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.
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.