Crew Profile: Guinan
Whoopi Goldberg's casting in TNG has quite the backstory
It’s easy to forget that when Whoopi Goldberg first appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation back in November 1988, she was not the megastar she became. True, she had received acclaim for her role of Celie Johnson in The Colour Purple three years earlier - but that was only her second ever film credit. Her next role was a one-off guest star appearance in Moonlighting the year after, and although there was an element of ‘stunt casting’ (the episode was the season finale), this was at heart just a great decision by the production crew of that show.
But the same isn’t true about TNG. Goldberg never auditioned for the role of Guinan, which was originally created with a rather different brief by Gene Roddenberry - the very last recurring character idea of his career. Goldberg muscled in on the role of Guinan by basically insisting they let her into the show, a story which goes back to a most unlikely Star Trek fan - Martin Luther King Jr…
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