Since its humble beginnings, Star Trek has made a lasting impression on pop culture. With catchy phrases, futuristic technology, and mind-bending philosophy, the show captured our hearts and imaginations, making resistance futile. Of course, with a show as memorable as Star Trek, there are going to be plenty of facts to discover. It’s likely the seasoned Trekkies know every popular and obscure fact about Star Trek on the planet while everyone else might struggle to describe a tribble. Regardless if you’re in either camp, there’s always something new to learn. So, set your phasers to stun and prepare to boldly go where no man has gone before. Here are 25 Interesting Facts About Star Trek You Might Not Know.
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Spock and Uhura were originally planned to kiss.
In the original series, it was originally planned for Spock and Uhura to have the first interracial kiss. However, William Shatner stepped in and protested, saying he wanted Captain Kirk to kiss Uhura. According to Nichelle Nichols, Shatner wanted to rehearse all the time to get it right.
While the idea of teleportation is pretty cool (and we all wish we had the technology in real life), it wasn’t used on Star Trek for the reason you might think. So what was the reason? They couldn’t afford to have scenes of the characters shuttling to planets in smaller space crafts, so they came up with teleportation to fix the problem.
William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy both got tinnitus on set.
While they were on a Star Trek movie set, Shatner and Nimoy both stood too close to an explosion and got a ringing in their ears. It never went away. Shatner sought medical treatment but was told he’d have to just live with it. Eventually, he found a device that emits white noise to cancel out the sound.
Ronald Reagan visited a Star Trek set.
During the 1991 filming of the Star Trek: Next Generation episode of “Redemption,” Ronald Reagan visited the set and said, “I like the Klingons. They remind me of Congress.”
Bones almost played the role of Spock.
It’s hard to imagine DeForest Kelley playing anyone other than the pensive Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy. But, believe it or not, he was originally considered for the role of Spock. It would have been a totally different version of Spock than we’re familiar with, but thankfully, he didn’t get the part and was later cast as Bones.
Tom Hardy found inspiration from real life villains.
Playing Jean-Luc Picard’s villainous clone in Star Trek: Nemesis, Tom Hardy looked at pictures of Napoleon and Hitler to get evil inspiration.
Nichelle Nichols was originally going to quit the show.
Known for playing Lieutenant Uhura, Nichelle Nichols planned to resign from Star Trek after a year. However, Martin Luther King Jr. met with her and convinced her to stay on.
The original Number One on Star Trek was a woman.
In the unaired pilot “The Cage,” Captain Pike’s Number One was an unnamed woman played by Majel Barrett. According to Roddenberry, NBC didn’t like that a woman was in a leadership role on the ship, so they scrapped it and Spock became the new Number One.
Star Trek had a friend in Lucille Ball.
The television show I Love Lucy was a major hit and allowed Lucille Ball to create Desilu Productions and become a major force in the industry. Ball liked the idea of Star Trek and helped finance the project. She even went over her board of directors’ advice not to move forward with it.
No one actually says, "Beam me up, Scotty!"
Despite its popularity as a catchphrase, no one in Star Trek has ever said, “Beam me up, Scotty!” It actually comes from a bumper sticker that read, “Beam me up, Scotty; there’s no intelligent life on this planet.”
Scotty was a real-life war hero.
James Doohan, who played Scotty was, of course, not really Scottish but Canadian. Before Star Trek, he fought alongside the Royal Canadian Artillery as a lieutenant, invading Juno Beach during D-Day. He got shot four times in the leg, one in the hand, and one in the chest. The one in the hand resulted in him losing a finger.
Mark Lenard played more than just Spock's father.
Mark Lenard was primarily known as playing Spock’s Vulcan father in one episode of the television show and many of the films. However, many don’t know he also played a Romulan commander and a Klingon captain.
Patrick Stewart never expected Star Trek: The Next Generation to last.
We all know Star Trek: The Next Generation was a successful television show, airing 176-episodes and filming a few movies. However, before he took the role, Patrick Stewart didn’t think it would be successful. His agent didn’t think you could successfully revive an iconic television show like Star Trek. Stewart took the role thinking it would get canceled, and he’d go back to doing plays.
Zachary Quinto couldn't do the Vulcan salute.
On the reboot film set of Star Trek, Zachary Quinto, who played a younger version of Spock, had so much trouble making the Vulcan salute that J.J. Abrams had to glue his fingers together.
