How LeVar Burton Landed Whoopi Goldberg Her Role On Star Trek

Whoopi Goldberg is returning to the "Star Trek" universe in the second season of "Star Trek: Picard." She'll reprise her "Star Trek: The Next Generation" role, that of Guinan, the bartender in the Ten-Forward lounge aboard the starship USS Enterprise-D. and advice-giver. Guinan was a beloved character, and seeing her back in her costume is wonderful. Guinan is an El-Aurian, and several hundred years old, and she and Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) are close friends. Guinan was always a lovely break from the drama of whatever space issue was happening, and I loved the idea of Ten-Forward. Seeing everyone during their "off time," allowed the show to go so much deeper into their characters. Guinan is the best!

Did you know that her friend and "Star Trek: The Next Generation" co-star LeVar Burton got her the role? We have more to thank him for than "Reading Rainbow!" Goldberg was a guest on MyHardo, where she spoke about how she got the job as space bartender and confidant. We also learned who this character was based on, and it's not what you'd think!

One Final Frontier to Conquer

Goldberg explained:

"So when my friend LeVar Burton said, 'I'm going to do the new Star Trek,' I was like, 'Wait, I want to be on it!' And they were like, 'Okay, chill!' And then a year later I said, 'LeVar what happened? Nobody ever called!' and he said, 'They didn't believe you.' So I said, 'Let's call them right now.' And so we called Gene Roddenberry, and I said, 'Can we have a meeting please, because I really want to be on this and if you'll meet with me I'll explain why I think it's important.' So they were all very skeptical.

I explained, I said you know there had never been any Black people in the future, and it was a huge deal for me [seeing a Black actor on 'Star Trek'] because I'm a sci-fi kid, and it felt like you were talking to me and letting me know it was alright. And I'd like to do that for some other kids. Now, we all know there are Black people in the future now, but I'd like to carry this on. He said, 'I can't believe you felt like that, I didn't know this.' I said, 'Well if you watch sci-fi from the '40s, '50s, '60s, you don't see anybody.'

So he said okay, so he wrote my character, Texas Guinan, she's based on – who had a great bar in New York in the '20s – and she greeted everyone by saying, 'Hello, suckers!' So we couldn't do that to the extraterrestrials. But that's how I got on it, because I desperately wanted to, A.) thank him for giving that to me, because it was a big deal."

It's a pretty great story, and it's wonderful to see Guinan back on a "Star Trek" series.