Tom Hanks would have loved to be in Star Trek: First Contact. The multi-award winning actor shut down the rumour that he was offered the role of the eccentric genius scientist Zefram Cochrane, who plays a pivotal role in the TNG-era science fiction movie First Contact.
Despite having an almost non-existent science fiction movie repertoire, Hanks is a well-known Star Trek fan. Rumours have circulated for years that the role of Cochrane, eventually played by James Cromwell in the space adventure movie, was originally offered to Hanks.
In Star Trek franchise, which includes countless sci-fi series and movies, Cochrane is credited with being the person behind the invention of the warp-drive, which allows humanity to explore space beyond their own galaxy. Because of this, his contribution is essential to humanity’s first contact with an alien species, the Vulcans.
So, the role would have been a suitably meaty one for Hanks to sink his teeth into. However, speaking to Josh Horowitz on his Happy sad confused podcast, Hanks revealed that the role was never offered to him. He said “the guy who invented warp drive? Oh come on! I would have jumped on that!” The actor continued “I would have come in and brought gift Tribbles to everyone on the first meeting. I would have done that!”
Star Trek fans will consider that an opportunity missed, then. Star Trek: First Contact is widely regarded as the best of the TNG-era movies, and one of the best Star Trek movies altogether. Nevertheless, some might believe that it could have been improved by the presence of Hanks, who is known to be one of the best actors of his generation.
Ronald D. Moore, the prolific Star Trek screenwriter behind the script for First Contact has spoken about the rumours too. However, he shot them down telling The Hollywood Reporter “At that point in the process, there are lots of names on a wishlist for many, many reasons. I’m sure [Tom Hanks’s] name was floated in some capacity, but it was never really on the table.” So, instead, fans will have to imagine what it would be like to see the actor as Cochrane, interacting with the famous Star Trek captain Jean-Luc Picard.
Still, if Hanks really did want to be in Star Trek there could still be an opportunity. Star Trek 4 is stuck in the early stages of development, but if it ever manages to make it out and bring its cast back together, there would surely be a role for Hanks, if he wanted it.
More of a Star Wars kind of sci-fi fan? Then check out our definitive guides to the galaxy far, far away starting with our guide to the Star Wars movies ranked.