Could you imagine how fearsome Star Trek: The Next Generation would have been had this man been at the helm? At one point Yaphet Kotto was strongly considered for the captain’s role.
Yaphet Frederick Kotto
Height: 6′ 4″ (1.93 m)
Yaphet Kotto was born on November 15, 1939 in New York City, New York, USA as Yaphet Frederick Kotto. He is an actor and writer, known for Alien (1979), Homicide: Life on the Street (1993) and Live and Let Die (1973). He has been married to Tessie Sinahon since July 12, 1998. He was previously married to Antoinette Pettyjohn and Rita Ingrid Dittman.
Moved from Littleton, Colorado to Canada, because he felt it would be safer to live there. Two years after moving, he saw the news coverage on Columbine, and recognized some of the kids fleeing the school. Spends the majority of his free time living in the Philippines.
I first saw Mr. Kotto in the 007 movie Live and Let Die (the one with the best Bond theme song ever) as a bad guy, a full-of-hot-air bad guy. From there he was a well seen character actor on every tv show (A-Team, Fantasy Island, etc.) that I was aware of as a kid, until he hit his stride as a law enforcement agent. His best known tv role was as Baltimore cop, Lt. Al Giardello in Homicide: Life on the Streets.
It would have been great to see a black man positively shown when in charge of something (anything!) in the Star Trek universe but it wouldn’t be until Benjamin Sisko (DS9) that we would get that chance.
Would Kotto have been able to extend the same diplomacy that Stewart embodied? Would they have made his Picard as frail? I think he would have been the stern father figure needed but they probably feared he would start a war with the Q Continuum rather than wear the uncomfortable spandex suit of season one.