Characters of Star Trek: The Next Generation – Who, What And Where?

For almost 28 years since May 1994, the characters of Star Trek: The Next Generation remained fixed in their fans’ imaginations, wondering if Captain Picard and the entire crew of Enterprise-D would ever make a glorious return home together.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Chances are slim, but anything’s possible. Here is a little reminder about TNG’s characters and a bit more about what the cast are doing now.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: patrick stewart

Jean-Luc Picard – Patrick Stewart

Captain Picard had a glorious career onboard the Enterprise. He was the one who successfully formed an alliance with the Romulans to deal with more dangerous threat. Captain Picard also once saved the galaxy from the Borg, and dealt with the Q Continuum as well. The person behind the character, Patrick Stewart, was nominated to Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance in 1994.

Following the conclusion of Star Trek: TNG, Patrick Stewart moved on to become Professor Charles Xavier (Professor X) in the big-budget X-Men series. Starting in 2020, he has been reprising his role as a retired Starfleet Admiral Picard in the new (and on-going) series “Star Trek: Picard”.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

William Riker – Jonathan Frakes

Riker is the Executive Officer of the Enterprise-D, a close ally to the Captain, and well-respected by the crew. Other than in Star Trek: TNG, Jonathan Frakes portrayed the same character in some other popular series including “Deep Space Nine” and “Voyager.” He was also featured in the series finale of “Enterprise” in 2005. More recently, Frakes again reprised his role as Riker in several episodes of “Lower Decks” in 2020 and 2021, in addition to appearances in “Picard” in 2020.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: levar burton

Geordi La Forge – LeVar Burton

The chief engineer (formerly a helmsman), La Forge, seemed to have always been unlucky with women. Also, he often found himself having to explain human idiosyncrasies to Data. Like all the main cast, Burton appeared in all four feature films based on TNG including Star Trek Generations, First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis. He will reprise the role as La Forge in the third season of “Picard.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation: micheal dorn

Worf – Michael Dorn

A Klingon who served as Chief Security Office on Enterprise-D, Worf had one of the most a complicated background stories among all the characters. Michael Dorn has made the most appearances in the Star Trek franchise compared to any other actor thus far. His first appearance was in 1987 in “Encounter at Far Point” and will be on-screen again as Worf in the third season of “Picard.”

Star Trek: The Next Generation: marina sirtis

Deanna Troi – Marina Sirtis

A woman of many talents, Deanna Troy – portrayed by Marina Sirtis – was the counselor on Enterprise-D and able to sense emotions thanks to her half-human half-Betazoid nature. Over nearly three decades since TNG ended, Sirtis made a good number of appearances in popular shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy” and “NCIS.” She will be Deana Troi again in the Season 3 of “Picard.”

Data – Brent Spiner

An android with a strong desire to feel human and be treated as such, Data was among the most beloved characters not only in TNG but the entire Star Trek franchise. Brent Spiner, the actor portraying Data, appeared in dozens of TV shows too, for examples “Friends” and “Ray Donovan.” In the 2016 sequel “Independence Day: Resurgence,” Spiner was featured as Dr. Brackish, just like in the first film.

The twin brother of Data, Lore, was also portrayed by Brent Spinner. Lore sometimes acted as an advisory to the crew of Enterprise-D, but his true character was an evil-driven villain.

Beverly Crusher – Gates McFadden

The Chief Medical Officer on Enterprise-D, Beverly Crusher, mostly filled the roles of the captain’s unrequited love and the mother of Wesley. She also had sex with a ghost. Throughout the series, Crusher was portrayed by Gates McFadden whose acting career is filled mainly with TV appearances such as “NCIS” and made-for-TV films including “A Neighbor’s Deception.” There will be more of her as Beverly Crusher in the third season of “Picard.”

Tasha Yar – Denise Crosby

Lieutenant Tasha Yak was chief of security on Enterprise-D, portrayed by Denise Crosby. Many critics said that Yar’s death happened too early, rendering her background story as freedom fighter a mere pitch. In addition to TNG and a number of direct-to-video movies, Crosby appeared in a multitude of TV shows including “The X-Files,” “Bones,” “Southland,” and “Ray Donovan” to name a few.

Wesley Crusher – Wil Wheaton

The story of Wesley Crusher revolved around his efforts to become a Starfleet officer. He then completely abandoned that goal in the final season. Wesley, portrayed by Wil Wheaton, was never exactly fans’ favorite. However, Wheaton never let the sentiment prevent him from having a successful acting career. He jumped right back to spotlight with his appearances in 17 episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” in which he played as himself and a recurring role in “Leverage.” He also appeared in “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “Criminal Minds,” and “S.W.A.T.”

Lwaxana Troi – Majel Barrett

Despite offering comedic relief for the most part in the series, we finally learned in “Dark Page” episode that Lwaxana suffered a great loss in the past when Kestra (Deanna’s sister) died in a childhood accident. The character is portrayed by Majel Barrett, who unfortunately is no longer with us. By the time of her death on December 18, 2008, some of his voiceover works were still in production. They were released in the 2009 film “Star Trek” as the voice of Enterprise computer.

