Faran Tahir Takes A Captain’s Chair

Last August The Hollywood Reporter revealed that one of the important roles being cast for the new Star Trek movie was an unnamed ‘Federation Captain.’ In the fall TrekMovie reported that the role was cast but we haven’t been able to put a name to it…until today. TrekMovie.com has confirmed that Pakistani actor Faran Tahir is the ‘Federation Captain.’ The 44 year-old actor has dozens of TV and film credits including a featured part in the upcoming Iron Man. His Star Trek role is said to be both important and not your typical Trek movie captain.

About Faran
Faran Tahir was born in Los Angeles to Pakistani parents, both of whom were well-known actor/writer/directors in Pakistan. Faran grew up in Pakistan until he returned to the US to get degrees at both UC Berkeley and Harvard. He has numerous TV guest and recurring credits dating back to 1989 including The Practice, NYPD Blue, The West Wing, 24, Sleeper Cell and JJ Abrams’ Alias. His film credits range from supporting roles in films such as the Jennifer Aniston comedy Picture Perfect to dramatic roles in films such as Charlie Wilson’s War with Tom Hanks and A Price Above Rubies with Renée Zellweger. He starred in the 1999 independent film ABCD, which received some film festival accolades. His next big role will be as Raza, one of the main villains in the superhero blockbuster Iron Man, opening this May (Tahir can be seen briefly in the trailer, CLICK to see it) More on Tahir at IMDb

Tahir in Charlie Wilson’s War (L) and Iron Man (R)

About the role
Although it is confirmed that Tahir will play a Starfleet captain, his name isn’t confirmed beyond it being a new role (so no he is not ‘Capt. April’). A source tells TrekMovie.com that Tahir’s captain is a meaty role and “heroic” with some action scenes, which would explain why he is reported to also have his own stunt double. Things get a little sketchier when trying to nail down details on what ship he will be commanding. It is fairly certain that it is a new ship (not one seen or mentioned before in Trek) and one source tells TrekMovie.com it is of an earlier design than the USS Enterprise NCC 1701 (but this bit hasn’t been confirmed).

A real Captain
One thing is clear, the captain played by Tahir will not be another in the long line of weak captains seen in so many Star Trek films. Captains like Terrell (Wrath of Khan), Harriman (Generations), Styles and Esteban (Search for Spock) have ranged from timid bureaucrats to downright buffoonish. It appears that past Trek film makers felt the need to have other captains be foils or patsies to make Kirk and Picard seem that much better. It has been reported that in his role as consultant for the post TMP films, Gene Roddenberry himself had expressed concerns over how other captains were being portrayed. This issue isn’t lost on Trek’s new set of film makers either. In his October TrekMovie.com interview, Star Trek co-writer and exec producer Roberto Orci noted:

Being a captain in Starfleet should be a special position and we don’t feel that another captain has to be diminished in order to elevate Captain Kirk. If you are a captain in Starfleet you are a cool mother f—er.

Surely Starfleet can do better than this

Befitting Trek history
The fact that Tahir is Pakistani also cannot be ignored. One only needs to look at much of his recent work (on 24, Sleeper Cell, Iron Man, etc) to see that Tahir gets a lot of work playing villains. Like the Germans and Russians of past generations, many of today’s popular culture villains are played by those of Middle-Eastern or South-west Asian descent. But just like Gene Roddenberry put a Russian onto the bridge of the Enterprise in the height of the cold-war, JJ Abrams has put a Pakistani into the captain’s chair in the post-9/11 world.

Tahir’s casting is our seventh new cast member scoop report for February, bringing the total known cast to 33. TrekMovie.com expects more casting stories in March so keep coming back for the number one source of all Star Trek news.

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i recognize him from the iron man trailer

Y’know I kinda liked Capt. Styles…he seemed like a bad-ass dude. It wasn’t *his* fault that Scotty outwitted that goofy transwarp drive. Now as for Harriman . . . [sigh]. No comment.

This is a cool announcement. The movie just keeps getting better — just wish it wasn’t so far away.

Will this be a “when starships go bad” moment?

Looks like a bad-ass dude. Good on ’em. Starfleet needs more of them.

Has there ever been any Pakistani in Star Trek before??? I know there’s been several people from India….

This totally means that this movie is going to ROCK!

I’d be interested to see what kit-bashing concept they came up with for “an earlier design than the USS Enterprise NCC 1701.” That little tidbit is what strikes me as a very important part of the info from the story.

It strikes me that, in the movie, we might see the older design get into trouble and Kirk make an early name for himself by bringing the Enterprise in for the rescue in whatever the situation might be. . . .

Whatever the case is, I always have liked seeing the new/retro/whatever concepts of ship designs they come up with.

Cool news altogether!

Excellent. Considering that Trek was supposed to be an internationalist future, Starfleet captains (with the occasional exception of a Percy Rodriguez or two) have been way too white-bread–this is a welcome change.

Great reporting, Anthony, as always. This is really awesome news. Tahir is an outstanding actor based on what little I’ve seen of him.

Oh my. He’s hot.