The Vulcan salute comes from Jewish tradition.
Leonard Nimoy felt Spock should have a formal greeting and drew from his childhood in the synagogue to create it. He based it upon the kohanim gesture of blessing in a worship service.
J.J. Abrams used 721 lens flares in the first Star Trek.
If you’ve followed J.J. Abrams directing career, you’ll have picked up on a technique he uses called the “lens flare.” It’s when a flash of light hits the screen momentarily. Well, he went a little crazy in the first Star Trek with the technique. In the first Star Trek, there were 721 lens flares. For his follow up in Star Trek Into Darkness, he used 826 lens flares. He’s admitted he has a problem.
Stephen Hawking played himself on Star Trek: The Next Generation.
On the episode “Descent,” Stephen Hawking played himself as a holographic image. He appeared in a scene with Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein playing a game of poker. When he was given a tour of the set, he saw the “warp core” and said, “I’m working on that.”
Data's cat changed quite frequently on the show.
Spot, Data’s cat from Star Trek: The Next Generation, appeared in the show multiple times as different cats. First, it appeared as a long-haired male Somali cat. He later changed to an American short haired tabby. By the episode “Force of Nature,” Spot became a “she” and even got pregnant.
Spock originally had a totally different look.
Spock is a legendary science fiction character made even more incredible by Leonard Nimoy’s performance. His black hair, long ears, and pointy eyebrows stand out as his most defining features. Originally, however, he was going to be painted red and wear a black skull cap. They scrapped this idea when they realized most everyone had black-and-white televisions and his face would just look black.
Malcolm McDowell got death threats for killing Captain Kirk.
In the film Star Trek: Generations, the old and the new combined with Captain Kirk and Captain Picard fighting alongside each other. Spoiler alert, at the end of that movie, Malcolm McDowell’s character ended up killing Captain Kirk. After being asked if he got death threats for it, he admitted he did but that he made his peace with Trekkies.
Leonard Nimoy invented the Vulcan neck pinch.
In an episode of Star Trek, Spock was supposed to club a guy over the head. Nimoy thought it was inconsistent with his character. Instead, he decided to use the now famous Vulcan neck pinch.
James Doohan created the Klingon language.
To give the Klingon’s their own language on Star Trek: The Motion Picture, James Doohan recorded Mark Lenard’s lines on a tape and transcribed it out phonetically. For Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, they had a linguist expand upon and give meaning to the words.
Stardates were totally arbitrary in Star Trek: The Original Series.
Whenever a Star Trek episode opens up, the Captain, in this case, Captain Kirk, would mention a Stardate. In the original series episodes, the Stardates were pretty much a sham. The writers were told to put down a random series of numbers. Viewers quickly caught on to this since the dates were wildly off from episode to episode. On Star Trek: The Next Generation, they fixed the problem and came up with a formula to determine the date.
Roddenberry tried to create a new Star Trek in the 70's.
In 1977, there was interest to revitalize Star Trek on television and called it, Star Trek: Phase II. Scripts had been written and production was in full swing, but eventually, it was shut down. Much of it was repurposed to work as the story for Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Matt Damon might have been in Star Trek.
During the casting of J.J. Abram’s rebooted Star Trek movie, Matt Damon was considered to play James T. Kirk’s father, George Kirk. Damon turned it down and the role went to Chris Hemsworth.
Photo: 25. Wikipedia commons.com (Public Domain), 24. Konrad Summers, Star Trek – Enterprise D Transporter, CC BY-SA 2.0, 23 – 21. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 20. Tim Cornbill, Tom Hardy Locke Premiere, CC BY-SA 2.0, 19. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 18. Paramount Pictures and/or CBS Studios via Memory-Alpha.Wikia (Fair Use: No Free Images Available; illustrative use only), 17. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 16. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 15. C Thomas, James Doohan Actor, CC BY 2.0, 14. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 13. Abbyarcane, Patrick stewart @ Wizard World Comic Con NYC Experience 2013 15, CC BY-SA 3.0, 12. RonGejon, Zachary Quinto 2011, CC BY-SA 3.0, 11. jodieinblack via flickr. CC BY 2.0, 10. Gage Skidmore, J.J. Abrams by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, 9. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 8. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 7 – 5. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 4. Cristiano Betta from London, UK, Klingon (1305760507), CC BY 2.0, 3. Daniel Scully via flickr. CC BY 2.0, 2. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain), 1. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain)