Stаr Trek’s LeVаr Burton Explаins Geordi Trаdinɡ His VISOR For Robot Eyes

After seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation and one movie, Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge finally upgraded his VISOR for ocular implants.



  • Losing Geordi’s VISOR allowed actor LeVar Burton to fully express emotion through his eyes, enhancing his character’s depth and relatability.
  • The ocular implants Geordi adopted in Star Trek: First Contact provided even more advanced features than his VISOR, giving him a unique perspective.
  • Geordi’s humanity and relationships were further explored without the VISOR, allowing for emotional moments and impactful scenes in Star Trek: Picard.

Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge actor LeVar Burton explains what it was like to lose the iconic VISOR he wore for years on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Geordi’s VISOR was a definitive aspect of his character’s look on TNG, but LeVar Burton was happy to ditch the eye gear in favor of the much more practical ocular implants. Throughout TNG, La Forge served as the Chief Engineer aboard the USS Enterprise-D under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). Although Geordi continued to wear his VISOR in Star Trek Generations, he upgraded to bright blue robotic eyes in Star Trek: First Contact.

Star Trek: First Contact, which saw the USS Enterprise-E travel back in time to stop the Borg, soon became the most successful and well-received of the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies. While Geordi’s VISOR had looked futuristic in TNG, it was painful to wear and severely limited Burton’s sight. In the Star Trek oral history The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross, LeVar Burton speaks about losing the VISOR for First Contact:

“It was time. Eighty percent of my vision was cut off when I wore that thing, and it physically hurt, which was one of the more important reasons I wanted to get out from underneath it. We held on to it for so long, because, as Rick says, it was one of the ways that we established in the minds of the audience the technology of the twenty-fourth century. On the series it became problematic because it was cost prohibitive. We were never able to show the audience what Geordi saw, because it was too expensive and we were on a tight budget. So it became a barrier to storytelling, physically painful for me, and on a spiritual level, it’s really just a sin to cover an actor’s eyes. I wasn’t really aware of how much of a barrier it had become until we shot this movie, and in the absence of the VISOR, I noticed that the other actors were relating to me very differently. They were engaging me in a way that they never did in scenes. So the visor is dead; long live the visor!”

3 Versions Of Geordi’s VISOR & Eyes In Star Trek Explained

LeVar Burton’s Geordi La Forge wore his iconic VISOR for all of Star Trek: The Next Generation, but he later upgraded to ocular implants.

Losing Geordi’s VISOR Made La Forge A Better Character

LeVar Burton gained the full ability to emote with his eyes.

Many actors convey emotion through their eyes, and Geordi Le Forge’s VISOR limited LeVar Burton’s ability to emote. Losing the VISOR gave Burton more freedom and range as an actor, and allowed the actors around him to better respond to his facial expressions. This change made Geordi a more well-rounded character, removing the barrier between the character and the audience that was the VISOR. With his ocular implants, Geordi could still see differently than those with ordinary vision, and the implants had even more enhanced features than his VISOR.

Wearing similar ocular implants, Geordi La Forge returned in Star Trek: Picard season 3 as a Commodore and the curator of the Fleet Museum on Athan Prime. Now with two daughters who had joined Starfleet, La Forge had even more reason to be emotional and Burton conveyed much of that emotion through Geordi’s eyesPicard season 3 also saw Geordi reunite with his resurrected best friend Data (Brent Spiner), another scene that would have been hampered by the VISOR. Geordi had always been a very human and relatable character, but losing the VISOR in Star Trek: First Contact allowed more of his humanity to shine through.

Star Trek: The Next GenerationStar Trek: First Contact, & Star Trek: Picard are all available to stream on Paramount+.

Source: The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years: From The Next Generation to J. J. Abrams: The Complete, Uncensored, and Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross

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