I’ll be in my bunk…

An earlier design than the Enterprise? Perhaps an NX class or something similar?


agreed. capt. styles was pretty bad ass. i also had the privilege of meeting james sikking in person and he was a very nice person and loved talking a little trek.

faran seems great and i really look forward to seeing him in a captains chair on the bridge of….a new starship design? bring it!

Good article. It’s nice to see a captain who is as strong as Kirk. I agree, a starship Captain should be a special type of person and I hope JJ brings that concept back into the franchise.

Berkeley and Harvard? Not too shabby.

“An earlier design than the Enterprise? Perhaps an NX class or something similar?”

Sounds partially like wishful thinking. I think in keeping with the “Fresh” approach it may be an original design or class, at least that’s automatically what I thought.

@11 – it would be great to see one of the older retro designs, but given what they’ve done to the Enterprise, I suspect an NX class is fairly likely. There is a nod expected towards Enterprise.

It’s great that he’s not going to be another in the long line of captains that obviously was married to the cousin of an Admiral who put a word in to Starfleet, though I don’t think Tyrell ever struck me as ‘weak’ per se… he *was* up against Khan you know ;-)

Though just from these shots, I expect Khan wouldn’t have had it quiiite so easy if Tahir had stumbled across Ceti-Alpha V….

He does do ‘barely suppressed rage’ quite well in that first shot.

Poor old capt Terrel wasn’t that bad was he, hardly bad enough to be grouped with Harriman, Esteban and Styles. He beamed down to an “empty” planet and got ambushed by a bunch of very angry very strong genetically engineered supermen. Wasn’t much he could do really, especially once he had that ceti eel in his head. Poor chap.

#11 trekee — Actually, NX class is fairly *un*likely. And where’d you get the notion that a not toward Enterprise is expected?

I’m very happy to hear that we’ll see another Starfleet vessel. That should help go towards giving more ideas for all the fan-made designs that will emerge after this movie is released. ;-)

I’m hoping for a variant of the Hermes-class destroyer myself. I love that design with the single nacelle.

Nice to see the guy get a chance to play something other than the stereotypical, Chuck Norris middle eastern bad guy. Too many of those. Glad to hear he will be heroic. I agree too many whitebread captains and crews (I just saw Trek VI and I couldn’t believe how white Sulu’s crew was like the United Federation of Europe and North America–may own family is more diverse than that with African and soon Chinese blood). Glad to see Trek mixing it up again (besides our principals on the bridge crew that is).

BTW, nice to see a baldie that is not a baddie too. ; )

@18 Charles – I’ve got a hangover so this my head isn’t working properly yet, but one of the comments that Roberto Orci made a few months back was something like Enterprise was being taken into account in the new film but the exact detail escapes me.

I am adding 1 and 1 and then extrapolating wildly to get 42.

I did think the design of the ship in the new trailer made me think of a post NX-01 design more than a TOS era design though, so it may even be as simple as making the new ship design less jarring with Enterprise than an original TOS era 1701 faithful reproduction would be.

I’ve just checked memory alpha though, and if the dates all work, the 1701 would be being built 90 years after the NX-01, so it’s a stretch that they’d still be around, though how many 100 year old designs did TNG have still kicking around when the 1701-D was in commission….

All idle speculation :-)

I wonder if he could be Captain Garrovick of the USS Farragut that Kirk served under when he was a lieutenant.

BTW, it’s funny to hear about the discussion of all the impotent Starfleet captains over the years.

The books have done a decent job of making Harriman look more competent than portrayed on screen. In the books, DRG3 wrote him as a guy forced into the position a little too early by his father, but eventually grew into a great captain and then gladly walked away to start a family.

Although in his last book, it was almost hysterical how when recreating the 1701-B’s encounter with the Nexus, DRG3 had to portray Harriman as wimpy, but then as soon as he got to a moment that wasn’t in the film, Harriman would suddenly develop a backbone and Kirk would comment to himself how he thinks the guy has what it takes to be a great captain. Then they’d get back to a scene from the movie and Harriman would revert back again.

Very groovy, and I agree that it’ll be a nice change to see other bad*ss Starfleet captains. Someone’s got the old thinking cap on.

Odds of seeing film elevated. Now at 58% :)

23: Garrovick was apparently in early drafts, but then removed.

I don’t think all other Starfleet captains have been pansies. Rachel Garrett springs to mind immediately. Sulu is great, too, of course. Any others?

Styles was so impressed with himself that he was captain of the Great Experiment, that he lost sight of the details. Never expected someone could put a “banana in the tailpipe.” Esteban was pathetically bureaucratic, but as captain of a science vessel on a controversial mission, he was being careful. Harriman was simply awful. Terrell was so bewildered with Ceti Alpha V that when his First Officer said “We’ve got to get out of here,” he didn’t signal for immediate beamout.

– Being a captain in Starfleet should be a special position and we don’t feel that another captain has to be diminished in order to elevate Captain Kirk. –

Exactly – that kind of correlation would be wrong. Kirk is conclusive, intriguing, coherent, and his strengths and frailties together account for an always fascinating character who doesn’t have to be “elevated” by “diminishing” others. If other captains were portrayed in a differing way, it was because it was part of the plot or a special situation required their action or behaviour to be antagonistic or not coherent.

