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Deanna Troi: 15 Things Paramount Doesn't Want You to Know


On the classic TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Deanna Troi was a half-Betazoid, half-Human Starfleet officer. She served as ship's counselor aboard the USS Enterprise-D and the USS Enterprise-E using her power to read emotions in other species. She was also beautiful and smart, making her a big hit with audiences. While there's been a lot written about the character and Marina Sirtis (the actress who played her), you may not know all about her. Here are 15 facts you probably didn't know about Trek's favorite empath.


1. Marina Sirtis Was Desperate



It might seem like a cliche but getting her role as Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation was Marina's big break. Before TNG, she had mostly appeared as guest stars on British TV shows like Who Pays the Ferryman in 1977 and Minder in 1979. Her first movie role was as "Jackson's Lady" in 1983's The Wicked Lady and as an unnamed rape victim in 1985's Death Wish 3. In 1986, Marina moved to the United States to pursue acting but it wasn't going well. She had some small TV roles but she was desperate when she auditioned for TNG.


2. Marina Tried Out For Yar



When Marina auditioned, it actually wasn't for the role of Deanna Troi. She auditioned for the role of the security chief who was named Lt. Macha Hernandez at the time, based on Vasquez from Aliens. Roddenberry liked Sirtis' exotic Greek look and called her back to audition five times. At the same time, Denise Crosby had auditioned to play Counselor Troi. In the end, Roddenberry decided to switch between the two actresses. Sirtis became Troi and Crosby (who didn't pass for Latina) went from Macha Hernandez to Natasha "Tasha" Yar.


3. Sirtis Almost Missed the Call


Looking back, it seems like Sirtis was made for the role of Deanna Troi but it was a pretty close call. Sirtis has said she was petrified by the repeated auditions and pretty much given up hope of getting the job at all. She had even come to think her acting career in the US was over. On the day the decision was made to hire her, Sirtis' six-month visa was due to expire. She said when she got the call offering her the role, she was packing to return to Britain. An hour later and she would have missed the call, and we would have missed her talents.


4. Troi's Accent



Many fans who meet Sirtis are surprised to hear her real voice because Troi had a very different accent on the show. Troi's accent was really a choice made for an odd reason: with Patrick Stewart as Captain Picard, the studio was afraid of having two British voices on the show. To set them apart, Sirtis was asked to come up with an alien accent and she came up with a mixture of Eastern European and Israeli. She later came to regret the choice, especially since no other Betazoid (like her mother) had the accent.


5. Troi Almost Had Four Breasts



Troi is beloved by male and female fans of the show for her beauty, intelligence, and independence. However, that's not the way she was intended to be. Gene Roddenberry had some, uh, unusual choices for Deanna Troi. Initially, Troi was supposed to be the eye-candy of the show. In fact, Roddenberry described her character as a "four-breasted, oversexed hermaphrodite." His fellow producer-writer D.C. Fontana and Roddenberry's wife both objected to the multi-boob idea, but her role as cheesecake did lead to Troi's abundant cleavage.


6. Troi Needed a Promotion



Some people questioned why Troi was hanging around on the bridge all the time, even to the extent of having her own chair right next to the captain. Yes, she was a counselor but was she really an officer? She didn't even dress as a Starfleet officer until later in the series. In fact, Troi held the rank of lieutenant commander because of her medical training. In the seventh season's "Thine Own Self," Troi took the Bridge Officer Test and was promoted to Commander. Some fans objected to Troi becoming a commander over the lieutenant commanders Data and Geordi but producer Jeri Taylor bluntly said that Troi becoming a commander just had more drama.


7. The Betazoids Took Troi's Father

One of the things that made Troi unique is that she was half-Betazoid. The Betazoid race had psychic powers but her human father made Troi empathic instead. In the third season, an important window into her relationship with her father and the Betazoid would have been revealed but it was cut. In "The Bonding," a deleted scene would have explained how Troi's family lived on Betazed until her father died. Afterward, whenever Deanna would try to talk about her father, the Betazoids kept pulling her thoughts out of her head before she could say them. That made her angry and resentful towards Betazed.


