Actor Rainn Wilson jumped from The Office into the 23rd century to play the classic Star Trek character Harcourt Fenton Mudd in the first season of Star Trek: Discovery and Short Treks. And he is actively trying for more.
Wilson asked SNW producers to bring him back
Wilson appeared on Thursday at Creation Entertainment’s 55-Year Mission Star Trek convention in Las Vegas and the actor was asked if he would like to return to the Star Trek franchise, to which he replied, “Yeah, absolutely!” However this isn’t just an openness to the idea, Wilson revealed he has actively worked to make it happen, specifically for the upcoming live-action series Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Wilson told the Las Vegas crowd:
I’ve written the producers and said, “Bring Harry Mudd back.” I’d love to come back. I wrote to [executive producer/co-showrunner] Akiva Goldsman about Strange New Worlds. Ahd he was like, “I don’t know, I would need to think about that.” So it’s out in the ether. Maybe if the fans write in to producers saying they want more Harry Mudd, they will listen to that. But I would love to do more, yeah.
Wilson appeared in two episodes of the first season of Discovery. He returned in to appear and direct for Short Treks in an episode written by Lower Decks creator Mike McMahan. Of course, the character of Harry Mudd interacted with members of the crew of Captain Kirk’s USS Enterprise on a few occasions, played on the original Star Trek by Roger C. Carmel. Having Mudd appear on Strange New Worlds – set on the USS Enterprise under the command of Kirk’s predecessor, Captain Pike – could work within Trek canon. And it certainly makes more sense than a return to Discovery, with that show now set in the 32nd century.
Mudd as a dream job
This is not the first time that Wilson has been proactive when it comes to Star Trek. During his panel he talked about how he came to be on Discovery, revealing that discussions began at a very early stage:
I read about it in the paper that they were going to reboot Star Trek at CBS/Paramount. Bryan Fuller was the original creator [of Star Trek: Discovery] and I met with Bryan and some other folks. I said, “Hey, just so you know, I want to throw my hat in the ring.” I love Star Trek. I’d love to be a part of this somehow. I don’t know what that looks like. I’m not sure I want to move to Toronto for years. I’m not sure I want to sit in a chair and get makeup put on for two hours every morning. Because that’s brutal, what Doug [Jones] does, but it’s amazing. And then I didn’t hear anything and things came and went, and up and down. And and then, fortunately, they gave a call, “What about Harry Mudd?” It was fantasic!
The actor also talked about how the character was developed for him.
They were excited to write in a kind of a reboot of Harry Mudd who, granted, is a lot darker in the Discovery universe. But everything is a lot darker [in Discovery] than in any of the previous series. So I thought it kind of fit in well. I wanted to bring that same lovable dastardly-ness, but also give him a real edge as well.
The 55-year old actor also talked about his love of Star Trek, starting at an early age in the 1970s:
I would come home from school and watch Star Trek reruns and it just blew my mind. I can in all honesty say it really changed my life. Star Trek allowed me to see a world in an entirely different way, which was: what was possible with technology – not just in terms of weapons and space exploration – but things like replicators. The idea that we could eliminate hunger, we could eventually eliminate financial systems. We wouldn’t need them to work in the same way. Racially we could get along in new ways and there was gender equity and the whole human race participated. We were grateful in the diversity that we had on the planet.
He even explained how the show meshed with his faith:
I grew up a member of the Bahá’í Faith and [Gene] Roddenberry’s vision fits in beautifully with what it means to be a Bahá’í and to look at the future of humanity and where we’re headed as a species on this planet and beyond. So, to go from that to having a meeting to play Harry Mudd to going back and watching the great Roger C. Carmel and what he did for the role was fantastic. It was a dream come true. I got to sit in the captain’s chair. I got to fire a phaser. Fun fact: in a line I improvised when Harry takes over the ship, I do a captain’s log just very briefly. I think I am the only non-captain to have done a captain’s log? That was really fun.
Strange New Worlds has just wrapped work on its first season, which will debut on Paramount+ in 2022.
Find more Star Trek: Strange New Worlds articles.