Our pals over at Ain't It Cool News posted a link a couple of days ago that led to a 1987 memo which detailed the casting possibilities for the upcoming Star Trek: The Next Generation series, the first of several spin-offs of the classic original Gene Roddenberry space epic.
One thing that always bothered me was the casting of stentorian British thespian Patrick Stewart as the French Jean-Luc Picard. I mean why didn't they cast a French actor? Well it appears that they at least came close to doing so. Belgian actor Patrick Bauchau may not be familiar to many of you, but he has been a reliable presence on some good genre television shows such as The Pretender and Carnivale and he appeared as the main henchman to Christopher Walken's lead villain in Roger Moore's swansong as 007 in "A View To A Kill".
As peculiar as the casting of a British man as a Frenchman seemed to me twenty years ago, I have to say that I've always disliked some of the cast of ST:TNG, and particularly Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher. She was weak from start to finish in the role and I much preferred the Diana Muldaur second season fill-in role of Dr. Pulaski better. However, hold the fort, it seems that Logan's Run/An American Werewolf in London veteran and all-around 1970's cutie (& British) Jenny Agutter was considered for the part of Crusher. What were they thinking? I would have given it to her in a heartbeat.
Lt. Tasha Yar bought the farm very early in the first season of ST:TNG (thank god), basically nothing against Denise Crosby's turn as Yar, but that character sucked from the get go. Two Asian-American actresses that were originally up for the role of Yar would have been far superior - granted in my own opinion - but here in the Catacombs it's the only one that truly matters. Rosalind Chao and Julia Nickson would have lent that role a nice bit of exotic appeal and for my money, Lt. Yar could have then survived the goop-monsters attack that ultimately killed her off.
Now out of all the other possibilities mentioned in that AICN post (go read for yourselves), the only other one that really fascinates me would have been "seeing" Wesley Snipes as Geordi LaForge. Man wouldn't the chief engineer of the Enterprise 1701-D been one butt-kicking blind dude. That would have been all kinds of awesome (and I actually liked Levar Burton as Geordi).
Just a few things to file away in the might have been category!