NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 07: Whoopi Goldberg attends the Victor Glemaud presentation during New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Sunken Living Room at Spring Studios on September 7, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows)
Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan
While not technically a season one character, as she first appeared in The Child during season 2, there’s no reason she couldn’t be introduced slightly earlier in a movie franchise. As for the character she’s self-described as a pretty simple to play character.
"“My name is Guinan. I tend bar, and I listen.” – Guinan, 2368 (“Ensign Ro”)"
Sounds simple enough to cast right? Except that we know Guinan is much, much more than that, Guinan is one of the few El-Aurian’s we’ve met in Star Trek, they’re an extremely long lived ‘race of listeners’ who travel the galaxy without much fanfare after the destruction of their home planet at the hands of the Borg. Guinan herself is known to be well over five hundred years old, and has been married 23 times. We know she was on earth in the 19th century where she rubbed elbows with Mark Twain, or at least Samuel Clemens. Coming originally from the Delta Quadrant must have taken some time so she might well be a great deal older than we think.
There’s also a suggestion of some special powers or skills to the character, her personal history with Q, as well as her ability to see through a distortion in the space-time continuum during Yesterday’s Enterprise all suggest that without coming out and saying it. That’s all a part of the mystery of this character and it’s important that any actress playing the part be able to convey this properly.
That said our pick is Whoopi Goldberg, why not? She is perfect in the role, and who can say someone in their 60’s can’t play a character in their 6th century?
PARIS, FRANCE – DECEMBER 06: Jada Pinkett Smith attends “Chanel Collection des Metiers d’Art 2016/17 : Paris Cosmopolite” Show on December 6, 2016 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Honourable mention: Jada Pinkett Smith
Between the over the top Fish Mooney in Gotham, the straight-laced Christina Hawthorne in Hawthorne and the more mysterious and serious Niobe in The Matrix sequels Jada Pinkett Smith has all the credentials we need to take on the role of Guinan if Whoopi is unavailable.
While she is a little older than Goldberg was when she first took on the role for Star Trek The Next Generation, Jada still looks young, and regardless, is playing a character centuries older than she is, so age isn’t really a worry here.