Space Ramblings

Star Trek Generations Could Have Been Even Worse

Who knew

When were casting the role of Soran, which Malcolm McDowell played in Generations, I got a call from Marlon Brando’s agent saying that he was interested in doing it. It was the biggest thrill of my life. But the studio was not willing to pay the money that Mr. Brando was looking for.

Remember this was not the good Brando (debates on whether there ever was a good Brando will be held for another time), this was the Brando who went on to do The Island of Dr. Moreau at around the same time, a legendarily insane shoot which he made even worse by showing up with no pants, arbitrarily changing what was supposed to happen in the movie, possibly getting the director fired and other great stuff.

If Brando had actually shown up in Generations, the shoot, especially with a TV director like David Livingston who was completely out of his depth anyway, would have been spectacularly bad. Generations might have actually had to shut down, which might have forced Rick Berman out prematurely and changed Star Trek history forever. For better or worse, I don’t know.

Even if that didn’t happen, Brando’s presence wouldn’t have made the movie any better. Malcolm McDowell is a veteran and capably played the role. A few actors could have done it better, but how? Soren’s behavior had no framework. He was just a loon desperately addicted to a fantasy world and bent on killing as many people as it took to get there. And his screentime was limited by the goofy antics of the cast. If Soren had been developed properly, instead of showing us Data having a nervous breakdown, maybe.

Star Trek movies post-Harve Bennett did not have working villains. And even before that Star Trek III’s Kruge was an afterthought and the less said about Star Trek V the better. Christopher Plummer somehow managed to take a one note villain and play him with such sarcastic zest that he actually comes off really well. If Brando had done that, well who knows.

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  • Heavy Armor March 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    No, Brando would have been an upgrade.

    At least with Brando, you can make Superman and Apocalypse Now jokes while watching the movie crumble around itself. But nothing, short of firing Berman, Braga, and Moore as writers, would have saved that film.

  • O_Deus March 10, 2011 at 11:12 am

    As a plus Brando’s dialogue might have been completely impossible to understand making Generations more mysterious

    Why is Brando trying to destroy the universe again?

  • Sapphire March 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm

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  • The Film Yap March 15, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Quick correction: David Livingston did not direct “Star Trek Generations.” David Carson did. Interesting post, though. I am a huge Star Trek TNG fan and had no idea about Brando. It would have been interesting to say the least.

  • O_Deus March 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    True. Either way a TV director. Though he later he directed 10th Kingdom which was fantastic

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