Karl Urban In Talks For McCoy [UPDATED]

It looks like the JJ Abrams is looking to the south for his country doctor…and by south I mean south of the equator. Two weeks ago TrekMovie.com reported that New Zealand actor Karl Urban was being considered for an unnamed role in the new Star Trek film, but not (as reported elsewhere) the villain. Since then we have learned that Eric Bana will be playing the villain ‘Nero.’ And today TrekMovie.com has confirmed with a source that Urban is now in talks for the role of Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, the role originally played by DeForest Kelley. According to the source the deal is not certain and Urban’s schedule seems to be an issue with a film currently shooting and another in pre-production. 

The casting of an actor of Urban’s calibre is a sign that this film is more than just about Kirk and Spock. Although not much has been reported regarding McCoy, in his recent interview co-writer Roberto Orci told TrekMovie.com that McCoy has a substantial part in the film. From the interview:

TrekMovie.com: What about Bones? The Kirk/Spock/McCoy ‘troika’ is also quintessential Trek, with McCoy being the counterpoint to Spock and Kirk in the middle.

Roberto Orci: That is a big part of what we are doing. You are correct that their interaction and how they face the impossible is what Trek is about and that is no different in our movie.

In our previous story on Urban, Orci also dropped by and left this comment about working previously with Urban:

Roberto Orci: We worked with Urban back in the day, when Alex and I were the showrunners on Herucles and Xena. He always came through for us, and he is such a decent guy. None of what I just said, however, should be taken as a sign that any decisions have been made. Our only point is that, whatever happens, we’ve always loved Karl, and we all got our start in the same place.

JJ has his crew
With Karl Urban we now have the complete set for the recast original crew. The only loose threads are that Urban and Pine are not yet final (and it is quite possible one or both may not go through). But if JJ gets his way this is his crew:


Recast TOS crew
Chris Pine James T Kirk (offered)
Zachary Quinto
Mr Spock
Karl Urban
Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy (offered)
Simon Pegg
Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott
John Cho
Hikaru Sulu
Zoe Saldana Uhura
Anton Yelchin Pavel Chekov


Plus of course he has Leonard Nimoy playing the older Spock and Eric Bana playing Nero the villain. More info on the cast on our Star Trek (2008) cast page

Urban’s Trek connection
Karl Urban is no stranger to genre as he has been in in Lord of the Rings, Doom, and Chronicles of Riddick. He also took a stab at starring in his own campy space show…a pilot called The Privateers…here is an extended clip with Urban playing alongside the original Chekov, Walter Koenig.


More on Urban: 9/28 TrekMovie.com – Karl Urban Up For  Star Trek Role


10/17 UPDATE: Deal completed – Urban signed for McCoy

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I can buy the look.

Can he do a decent Southern drawl?

Yes! Yes ! Yes ! Yes!

Agree, Yes! But only if he can fake a good Southern accent…

Well, hell.

I’ve been supportive of all of the casting choices announced this week, but here’s one that I’m having trouble with. It may very well be that Urban can do this and do it well, but my image of him from previous roles is — big, muscular action star, which is not (NOT) McCoy.

I’m going to wait and see, of course, but this is the only casting so far that looks like it’ll be a hurdle for me. Particularly because McCoy is such an integral character.

So happy!

4. Cranston,
Before Star Trek, Kelley was known for his roles in B-Westerns where he typically played bad guys. If Urban typically plays roles where he’s some kind of heavy, he might be able to bring something.

As long as he gets the accent, I’m all for this one.

wow…Karl is hot.

it is kind of strange though…he will be the best looking of the kirk/spock/mccoy thing

Aussie’s can do the best accents – not worried about that. If this comes through – it’s the best casting decision thus far IMHO.

If Abrams and Orci are actually reading the comments on this site, here’s one worth considering:

DO NOT name the villain Nero. Change it to something, anything else. Please!


I usually just lurk around here but I have to come out of the shadows to agree with #11. I really hate that name.

Karl Urban as Bones? What the hell?

I want to see him do a passable “Dammit, Jim!” before I get behind his casting. I like him as an actor, but I don’t see him playing a cranky country doctor.

I like this…

agreed with 11 – the name Nero sucks. But that’s off topic.

When I saw the article here before I thought he might be a good choice for McCoy. I can see the look, and while I do remember his character from LOTR I would have to see again as far as acting but i’m sure thats not a problem either.

While I don’t usually look forward to recasting characters I think its shaped up pretty nicely.

Dammit, Jim, give serious consideration to Gary Sinese as Mccoy. He plays young just like the Sulu guy.

Hmm…. I’ve been supportive of JJ’s casting choices, and I do like Karl Urban, but I’m having trouble picturing him in this role. Urban is a leading man type, and Bones isn’t that kind of guy. I’ll wait and see.

