10 Actors Who Turned Down Star Trek

Their mission: to boldly go home.

Tom Hanks

The Star Trek franchise has been a time-warpingly huge force in the world of science fiction for over half a century. Kicking off their maiden voyage in 1966 and still going strong today, it would be a struggle to find anyone unfamiliar with at least one of the TV leviathan's many iterations. The actors themselves undoubtedly have a part to play in this notoriety; even the most unadventurous of TV-goers could pick out the likes of William Shatner, George Takei and Patrick Stewart in a crowd.

But what if these actors' legendary roles had gone to someone else? What if the producers had had a different vision for Mr. Spock than the stoic and tacitly snarky Vulcan that Leonard Nimoy brought to life? Would Starfleet be the same place at all with the showrunners' first choices at the helm?

These are the voyages of the captains who never sat in the chair. The would-be redshirts who never unceremoniously bit the space dust. The almost-villains whose stabbing hand fell just short of our backs. And so, here are 10 actors who did the unthinkable, and turned down Star Trek.

10. Michelle Forbes - Ro Laren

Tom Hanks
CBS / Paramount

For those of you confused about the image: yes, this actress was, indeed, in Star Trek. After appearing as a one-time character in the fourth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Forbes landed the role of Ensign Ro Laren, a previously court-martialled Bajoran with a distrust of the Federation and its personnel. The character proved popular among fans, and Ro became a recurring character on the show from its fifth season through to the seventh.

But it's this very popularity that leads to her inclusion on this list, as Ro Laren was originally groomed to be a major character on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a TV series that first aired in 1993. However, Forbes was unwilling to commit to a permanent role on the series, so the show went ahead without her involvement. In her last appearance on The Next Generation, Ro Laren defects from the Federation when she joins the Maquis, a group of Bajoran freedom fighters, and has not been seen on screen since.

Thankfully, Forbes's intended role on Deep Space Nine was subsequently reworked into the character of Kira Nerys, the Bajoran First Officer of the station played by Nana Visitor. Even so, Ro's prickly and no-nonsense nature could have been fun to see developed further.


Graduate composer, on-and-off session musician, aspiring novelist, professional nerd. Where procrastination and cynicism intertwine, Lee Clarke can be found.