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Russell Crowe As ‘Star Trek’ Villian?

Multiple reports (including TrekMovie.com’s sources) have indicated that Paramount and the Star Trek film makers want to balance the lesser-known actors of the main cast with some big name stars. They are determined to have the new Star Trek appeal to a much wider audience than previous Trek films and well known stars are part of that plan. The likely spots for the big names would be for Captain/Fleet Captain Pike and for the villain. IGN recently hinted they had heard about interest in a very big name for the villain and now they have revealed that name to be none other than Oscar winning actor Russell Crowe. However, they also noted this was only interest and that their source ‘seriously doubted’ that Paramount and Abrams could convince the busy star to make time available from his other big film projects. Although it is likely that Crowe will not be the one, it is an indication of the caliber and star power they are looking for.

A great bad guy
Little is known about the film’s villain. Recently co-writer Alex Kurtzman stated that he hoped that the new Star Trek will evoke the same response and have the same effect on the franchise as as Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan, including having an ‘incredibly great bad guy.’ Assuming the Crowe rumor to be true, then we know that the villain will be a male with a commanding presence. Ironically if they were making this film a decade ago, Crowe would be an ideal candidate for Captain Kirk himself. Many consider his 2003 film Master and Commander to be one of the best Star Trek movies ever made (even though it is actually set in Napoleonic times).

History of Trek Villains

Every Star Trek film has had some fort of adversary or villain. All but two of them were played by actors, with two being ‘entities.’ Mostly they have been played by well known accomplished character actors. Trek’s most famous villain was played by Ricardo Montalban who was starring in the hit TV show Fantasy Island at the time of the film. Trek has never had a bonafied star of the level of Russell Crowe. Over half the villains have been aliens. Khan was human, but genetically enhanced. Shinzon was also human, but was a clone who had gone through accelerated growth. It might be interesting to see a plain ordinary human villain for once. Below is a chart Trek’s villains.


Film Villain/Adversary   Actor
The Motion Picture V’Ger AI Entity
The Wrath of Khan Khan Noonien Singh Genetically Enhanced Human Ricardo Montalban
The Search for Spock Kruge Klingon Lord/Ship Captain Christopher Lloyd
The Voyage Home The Whale Probe Unkown Alien Device
Final Frontier Sybok Renegade Vulcan Laurence Luckinbill
The Undiscovered Country Gen. Chang Klingon Military Leader Christopher Plummer
Generations Tolian Soran El-Aurian Scientist Malcolm McDowell
First Contact Borg Queen Cybernetic Humanoid Alice Krige
Insurrection Ru’afo Son’a leader F Murray Abraham
Nemesis Shinzon Accelerated Human Clone of Picard Tom Hardy
Star Trek ? ? ?
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pcumby
August 8, 2007 7:01 pm

Wow!

August 8, 2007 7:02 pm

It is interesting to see Paramount going for a big name actor for a villan role. It could draw fans of non-Trek media in while making us ‘geeks’ feel less ‘geeky’….

Naah ;)

August 8, 2007 7:16 pm

Seems very unlikely, but hey, I’d love it if they really got him.

And I do agree that Master and Commander is one of the best Trek movies ever made.

DavidJ
August 8, 2007 7:18 pm

It seems like every Star Trek movie that comes along there are rumors of a big actor being attached as the villain. It never happens.

Abrams involvement might attract someone bigger than in the past, but I doubt they’ll be A-list.

THEETrekMaster
August 8, 2007 7:20 pm

*sigh* Again….why does there have to be a “villain”? What is this? A James Bond movie? Star Wars? Ugh.

Story driven conflict, folks…they made 79 episodes of the original series pretty much without having a “villain”…

TTM

JB
August 8, 2007 7:20 pm

The risk is that a Russell Crowe would steal the show, as Nicholson did in Tim Burton’s Batman. All the other characters would be wimps in his presence. Those of you that saw Master & Commander and Gladiator know what I’m talking about. It’d take a damn good actor as Kirk to prevent that from happening.

