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Exclusive: This Godfather actor was almost the villain in Star Trek: Generations

Trek writer Ron Moore reveals which acting legend almost took a trip to the Final Frontier. 

By Phil Pirrello

Star Trek fans know that Tom Hanks was once rumored for a major role in Star Trek: First Contact, but what they likely do not know is that he's not the only Oscar-winner to be on the short-list to boldly go.

During a recent exclusive interview with First Contact co-writer Ronald D. Moore, in honor of that movie's 25th anniversary later this month, Moore revealed the "surreal" name that was mentioned to play the villain in Star Trek: Generations: Marlon Brando. 

"I remember [producer] Rick Berman saying: 'I just heard from Paramount that there's a chance that Marlon Brando might be interested in doing this," Moore recalled. "Rick was like: 'Wouldn't that be amazing? That'd really be something.' And I walked out of the room going that will never happen. Never, ever going to happen." (Insert "make him an offer he can't refuse" joke here). 

Generations, co-written by Ron Moore and his then-Star Trek: The Next Generation writing partner, Brannon Braga, famously brought the Next Generation crew to the big screen for the first time. The movie featured Malcom McDowell as the Nexus-obsessed Soran, the baddie role Paramount brass seemingly earmarked for Brando. Soran was a deranged, vengeful villain hellbent on destroying a star in order to bring him in contact with some timey-wimey energy ribbon that would give him relief from the loss of his loved ones. Thankfully, Captains Kirk and Picard are able to stop him — but not before Soran lights the fuse on events that would lead to Jim Kirk's death.


We would pay real money (reference!) for the "Sliding Doors" version of this movie where Brando's Soran is the one who engages Kirk in the good captain's final fist fight. But it, like Hanks' casting, wasn't meant to be.

"With movies like this, there are always lots of names on a wish-list," Moore explains. "Many, many names are thrown around for many, many reasons. But, you just knew that this one was just not going to happen."

As for the rumors that Hanks (a Star Trek fan) was in serious contention to play Zefram Cochran, the founder of warp drive in First Contact, a role that would ultimately go to James Cromwell, Moore finally sets the record straight on that. 

"I'm sure Tom Hanks' name was floated around, in some capacity, but it was never really on the table."

Star Trek: First Contact's 25th anniversary is Nov. 22, so look out for more of our interview with Moore closer to that day as we celebrate this fan-favorite hitting the quarter-century mark.