Star Trek Guide

Star Trek TNG: Why The Worf and Troi Romance Didn’t Work

In Star Trek: The Next Generation season 7, Worf (Michael Dorn) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) had a romance that didn't work for a variety of reasons. The Klingon Security Chief and the Betazoid Counselor of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D started their relationship in the TNG episode "Parallels", where the two Starfleet Officers were married in an alternate timeline. After that, Worf and Troi started dating until TNG ended, but the relationship was dropped and it was never mentioned again after TNG jumped to the big screen in Star Trek Generations.

When TNG began, it was established that Troi and Commander Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) had a past relationship; indeed, they were each other's "Imazdi" (the Betazoid word for "beloved"). However, Riker and Troi remained platonic throughout TNG, until they rekindled their love affair in Star Trek: Insurrection and they finally married in the last TNG movie, Star Trek: Nemesis. Star Trek: Picard picked up their relationship 20 years later and the retired Starfleet heroes now live on the planet Nepenthe with their daughter Kestra (Lulu Wilson). Meanwhile, Worf had a colorful career in TNG where he met his son Alexander (Brian Bonsall), who he had with his lover K'Ehleyr (Suzie Plakson). After TNG ended, Worf joined the cast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in season 4 and began a very popular love affair with Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell); they eventually married but Jadzia died at the end of DS9 season 6.

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Fans felt the Worf and Troi relationship came out of left field starting with "Parallels" but TNG executive producer Brannon Braga told the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion that the writers had been seeding Worf and Troi since the TNG season 5 episode "Ethics". In the TNG oral history, The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross, TNG executive producer Rene Echevarria said the writers were considering marrying Riker and Troi at the end of the series. However, Star Trek's head honcho Rick Berman "didn't care for the idea" and he "wanted to explore the Worf-Troi relationship". Echevarria also noted that "the actors were not happy about it... Marina [Sirtis] has always maintained that Riker is her Imzadi."

Marina Sirtis remained vocal about her disliking Worf and Troi's brief, Beauty and the Beast-inspired love affair. In a video interview, Sirtis [via YouTube] didn't mince words when she explained, "I didn't like the fact that [Worf] totally became un-Klingon-like when he was with Troi... He kind of became a p*ssy." Sirtis also felt that the relationship was "detrimental to his character". In addition, Jonathan Frakes was also blunt about his displeasure that the Klingon stole Riker's lady; the actor-director told Star Trek: Communicator, "The Worf/Troi idea is just absurd! It makes for great material at conventions but for real character development, I think it's ridiculous."

However, besides Rick Berman and TNG executive producer Jeri Taylor, who said that Worf and Troi "gave us some very nice moments... It was unexpected... and I think that that's good," the actor who did support the Klingon/Betazoid union was Michael Dorn, who said, "They are a really cute couple. They are beauty and the beast... Worf is interested in Troi because of the way she handled his son... and he's grown to admire and respect her, and of course, respect is a big thing with Klingons." Dorn also said fans at Star Trek conventions were enthusiastic to him about Worf and Troi and that his only regret about their relationship was that it "didn't carry over into [Star Trek Generations], so it's kind of wasted."

For her part, Sirtis said she preferred Worf's relationship with Jadzia Dax on DS9, which is something most Trekkers can agree with. Worf definitely met his match with the spirited Trill Starfleet Officer, who was also Curzon Dax, the Federation Ambassador to the Klingons, in her previous life. In hindsight, Worf and Troi's relationship just didn't work and ended up being a strange curiosity tacked onto the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation that didn't have a payoff. Although, Worf and Troi are still remembered, perhaps not fondly, and Jeri Taylor admitted, "I probably got more antagonistic mail on that than anything else."