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Star Trek was “best experience of my career” says Oscar winner

Star Trek is beloved by audiences around the world, but the show's cast also hold the sci-fi franchise in high-regard, including this Oscar winner.

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Oscar winning actress Whoopi Goldberg, who plays the mysterious Star Trek character Guinan in the TNG cast, has described working on the Star Trek series as the “best experience” of her career.

From season 2 of the sci-fi series onwards, Goldberg would often guest star in the show with a recurring role, after having two Oscar nominations and one win in her back pocket. This culminated in Goldberg appearing in 29 episodes of Star Trek, including some of the best TNG episodes (and overall Star Trek episodes) of all time with the likes of Yesterday’s Enterprise, Q Who, The Best of Both Worlds, and I, Borg.

As Captain Picard’s close friend and trusted adviser, she quickly became a fan favourite, and reprised her role recently in Star Trek Picard season 2.

Now, Goldberg has reflected on her time in TNG while speaking to the Star Trek Picard season 3 cast. Describing how she was cast in the role, the Oscar winner shared how she looks back on the show fondly as the best experience of her career.

“Star Trek let me know that [Black people] would be in the future. Because I’m a sci-fi fanatic, and at the time, when I was a kid, Black people were not in the future. So, when I saw Nichelle Nicols as Uhura… she was fly! And I thought ‘Yeah! Ok, we’re in the future!'”

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“So when LeVar [Burton who plays Geordi La Forge] said he was doing it, I said ‘Can I come play?’ and he said ‘I’ll tell them!’ And then a year went by and I hadn’t heard anything. And then I ran into him again and I said ‘Did you tell them?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, they didn’t believe me.’ So I called Gene Roddenberry and said ‘Can I come talk to you? I really want to be a part of this’.”

Goldberg concluded, “And as I say all the time, this was the best experience of my career because everybody was happy to be there, we were all actors and all equals together, and I loved it. I loved it. And it still remains my great passion.”

Goldberg’s passion for the role came across on-screen, as she delivered one of the series’ very best performances. After TNG, and before Picard, she would also return as Guinan in two TNG-era Star Trek movies.

For more on Star Trek Picard, check our our guide to TuvokRo LarenVadicCaptain Shaw, and the USS Titan. Or learn about the Star Trek 4 release date and the Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2 release date.