Greetings, fellow 'Trek-Wikians!

In our latest segment - "What If?" - we'll be exploring some of the coulda/shoulda/would scenarios regarding our cherished Star Trek franchise. From the different series, to the movies, and other elements that we've come to know so well, there are many ways in which things could have turned out differently - some on the subtle side, and others much more dramatic. In any kind of production, there are inevitably numerous casting, storyline, and even effects decisions that shape the final product, so just for fun we'll be taking a look at some of the ways things could have turned out very differently.

For this installment, we thought we'd dive straight in and go for one of the more drastic "What Ifs" - the casting of one of the fan-debated most popular and/or favorite captains, and indeed characters: Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Even those who are not fans of Star Trek, and know virtually nothing about it will in general still recognize Sir Patrick Stewart as a major icon of the franchise. However, in a recent interview, his old pal Sir Ian McKellen (I won't insult you by listing what he's best known for) revealed that he advised our beloved @SirPatStew NOT to accept the role which has now - for better or worse in his own eyes - defined his career.

What if he had listened to his trusted friend and colleague, and passed on Star Trek: TNG? We're glad you asked! Below is a list (with pictures!) of actors who either auditioned for Captain of the Enterprise-D, or were offered the role outright. Don't forget to vote below for the actor who would have been your second choice!

What If - Picard

L-R: (top) Barrie Ingham, Mitchell Ryan, Patrick Bauchau, Stephen Macht
(bottom) Edward James Olmos, Yaphet Kotto, Roy Thinnes

All info gathered from the trusted compendium of Star Trek knowledge: Memory Alpha. Trek-Initiative Memory-Alpha Logo 01

  • Stephen Macht auditioned for the role of Willard Decker in The Motion Picture. In common with Arthur Hindle, Macht's audition, held by Robert Wise, was scheduled for sometime between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm on 25 July 1978. (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 105) He also auditioned for both the roles of Jean-Luc Picard and William Riker in The Next Generation. Years later, Macht played General Krim in DS9: The Circle and The Siege.

  • Roy Thinnes is an American actor who was considered for the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard. The role ultimately went to Sir Patrick Stewart. Thinnes is perhaps best known for starring in the science fiction series The Invaders, which aired from 1967 through 1968. He reprized his role from this series in the 1995 TV movie follow-up, which starred Scott Bakula. Thinnes also starred in the 1965-1966 series The Long Hot Summer and the 1971 NBC series The Psychiatrist. He later played the recurring role of Nick Hogan on Falcon Crest, where he worked with Robert Foxworth. More recently, he played Roger Collins in the 1990s revival of Dark Shadows and appeared as Jeremiah Smith in three episodes of The X-Files (working with Brian Thompson and director Kim Manners).

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