Darmok On The Ocean . . .

Star Trek: The Next Generation is often (although not always) considered to be the best Star Trek show out there. (TOS and DS9 are also usually in the running, whereas Voyager and Enterprise fans are left out in the cold, forced to covertly seek out their own kind at Star Trek conventions, with secret, clever hand signals that indicate their allegiance without also giving away their deep, dark secret to the other Trekkies, lest they be mocked and then promptly eaten.)

Nobody wants to see a remake of TNG. It’s not necessary. Even I don’t really want to see it.

But I’ve cast for one anyway.

Sometimes, it’s entirely too much fun to put your head in the lion’s mouth and say, “Dare you.”

Captain Jean-Luc Picard

Jason Issacs

“Let us do no such damn thing.”

I thought casting Jean-Luc Picard would be impossible, but Isaacs was actually one of the first actors we decided on. Besides fulfilling the grand tradition of casting English actors in French parts, Jason Isaacs is a wonderful actor with a great range. I can easily see him being completely irritable—as Picard so often is—or giving counsel to his crew, or even reciting Shakespearean sonnets to Betazoid women and threatening the Ferengi men who hold them hostage. Isaacs has the charisma and the talent to hold the lead in such a large ensemble, and those pretty blue eyes don’t hurt him any, either.

And yes, I know. He isn’t bald. And you know what? We aren’t going to shave his head, either, because I suspect that would just look weird. Jean-Luc Picard will have hair in this remake. Oh, the humanity.

Commander William T. Riker

Joshua Jackson

“Yes, absolutely. I do indeed concur wholeheartedly!”

I fully expect to get some serious shit for casting Pacey Witter as Commander Riker, but I actually really like the idea. For starters, he isn’t just Pacey Witter, Dawson Creek haters; he’s also Peter Bishop, and he does a really damn good job on Fringe. Jackson has both the snark and the swagger to play everyone’s favorite ladies man, but he can also turn off the charm when he needs to and be authoritative as well. I can also see Jackson and Isaacs playing off each other with surprising ease.

Plus, he can be clean-shaven for first season and grow his scruffy beard for second! Isn’t that wonderful? I think it’s wonderful.

Lt. Commander Data

Cillian Murphy

“Could you please continue the petty bickering?”

Cillian Murphy looks absolutely nothing like Brent Spiner and would probably give a somewhat different interpretation of the android we all know and love . . . but I think I like him anyway. I can easily see Murphy with his big, guileless, blue eyes stating fact after fact after fact until someone (re: Picard) finally tells him to shut up. Data doesn’t feel emotion, but he still can’t be played by someone who’s flat—he has too many scenes where he’s trying to learn humor, or doubling as evil Lore, or getting blessed with a moment of gut-busting laughter. Cillian Murphy and his ridiculously sculpted cheekbones can be expressive as hell—but I think he can also pull back, when he needs to, which would make him pretty great for Data.

Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge

Dule Hill

“Sure is a damn ugly nothing.”

Kind of the opposite of Picard . . . I though Geordi would be one of the easiest people to cast, and in the end, I struggled with him for weeks. Dule Hill’s name came up early, but I was reluctant to pick him at first because . . . well, because he’s Gus. But then I had to remember, he wasn’t always Gus from Psych. He also used to be Charlie from The West Wing, and Charlie had a much quieter sense of humor that would work well for Geordi, I think. Our blind engineer doesn’t have a ton of character traits, but he is certainly affable, and I think Hill could portray that with relative ease. I also think that they should totally play up the relationship between Geordi and the ship’s computer, cause seriously, there’s a whole secret love affair going on between those two that you know not of. (And just for the record, I think the computer should sound like this, at least to Geordi. Maybe it could be a different voice for everyone else.)

And if you’re still not seeing it . . . here:

Come on. That’s awesome.

Lt. Worf

Idris Elba

“Sir, I protest; I am not a merry man!”

Because Idris Elba is a badass. Seriously. I didn’t properly appreciate Worf as a kid, but I have grown to love him as an adult, and I couldn’t have anyone less worthy playing him. Hopefully, in the remake, the showrunners will remember that Worf should probably win some fights, lest we have another montage like this, but . . . yeah. Elba’s a good actor, he’s got the right physique, and his American accent is pretty good. I think he’d make for a pretty awesome Klingon security chief.

Counselor Deanna Troi

Cote de Pablo

“It’s not just a matter of taste. It’s the whole experience. First of all, you have to spoon the fudge around the rim, leaving only the ice cream in the middle. Then, you gently spoon the ice cream around the sides, like you’re sculpting it. Relish every bite. Make every one an event.”

Okay, I should be honest: the first quote I really think of when I picture Deanna Troi is this: “Where are yooou? I have to find yooou! I have to tell yooou!” (I must be one of the only Trekkies on the planet who actually enjoys “Night Terrors.”) But I just love Troi’s little love song to chocolate. I had to go with that.

