Apparently, if your character in a hit series receives an in-character promotion it’s the same as receiving a real-life raise. That’s what the executive producers believed. When it became clear that “Star Trek” was a hit, Wil Wheaton, who starred as one of the main characters, asked for a raise. What the executive producers offered Wheaton instead was an in-character promotion for his character.
Though Ensign Wesley Crusher was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, Wheaton was still trying to pay rent. The producer’s incredulous offer damaged Wheaton’s relationship with the network executives. Though his on-screen character had been promoted to Lieutenant, Wheaton left soon after. Unfortunately, this kind of promotion didn’t quite beat the inflation blues.
George R.R. Martin Almost Had a Hand in It
While most of us know George R.R. Martin as the creator of the fantasy series “A Song of Ice and Fire” – and the mega-successful series, “Game of Thrones” on which it’s based– few know Martin as a Sci-Fi writer. One person who knows Martin for his Sci-Fi creations was a junior producer at Paramount. It was pretty common practice for Roddenberry to enlist the help of writers to come up with “Star Trek” material.
In the early stages of “TNG,” Martin applied for a job in the writing room. Here the junior Paramount producer interfered. Apparently, he felt Martin’s creation was “too Sci-Fi” and he believed that “TNG” was a “people’s story” at heart. Let’s hope this producer hasn’t watched “GOT,” else he’ll kick himself for that decision.
A Cameo for the History Books
Though Nichelle Nichols, who played Lieutenant Uhura, wasn’t exactly happy with her working conditions in “TOG,” she didn’t realize the impact she was having beyond the screen. Mae Jemison, who became the first female African-American astronaut, was a “Trekkie.” Before she became an astronaut, Jemison was inspired by Nichols’ onscreen persona, Lieutenant Uhura.
In fact, she was so inspired that seeing Lieutenant Uhura was all the motivation she needed. She worked hard and became the first female African-American astronaut. The awesome part is that later Jemison had a cameo in “TNG.” While she had no idea, back in “TOG,” Nichols was having a hand in influencing history.
A Little Like Politics
Most of us know that the 40th US President, Ronald Raegan, was a former B-grade actor before his time in the white house. But few know that during his time in office, the once actor visited the set of “TNG.” In 1991, Raegan visited the set during the filming of an episode.
Though he was surrounded by cast members fully decked out in the Klingon warrior costumes, Raegan only had positive comments for the “Star Trek” crew. When asked what his opinion was of the Klingons, Raegan said he liked them. Interestingly, the 40th president also said, “They remind me of Congress.” Right now, we’re not sure if that’s a compliment or an insult to these warrior people.
Torture in the Nude
In the episode, “Chain of Command, Part II,” Captain Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart, is captured and tortured by the Cardassians and tortured by Gul Madred, portrayed by David Warner. Though “Chain of Command, Part II” was a popular episode in “TNG,” its torture scene was grizzly and one of the darker moments of the show. What’s interesting is that both the onscreen villain and hero had a hand in making it grizzly.
Warner and Stewart were both actors with backgrounds in theater. Apart from going full-method for the scene, Stewart insisted that he be filmed in the nude and that it be filmed in a closed set. Being filmed in the nude would certainly make Stewart uncomfortable – and perhaps, that was just what the torture scene needed.