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Primitive Culture: A Star Trek History and Culture Podcast

Jul 10, 2019

Cast Changes in Star Trek.

When Star Trek’s original pilot, “The Cage,” was rejected by NBC, Gene Roddenberry was forced to rethink the acting lineup for his new show. Jeffrey Hunter’s Christopher Pike was out, replaced by the more charismatic William Shatner as James T. Kirk. Gone, too, was Roddenberry’s partner, Majel Barrett, leaving Leonard Nimoy as the only cast member to survive the recasting process. It was the first in a series of periodic reshuffles that have marked the franchise throughout its long history, many the result of bitter behind-the-scenes disputes between actors and producers. Most recently, the Deep Space Nine documentary What We Left Behind has shone a light on the circumstances surrounding Terry Farrell’s abrupt departure from the show at the end of its penultimate season—a subject that is clearly emotive for those involved, even more than 20 years later.

In this episode of Primitive Culture, recorded live in London following the first public screening of the Deep Space Nine documentary, host Duncan Barrett is joined by Carlos Miranda, Drew Barker, and Andy Poulastides to discuss Star Trek’s reshuffling of personnel in front of the camera. We consider the introduction of Worf to DS9 and Seven of Nine to Voyager with the goal of boosting viewing figures, the abrupt departures of Gates McFadden from The Next Generation, Terry Farrell’s exit from DS9 and Jennifer Lien’s Voyager farewell, and the ways in which modern TV sensibilities—in the wake of shows such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones—have upended long-held assumptions about the longevity of series regulars.