Star Trek: The Next Generation is one of the best shows in the Star Trek universe. It holds up well after almost three decades off the air, and it features some of the most iconic moments in the show’s mythology. It’s near perfect, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t have been better. For instance, according to CBR Robin Williams almost had a guest spot on the iconic sci-fi series, and the missed opportunity is bittersweet.
Williams, who had sci-fi experience from playing an alien in the 1970s sitcom Mork & Mindy, was supposed to appear in a season 5 episode called “A Matter of Time,” about a time traveller named Berlinghoff Rasmussen who steals a time machine to go into the future to find technology that can make him rich in his own time. He arrives on the U.S.S. Enterprise claiming to be a historian, but it soon becomes clear he’s a con man.
The Robin Williams role on Star Trek: The Next Generation that wasn’t to be
The TNG writers created the character with Williams in mind, but a scheduling conflict prevented him from taking the role, and instead Matt Frewer (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids; Max Headroom) stepped in.
“A Matter of Time” aired in 1991, which means that the Robin Williams who would have appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation would have been coming off of early hits like Dead Poets Society and Good Morning Vietnam, but he wouldn’t yet have achieved superstardom thanks to movies like Aladdin (1992) and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993).
Williams already had a connection to Star Trek: The Next Generation. His good friend Whoopi Goldberg starred as Guinan on the series, and there’s no question she would have loved to have him appear on the show.
Many big-name actors appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation over the course of seven seasons, but not Williams. It would have been a major highlight if it worked out.