Sarah Silverman's Star Trek Role Was More Pivotal (And Tragic) Than Fans Remember

Between hundreds of episodes across roughly a dozen distinct TV shows, it's easy to forget some of the celebrities that have appeared in the Star Trek franchise. Season 3, Episodes 8 and 9 of "Star Trek: Voyager," notably, introduce a character named Rain Robinson portrayed by stand-up comic Sarah Silverman, who was at that point at the very start of her acting career. Despite this short run, her role is more pivotal than some fans may remember.

Kicking off this two-episode storyline, a time traveler named Captain Braxton (Allan Royal) sends the USS Voyager back in time to the year 1996. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Robinson is actively searching for evidence of extraterrestrials and locates the anomalous Voyager. She shares her discovery with her boss Henry Starling (Ed Begley Jr.), but instead of celebrating the find, he urges her to keep quiet.

As it turns out, Starling encountered Braxton's ship decades earlier. With futuristic technology Starling extracted, he plans on traveling to the 29th century to obtain even greater technologies he can bring back with him. Traveling into the future, however, will destroy the entire solar system in the 29th century. Once this plot comes to light, Robinson teams up with some members of the Voyager crew and stops Starling's scheme, helping save the inhabitants of Earth in her distant future.

Rain Robinson's story ends on a strangely tragic note

Just before the conclusion of her two-episode "Star Trek: Voyager" arc, Sarah Silverman's Rain Robinson kisses crewmember Tom Paris (Robert Duncan McNeill). Nothing comes of their romance, however, since Robinson remains in the past and Silverman never appears on "Star Trek" again.

This moment was perhaps a remnant of a plan the "Voyager" producers once had for Robinson to join the Voyager crew full-time and serve as a sort of audience surrogate in the show's futuristic environment. "It was [co-executive producer Brannon Braga's] desire to bring Rain on board because he enjoyed writing for Sarah and the freshness she brought to the show," producer Bryan Fuller told after previously revealing plans for her expanded role on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Robinson does show up briefly in a few additional "Star Trek" novels including "The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume Two" and "Hearts and Minds." In the story of the former she starts working as an assistant to Roberta Lincoln (played by Terri Garr in one episode of "The Original Series"). In the latter book, however, readers find out that Robinson resigned after finding out her predecessor as Earth's supervisor Gary Seven (originally played by Robert Lansing) could have prevented 9/11 and decided not to. Since Robinson lost her father in the attack, she takes this personally. This marks her most recent canonical appearance.