I’ve always like Deanna, despite the fact that the writers give her almost the worst dialogue in all of Trek. (The worst probably goes to Wesley.) I tend to like her storylines, and I think there’s a lot of unexplored potential in her character. I would love to give Cote de Pablo the opportunity to play someone softer than Ziva—I have no doubt she could do it—and I know she could play up Troi’s awesome moments of complete irritation. I’d also like to see her against Joshua Jackson. Hopefully, in the remake, they wouldn’t drop the whole imzadi thing off the face of the earth.

Dr. Beverly Crusher

Elizabeth Mitchell

“If there’s nothing wrong with me, maybe there’s something wrong with the universe!”

I love that line of reasoning. I just love it.

Crusher has some good moments, but overall, she has always been one of my least favorite Trek characters, maybe because I just don’t care for Gates McFadden, or maybe because Beverly has the personality of a coconut. Casting someone as awesome as Elizabeth Mitchell could only serve to make the good doctor more interesting. At the very least, she could make her seem a bit stronger and more competent. What does Crusher even do, other than talk to her son, occasionally flirt with Picard, and wave a medical tricorder around?

And yes, I’m sure she could dye her head red. Mitchell seems to have the coloring for it.

Wesley Crusher

Josh Hutcherson

“No, I wasn’t prepared at all. How can anyone be prepared to hear a parent isn’t coming home?”

See, that line above? There’s nothing wrong with that line. That line is perfectly respectable, even hints to a bit of character development. Sadly, that’s not the kind of thing super-genius-and-so-earnest-you-just-want-to-die Wesley Crusher normally gets to say. Instead, he gets stuck with shit like this: “I’m with Starfleet! We don’t lie!”

If TNG were ever to be remade, I would have suggestions to make, things that I think could have been better, certainly things that could have been darker or more complex. I don’t think Wesley needs to be darker, exactly—I’m not looking for a tragically misunderstood, emo Wes—but it would be helpful if he came off as a person instead of as a cartoon. And while I was not entirely happy with Peeta’s transition from book to film, I think Josh Hutcherson has shown that he can play a sincere character like Wesley and keep him from being, well . . . awful. You know, he can still be a nice, super smart, little momma’s boy who needs to learn the ways of the universe. Just, maybe he can say something funny or ask interesting questions or be something other than a very bad hook for the younger demographic.

Lwaxana Troi

Shohreh Aghdashloo

“Deanna, I love you, but you do make everything sound like an epitaph.”

Because for an older woman, Shohreh Aghdashloo is damn sexy. She’s also a good actor with a great smile and seems to have a decent sense of humor. I’m sure she could balance Lwaxana’s imperiousness (“Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx”) with her flirtatiousness. I can easily see her waltzing around, annoying her daughter, and constantly flirting with Jason Isaacs. God, the image of that alone just makes me smile.


“Shut up, kid. Tell me more about my eyes.”

I love Guinan. Possibly because it was something very different from what I’m used to seeing Whoopi Goldberg do, or possibly because she has the most awesome hats ever and I’m completely jealous of them. I don’t know that the role is so hard to play—as long as you can seem wise and compassionate without being utterly annoying—and thus I’m casting Aunjanue Ellis, who I’ve really only watched in The Mentalist but who I really liked in The Mentalist. I have faith in her range, and I’m sure she could play a softer character than Madeline Hightower. I also would love to see her in the moments where Guinan isn’t so soft, like when she’s confronting Borg. Or stabbing Q with a fork.

And finally . . .


“Oh, you’re so stolid! You weren’t like that before the beard!”

After watching Justified, there was no doubt in my mind in my mind about the next Q. I would love to see Neal McDonough play a little trickster god. (Okay, not literally, but practically.) I can easily see him bouncing around, dressing up in various costumes, snarking at people, and making Picard’s life a living hell whenever possible. He has the most perfect, impish little grin that would be perfect for Q. I almost want this reboot to be a real thing, just so I could see him pout when he loses all his powers or snap his fingers and turn everyone into Robin Hood characters.

God, McDonough would be awesome.

I guess that’s it. Well, fellow Trekkies—and particularly my friends from Galaxy: have I lost all respect in your eyes? (Assuming I had any to begin with, of course.)

16 thoughts on “Darmok On The Ocean . . .

  1. I love it. Especially Joshua Jackson as Riker. That would be awesome.
    Would be strange having Troi be tall, but I like the actress so could probably get over that.

    • I’m pretty happy with particular casting. Although someone else suggested Tilda Swinton to me after I posted this, and I was like, ” . . . huh.” That could be interesting too.

    • Jadzia’s on TNG?

