LeVar Burton, who plays famed chief engineer Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation and the next episodes of Star Trek: Picard, told behind-the-scenes stories about his character’s signature VISOR device.
Burton appeared on an episode of the podcast Literally! with Rob Lowe discuss star trek, and Lowe immediately asked about the visor accessory. Burton first explained that accessories designer Michael Okuda used his wife Denise’s headband (both worked on StarTrek) as a basis for the shape of the visor, which can validate the fans who noticed the similarity of its shape with the common hair accessory. Burton later called the visor accessory his “nemesis”, saying he had to act without his eyes. With the visor on, he couldn’t see his devices or look at his feet. He could only see what was directly in front of him, and so he bumped into things.
“The challenge was not to look for my feet,” Burton said. “Because the chief engineer had to know every inch of this ship, and you couldn’t see me shy away from finding out where the ramp was. I encountered a lot of shit in the first season.”
Burton also explained how star trek creator Gene Roddenberry was affectionately called “The Great Bird of the Galaxy” by the cast and crew, and how movie star Whoopi Goldberg approached him to ask him for a role in THE The next generation. Goldberg would go on to play Guinan, the ship’s bartender.
Who is LeVar Burton’s breakout character, Geordi La Forge?
Geordi La Forge was a main character in all seven seasons of The next generation, a helmsman who is eventually promoted to Chief Engineer in Season 2. La Forge is blind and wears a cybernetic device called a VISOR that allows him to see through various frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum, including infrared and ultraviolet light. In Star Trek: First Contact, La Forge receives eye implants that replace his old VISOR, allowing Burton to act without the intrusive attachment.
Burton will reprise his role as La Forge in the third season of Star Trek: Picard, alongside many other crew members of Jean-Luc Picard’s USS Enterprise. Geordi’s daughter, Sidney La Forge (Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut) has become an important character on the show, serving as an ensign who meets Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes). Sydney was first mentioned in a flash-forward during the series finale of The next generation, “All good things.” Burton’s real-life daughter, Mica Burton, will also make an appearance on picard Season 3.
Star Trek: Picard And Star Trek: The Next Generation are both available to stream on Paramount+.