Gary Sinese is still McCoy in my eyes. 52 or not, he would be perfect casting.

I found a video
you can hear different accents he use for his movies
but it’s at the end of the clip.


Gary Sinise is too old, dammit!

you can hear his accents at around 2:50
not sure…. my compture’s to slow…Or you can watch the whole thing.

thats funny, IESB reported this earlier today and they are also saying that the Enterprise has been redesigned, that sucks if true.

Wow, so some chick has a Karl Urban collection. She’ll be first in line at the local multiplex!

# 11 and 13: I agree Nero is a awful name. It sounds like a name you were hear in a TV show or movie like 20,000 leagues under the sea. It seems like Abrams is grasping at Straws to get (find) a name that sounds remotely menacing. That name is just lame.


That sucks! :(

This movie will be fine, reboot reboot reboot!!!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHA WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOO

IESB is reporting that the Enterprise is going to redesigned, is this true? Anthony, you claim to have inside sources, what are you hearing?

Anthony, How about a another pole: Do you like the name Nero for the villain? Yes or No


I can deal with a redesign, so long as they’re just tweaks. I know this isn’t a popular view, but I think the original enterprise just looked too pieced together. The movie version was a vast improvement, and I think the basic Enterprise design hit perfection with Enterprise E. I’m not saying that I think the original Enterprise should look just like the E, but I do think that streamlining it a tad and (even more importantly) making the interior of the ship not look like it’s lost in the ’60s would be good. Sure, the continuity would be a bit out of whack, but then the actors portraying the characters will also be a bit out of whack, so why not?

I’m quite impressed with the budget, and I hope that a Star Trek movie can make that kind of money back in this day and age. Either way, it looks like this is shaping up to be a hell of a movie.

I’m adding more fuel to the off-topic flame, I know. Sorry. But I hope they keep the look of the Enterprise relatively the same.

Nero – now I’m remembering where I’ve heard that name before (other than this site): it was the name of the caterpillar sidekick to the terrible toad himself – Baron Silas Greenback in the British cartoon, Danger Mouse..

I was impressed with him in Chronicles of Riddick, but the role of McCoy is different. What I have seen of Karl Urban suggests that his strength may be more in portraying cool, even cold, calculating, sophisticated characters — good for villains and even someone like a Captain (though I’m not suggesting he should be Kirk). McCoy needs to be played as a man who is intelligent and thoughtful, but emotionally and ethically transparent, and even a little naive — like, “you can take the country bumpkin out of the heartland, but you can’t take the heartland out of the country bumpkin”.

Whoa! That Privateers clip is extremely Star Wars inspired, maybe a little like Serenity (which is also openly and extremely Star Wars inspired). It’s just like I said, too, he’s perfect as a maverick, calculating captain….

Awful choice. Abrams is really tanking out on these ones. Started out strong and now…..yikes.

@31 – *gasp*… Don’t do it, you’ll start a war!!! You’ve just said that everyone’s poster girl is like… ‘pieced together’!!!!! Ohhh noooo….

EVERYONE knows the Ent-E sucked ;-)

But yes, Karl Urban is my last hold out that I can get my girl to come along and see the film with me… She’s a big Simon Pegg fan, so that’s good, and having Eomer in it will help in that regard too but I suspect she’s actually just holding out for Captain Tightpants, ideally with some feeble excuse for him to be in it naked. (Hey, it got her hooked on Firefly so I can’t be too judgemental).

I think he’ll be fine actually, it’s the beard (same issue with Simon Pegg) that is so initially offputting, but get the boy a shave, a haircut and a nice clean blue top and he’ll fit right in.

As for the Nero name, what *else* are they going to name the last Emperor of Rome? You know it’s time travel, they have older Spock in it so quite OBVIOUSLY someone Vulcan woman goes back in time, rescues him from the flames to get his magical fiddle she read about, he escapes and goes and sets up Romulus with her and creates a moderately inbred empire (which would explain the Remans) and errrrr, the Trek Babies then have to sort it out.

With phasers.

When you look at all the pieces of the puzzle it just fits so well together.

Mr Orci, if you need a hand with some of the continuity, I’m free Wednesdays….

I definitely see a resemblance. And please, people, we’re not talking about a bunch of Swarzennegers or Stallones here who can only play ONE type of role and nothing else.

Most of these guys are legitimate actors who can play all KINDS of different parts if given the chance. As someone else said, Kelley played nothing but mean, vicious killers before Trek came along. There was little sign of the warm, kindly southern gentlemen he later became.


Not trying to start a war, but it has always been my opinion that the saucer drive section is too far away from the saucer section and the nacelles. What could this design possibly hope to accomplish other than to create several very weak points on the ship that are hopelessly vulnerable to attack? Aside from that, the nacelles were entirely too round, and the bronze colored dish in the front just adds the final touch of campy cheese.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love the original series, but the Enterprise is a neat prototype rather than a finished product.