Ky-Malairn
August 8, 2007 7:24 pm

Re: #4
David, I’ll go one better. In addition to always wanting a big name to fill the big shoes of the villain role doesn’t every director on every Trek feature compare his current, uncast villain to Khan?

Didn’t Shatner say something along those lines when hinting at Sybock??

This time out I pray its not just another Trek tease . I really hope Abrams and his crew can deliver a truly memorable, despicable villain. I want to be quoting this guys threats to Kirk when I leave the theater!

Ky-Malairn

Mark
August 8, 2007 7:27 pm

“IGN recently hinted they had heard about interest in a very big name for the villain and now they have revealed that name to be none other than Oscar winning actor Russell Crowe. However, they also noted this was only interest and that their source ’seriously doubted’ that Paramount and Abrams could convince the busy star to make time available from his other big film projects.”

So they want a villain like Russell Crowe, but it won’t be Russell Crowe. Kinda like the Python skit about the “News for Parrots”:

“Good evening. Here is the news for Parrots. No parrots were involved in an accident on the M1 today when a lorry carrying high-octane fuel was in collision with a bollard. That’s a bollard and not a parrot. A spokesman for parrots said he was glad no parrots were involved. The Minister of Technology today met the three Russian leaders to discuss a £4 million airliner deal. None of them went in the cage, or swung on the little wooden trapeze or ate any of the nice millet seed yum, yum. That’s the end of the news, now our program for parrots continues with part three of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’, specially adapted for parrots by Joey Boy. The story so far….”(and it goes on from there.)

Harry Ballz
August 8, 2007 7:27 pm

Our new Kirk should have such a commanding presence, it will be child’s play for him to eat Crowe! Nyuk, nyuk….

August 8, 2007 7:29 pm

#5, those are exactly my thoughts. Something akin to V’Ger would be the most villianous role I’d want to see in the movie. Perhaps some Klingons in the background trying to cause trouble (as in ST V) wouldn’t hurt. But just give us a really good sci-fi concept for this movie.

[…] 1) Paramount may be interested in having Russell Crow play a villain in the movie. I’d like to see that actually. Crow is a great actor. […]

Harry Ballz
August 8, 2007 7:39 pm

They’ve been hinting for a while that there is probably going to be a terrorist plotline to the new movie. I think Russell Crowe could play a very convincing terrorist/villian, don’t you?

Magic_Al
August 8, 2007 7:39 pm

I’m so sick of Paramount looking at Wrath of Khan like it’s a template. We hear some variation of “it’s going to be like Wrath of Khan” before every movie. Nemesis was the most blatant copy of Wrath of Khan and it was the worst movie (yes, even worse than Star Trek V if you take special effects out of the comparison).

The most successful and broadly popular film was the one with no villain character, The Voyage Home. Paramount thinks that one was successful because it had humor.

If they TRY to copy their own success they WILL fail. Star Trek can successfully steal from other genres but it can’t steals from itself worth spit.

New Horizon
August 8, 2007 7:40 pm

Yeah, if all they’re going to do is cheap out with YET ANOTHER VILLAIN, then I have some serious doubts about this movie and those writing it. No offense to Roberto Orci, if he’s reading this, but Star Trek is about so much more than villains. Khan was a one time thing….and I really wish film makers would stop trying to top him. It’s a waste of time…come up with something original…some high level sci fi.

Oh, and while I’m at it. If this ‘get shatner into the film’ absolutely must happen, why not just have Spock conversing with Kirk in a dream….Kirk says something in the dream that touches Spock, and upon waking…he embarks on whatever journey is planned for him in this film. Kirk gets to make an important contribution to Spock’s journey and nobody has to go to any ridiculous lengths to bring Shatner back from the dead.

1701 over Gotham City
August 8, 2007 7:42 pm

I have to admit… I also get a red flag with the word “villian”, and comparisons to Trek II.

