8 actors who were almost cast in 'Star Trek: Voyager'

By: H&I Staff    Posted: November 15, 2017, 3:04PM Tags: Tags: Things you might not know

Image: The Everett Collection

When production began on Star Trek: Voyager in 1993, there was some significant pressure on the new series. For starters, it was the fourth entry in the Star Trek television franchise, and there were expectations to be met. Work on the show kicked off as the beloved Next Generation was filming its final season, and as the darker, bolder Deep Space Nine was heading into its sophomore year. Paramount wanted to keep the momentum going, to keep those Next Generation stages in use.

Pleasing the fans would certainly be the first mission for Voyager, but the show took on more importance when Paramount decided to use it as the backbone for an entirely new television network, the UPN. Thus, this series had to be exciting; it had to be something new. 

The UPN premiered in January of 1995 with the pilot of Voyager. Star Trek suddenly had a new look, with CGI special effects and a woman at the helm. More than 21 million tuned in to see the now-familiar faces seen above.

However, the captain was not always meant to be a woman. And, once producers settled on the idea, several other familiar actresses auditioned for the role. In fact, an award-winning performer won the role of Captain Janeway but backed out a day into shooting.

Star Trek plots are often about alternate dimensions. So let's take a look at what might have been — or might be!

1

Gary Graham

Captain Janeway

Graham has the rare ability to say he was nearly cast as two Star Trek captains. The California native already had his sci-fi credentials after playing the lead human role in Alien Nation. It's no wonder he was up for consideration to play both Sisko on Deep Space Nine and Janeway on Voyager. Eventually, producers became set on the idea of a female captain, and Graham was passed over. However, he did appear on the show in season two's "Cold Fire," and eventually landed a regular Federation gig on Star Trek: Enterprise as Soval, the Vulcan ambassador to Earth.

2

Erin Gray

Captain Janeway

Once the lead role was rewritten as a woman, the field of candidates was narrowed down to a handful of veteran thespians. There were some fascinating names in the batch that truly made you wonder, "What if?" Science-fiction aficionados would have undoubtedly cheered the casting of Erin Gray, who was a bona fide action hero, a sort of Princess Leia of the small screen, thanks to her time as Colonel Wilma Deering on the TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century. She already had been immortalized as an action figure.

Image: The Everett Collection

3

Patty Duke

Captain Janeway

The former 1960s sitcom star was also in the mix. Undoubtedly, her kids, Sean and Mackenzie Astin, genre icons in their own right for cult roles in The Goonies and The Garbage Pail Kids Movie, would have been thrilled to see mom in the captain's chair. She already had a shelf full of Emmys, an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her work onscreen. Her sci-fi resume might have been slim, but undoubtedly she would have brought a fascinating edge to the role.

Image: MGM Television 

4

Geneviève Bujold

Captain Janeway

Speaking of acting trophies, Voyager producers eventually settled on another acclaimed star, one with a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination to her name. Her star brightened after her stunning turn in 1969's Anne of the Thousand Days. Two decades later, she was mesmerizing in David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers. It's no wonder she won the role of Janeway. However, even after Bujold was cast, there was some uncertainty amongst the producers that she would be up for the role. One asked to her seriously consider the job, with its grueling, ongoing demands, unlike anything you encounter in films. Bujold took a day to weigh the pros and cons and said yes. However, after getting a taste of reality, after a mere few scenes of the first episode were in the can, Bujold dropped out of the role. Enter Kate Mulgrew.

Image: The Everett Collection

5

Susan Gibney

Janeway / Seven of Nine

Gibney, pictured here on the right, had some experience in Star Trek universe, having played Dr. Leah Brahms, a love interest to Geordi in two episodes of The Next Generation. That being said, you have to think of her as being somewhat unlucky as a Trek performer, considering what might have been. The Yale School of Drama graduate was first up for Janeway, and passed over. Later, she tested twice as the Borg crewmember Seven of Nine — and was passed over. Later, she missed another chance to be a Borg as the Queen in Star Trek: First Contact. Third time is not always a charm.

Image: The Everett Collection

6

Jennifer Gatti

Kes

The New York–born Gatti had a soap opera credit under her belt — not to mention a Bon Jovi video — when she auditioned for the role of Kes. While she finished as the runner-up for the role, she did end up in the series, in the season two episode "Non Sequitur." Harry Kim wakes up in an alternate timeline in San Francisco, in bed with his fiancée, played by Gatti. Recently, Gatti has been seen portraying a teacher on HBO's Vice Principles.


7

Hudson Leick

Seven of Nine

When Leick went to audition for the new role of the alluring Borg, she admitted, "I didn't have my heart in it." She claimed in an interview that she went mostly for her sister. No worries — Leick still has an autograph table reserved at any comic-con she desires. She landed the juicy role of the villainess Callisto in Xena: Warrior Princess. These days, she is a yoga guru.

Image: The Everett Collection

8

Claudia Christian

Seven of Nine

Likewise, Claudia Christian probably does not lose much sleep over losing the role of Seven of Nine, which she read for at the time, according to her memoir. Christian was already a principle cast member on Trek competitor Babylon 5, playing Commander Susan Ivanova. A commander certainly ranks higher than Seven of Nine.

Image: Warner Bros. Television

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