June 14 2024


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Burton: Unexplored Aspects Of La Forge

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Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s LeVar Burton spoke about his time on The Next Generation, revealing that there was one aspect of the character that he wished had been explored more.

Star Trek: The Next Generation is in the process of coming to Blu-ray, and Burton has been able to see the first season episodes. The actor is impressed with the remastering of the series thus far. The picture looks “amazing,” he said. “They have redone all the visual effects, and it’s spectacular.”

Watching the series in his own living room was “a sublime experience,” for the actor. “It’s very cool,” he said. The engineering set is “unbelievable. I mean, it all pops.”

Revisiting The Next Generation got Burton to thinking about the character that he played for seven years, and when asked if there was anything about Geordi La Forge that Burton wished had been explored, Burton said, “his sexuality.”

The engineer did have a few romances, but they were unsatisfactory as far as Burton was concerned. “Yeah, one was with an entity that was actually a monster,” said Burton. “And the other was with a holographic representation of the woman who designed the Enterprise engines. Neither of which I would necessarily call a healthy relationship. I just wish [the writers] had allowed that part of Geordi to evolve.”

La Forge was a stereotype “of the nerdy guy, the engineer who is inept around women,” said Burton. “And we just never had the opportunity — we ran out of time, I guess — we never had the opportunity to evolve beyond that. And I believe with the core of my being that Star Trek is better than that. Star Trek is better than stereotypes.”

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19 thoughts on “Burton: Unexplored Aspects Of La Forge

  1. All Geordi would have to do is say “I’m the chief engineer of the Enterprise. The Enterprise that stopped the borg from assimilating earth? Yea, that’s me”. And he would get so much pu$$y.

  2. “Entity who was actually a monster”? Is he thinking of “Aquiel”? Wasn’t it her dog who was the monster? Also, wasn’t Sonya Gomez intended to be a romance for Geordi, but the writers quickly abandoned that premise almost as soon as they introduced her.

  3. It wasn’t because of the stereotype, it was because he wore a headband on his face. Should have gotten the ocular implants MUCH sooner.

  4. Pussy is a curse? And he didn’t have Geordi say it; that was editorializing, if I read it correctly.

    Anyway, Geordi was usually dealing with shipmates, who would be less impressed by his ship posting due to their sharing it. There are also some ethical considerations about romance among fellow officers and crew, which would eliminate them as potential candidates. Starfleet people must be aware of this when they sign up. What Burton is probably irritated about is the lack of one-episode alien babe “romances” some of the other male leads drew.

  5. I was thinking the same thing about Aquiel and how it was the dog that was the monster. Unless Geordi was bringing out he PB jar from time to time…

  6. Part of Roddenberry’s vision was that human society had moved beyond stereotypes. It’s stated flat out in a number of episodes. Also, VISOR aside Geordi was not bad-looking, and really was no nerdier or more socially repulsive than some other characters who did get romantic involvements. Hell, Data and his funky yellow eyes and bad fashion sense got laid AND got a girlfriend. (Granted he was in what, his forties at the time?)

  7. …or the ongoing relationships that some of them had. Or the chance to have a relationship that goes against expectations. But no, somebody had to be the nerd after Wesley left…

  8. “The Enterprise that stopped the Borg from assimilating Earth — TWICE.” Methinks you’re right Giggity. 🙂

  9. Oh yeah! Wasn’t that said in “All Good Things”? Alternative/illusive future, but still…

  10. Geordi could have done worse, given some of Harry Kim’s relationships on Voyager.

  11. Interesting. I just listened to an hour-long interview of LeVar on The Nerdist (a podcast), and there he said that he thought it was more of an issue of the writers not knowing how to handle a black man’s sexuality.

  12. Hmm. Interesting thought, but I doubt it. The TNG writing staff by and large wrote Geordi like a person, not like a black person. I’m fairly confident that if they wanted to write romance for Geordi, they would have done so, and written it for Geordi as a person, not as a black person. If they flubbed it (like 3 seasons of anything Wesley), I’m also confident LeVar would have gone and talked to them about it.

  13. nahh. STNG was gutsy in a lot of ways even though much early on they mirrored Gene’s well balanced crew framework. I think Worf took on the angry black man role and it evolved from there. earlier it was campy but later it ended up really good with his romance with Troi and his innocent mentoring relationship with the lady in “lower decks.”

  14. Although Levar Burton is an excellent actor, I didn’t care much for the character of Geordi La forge.

    1. I didn’t like they way he was disrespectful to Montgomery Scott in the engineering scene of Relics(as I recall – despite the differences between the 23rd and 24th Centuries – Scott held the rank of captain and La Forge the rank of Lt. Commander). That should have been grounds for insubordination. Picard should have ordered La Forge to work with Scott and had him apologize for his rudeness.

    2. La Forge should not have gotten himself emotionally attached to Hugh the Borg nd think twice about implementing that computer virus into the Borg Collective. Let alone convince Guinan to see Hugh for herself. Then again Beverly Crusher should not have helped cure the old bucket of bolts monstrosity to begin with.

    3. When the Enterprise-D was severley damaged after destroying the Duras Sisters old bird of prey, why in the hell didn’t La Forge just jettison the lousy warp core?! Unless someone had said that the warp core jettison mechanism had been damaged in the battle, the damn fool should have jettisoned the warp core – thus sparing us a repeat of what had been done before(i.e. the destruction of the Enterprise). Talk about a lousy and incompetent chief engineer! At least Captain Scott would have pulled off a miracle and saved the Enterprise-D from such a useless fate.

    Geordi should have been killed off in Nemesis, as well.

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