Q – John de Lancie

It is probably safe to say that Q in Star Trek: TNG was like Loki in MCU, a trickster with superpowers. Some even argue that Q, portrayed by John de Lancie, was the best villain in the series. Following the end of TNG, de Lancie kept his sci-fi skills at hand. He earned guest spots in quite a long list of TV shows such as “Torchwood: Miracle Day” and “Stargate SG-1” in addition to his works in video games such as the 2018 “Payday 2” as the 46th President of the United States and in 2019 “Call of Duty: Black Ops 4” as Rushmore. In the third season of “Picard,” de Lancie will reprise his role as Q as well.

Miles O’Brien – Colm Meaney

When it comes to Miles O’Brien, portrayed by Colm Meaney, everybody seems to be on the same page that the character was underused. In the Deep Space Nine, however, Meany had the chance to do more things. Outside the franchise, Meany has been a busy actor with roles on TV and movies throughout the years. In 2007, he was nominated for Best Actor by the Irish Film and Television Award for his performance in “Kings.” He also appeared in ‘Law Abiding Citizens” and “Pelé: Birth of a Legend” among other titles. On TV, Meany was in “Heel on Wheels” and is currently in “Gangs of London” as Finn Wallace.

Mr. Homn – Carel Struycken

Little was ever known about Mr. Homm, the seven-foot tall servant of Lwaxana Troi. He appeared in every episode where Lwaxana did. He never spoke to anyone. The actor who brought the character to life was Carel Struycken, best known for his role as Fireman in Twin Peaks, both the original and the continuation. He played as the household butler named Lurch in all three Addams Family films throughout the 1990s. More recently, he was in “Doctor Sleep” as Grandpa Flick.

Katherine Pulaski – Diana Muldaur

Compared to Beverly Crusher, as a medical doctor Katherine Pulaski was much more acerbic in nature. One of the best things about Pulaski, portrayed by Diana Muldaur, was that she never idolized Captain Picard. During her brief (Season 2) tenure on Enterprise-D, she saved both Picard’s and Riker’s lives. Muldaur was active in acting since the 1960s to early 1990s. She is best known for her performance as Rosalind Shays in NBC’s series L.A. Law, which earned her two Emmy nominations. For the first time since 1991, she will appear in an upcoming film “Finding Hannah” as Anat Bergman.

Guinan – Whoopi Goldberg

At some point in the series, every character major or otherwise came to Guinan for guidance. That was an unsurprising plot because she was the bartender anyway. Whoopi Goldberg, who played as Guinan, earned a Tony Award for Best Musical in 2002 with “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” In the same year, she received her first Daytime Emmy Award with “Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel.” In 2009, she won another in the Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Host category for her work in “The View.” During an episode of the talk show, Patrick Stewart asked her to come join in the second season of “Picard,” which she accepted.

Reginald Barclay – Dwight Schultz

In TNG, Dwight Schultz wasn’t part of the main cast, but his character, Reginald Barclay, had an important function for the series. As a character, he represented the struggle everyone had with self-doubt and dealt with it each time. Before TNG was even born, Schultz had already been a famous actor for his role as Murdock in The A-Team. Now he is mostly a voiceover actor. One of this latest works was as Scarecrow in the 2020 animated direct-to-DVD film “Happy Halloween, Scooby Doo!”

Keiko O’Brien – Rosalind Chao

There were only very few civilians aboard the Enterprise-D, and Keiko O’Brien was one of them. She was on the ship only because she was married to an officer, Miles O’Brien. TNG did not really explore the dynamics between Keiko and her husband’s duty but “Deep Space Nine” took the effort to do it. Portraying Keiko was Rosalind Chao, who stayed busy after her time on the series. She was Dr. Kim in “The O.C.” and more recently Hua Li in the 2020 remake of ‘Mulan.”

Alyssa Ogawa – Patti Yasutake

One of few trusted colleagues and close friends of Dr. Crusher, Alyssa Ogawa didn’t have much on-screen time in TNG. In the final season, nurse Alyssa Ogawa was pregnant and the series ended before she gave birth. Patti Yasutake, who played as Ogawa, appeared in many TV series over the decades for examples “The Closer” and ‘NCIS: Los Angeles.” She is now filming a Netflix’ new comedy film “Beef.”

Vash – Jennifer Hetrick

Not many characters shared the same passion with Captain Picard. Vash probably was the most memorable minor roles in the series for that reason. Vash was an intellectual match to the captain. They also had the same fascination with ancient artifacts. The character was portrayed by Jennifer Hetrick, a veteran actor who has worked for more than 40 years since the 1980s, mostly on TV. One of her last film appearances was in “500 Days of Summer” as Sarah. Following the end of TNG, she had many appearances in popular TV series such as “The X-Files,” “Beverly Hills 90210,” “Criminal Minds,” “24,” “NCIS,” and “Code Black.”

Which of these Star Trek: TNG characters are your favorite?

We’d love to hear from you!

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