Also Check: Is warp speed possible?
The Star Trek Discovery premiere is just days away and the Star Trek universe is buzzing with anticipation. We know all there is to know at this point about the new series, which isn’t a great deal, but journalists who saw the first screening have promised us a treasure trove of surprises when the new show debuts. To get us is the mood for it, I’ve found 10 amazing facts about the Star Trek universe that you probably weren’t aware of. Hardcore Trekkies probably know these, but it’s always fun to read anyway.
In an era where women’s rights and equal opportunities in America hadn’t started to gestate, Majel Barrett, who happened to be Gene Roddenberry’s girlfriend and future wife, was originally the right hand lady of Captain Kirk. She even rescued Captain Pike and proved to be a worthy leader, but early test audiences weren’t responsive to her character and thought she was too stern. Audiences would have to wait until 1995 to see a female lead when Kate Mulgrew took the reins of Voyager.
The legendary Leonard Nimoy gave us the intensely watchable character Spock, and although fans might remember a pale greenish tint to his skin, he was originally supposed to be red. Producers soon realized that most television sets were still black and white at this point, and Spock would have appeared very dark on screen. A makeup mix-up one day made him extra pale and green and it seemed to work so they stuck with it.
Data’s evil twin, Lore, was originally supposed to be a woman. They even had actresses in casting for the role before Brent Spiner worked with the writers and came up with the idea of him being an identical evil twin. The plan worked and Lore episodes were well received; they also saved money on actor wages.
The Borg were a terrifying nemesis to Picard, Janeway and even Archer, but they weren’t supposed to be the scary half-man half-machine bipods they ended up as. They were originally supposed to take the form of insectoids, but the production teams found this was too expensive and didn’t look quite right after the first shots. A rewrite was done and they came up with the Borg and the collective conscience idea that made the Borg one of Star Trek’s finest foes.
Tim Russ, who went on to play Janeway’s right-hand Vulcan, Tuvok, in Voyager, originally applied for the role of Geordi. LeVar Burton eventually got the role and became one of Starfleet’s finest chief engineers but it was apparently a close call. Russ went on to make Star Trek history, as along with Jonathan Frakes, Russ is the only Star Trek actor to appear onscreen with 4 out of 5 Star Trek captain (Kirk, Picard, Janeway, Sisko) albeit in different roles.
Voyager was always going to have a female lead but it was a big decision in who that lead should be. Many actors were tried and tested before Kate Mulgrew got the role, including Linda Hamilton who played the badass Sarah Conner in the Terminator movies. Lynda Carter, Kate Jackson and Lindsay Wagner were also looked at. At one point, the producers almost went back on their word and asked British actor Nigel Havers to audition and he was apparently pretty good. Geneviève Bujold was then chosen as Nicole Janeway, although after a few scenes it became apparent that she was not a good fit. Eventually Mulgrew got the role and would go on to return the crew of Voyager back to Alpha quadrant, albeit with a few struggles along the way.
Michael Dorn was even offered a role but turned it down, opting to join the crew of DS9 instead. It does make you wonder how the influence of Worf might have changed Voyager, and what sort of relationship he would have had with the Voyager characters. Maybe Tom Paris would have been pushed to one side and a B’Elanna Torres and Worf would have got together..
Star Trek is built on a lot of theoretical science and advisors fromm NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab worked with the team on TOS. Warp engines function by letting matter and antimatter particles commingle in a reaction chamber, which is regulated by dilithium crystals. When the particles interact, they destroy each other, giving off enough energy to allow the ship to warp space around the ship and move faster than the speed of light.
As ratings fell on Enterprise, the producers decided to use one of their biggest assets, T’Pol, to lure more male watchers. They gave her a new uniform which was more generous in the cleavage area.
“Obviously, there’s the ratings, but the primary reason was a creative one. Last season ended with T’Pol leaving the Vulcan high command, so she would no longer wear the same uniform. And, after two years, our leading lady needed a change. She had been in that brown uniform with that little bowl haircut … and Bob Blackman came up with some dynamite costumes.”
Roddenberry apparently believed Spandex was the fabric of the future, and as such, decided that all the costumes would be made from it. Spandex happens to retain odor, so the uniforms were often smelling awful by the end of shooting. Costume designer Robert Blackman:
“there is a certain part where if you’re wearing them for a long period of time, you can’t really clean all the smell out, and it becomes a little bit annoying. And it also retains the odor of the dry cleaning fluid. So, it’s a little bit, on a day-to-day basis, unpleasant.”