As the only person to ever play himself in the “Star Trek” franchise, Stephen Hawking shows up on the episode, “Descent” in “The Next Generation.” He played a poker game with Data, Albert Einstein, and Sir Isaac Newton, a soiree conjured up by Mr. Data.
Now that is a real collision of some of the greatest minds in the history of science. Hawking wins the hand by bluffing Einstein. Although he wasn’t really bluffing, he put down the winning cards. The famous physicist was a fan of science fiction but also believed concepts like time travel could exist in reality.
The Klingon Language is a Thing
The Klingons’ native tongue was so embraced by Trekkies that a dictionary, including a grammar and pronunciation guide, was published in 1985. Linguist Mark Okrand invented the language, basing it on the way actor James Doohan spoke it in “The Motion Picture.”
Now it is spoken at Star Trek conventions. It is the most widely spoken fictional language in the world. Okrand said that after writing the Klingon dictionary, he thought it would just be a novelty coffee table book. But then he found out people were serious about it. “Thanks to the internet, people were meeting on message boards to talk in Klingon,” he said.
The Millennium Falcon Shows Up in ‘First Contact’
The Industrial Light & Magic people went a little ludicrous with this one. In “Star Trek: First Contact,” special effects are stuck in the trusty “Star Wars” Millennium Falcon. These people are known Easter egg planters, no doubt. But this is the mothership of the Force. What a prank!
The Millennium Falcon can be spotted near the beginning of the 1996 film allied with the Federation in the opening battle scene against the Borg. It’s a little blurry, but some people say it is canon. The idea of the Falcon and Starship Enterprise possibly crossing paths in a movie is such a mouthwatering prospect.
Marlon Brando Showed Interest in ‘First Contact’
As unbelievable as it seems, Marlon Brando was being considered for the role of the evil megalomaniac Soran. Writer Ronald Moore was informed by Rick Berman who said, “I just heard from Paramount and there’s a chance that Marlon Brando might be interested in doing this.”
While it never came to pass, many big names were open to parts in “Star Trek.” For instance, Tom Hanks is another heavyweight who was under consideration. If his schedule allowed, he would have been Zefram in “First Contact.” Of course, Brando previously appeared as Jor-El in "Superman," so this wouldn't have been a surprise.
‘TNG’ Writers Overruled Roddenberry With Locutus of Borg
While creator Gene Roddenberry’s health was ailing, writers of “The Next Generation” were able to bring on board a character idea that the creator adamantly opposed. Roddenberry’s vision was a humanistic one and he believed technology should only be used for the betterment of mankind and that no one in the main cast should ever be portrayed as a villain.
The Borg occupied Captain Picard as the Locutus of Borg, wiring his mind to the Borg collective hive in the episode, “The Best of Both Worlds.” For diehard fans, we can only imagine that this was a pretty disturbing way to see Picard.