’s chemistry with Robert Picardo and introduced the idea of Barclay working with the real Dr. Zimmerman, something Voyager explored further in season 6, episode 24, “Life Line.” There’s no doubt that Geordi La Forge would have been an incredible addition to “Projections,” but in the end, Barclay proved to be the right choice.

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