The One Thing LeVar Burton Would Change About His Star Trek Character

LeVar Burton has played more meaningful roles in his career than most actors could dream of. From his turn on the groundbreaking 1977 miniseries "Roots" to his work on the PBS children's show "Reading Rainbow," Burton has been a beloved mainstay in American homes for decades. These days, he's busy with all sorts of projects, including his podcast "LeVar Burton Reads" and anĀ upcoming game show. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Burton is looking back at his career so far, and he's upfront about the things he wishes had been different. Namely, the actor has a note on the way his "Star Trek: The Next Generation" character was written.

Burton played Geordi La Forge for all seven seasons of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," plus four feature films. The character is blind, but uses a technology called VISOR to sense frequencies and even tell when some species are lying. As Geordi, Burton made strides for African American representation in science fiction, something the actor took seriously. He tells Rolling Stone he's grateful for the role, saying, "What Gene Roddenberry was saying to me was, 'When the future comes, there's a place for you.'"

Geordi Should've Gotten Laid

In the sit-down with Rolling Stone, Burton was asked if he would want anything to be different about Geordi if the series were airing now. "Yeah," Burton answered succinctly, "He'd get laid."

The actor goes on to explain that the white writers' room for "Star Trek: The Next Generation" clearly had unconscious biases that played out in the plots that actors of color received. Even android Data (Brent Spiner) saw more action than Geordi. Burton quotes his wife, who often says that there's "a lid for every pot," to illustrate how disappointing it was that Geordi wasn't given a significant romantic arc like his peers.

"The idea that Geordi never found a lid for his pot is ludicrous," Burton said. "It's preposterous, and it's insulting." When the interviewer points out that Geordi's limited interactions with potential love interests didn't always come across well, Burton expresses that this is an extension of the same problem among writers who didn't know how to handle characters of color. "In their attempts to be cute," he pointed out, "they inadvertently created an aspect of Geordi's character that is very uncomfortable."

There's Still Time For A Geordi Romance

It's true. While most other "Star Trek: The Next Generation" characters had significant romantic arcs throughout the show's run, one of Geordi's strongest relationships was with a non-sentient hologram of a real, married woman. While Burton says writers could have done better, he hesitates to label Geordi with a term like "incel," saying that the character didn't have the underlying anger or "maladaption" typically common among groups like those.

The "Star Trek" franchise just keeps growing, so it's never too late for Burton to reprise his role as Geordi and, hopefully, see the character finally get a real chance at romance. The Paramount+ series "Star Trek: Picard" is returning for a second season next year and a third has been greenlit, and Burton believes Patrick Stewart's character would realistically still have his former crew's contact info handy. While he hasn't said anything concrete indicating a return to the show, Burton doesn't seem averse to the idea. "I love Star Trek. I love my castmates," he told Rolling Stone. "It is certainly feasible, if not plausible, that [the crew] should show up at some point during this current adventure."