To me, Trek II is the all time movie… ever, trek or otherwise. But There are other tales to tell, and there doesn’t HAVE to be a villian.

But, my real encouragement is still Nimoy’s endorsement/involvement.

Duane Boda
August 8, 2007 7:43 pm

Ok…..perhaps Russell Crowe could fill in the shoes of a villain – acting wise but so many other well and better established actors on this entire planet could they find someone better? The only thing that comes to mind when I think of this actor is conflicts with the law (fights) and numerous other bags of goodies that are just pure trouble.
Is this is what they truly want? They can get a lot better and should try before lowering their standards for this guy….Lord Knows I would.

New Horizon
August 8, 2007 7:43 pm

#13

You’re absolutely right about The Voyage Home, and you know what…I think that film would have been very successful even if the humor had been toned down and not quite so broad. The humor in Trek 4 fit the setting at least…after that, they just kept trying to shoehorn lame jokes into Trek and it was horribly embarrassing.

Nelson
August 8, 2007 7:45 pm

This is like the Christopher Reeve Superman film, where as he was unknown, and Hackman as Lex Luther was known. Makes sense, but he’ll get higher billing too. Could be odd to see a Star Trek film project where we don’t see Shatner/Nimoy/Stewart/Spiner getting top billing in the opening credits!

Pragmaticus
August 8, 2007 7:45 pm

Anthony, I totally agree with you on Crowe as Kirk 10 years ago. In fact, I had been thinking that very thought no less than a week ago.

Duane Boda
August 8, 2007 7:48 pm

The Voyage Home worked because they placed the Crew in setting – background that most of us could relate to – to a varying degree, the fact that it had humor was a good thing but was just a small factor. We seen the characters as we might see each other and thats why it was such a success. It was simple character interaction on a familiar street.

Harry Ballz
August 8, 2007 7:50 pm

Can Russell Crowe play a convincing villian? You bet! In real life he comes across as a heartless prick and that’s on a GOOD day!

JB
August 8, 2007 7:52 pm

Well he certainly has the girth. Maybe he could borrow the Shat’s old girdle from season 3.

Duane Boda
August 8, 2007 7:53 pm

That fact that he’s heartless and a real crud sure wouldn’t motivate me to see this film

Harry Ballz
August 8, 2007 7:58 pm

It’s interesting when you think about the writer’s process for the plot of the new movie. Let’s say they wanted to show how Kirk and Spock first met and illustrate the circumstances that lay the foundation for a lifetime of respect, friendship and loyalty. That would probably mean one of them risking their life for the other early in the relationship. That would form THAT type of bond.If that’s the premise, then which is more compelling dramatically; Having one save the other from a circumstance/situation/natural disaster OR having one save the other from certain death at the hands of a worthy adversary? I think the latter is much more “up close and personal” and, it would seem, so do the writers! There’s hope yet!

JB
August 8, 2007 7:58 pm

On the whole villain thing – I think there are some good points being raised here. “TWOK” should not be considered the only template for success, and the “villain” should be one who need not be evil in the traditional sense but whose goals and motives naturally put him/her at odds with our protagonists – a la Dr. Roger Corby in “What Are Little Girls Made Of?”, the Gorn captain in “Arena”, or Rojan in “By Any Other Name.” Those were good Star Trek “villains”. But please, no more Nomads & V’jers. Been there, done that, met the creator.

Camaro 09
August 8, 2007 8:04 pm

Crowe is a good actor,but he doesn’t do it for me in the Star Trek universe.

Harry Ballz
August 8, 2007 8:06 pm

Don’t forget, in today’s newspapers they had an in-depth article about which stars bring in the best gross return at the box office compared to what they’re paid. Matt Damon was at the top and guess who was at the bottom? Russell Crowe, that’s who! Maybe J.J. and TPTB figure they can get an Oscar-winning “name” without having to pay too much for the privilege? Not to mention that after that damning report coming out, Crowe may be willing to “grace” a Star Trek film with his presence!