#39 – remove the saucer from the “saucer drive section.” I love boards where you can go back and edit typos.

Urban is too big muscular, personality doesn’t seem to fit; Pegg doesn’t seem right for Scotty, I don’t know about Pine as Kirk – don’t really see that either. I shall reserve final judgement until after I see the movie; then, I will either kiss the ground JJ walks on and praise him as a genius, or I will curse his name for all eternity. Simple as that.


Hey, if the movie doesn’t work, we can just consider it a “failed experiment”. That’s certainly how I look at VOY and ENT. And at least in this case it’ll only be one crappy movie we’ll have to suffer through, and not 14 seasons of crappy episodes. ; )

Don’t get me wrong, I love Trek too. But I don’t think it’s worth stressing out over or wishing people dead over. People need to get some perspective here.


Oh, you mean from a *practical* point of view? You’re not actually having a go at the old girls coquettish looks?

The long neck is probably something to do with 23rd century warp mechanics requiring a much longer dilythium chamber array which runs through the length of the warp pylons, thus requiring the engines themselves to be much further out from the ship than later designs. This is turn would probably mean that the saucer section needs to be further away from the engineering hull so as to produce an optimal warp field envelope around the ship as a whole. I’m sure that there was also consideration given to not designing an overtly warlike ship as the enterprise was a vessel of peace and diplomacy and not an out and out warship the way the Ent-E was.

It’s also MUCH prettier.

Now the Simon Pegg and Karl Urban (had to get back on-thread) are on board though and are so much less like the original actors, it would seem to be a shift in the fanboy awareness that this film really might be boldly going somewhere new and shiny and so your wish for a kick-bottom new Enterprise may be that bit more likely.

Personally, I’d like them to keep the overall shape (the bit you don’t like, sorry) but make it a bit more stylised, more 50’s than 60’s so making it new, but still seemingly *before* the TOS Enterprise. It’ll be a big trick to pull off though but I’m looking forward to seeing how they do it (and then flaming them six ways to friday as is my right of course).

DavidJ, I’m not stressed, and I didn’t say I would want JJ or anyone dead. Just said I would curse his name, like stupid @#*! JJ! But really, I’m juust exaggerating and joking. It’s all good.

Dear Lord… Re-used “Crusher Joe” anime music, an Excelsior-class schematic for the starship layout…

Even “Ice Pirates” was better than this!

But Urban might make a good McCoy. NO ONE is going to fully replace DeForest Kelley. But he might work.

With the cast complete (or at least pretty well set) I started making an image of all of them and ended up doing a desktop. I may try something later with them photoshoped to there characters but here they are for now.

(One with white space/star backround and one with solid white as I didn’t know which I prefered)



Maybe not grumpy enough…

Well, we’ve sort of got the crew. Now it remains to be seen if there will be Pike/Mitchell/Garrovick, Ruth/Carol Marcus, and even Chapel/Rand, etc.

I assume there are more to this flick than the Old Spock, the ENT bridge and Mr. Nero.

I reeeeeeally hope they don’t mess too much with NCC-1701. It’s an iconic piece of American film history, and, frankly, Mr. Abrams and his team “are not worthy” (Robert Wise, on the other hand, was).

We know we want pointy nacelles and a large deflector dish, too, please.

Hmmm…I originally thought that big, rugged Karl Urban would make for a decent ‘villain’ ( better than Eric Bana would for instance ) when his involvement was originally mooted, and am disappointed that he is up for the good doctor instead…

However, after ‘The Simpsons’ inspired ‘Willie the gardener’ casting of ginger Simon Pegg as ‘Scotty’, nothing now surprises me from here on in…and if the http://www.iesb.net reports of a redesigned SHAPE of the ‘Enterprise’ ( as well as just the interiors ) turn out to be fairly radical, then this Movie will have completed it’s turn to the dark side…

It is also being reported that this Movie’s budget is going to be in the hefty region of $150 million or so, and this at least bodes well for the visuals…
but this is not going to resemble the Original Series look as near as I had hoped for it seems, and such an ‘alternative-timeline’ revisualization will not be a ‘true’ TOS-era Movie in my opinion, which is a pity, and this Star Trek reboot may have as well just been set in a different era to TOS…

#49 I agree- IF this is going to be an alternative timeline/reality then it will weaken the whole appeal. They should just go ahead and have the gonads to admit to and do a reboot. I’d find that easier to accept than an Enterprise/Federation/Earth that isn’t *ours*. I know that sounds slightly odd, but the thing with Trek has always been that its OUR (possible) future. Why weaken that with this alternate stuff?
Alternate was fine for an episode- as long as they came home at the end.