      I considered Yar and Ro but didn’t have anyone in mind. The only person I thought of for Yar was Katee Sackhoff, and that would be just too much like Starbuck, I think. Somebody suggested A.J. Cook for Yar, which could be sort of interesting, but I’m honestly not even sure I want her in the series. I’d be okay just giving Worf more screentime.

      I’ll have to keep thinking about Ro.

  2. Okay, the recast. First off you’re safe Carlie, at least from me. With the amount of re-imagines that have been done, being planned or on someone’s wish list it’ll happen eventually.

    Jason Issacs for Picard, not a bad choice, although if I had to choose someone Sean Pertwee would have to top that list.

    Joshua Jackson for Riker, here I’m actually not going to yell and spit because of Dawsons Creek. I saw this guy in other stuff before I was even aware of that show, the first time being on stage in London alongside Patrick Stewart (A Life in the Theatre). And in all fairness to the guy, he was good. Rob Lowe however would be in my honest opinion a good match here, if you’ve ever seen him in the remake of ‘Salem’s Lot’ you’ll understand.

    Cillian Murphy for Data. Okay, ‘Sunshine’ sort of tarnishes his reputation, it wasn’t a particularly bad film (as long as you ignore the science that is), but it just didn’t strike ‘any’ chords for me, it’s just ‘there’. His portrayal of ‘Scarecrow’ in the Batman relaunch, well, that’s a different story, he was pretty good there.

    Dule Hill for Geordi. Thumbs up here. First saw this guy in West Wing, no argument.

    Idris Elba for Worf. I was hooked on Ultraviolet (the UK TV show, not the very bad film with the same name) when it came out and really wished they had made more, Elba was strong in that. Good actor, and a good voice for the part.

    Cote de Pablo for Troi. Agreed, would like to see this lady do something other than Ziva, and agreed, I think she’d do it and do it well.

    Elizabeth Mitchell for Beverly Crusher. This role needs someone who can do something with it. Never saw ‘Lost’. But did like the ‘V’ remake and she was good in it. Thumbs up here.

    Josh Hutcherson for Wesley Crusher. Okay, I’m going to attract the wrath of the TNG purists here when I say this is one character I would personally like to see ‘out’ of the remake/recast. Or at least in a staggeringly lesser role. The FAA today doesn’t allow kids to fly Cessna’s, so why would a military organisation allow a kid to pilot a multibillion credit starship that has to need much more training. I don’t care how smart you are, rules are rules. Plus, the character was so whiny and annoying at times, I wanted to punch his lights out when I first saw TNG.
    Sorry, okay, rant over.
    As for Josh Hutcherson, I had to look this guy up and honestly have to say don’t know him or anything he’s been in (Except Howls moving Castle, but he only had a voice over there as it’s an anime)
    Will have to follow your lead here.

    Shohreh Aghdashloo for Lwaxana Troi or Aunjanue Ellis for Guinan. Who? Okay, more unfamiliar names so I looked them up, and I have to admit, more faces I don’t recognise from film or TV I’ve seen (or at least remember).

    Neal McDonough for Q. Agreed 🙂

    I will say though, if you put any name other than Dwight Schultz for Reg Barclay, I will have to find a way to deny you cookies for a month.

    • I think I like Jason Isaacs better, but I also know him better than Sean Pertwee. I did really enjoy Pertwee in Dog Soldiers, though, so I wouldn’t discount the possibility entirely.

      I have actually seen the remake of Salem’s Lot, but I have to say that he doesn’t actually scream Riker to me.

      I doubt you’ll attract that much wrath from Trek purists for wanting to excise Wesley. Almost everyone hates Wesley. But I will incur your wrath right now when I tell you that I don’t care if Dwight Schultz plays Barclay or not because I could easily get rid of Barclay and be perfectly happy about it. I’ve never understood why people like that character as much as they do. Sorry. Please don’t deny me cookies. I love cookies!

      • 🙂 I think some people like Barclay because he is so clearly flawed. In a series where most of the crew are ‘The Best’ having someone who is more like a ‘normal’ geek is someone they can relate to. That’s my theory anyway.

        • That’s certainly the best theory I’ve ever heard. I like the idea. I just find Barclay a little too annoying to appreciate him for his flaws. Though I’m definitely on board with bringing a few more flaws to main characters—without ruining their characters entirely, of course. No one wants that.

  3. Though I’m not as plugged into current TV as some, I don’t have any objections to this cast. If Ro was going to play a bigger role in a remake, I think Cote would come off as a better Ro than Troi but again, it all works

  4. I like most of these. I would go with Sasha Alexander for Crusher, though, and let Mitchell do Tasha Yar. Nacheyev was on the show enough to also deserve a recast, if anyone has ideas there. Also, I think a DS9 recast should be next…..

    • I would totally do a DS9 recast if I knew DS9 better. I did watch a fair few as a kid, but I didn’t follow the whole series, and it’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen any of them. I wouldn’t feel comfortable trying to recast at this point.

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