Bobby
August 8, 2007 8:09 pm

I will not be quick to judge….because when i hear the word “VILLAIN”…it does not have to be a creature from another planet, or a human with super powers…

Perhaps the “villain” they are referring to in this film might just be the average corrupt politician…that KIRK ENDS UP BEATING TO A PULP to grab hold of his first command!!!

Just me thoughts.

Marvin the Martian
August 8, 2007 8:13 pm

What if the villain in question is a renegade starship captain? It certainly would echo similar characters in TOS (“Omega Glory,” “Doomsday Machine”), and could attract A-list talent for the mere fact they wouldn’t have to suffer acting through a strange forehead appliance as the token strange alien.

Perhaps the character is one that both Kirk and Spock consider a mentor from their Academy days, but who now has an agenda that threatens the future of the Federation. (War with the Romulans, for example.) Kirk doesn’t want to take the guy out; Spock logically deducts that it must be done for the sake of the future. Ultimately, Kirk must whack the villain to spare Spock’s life.

Throw in a suspenseful and action-packed cat-and-mouse chase throughout uncharted and dangerous space which also highlights what each of the supporting characters brings to the table (and why we love them), and I’m so there.

Harry Ballz
August 8, 2007 8:15 pm

#29 Yeah, what you said….

Bobby
August 8, 2007 8:27 pm

#29

Exacly! That constitutes a villain without the typical Trek villain pitfall cliche.

It was reported by IGN. That means it’ll never happen.

Lord Garth Formerly of Izar
August 8, 2007 8:31 pm

Russell Crowe as… (Drumroll please)…..

Lord Garth, Formerly of Izar!!!!!!

I approve of an actor of his esteem portraying myself

Duane Boda
August 8, 2007 8:33 pm

Perhaps Crowe as a Renegade Captain might side with (TOS) first big Starfleet threat other then the custom aliens that we’re all familiar with. This would for a very interesting premise that could carry the Star Trek storyline in a whole new different direction but I’m just sitting on the edge here wishing for something that good….don’t think it will happen!

August 8, 2007 8:34 pm

Only if Gwyneth Paltrow is playing Marta!

Josh T. ( Kirk keeps it real) Kirk Esquire'
August 8, 2007 8:36 pm

Hell, if we are going this entirely sky’s the limit route,

why not Bobby Deniro as K’choo, Klingon warlord,
or Gene Hackman as Admiral Luther,
or a CGI Marlon Brando as a Fat Andorian arms trader named Yor-Hell,
or what about Denzel Washington as Ensign Washington?

Sean Connery could be “Itchy” the volatile groundskeeper at the academy, and Harrison Ford could be crewman Hanz.

Duane Boda
August 8, 2007 8:37 pm

Lord Garth! Where have you been my Lord? Its good to see you here again. Your forever humble (green slave) girl! Yes…..I’m a tad bit weird.

Shatner_Fan_2000
August 8, 2007 8:39 pm

#32 … I am inclined to agree!

However, I think it’s at least a possibility that the villain will be extremely long-lived, like Spock. It wouldn’t surprise me if both Nimoy and Quinto Spock were confronted by him (the villain) in the 23rd and 24th centuries.

garp
August 8, 2007 8:39 pm
They say Crowe, but you know it will end up being someone like Clint Howard. I don’t mean to knock Clint Howard, though I realize that’s what it sounds like. Forgive me somewhat if I sound like a sceptic. In my opinion, and that does not count for much, I want a good villain in a movie of this kind. Like I said, it’s my opinion and doesn’t count for much. The fourth movie had no real villain…while it was entertaining, it was pretty much a comedy to me. I had a friend who liked it and she hates sci-fi. So, I like the sound of a sci-fi adventure to have a good antagonist. At the same time, I have to ask the honest question, if this is back to the original crew (which is great)…what’s the ultimate risk? I mean, storywise? We know they all live to be a crew that has been together for 30 plus years and have made NO RANK! Well, except for Sulu. That go getter. What I am getting at is because we know what happens in the end, and that the writers have said they don’t want to dismiss the other shows and films, ultimately what’s the real point of a great villain? It sounds like the film makers have a real issue on their hands. They want to please the hardcore fans, but they also want to give you something new and different. But they want the origianl crew. And they still… Read more »
Lord Garth Formerly of Izar
August 8, 2007 8:44 pm