8. Two Other Girls Played Troi

Marina Sirtis has been identified as Deanna Troi and rightfully so, but there have been two other women who played the role on Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the seventh season, the episode "Dark Page" showed flashbacks of Deanna Troi as a baby. The baby was played by twin sisters Candace and Nicole Villwock.


9. Troi Kept Getting Taken By Aliens

Anyone who's watched every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation will notice a pattern of Deanna Troi becoming the target of aliens. In season four's episode "Clues," the crew of the Enterprise lost a day's memory and Deanna was taken over by an alien entity to communicate with the crew. In season five's episode "Violations," the Enterprise met telepathic aliens who brought back lost memories. One of the aliens mentally and physically assaulted Deanna in her quarters. In Star Trek Nemesis, she was mentally molested by Shinzon with the help of his telepathic viceroy.


10. Sirtis Hated Troi's Chocolate


One of Troi's most enduring traits is that she loved chocolate. Often, she'd be found in Ten Forward, savoring a chocolate sundae. A whole scene in "The Game" was dedicated to how she ate chocolate when she was upset and the ritual involved in eating it. In reality, Marina Sirtis didn't enjoy the chocolate her character ate. In fact, she usually spat it out after each take. Partly, it was because being under the hot stage lights for hours would melt the chocolate into a soup. Partly, it was because she didn't want to gain weight.


11. Troi and Riker Were Inspired By the Movie



It's hard to talk about Deanna Troi without discussing Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes). Number One and Troi were lovers before being stationed together on the Enterprise, and the two had an underlying flirtation that smoldered throughout the series. You just knew they were still into each other. Troi's relationship with Riker was actually based on the relationship between  Ilia and Decker in Star Trek: The Motion Picture which was itself based on the unproduced TV series Star Trek: Phase II.


12. Sirtis and Frakes Were Frustrated



If you watched the pilot of TNG and saw how the romance between Troi and Riker was developed, you might have expected it to play a big part of the show. Fans of the couple waited for the entire series to see them together and ended up with no payoff. Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis apparently felt the same way and were just as disappointed as the shippers in the audience. Frakes said, "Some of the Troi-Riker relationship was certainly swept under the carpet, much to our dismay. We did everything we could to keep it alive." Unfortunately, the writers didn't know how or didn't want to deal with the romance so it became more of a subtext than a fully developed storyline on the show.


13. Troi and Riker Almost Married on TNG



It wasn't until Star Trek: Nemesis that Troi and Riker finally pulled the switch and got married which was celebrated by the Troi/Riker shippers. Some fans might be upset to find out the marriage could have happened much earlier. In season seven of Star Trek: The Next Generation, some of the show's writing staff campaigned to have Troi and Riker get married as a way of rewarding the fans. Sadly, producers Rick Berman and Michael Piller shot down the idea, which didn't make Sirtis and Frakes happy.


14. Troi's Romance With Worf Confused Her




While Troi and Riker didn't get together on the show, they had more than their share of relationships with other people. One of the strangest and most controversial romances was between Worf and Troi. While some fans thought it didn't make sense, Marina Sirtis definitely felt the same way. In an interview, she said she thought the writers had forgotten about the characters' identities in favor of pursuing the relationship. At one point, she said, "It was certainly an interesting idea, but [...] because the sixth season had established Troi's ongoing love interest for Riker, I was amazed that Deanna would trade her strong feelings for a relationship with Worf [....] I often felt that someone had watched Beauty and the Beast too many times."


15. Troi Was Almost Cut in Season One



While Deanna Troi has become one of the most popular characters on the show, Sirtis spent most of the first season in fear of being fired. Apparently, the writers didn't know what to do with Troi because they felt her empathic powers and role as a counselor didn't fit into their stories. There was also a concern from the studio that there were too many women on the show, so when you considered cutting the doctor (Dr. Crusher), the security chief (Tasha Yar) or the ship's counselor, the ship's counselor would be the one to go. However, Gates McFadden and Denise Crosby left the show, so it left Sirtis in a much better position to stay on. When Roddenberry told her the first episode in the second season would be focused on Troi, Sirtis burst into tears of relief.

Sources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marina_Sirtis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deanna_Troi
http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Deanna_Troi

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