For the first half of Star Trek: Picard Season 3, Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut’s Sidney La Forge was the lone member of the La Forge family aboard the USS Titan, working at the helm as our protagonists confronted the Changeling known as Vadic and her forces for the first time. Then Episode 6, titled “The Bounty,” looped in her father, Geordi, and her sister, Alandra, the latter played by LeVar Burton’s real life daughter Mica Burton. With the La Forge family reunion having finally been shown to Paramount+ subscribers, Chestnut talked with CinemaBlend about what it was like shooting her first scene with the Next Generation alum, and how he’s formed a true “sisterhood” with the woman playing her onscreen sibling.
Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut has previously spoken to us about how she’d been made to feel like a member of the Burton family, but since then we’ve finally seen Sidney and Geordi together, I was curious to learn what shooting that first scene was like. Here’s what the actress told me when I interviewed her ahead of the most recent episode, “Surrender”:
A lot of people know LeVar Burton best for playing Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation, the four follow-up movies and the Voyager episode “Timeless,” but there’s also a (pardon the word choice) generation that remembers him fondly for his many years of hosting Reading Rainbow. So that combined with Star Trek was enough for her to Chestnut to feel starstruck by the time it came to work with him. Conversely though, Sidney and Geordi’s relationship is rather strained when Picard Season 3 is taking place, particularly since the former didn’t follow in the latter’s engineering footsteps in favor of becoming a pilot.
Alandra La Forge, on the other hand, is quite close with her father, as evidenced by her being at his side when they came aboard the USS Titan after it arrived at the Starfleet Museum looking for safe refuge. But Alandra and Sidney are also on good terms with one another, as is the case in real life between Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut and Mica Burton. I inquired with the former about what it’s been like sharing a close bond with the latter even after Picard finished filming, and she answered:
Along with Sidney being back with her father and sister (it’s unclear if we’ll meet her mother by the time Picard is over), we’ve also been seeing her flirting with Ed Speleers’ Jack Crusher, though the two also got a cool action sequence together in Episode 7, showing that they also work well together in a stressful situation. With just two episodes left to go in Picard’s run, it’s hard to tell what’s in store for Sidney, although like a lot of fans and talent associated with the show, she’s expressed interest in doing a spinoff, which has been informally called Star Trek: Legacy. Assuming such a show is greenlit, not only might it mean more adventures with her, it’d provide more opportunities to flesh out her familial relationships, thus potentially giving Chestnut additional time to work with Mica Burton and/or LeVar Burton.
Head to Paramount+ (opens in new tab) to catch up on Picard if you’ve fallen behind, or to check out the other Star Trek TV shows available on the platform. You’re also welcome to look through our 2023 release schedule to see what other series are currently airing or will arrive soon.