Duane, the Lord is always with my subjects,, like the heavens above.

CmdrR.
August 8, 2007 8:45 pm

they made 79 episodes of the original series pretty much without having a “villain”…

That’s gotta be some news to Khan, Trelane, Kodos, The Gorn (or don’t you count hissing rubber reptiles?), Kor, Apollo, Nomad, Sylvia…
I could go on, but the point is, what’s your point?

Trek is good with a villain or without, as long as the story is solid and the science fiction is a means rather than a convenient end to the conflict.

Andy Patterson
August 8, 2007 8:47 pm

How ’bout Crowe as a younger Captain Ronald Tracy? In my opinon, the best villain Star Trek ever had. Montalban was and is great. His Khan character was great. It is usually thought of as the greatest villain. I’ve always been of the opinion that Tracy was. Ruthless and crazy and mean. Khan was just egotistical and power mad. “Captain Tracy’s reserve power packs, found among the remains of several hundred Yang bodies.”

trektacular
August 8, 2007 9:01 pm

Yeah I agree Russell Crowe would be great as a turncoat captain.

Duane Boda
August 8, 2007 9:01 pm

Lord Garth: With your proclamation I shall rest with ease tonight as I Thank the Heavens above and the stars beyond. Am I a worthy subject – peering up meekly over clasped hands (in prayer!) I seek your guidance as a green skinned slave girl.

Harry Ballz
August 8, 2007 9:07 pm

#33 Russell Crowe”I approve of an actor of his esteem portraying myself”
Well thanks, that’s mighty white of you……..
#37 “I’m a tad bit weird”
Well, which is it girl, tad or bit? Come, come….(heh, heh)…we don’t have all day! What say you? Being a cad, I prefer tad, but when in a snit, I fancy a bit…….hmmmm, what to do,…… what to do……….huh, where were we?

Lord Garth Formerly of Izar
August 8, 2007 9:08 pm

Duane, my loyal subject, go forth throught the know galaxy as my herald….
Let the Universe tremble for Russel Crowe shall embody The Divine Lord Garth on the silver screen. On your return pick up Lord Garth a venti carmel machiatto with an extra shot of espresso!!!!

Harry Ballz
August 8, 2007 9:08 pm

#44
“Jesus, get a room!”

Nathan
August 8, 2007 9:09 pm

“Yeah I agree Russell Crowe would be great as a turncoat captain. ”

I always say, it’s not Star Trek without an insane Starfleet Captain for Kirk to beat up…

But seriously, my personal choice for a villain would be Jeffrey Combs… he did a great job as Weyoun in DS9. There’s not much chance of it, but there’s always hope….I’d also like to see some high-caliber British Shakespeareans a la Patrick Stewart in the new movie. I’m not sure how well they’d fit in with the movie, but all I can say is, if they’re going for some star-power, they’d better pick somebody who can actually act. The Brits definitely can. But, in all likelihood, J.J. and co will pick someone equally good, so I won’t worry too much. The franchise is in good hands….

Harry Ballz
August 8, 2007 9:10 pm

Great, she wants nookie and you want coffee? Okay, step aside, this is the LAST time I’m goin’ to show ya!

Duane Boda
August 8, 2007 9:11 pm

# 47: Good last nickname because you sure have some. Whats wrong with a little personal humor anyhow? I wouldn’t want a room because that MIGHT have a bed.

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