Star Trek: Discovery Casts The Office’s Rainn Wilson as Classic Trek Character

With the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery, set roughly a decade before the events of the original Trek series, fans are likely expecting lots of little references to Kirk, Spock, and McCoy’s adventures. We already know Spock’s father, Sarek, will be appearing in some fashion, and now there’s another familiar face from The Original Series on deck — and his name is Mudd.

The official Star Trek site broke the news, revealing that Wilson — best known for playing Dwight Schrute on the American version of The Office — will be playing the spacefaring con-man. And honesty, if you’re going to find a modern actor best suited to playing Harcourt Fenton Mudd, you’d be hard pressed to find a better candidate than Wilson. Whether Mudd is a character that easily translates into 21st century storytelling…well, that’s a whole other question.

The rakish Mudd, created by Trek writer Stephen Kandel and played by actor Roger C. Carmel, originally appeared in the 1966 episode “Mudd’s Women.” The Enterprise crew first encountered him trying to sell a trio of women to the miners of Rigel XII. Kirk and company soon learned Mudd’s women were using an illegal drug called Venus to appear more “attractive” than they actually were. Tossed in jail for his schemes, Mudd eventually escaped and reappeared in “I, Mudd,” this time ruling over a planet of subservient androids. He returned once more in the “Mudd’s Passion” episode of the Star Trek animated series.

Mudd is a divisive character among fans, so the choice to include him in Discovery is an interesting one. The notion of a conniving, charismatic con artist is certainly one that fits within the Trek universe, but as played by Carmel, Mudd was an extremely broad and over-the-top character. Depending on what tone Discovery is going for, Mudd could either be much-needed comic relief…or just a cosmic cringe-inducer. We’ll see.

Star Trek: Discovery still doesn’t have an official launch date yet, but CBS recently narrowed things down to a fall 2017 release window. The Walking Dead‘s Sonequa Martin-Green is playing the lead role, first officer of the Discovery serving under Captain Lorca (Jason Isaacs). The crew also includes Michelle Yeoh, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, and more.