LeVar Burton and Daughter Mica on Joining Forces for 'Star Trek: Picard' Season 3 (Exclusive)
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Spoiler alert! This story contains minor spoilers from the latest episode of Star Trek: Picard.
It's a family affair for LeVar Burton and his daughter, Mica Burton, on Star Trek: Picard.
The real-life father and daughter share the screen for the first time on the latest episode of the Paramount+ series, "The Bounty," with LeVar reprising his beloved Next Generation character, Geordi La Forge, and Mica portraying one of Geordi's two daughters, Ensign Alandra La Forge. (Geordi's other daughter, Ensign Sidney La Forge, mans the controls of the USS Titan and is played by Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut.)
The idea for LeVar to don the iconic Star Trek uniform alongside Mica was an idea borne out of a conversation he had with showrunner Terry Matalas about returning to the franchise, the Next Generation alum revealed in an interview with ET on Wednesday. "Never would I have ever thought of going to them and saying, 'Hey, what about my kids being in Star Trek?'" the 66-year-old actor admitted. "And I would've said no," Mica, an actress and gamer in her own right, confessed.
So how did it all come together? ET spoke with the father-daughter pair about their onscreen debut together, the surreal reality of reuniting with the Next Generation crew and that intriguing cliffhanger at the end of the latest episode.
ET: First off, how did this all come to be?
LeVar Burton: When Terry approached me about reprising the role of Geordi La Forge and he asked me if I had any desires, any wishes in terms of where he would be when we find him, I said, "The only thing I really need is for him to be a family man and have a healthy relationship with his family." I never liked that Geordi, as the chief engineer, as the nerd, was discomforted by the presence of women. That pissed me off. I thought it was really lazy on the writers' part. And even in [the Next Generation series finale] "All Good Things," when it's revealed that Geordi is married and has two children -- daughters Alandra and Sidney -- the idea that he was married to Dr. Leah Brahms, the woman that he stalked in the episode, "Booby Trap," creating a holo deck of her, was really creepy to me. And so I really wanted to rehabilitate that part of Geordi's canon and Terry came through, above and beyond. I mean, I never would've dreamt this scenario up and I'm so grateful that he did.
Mica, what was it like stepping onto set with your father and being able to share this experience with him?
Mica Burton: It's interesting because every time I'm asked, "What was it like?" the first thing I can say is, professional. I went to an acting conservatory and he's been doing this his entire life, almost since he was 19, so he's one of the most consummate professionals that I know. And I think that that's what came first and foremost. I did audition for this role and I took it seriously every day at work, but I think the added benefit was we drove to work together and at the end of the day, I was hanging out with my dad and my extended family being the Star Trek family. So it was just a very comfortable environment to be doing my job.
You're playing father and daughter onscreen as Geordi and Alandra. Was that dynamic different or similar to your real-life relationship?
Mica: Thankfully our relationship dynamic is completely different on the screen than it is in real life. Alandra's very much that little duckling following behind Geordi. Very respectful, enamored, knows that her father is a commodore and respects that. She's an engineer herself and probably did that because of him rather than realizing that that was her passion all along. Meanwhile, I love embarrassing my father. Nothing brings me more joy than making jokes at his expense.
LeVar: To see me squirm.
Mica: Yes, it's so fun for me, but that's because we have that relationship and I think it's because I've grown up being able to pal around with him. We grew up gaming together and we have that easygoing relationship that sadly, Alandra doesn't have with her father. She sees him as this almost untouchable idol rather than just as a father. She sees him as Geordi La Forge trademark. I'm thankful that I don't see him as LeVar Burton trademark. I see him as dad, so I can make fun of him.
LeVar: Yes, exactly.
What were those moments like in between scenes on set because, LeVar, you are back with your Next Generation family, which is monumental. And then Mica, is now a part of that as well.
LeVar: For me, one of the best aspects of it was... I don't know if coming out party for Mica is the right word, but she's an adult now, and so I had an opportunity to observe her in a dynamic relationship with the cast as an equal, as a grown-up and that was awesome. Very, very cool to be able to hold context for both. She's still in my eyes, the little girl that I used to play Tomb Raider with, but she's also a professional actor and seeing her act with the best acting partners I've ever had, is very cool for me as both an actor and a dad.
Mica: And I think that that's how it was with everyone because there were moments that we've talked about before I was even in costume my first day on set, Jonathan [Frakes] broke into tears.
LeVar: But we were just there visiting.
Mica: Just there visiting, but he was just emotional of the fact that this was the beginning of it. But then later he was directing me and we interacted, but that's just so cool that on one hand, I'm like, "Yeah, you've known me since I was literally zero minutes old." Later he was referring to me as an equal. My family was treating me as a professional actor, as an equal and how many people can say that? That Brent Spinner was in a scene with you treating you like you were his scene partner because you were, not just because you were Levar Burton's daughter. That's cool.
This episode that you're both in is quite a major one for Picard and includes quite a few Next Generation cast returns, notably Bret Spiner's Data, as well as a big revelation related to Jean-Luc. What do you want fans to know about the episode?
LeVar: What would I want the fans to know? Geordi's back and he's mad!
Mica: I almost spat out my water. How dare you. Geordi's here to kick a** and drink tea, and he is all out of tea.
There was a funny moment with Geordi putting Jack Crusher in his place with regard to his other daughter, Sidney, as there may be something brewing there. Can you talk a little bit about that scene?
LeVar: I think that's the strength of the writing and showing the evolution of this character and all of the Next Gen crew. They've done a remarkable job of writing these characters in a way that we absolutely recognize them, and of course, they're the crew from the 1701-D [also known as the USS Enterprise] and we see that they are not the same people. They're not doing the same things. Riker has his own ship as we always knew he would. Beverly's out there on the frontier doing the Doctors Without Borders thing, right? Worf is now a Pacifist and Geordi is a family man, and his priorities are now keeping his family safe, and we see that Papa Bear comes out in many ways.
At the very end of the episode, we see the return of another Next Gen crew member, Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), and learn the Changelings have stolen Jean-Luc Picard. Literally. What can you share about what's next?
LeVar: There is literally nothing I can say! Nothing we can say based on that question.
Mica: Everything you asked cannot be answered.
New episodes of Star Trek: Picard drop Thursdays on Paramount+.
'Star Trek: Picard': LeVar Burton Reunites With 'Next Gen' Crew
'Star Trek: Picard': Ed Speleers on Playing Jean-Luc's [SPOILER]
Patrick Stewart: 'Star Trek: Picard' Leaves 'Doors Open' in Season 3