Yaphet Kotto turned down the role of Jean-Luc Picard

Viral again this week is the casting wishlist for Star Trek: The Next Generation, which reveals that Denise Crosby was originally to be cast as Counselor Troi, not Lt. Tasha Yar, and Predator's Kevin Peter Hall was considered for both Lt. Cmdr. Data and Lt. Geordi LaForge.

Best of all, Bond and Alien legend Yaphet Kotto was close to being cast as captain Jean-Luc Picard, a part that ultimately went to Patrick Stewart. I've shooped how the big fella might have looked in the role: take me to that timeline!

From an interview:

You also turned down the role of Captain Picard in Star Trek: The Next Generation? I think I made some wrong decisions in my life, man. I should have done that but I walked away. When you’re making movies, you’d tend to say no to TV. It’s like when you’re in college and someone asks you to the high school dance. You say no.

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Mozart, but with more Klingons

If Mozart had thought to populate The Abduction from The Seraglio with Vulcans and Klingons, he most certainly would have.

Instead, this adaptation was left to Josh Shaw, Artistic Director of the Pacific Opera Project (POP). Their production of The Abduction premiered at the Southern Illinois Music Festival, and had a short run in the Los Angeles area.

I did not get a chance to see it, but this review made me wish I had.

POP has translated that German “libretto,” or text, into English. And moved the harem to planet M113. And the Turkish Pasha? A Klingon Warlord. Don’t question it. The results are strangely glorious. And whether you are a rabid Star Trek fan or just versed enough to get by in pop culture, this zany and pitch-perfect opera triumphs in pure laugh-out-loud hilarity.

Opera is becoming harder and harder to sell, but the love for classic Star Trek is not dead. The production brings to mind the fan-made series Star Trek Continues, a fan-made passion project that feels to me like Waiting for Guffman in space; and another fan-made series, the even more impressive Star Trek Phase II, whose New Voyages is looking very snappy. Read the rest