Star Trek: The Next Generation didn’t want Riker and Troi to be a couple
Commander William Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi were characters practically every Star Trek fan wanted to become a couple. By season four of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the flirting between them had gotten more pronounced, but writers weren’t moving the relationship forward toward anything other than friendship. Even Jonathan Frakes thought the writers had given up on any type of romantic relationship.
Marina Sirtis was emphatic about the relationship not happening when she was on a 1991 SeaTrek cruise. According to Forgotten Trek, she told the fans to forget about it [the romance] as it wasn’t going to happen. While she and Frakes wanted the couple to be together, Sirtis said the producers wanted to keep Riker single to be the “stud of the galaxy.”
Star Trek: The Next Generation producer agreed about Riker and Troi
Jeri Taylor, who was the supervising producer beginning with season four of the series, had confirmed that they [the producers] had no interest in developing a deeper relationship between Commander Riker and Counselor Troi. While a past relationship existed for the couple, Taylor didn’t think they should “close any avenue off in a series that may go on for many more years.” Essentially, they wanted to keep the pair apart so they had other avenues to explore.
Admittedly, putting Frakes and Sirtis’ characters together would have closed the doors to some intriguing episodes, by the time the sixth season of the series rolled around, it was pretty obvious that neither Riker nor Troi was going to find anyone else that suited them better. Even Troi’s short-lived romance with Worf didn’t stand a chance against her connection with Riker.
We can thank the studio for the decision to finally move Riker and Troi into a relationship. Of course, that didn’t happen until the final TNG movie so there wasn’t much of an opportunity to explore their lives as a married couple. Those of us who watch Star Trek: Picard got to see one episode where the two were enjoying married life, but even that was too brief of a glimpse. Frakes and Sirtis voiced their characters again on Star Trek: Lower Decks, but fans who love the pair are hoping to see more of them in an upcoming season of Picard.