With less than a year until Star Trek Beyond beams, warps, or is hurtled by a powerful alien known as the Caretaker into theaters near you, news of the production is beginning to trickle in. The most recent news item is that actor/martial artist Joe Taslim is joining the cast.
The actor was relatively unknown outside of his native Indonesia until he jump-kicked his way on to screens with 2013’s Fast & Furious 6, directed by Justin Lin, who is also helming Star Trek Beyond. The Hollywood Reporter broke the story over the weekend.
Here’s the talented fighter in action:
So far there’s no official comment from the actor or the studio on what role Taslim may play, but it is presumed that he will be a minion of Idris Elba, widely thought to be the film’s villain. In terms of my own wild speculation, it seems likely that at some point he will square off against John Cho’s Sulu in some form of space-karate match. That may seem like a stereotype to presume that two Asian guys, in a movie directed by an Asian guy, will inevitably come to blows – but that would also be awesome, so I am sticking to that presumption.
If Elba is playing a Klingon, then it follows Taslim probably is too. But Simon Pegg mostly dispelled the rumor, so I am going to stick with my presumption that Elba will play Dr. Richard Daystrom. If that’s true, then the bad guys’ minions might be robots; if that’s true, then Taslim could maybe play Data’s creator Noonian Soong (who would have been a young man in the TOS time period).
Soong (or Song) is an Asian surname, although Brent Spiner isn’t, so I may be grasping at holo-straws.
Apart from Sulu, there are not a lot of specifically Asian characters from The Original Series to choose from, unless he’s the Excalbian-reproduced Genghis Khan from The Savage Curtain. In that case, predict the studio to be very coy about how Taslim is not Khan, but how he actually is in a twist that surprises exactly no one.