The first spin-off series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, almost had an A-list cast.
The first Star Trek series was a hit and turned names like William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy into stars. That became the gift and burden of Star Trek; the ability to turn an actor into a star. That was never more obvious than with Star Trek: The Next Generation when it took veteran actor Patrick Stewart and turned him into an icon across the board. So when Deep Space Nine was launched as a spin-off series, producers of the show had grand thoughts.
Paramount believed that with the end of the then-current Star Trek film franchise, especially with the sixth film, the Undiscovered Country, as well as the ratings hit that was The Next Generation, that Deep Space Nine would curry more top names to the project.
Top names were offered parts.
That meant that the role of Benjamin Sisko, which would be played by Avery Brooks, was actually thrown to the likes of Carl Weathers, Eriq La Salle, and James Earl Jones first. They all turned it down, obviously.
They weren’t the only ones to get a shot at iconic roles as Odo and Jadzia Dax were also offered to other actors as well. Terminator 2: Judgement Day’s Robert Patrick was offered the role of Odo before the role ultimately went to the late Rene Auberjonois.
Dax was offered up to GoldenEye actress Famke Janssen before the role ultimately went to Terry Farrell. Janssen actually had an interesting connection to all of this, as she played an alien on an episode of The Next Generation, and her look heavily inspired Dax’s on DS9.
Had just one of these actors or actresses said yes to the role on Deep Space Nine, then who knows what the landscape of the franchise looks like.