Whoopi Goldberg “Begged” To Be On TNG, Star Trek Producers Thought She Was Kidding

Whoopi Goldberg’s love of Star Trek: The Original Series prompted her to ask for a role on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which surprised producers.

Star trek the next generation season 1 cast Guinan

Summary

  • Whoopi Goldberg begged to be on Star Trek: The Next Generation and eventually appeared in 29 episodes as Guinan.
  • Goldberg’s love for the original series and the portrayal of black people in the future drew her to the show and Gene Roddenberry’s vision.
  • Goldberg reprised her role as Guinan in Star Trek: Picard season 2, and there’s a possibility she could appear in other current or future Star Trek shows.

Whoopi Goldberg really wanted to be on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the show’s producers initially didn’t believe the then-Academy Award-nominee when she asked to appear on the show. Beginning with TNG season 2, episode 1, “The Child,” Whoopi Goldberg appeared as Guinan in 29 episodes of TNG and two of the feature films. A close friend of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Guinan was a member of the El-Aurian species, who lived for an incredibly long time. She served as the bartender in the Ten Forward lounge on the USS Enterprise-D, often providing a listening ear and advice to anyone who needed it.

Whoopi Goldberg was a lifelong fan of Star Trek: The Original Series, and Nichelle Nichols’ portrayal of Lt. Nyota Uhura had inspired Goldberg as a young girl. Goldberg, who had already been nominated for an Oscar for her performance in The Color Purple, reportedly reached out to her friend LeVar Burton to ask about a potential role on TNGApparently, it took some convincing on Goldberg’s part to prove to TNG’s producers that she was serious. In the Star Trek oral history, The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross, Goldberg spoke about how she “begged to be on the show.” Read her full quote below:

Gene Roddenberry is Thoreau. I met with him and Rick [Berman] as I begged to be on the show. They thought I was kidding. I said, ‘No, you don’t understand. We’re talking about Star Trek. I really need to be part of this.’ They thought it was very interesting and Gene wanted to know why. When I explained to him that this was the only vision that had black people in the future, he thought that was very bizarre. I guess he didn’t realize that nobody else saw us there. This is what drew me to this show and this man. He was a man who was able to reach out through my television and explain to me that I had a place in the world and in the future.

Guinan in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Picard
Guinan’s Complete TNG & Picard Timeline Explained

Guinan, the Enterprise-D’s mysterious bartender, is one of the most intriguing and popular recurring characters on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Guinan Returned In Star Trek: Picard Season 2

Could the El-Aurian appear in other Star Trek series?

Two different versions of Guinan appeared in Star Trek: Picard season 2, only one of whom was played by Whoopi Goldberg. In the Picard season 2 premiere, Admiral Jean-Luc Picard pays a visit to his old friend at her Ten Forward bar to discuss his lifelong reluctance to open himself up to a romantic relationship. This scene wonderfully sets up the season, which will see Jean-Luc confront his childhood trauma and come to terms with much of his past. After Picard’s old nemesis, Q (John de Lancie), sends him and his friends back to an alternate 2024, Jean-Luc encounters the younger version of Guinan, played by Ito Aghayere.

Although the younger Guinan does not know Jean-Luc Picard, he eventually convinces her to help him restore the proper timeline. After Picard and his friends successfully return to their future, Picard visits Ten Forward again to speak with Guinan. Goldberg reprises the role for this version of Guinan, as she and Jean-Luc reminisce about the events of Star Trek: Picard season 2. Picard season 3 reunited much of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast, but Guinan did not make an appearance. However, considering Guinan’s lifespan is incredibly long, the door remains open for her to appear in one of the currently airing Star Trek shows or a potential future show. Considering Goldberg’s obvious love for Star Trek and Guinan, the award-winning actress would likely reprise her iconic role.

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