Friday, March 31, 2017

Star Trek: Discovery - Rainn Wilson joins the cast as Harry Mudd

You've probably heard that Rainn Wilson, as the title of this post indicates, was recently cast as Harry Mudd in Star Trek: Discovery.  I think this is great news.  Wilson's Dwight Schrute in The Office was an instant classic, arguably as important to the sitcom as Steve Carell's Michael Scott.  The only reason he didn't go on to an equally successful movie career (The Rocker doesn't really count) is because Wilson is much more of a character actor than Carell, and a pretty singular one at that.  Dwight was a once in a lifetime gig. 

Still, Wilson has genre credentials.  He showed up in Charmed as a demon where he got to ham it up.  He was one of the aliens in Galaxy Quest (making this the first official link between Star Trek and its best sendup).  And now he'll be Harry Mudd.

Harry is a Star Trek icon already.  In the days of the original series he was such a standout character he appeared twice and then a third time in the animated series.  At the time he was about as big as anyone outside the main cast could get.  Then the movies happened and Harry Mudd no longer belonged in a world suddenly dominated by the legacy of "Space Seed."  His next reference came extremely obliquely in Star Trek Into Darkness (the otherwise unexplained "Mudd incident"), poorly fleshed out in an IDW prequel comic that was atypical of the quality the company had previously exhibited with the 2009 movie and generally in the rest of its output. 

So to see Harry return in Discovery is a great, great thing, basically resurrecting the character in a modern context.  Wilson's Dwight already demonstrated his ability to be likable and despicable at the same time, which is exactly what Harry Mudd is all about.  Obviously Wilson's Harry can't really be Wilson's Dwight, but that won't really matter. Actually, this bit of casting is the first real "television" feel of Discovery, which otherwise seems to be focused on the cinematic aspect a lot of TV shows have been going for since Enterprise ended in 2005.  This doesn't mean Wilson's Harry will be campy, but if he is, it's not the end of the world.  He guaranteed, if nothing else, to be a fascinating presence, which fits right in with the casting of every other major role.  Like James Frain's Sarek, Harry will be an automatic hook for fans in the later episodes of the first season, in case they hadn't found anything else interesting, another chance for a first impression.  I love that the producers are letting fans in on these things well in advance.  With the patience all the delays have already necessitated, at least we're getting a lot of good news while we wait.


  1. So now we have transparent marketing with Star Trek Discovery. This will be an interesting experience because while I dig TOS characters, not everyone is going to get to see the show at first. Troubled waters, I mean turbulent space lies ahead.

    1. I suspect if there's a sizable audience it'll be new fans, like the new movies, because the old fans have proven they still don't want new material regardless of what it is.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...