Star Trek: Discovery casts Office alum Rainn Wilson as classic villain
Plus: Watch Wilson channel Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard in EW’s lost exclusive video
Rainn Wilson’s first big-screen role was an alien fanboy in Galaxy Quest, a movie spoof of cultish sci-fi series like Star Trek. Now, he’s getting a taste of the real thing: On Friday, CBS announced the Office funny guy has landed a role in the forthcoming Star Trek: Discovery, playing someone fans of the original 1960s series will know well.
Wilson will suit up as Harry Mudd, the eccentric space pirate first played by the late Roger C. Carmel in the sixth episode of season 1, dubbed “Mudd’s Women,” which aired in 1966. Mudd’s list of offenses include smuggling, transportation of stolen goods, and using counterfeit currency. The character would later appear elsewhere in the franchise, including the Star Trek animated series and novels.
Not much is known about Wilson’s take on the character beyond the brief descriptor of a “charismatic conman and intergalactic criminal.”
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What makes Wilson’s casting in Discovery even more satisfying is the actor’s love of Trek. In 2008, the comedian posed for an EW photoshoot in which he channeled fictional TV icons, including Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
“As I was playing Jean-Luc Picard, first of all, I thought I looked like Jean-Philippe Picard, Jean-Luc’s less successful younger brother living in his brother’s shadow, just kind of bitter,” he says in the video above. “That’s who I thought I really should play.”
“What I always loved about Star Trek [was] the intelligent, thoughtful metaphysical ideas about the human condition,” Wilson tweeted of the franchise in 2015 when Star Trek Beyond was released.
The Star Trek: Discovery cast includes The Walking Dead‘s Sonequa Martin-Green as a lieutenant, Michelle Yeoh as Captain Georgiou of the Starfleet Shenzhou ship, and Jason Isaacs as Captain Lorca. Maulik Pancholy, Terry Serpico, Sam Vartholomeos, Mary Wiseman, James Frain, Doug Jones, and Anthony Rapp also feature.
A premiere date is still unclear. The series will kick off on CBS before subsequent episodes are released on CBS All-Access.