George R. R. Martin is mostly known for his work as a novelist who's also helped lead one of television's biggest hits, Game of Thrones (which is based on his fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire), to the screen. But, he wrote for TV long before that, and now we know that he was actually turned down for a job on the writing staff by Star Trek: The Next Generation. And, if you're thinking that it was because the people behind TNG figured he'd have trouble, uh, finishing a story, it sounds like the reason was much, much sillier. Here's what Martin had to say about the missed opportunity:
I had an interview with Star Trek: The Next Generation for a possible job as a staff writer. I remember coming into the office of this producer -- who thankfully did not last long on the show and you can see why when I tell the story. He said 'I don't know who you are, can you tell me your credentials.' And I said 'I am just coming off Twilight Zone where I worked for a while, but before that I wrote novels and short stories. I am primarily a science fiction writer.' And he said 'Oh really, well Star Trek is not a science-fiction show, it is a people show.' I was fooled by the photon torpedoes and starships. I was misled. Needless to say I did not get that job.
Um...what? OK, I get that personal relationships and character development were important on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but to say that the show wasn't science fiction is just wackadoodle. As George R. R. Martin noted when he spoke at a workshop for UC San Diego's Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination, which Trek Movie attended, it's pretty obvious why this unnamed producer wouldn't be with the show for very long.
I can see this producer wanting to drive home the idea that Picard, Geordi, Data, Troi, Worf and the rest of the characters who populated the show were seen as the most important aspects of TNG, but the idea that a show can't be science fiction and also feature strong stories that focus on the characters is just baffling. And, because the producer in question couldn't quite wrap his head around that fact, it sounds like George R. R. Martin lost out on what would have probably been a great opportunity to help steer one of the most popular sci-fi shows of all time.
Of course, we all know now that this was likely for the best in the long run. If Martin had gotten a gig writing for TNG, which sounds like it would have started just as the show was first getting off the ground, it's incredibly likely that he simply wouldn't have had the time or inclination to begin writing A Game of Thrones in 1991. In fact, considering the success of TNG, his career as a TV writer may have taken off to the degree that Martin never went back to writing novels or short stories at all, meaning that the world might have been deprived of the wondrous epic fantasy that is his Song of Ice and Fire series, and the HBO show that takes its name from his first book in said series.
So, while I'm sure George R. R. Martin may have wished he had some sweet Star Trek: The Next Generation moolah padding his bank account as he wrote the first book in his series, this silly situation really turned out for the best. We got to have seven (mostly) awesome seasons of TNG, but we also got to have Game of Thrones. Sounds like a solid win-win to me. Game of Thrones airs its Season 7 finale this Sunday on HBO, so be sure to check out our summer and fall premiere guides to see what else you can watch in the coming weeks.