‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’: Robin Williams Had an Entire Episode Written Just For Him — But Never Appeared In It

Robin Williams passed away in 2014, but he lives on in the hearts of his fans. Williams was an internationally beloved star. He moved seamlessly between TV, movies, and voice work.

Although he is most famous for his comedy, Williams had no trouble slipping into a dramatic role when the mood struck him. Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation may be interested to know Williams almost appeared on the show. According to Mental Floss, writers came up with an episode just for him, but he didn’t star in it. 

Robin Williams got his start as a space alien in ‘Happy Days’ 

Robin Williams
Robin Williams | Peter Kramer/Getty Images

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It’s no surprise that Williams would be a fan of a show that takes place in outer space. After all, his first television role was as space alien Mork. The character appeared on a single episode of Happy Days

Williams killed as the weird, quirky Mork. He was so successful that producers began working on a Mork spin off before the Happy Days even aired. The studio audience went crazy for Mork, and producers capitalized. 

Mork and Mindy would never achieve the success of it’s parent show, Happy Days. But it would be a modest success, and more importantly for Williams, it would launch his career. It could be that Williams’ early experience playing an alien left him partial to space shows like Star Trek. Or maybe he’s just a Trekkie at heart. What we do know is that Williams loved Star Trek: The Next Generation. 

Williams was a fan of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’

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Williams wasn’t alone. TNG was a hit with fans. According to the Nerdist, it’s one of the best Star Trek series of all times. The show ran from 1987 to 1994. It featured Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard, cementing the Captain in popular culture for all time. He’s even the subject of many popular memes. 

According to Screen Rant, when TNG was in its fifth season, Williams was still at the beginning of his prolific career. He had made a household name for himself, but he wasn’t yet at the height of his career. When the show’s writers found out Williams was interested in being on the show, they jumped on the opportunity.

They wrote an episode specifically for Williams. He would have starred in an episode right after Leonard Nimoy reprised his role as Spock. The two episode arc undoubtedly brought a lot of viewers to the show, and airing Williams’ episode right after is a testament to their opinion of him. 

Unfortunately Williams never got to appear in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’

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The episode “A Matter of Time” was written specifically for Williams. It featured a mysterious professor, Berlinghoff Rasmussen. He claims to be from the 26th century. He tells Picard’s crew he’s there to observe the Enterprise during a historic moment. But the truth is much more sinister. Rasmussen isn’t traveling from the future, he’s actually from the past.

He is originally from the 22nd century, and stole the time machine from a time traveler. He only wanted to visit the Enterprise in the 24th century to steal future technology. His goal was to go back to his time period and sell it for a profit. 

The part was perfect for Williams, as it should have been. It was written for him. But he never appeared in the episode. At the time, Williams was filming Spielberg’s Hook, the Peter Pan sequel that would end up flopping. It seems like he originally believed he would have time for the TNG episode, but filming got in the way. Matt Frewer did the episode instead.