IMO, new characters may bode well for the film and the federation captain may turn out to be an interesting part, but the creative team’s statements often leave a bad taste in my mouth as they sound positive at first read, but when you look at them more closely they sound as if they are up to “correct” everything which was “wrong” before.

Captain Bad-Mofo indeed.

God that’s perfect!!!
Finally a Star Fleet Captain (aside from Kirk) who means business, cause that’s what he looks like. And I’m so glad to the true Trek spirit and ideology in this casting as it welcomes a Pakistani into this role. The man from Pakistan not the terrorist but our hero Captain.

Pegg, Yelchin, Bana, Tahir…such terriffic casting so far. Wow

This is great and I’m all the more in love with this movie.

P.S.: Paramount, don’t wait until May 2009. Because Greenwood is right this movie is going to be artistic (like TOS). Don’t throw it into a pool with other movies. It should be unique

Maybe the new-old starship will be based on the USS Bonaventure design from TAS … or the legendary Daedalus class ….

6. Stanky…your enthusiasm knows no bounds!!! Settle down or you are going to develop atrial fibrillation like I have.

That is sooo uncanny as only yesterday I was discussing how they maybe needed some more … diversity .. in the ethnic backgrounds of the cast and they were missing someone from that part of the work. Looks like he could kick some ass

This movie is pretty crowded… I hope it ll be 3 hours and half long! (not a 86 minute movie like Insurrection lol)

“Befitting Trek History” pretty much sums it up. ‘That’ is the right spirit of things.

What was kirks first assignment vessel? I cannot remember.

I remember what seemed like an Indian Captain in Star Trek 4 (ship lost power ) and even though it was a brief screen appearance he seemed capable to me! On one hand I applaud the idea, and on the other hand I wouldn’t even notice it – Star Trek has always been this way and I don’t expect anything else!

OOwwww I like this, I like this alot. The casting is very interesting (anyone seen the new Iron Man trailer? WOOOAAAHHHH is all I can say), the fact he will be a ‘heroic’ Captain (FINALLY no more wusses!) and just the prospects of lots of action…maybe Trek can be seriously COOL but still Trek after all!!!

15 months and counting…ARGH! >l<

Very nice addition. He looks like a commanding figure.

The adventure continues…

Styles had style.
Would have liked to see more of him.
“The Adventures of Captain Styles” would have made a great Trek comedy series.
# 36 Yes. That Indian Captain had a brief, but memorable appearance.

Geez, how much screen time are ALL these people actually going to get??

I remember seeing Generations and saying out loud “Oh my God, they gave the Enterprise to Cameron!”

But I still liked Harriman. Terrell I never saw a problem with.

#35, his first assignment was the Farragut, but that goes against the notion that this would be a ship not mentioned/seen before. The Farragut would look just like the Enterprise.

Has anyone mentioned that Terrell had the willpower to kill himself rather than assassinate Kirk? Terrell was noble and strong. Don’t diss the man.

Scott B. out.

#40 – Actually, although the Farragut has always been listed as another Constitution-class ship, she was never seen on screen. It might be jarring to those of us who know even the meta-continuity, but it wouldn’t be contra-canonical to see the Farragut and discover that she’s not a Connie after all. I’m not necessarily *advocating that*, but just sayin’… :)

I also disagree with the lumping of Terrell with Styles and Esteban.

Harriman was a rookie, and his later extra-canonical appearances often make up for his weak showing on the B’s maiden voyage, so I’m more forgiving of him.

‘When Harriman was in Egypt land……Let my Herriman go.’

Ugh…all I could think of was Ferris Bueller when I saw him in the captian’s chair. What a BOOB!!!

Go JJ! I love the idea of diverse, but commanding captains in the chair. This Trek is going to kick arse!

Yeah, Terrell wasn’t that bad, it was just his time to face his own, personal Kobiashi Maru. And Stiles, he may have been a prick, but we don’t know how good or bad a captain he was? As for the early starship class, maybe it is time to officially canonize the Daedalus class, as long as they ‘finish’ it, previous attempts have simply followed the concept art too closely, IMHO.

Tahir was great in Charlie Wilson’s war. The role could easily have swung towards a cliched pidgen-speaking 2D type. But, he gave it brains.

Harriman (sorry, but it’s true) should never have left spacedock without a brain or a spine. Then in OGAM he reminisces about how Kirk taught him to be a better captain. Oh, please! Starfleet would have washed him out of the academy.

Welcome Captain Tahir (or whatever!)

I agree Terrell was a fine Captain. I always figured James B. Sikking’s captain was some tush-kissing desk jockey who had forced himself onto a bridge because it was a high profile gig.

Yes. Harriman has redeemed himself. Now Esteban……
deserved what he got.
Too bad about the Grissom.
(Gus always did end up with seriously bad luck…)

I do not see how books could make Harriman into anything other than the loser he was in STG. He should have been fired after that gig IMHO.

I wonder if this could be Captain Garth in his heroic days?

I hope he’s in charge of a fine old Daedalus!

Also: at least the inept Captains are better than the psycho Captains like Captain Tracey in Omega Glory…