Marina Sirtis played Counselor Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation for the entirety of its seven year run
But, when the series was casting in 1987, a different actress had caught the eye of John Ferraro who was the development executive during the pre-production of The Next Generation. Amazingly, Denise Crosby, who couldn’t wait to get off of the series after portraying Chief of Security, Natasha Yar, for one season, was the most likely possibility to portray Counselor Troi according to a memo unearthed from the Paramount archives. Actually, she was, at the time, the only possibility.
There is no indication why Crosby wasn’t ultimately given the part, but the chance opens the door for some interesting speculation. How different would the series have been with Crosby as the ship’s counselor? Would she still have had the same background that Marina Sirtis’ Troi did? And would Crosby have remained with the series had she taken that role?
According to Larry Nemecek, who wrote the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, Marina Sirtis was originally supposed to portray Tasha Yar. It was Gene Roddenberry’s decision to switch the roles between the two actresses, although no reason has been given for that choice.
Troi’s character wasn’t fully-fleshed out in season one, and Sirtis’ role wasn’t among the strongest, but she hung in there, perhaps trusting it would get better. Crosby, on the other hand, abandoned ship when she didn’t see her character going anywhere after the first 23 episodes. So, potentially, we could have lost Counselor Troi as well.
Of course, that almost did happen anyway when Paramount threatened to fire Marina Sirtis during contract negotiations for Star Trek: Nemesis. That would have had a major impact on the movie considering it started with Troi and Riker’s wedding, and Troi also had a psychic connection to Reman Viceroy which was a pretty big part of the movie.
I do think It would have been interesting to see how Crosby would have played the counselor, though, I’m not sure if the romance between Troi and Riker would have worked as Frakes didn’t have the chemistry he had with Sirtis.
What do you think? Would you have liked to have seen Denise Crosby as Counselor Troi?