Sidney La Forge Survived Star Trek: Picard Thanks In Part To LeVar Burton

The bulk of the third season of "Star Trek: Picard" takes place on the U.S.S. Titan-A, a ship that was once commanded by Captain Riker (Jonathan Frakes), but had since been entirely retrofitted and put under the charge of the embittered Captain Shaw (Todd Stashwick). Although "Picard" followed the fate of its title character (Patrick Stewart) and his old compatriots from "Star Trek: The Next Generation," one could see an entirely new Titan-based "Star Trek" series going on in the background. With a new crew, a new captain, and all-new technology, the Titan could easily have gone on its own exciting TV treks, even if the people on board had never met Admiral Picard.

Sitting at the helm of the Titan-A was Sidney La Forge (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut), the estranged daughter of Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), once the chief engineer on the Enterprise-D. Sidney was merely an ensign, but she already had a reputation for being one of the best pilots in Starfleet. She and her father bickered a lot, and he pointed out that her driving-centric youth was punctuated by crashes and danger. Sidney pointed out that she crashed vehicles on the regular merely so she and her engineer father could bond by repairing them together. By the end of "Picard," Sidney and Geordi had come to an understanding. 

Chestnut in a recent interview with Decider, revealed just how imperiled Sidney was during the production of "Picard." She and Burton didn't get to talk much prior to filming, and she had even assumed that her character would be killed off. It seems that Burton might have made an appeal to keep Sidney alive. 

The Death Of Sidney LaForge?

Chestnut had assumed her role was going to be a lot smaller than it was, so her character's death was entirely plausible. Burton, however, was to be a large part of the season, and audiences would learn that Geordi La Forge was now running a museum and had two daughters in Starfleet. Given the sentimental nature of the season, it seemed ill-advised, at least to Burton, that Geordi should witness his daughter's death. Tragedy, it seems, wasn't in the cards for these characters. Chestnut told Decider: 

"[T]o give you some context, I initially signed up for this, and I was told that I would only be in like two to three episodes at the time. There was a rumor that my character was going to get killed off. And so I remember talking to LeVar [Burton], and him being like, 'There's just no way, Geordi is finally getting the chance to have this family that he's always wanted. It wouldn't be a good move to kill one of his children off.' And so I think, LeVar specifically advocating for me and Sidney's character to stay on was a huge part [of it]."

Whether or not Burton actually actively advocated for Chestnut remains speculation — the actress herself acknowledged that Sidney's death was merely a rumor — but Burton's words, at the very least, could certainly serve as comfort. Burton, after all, had been working in film and television since the mid-1970s, while Chestnut hadn't been born until much later. As such, Burton's instincts for "Star Trek" and for TV writing, in general, could be acknowledged as being honored. 

Thanksgiving With The Burtons

Also intimidating for Chestnut was the fact that her character's sister, Alandra, was going to be played by Mica Burton, LeVar's real-life daughter. The two Burtons had their real-life child-parent relationship to draw from when acting together. Chestnut, meanwhile, was an outsider, merely playing a member of the family. Luckily, it seems, she and Mica got along well and had some wonderfully nerdy conversations on set prior to shooting. This allowed them, however briefly, to bond a little bit. It must have worked as Chestnut was invited to a family function. She said: 

"So I met Mica while we were shooting. I mean, I was shooting, but she was there for, like, a hair test. And she came by set to say 'Hi.' And again, we immediately hit it off talking about, like, random anime, to boys. We were just talking about any and everything. And then Mica and ... LeVar were welcoming to me not only to the LaForge family but also to the Burton family ... They invited me to Thanksgiving." 

If the Burtons invite you to join them for Thanksgiving dinner, one kind of has to say yes. Chestnut did point out that playing a role in the "Star Trek" universe is already fraught, seeing as there are decades of history behind it. It becomes more fraught when dealing with a legacy character. But, she said, the Burtons were so warm and welcoming that the edge was certainly taken off. "They welcomed me so much," she said. 

The Titan-A was rechristened the Enterprise-G at the end of "Picard," and some are advocating for a new series called "Star Trek: Legacy." If that show is made, Chestnut would be a regular part of the cast. 

Read this next: 11 Reasons Why The Next Generation Is The Best Star Trek Show

The post Sidney La Forge Survived Star Trek: Picard Thanks In Part To LeVar Burton appeared first on /Film.

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