The legendary Tom Hanks nearly had a major role in Star Trek: First Contact
It’s rather wild to think about, but it’s absolutely true. Tom Hanks nearly had a role in Star Trek: First Contact. Unlike many of these “so and so almost played X”, where everyone would go “OH MAN, THAT WOULD’VE BEEN SO COOL”, it’s actually hard to do that here. Not because Hanks wouldn’t have nailed the role, because he’s Hanks. Of course, he would have.
It’s because the role would’ve been that of Zephram Cochrane, who was played brilliantly by James Cromwell. Crowell’s portrayal of the character was absolutely brilliant, bringing a realistic humility to a character that is beloved by the events of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was almost like First Contact served as a reminder that the heroes of yesteryear, no matter how big their legend became, were always people. Cochrane’s very real reaction to time travel and aliens was brilliantly done, and the film didn’t feel like it was losing anything by going from the action sequences on the Enterprise with the Borg, down to Earth to see Cochrane.
Tom Hanks would’ve been great though.
Hanks, a lifelong Star Trek fan, was already booked for That Thing You Do, a movie about a fictitious 1960s rock band that gets a one-hit-wonder and then falls apart; so he had to bow out of any Star Trek talks.
Cromwell was fantastic in the role but Hanks would’ve brought a different take to the character that could’ve been equally as fun. Hanks is more over-the-top and bombastic in some of his roles, and seeing Cromwell with a dower sarcasm that Hanks can bring to his comedic characters would’ve been great.
Hanks is still interested in working on a Star Trek project eventually, even jokingly telling Simon Pegg on the Graham Norton show that when Pegg writes a story where the Romulans make peace, to call him because he’d like to play a peaceful Romulan.
Hanks would be great in Star Trek, no matter the role.