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Casting the next Star Trek - Part 2

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Monday, May 11, 2009

Back for more? Welcome to part two of my choices for who should be cast as classic Star Trek characters in future movie sequels. Whether Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman or Roberto Orci will mine any of the 79 original Star Trek episodes for potential storylines for their next Star Trek movie remains to be seen, but if they do, there's no shortage of storylines, heroes and villains that they could draw from. It doesn't have to be Khan, y'know.

The old series had three great Klingon roles, Kang (Michael Ansara), Kor (John Colicos) and Koloth (William Campbell). While there are some elements to each of their performances that are shared by all Klingon characters, each of them played it a little bit differently than the others. If Star Trek is back with a fresh look at Roddenberry's universe then why not try and give Klingons more character than they were presented in The Next Generation?

Kang. Appearing in the episode "Day of the Dove", a strange alien has a small group of stranded Klingons fighting an endless battle against an equal number of Enterprise crewmembers. Of all the Klingons that appeared in the show I'd say that Kang most resembled the kind of Klingon that Roddenberry used in The Next Generation: a bad-ass son of a bitch who'd rather kill you than talk things out. Still, Kang was someone with honor; he didn't just murder innocents, he had to have a reason to hate your guts and if you could show him that you had a common enemy then he'd be a good ally.

In recasting Kang I wanted to see someone that had an intimidating physical presence. Most Klingons should look like NFL linebackers and have about the same kind of temperment. Klingon warriors should be intimidating on every physical level to a Federation officer, from their build to their attitude to their voice. In my mind there's two guys working in Hollywood that would make a great Kang. The first is Michael Clarke Duncan, and if you've seen him play The Kingpin in Daredevil or John Coffee in The Green Mile, then you know all this guy needs to be Kang is the makeup and costume. I shouldn't be offering a second choice but there's one other dude that's also got the same intimidating build, the same kind of intimindating voice as Duncan but might make a better Kang because he's a true movie and comic book geek. That man is Kevin Grevioux and he played the Lycan named Raze in the three Underworld films. Duncan may have more credits to his name but I bet that if you asked Grevioux about Star Trek he could name everything there is to know about Kang.

I will add this addendum: if the character of Kara, Kang's second-in-command and his wife, were to also be brought back you've got to give the part to Megan Fox.

Kor. Established in "Errand of Mercy", Colicos' Kor was more of a military strategist, a dangerous foe for Kirk but because of his mind. He was in command of a Klingon task force and so I'm figuring he's got to be their version of a general. Maybe he's not the biggest Klingon of the pack but Kor might be the craftiest when he's at the command of a battle cruiser.

I'd still want my new Kor to be someone who's got a physique but they don't have to be a hulking menace like Kang. I'd also make this Kor more charismatic, like the Klingon equivalent of Kirk. Why can't the Klingons have a ladies man too? Right now there's one guy who I think would bring a nice gravitas to playing the Klingon flipside of Kirk and could give Chris Pine a run for the attentions of the female audience. He was one of 300 Spartans that fought off the Persian empire. His name is Gerard Butler and he's Scottish, so you know when he pronounces Klingon words it's gonna sound like he's making you your bitch.

Koloth. He was the Klingon that appeared in "The Trouble With Tribbles", an episode that everyone loves but it ain't because of the Klingons in it. Campbell's Koloth came across like the Klingon version of Michael Scott from The Office. The way I figure it, Klingon society has many ways in it for Klingons to prove that they're warriors. Koloth merely picked the bureaucratic way and fought the politicians, accountants and other Klingon versions of paper-pushers. Someone in Klingon society has to do the rest of the work, right? Except the Klingon equivalent of the best of the best bureaucrats should be like our version of psychotic killers, like Hannibal Lecter if he worked for Enron. Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. You get the picture now, right?

So. Who can play not just crazy but that dangerous, you-don't-want-to-be-facing-off-from-me-across-the-viewscreen kind of crazy? Ladies and gentlemen I present to you the one and only Sam Rockwell:

 

 

The Squire of Gothos. If you were a working TV actor back in the 1960s and you had already guest starred as one character on a show there was a good chance that you'd be back next year playing a different character if the show was still around. That's how William Campbell got to be a Klingon in one episode of Star Trek and then come back in another year playing the alien version of Liberace, the Squire of Gothos.

Now there's really not much to the episode in which the Squire appears worth resurrecting for a feature film except perhaps the character himself. The Squire is an alien with the godlike power to do anything, which for the budget of a moderately successful TV series from the late 1960s meant forcing Starfleet personnel to stand still and play the piano on command. But suppose you blow the idea up for the movies and have the Enterprise meet up with the Squire when you have the budget to show anything happen -- move planets, rearrange reality, make William Shatner's real hair grow back and so on. Why then you might just have yourself a good villain worthy enough to fight the Enterprise crew but you need an actor who is adept at being able to play Austin Powers poncy and then bear his teeth like a caged wolf in the next moment. And lucky for us there's a guy who has experience playing both a wolf and a British TV celebrity: Underworld and Frost/Nixon's Michael Sheen. He's able to fly rings around most actors and deliver believable moments that are bad-assed, spiteful, arrogant, charming, aloof and fanciful. Tinker around with the concept, find a way to make Sheen Kirk's version of the Squire Q and presto, you've got an even numbered Star Trek movie plot cooking on the backburner.

 

 


Lt. Marlena Moreau. Don't sweat it if you don't know who this Star Trek character is. You know the episode she appeared in, the one where Kirk, McCoy, Uhura and Scotty found themselves on the mirror universe Enterprise where the Federation was like space pirates playing members of the Bush administration. Moreau was the "Captain's woman", which apparently means that in this universe the captain of a Starfleet ship gets certain privledges that regular Starfleet doesn't. In addition to being Kirk's personal courtesan Moreau also was privy to evil Kirk's secrets and could be his back-up when one of the frequent assassination attempts against him took place. So she gave Kirk regular sex as well as saved his bacon. And why aren't we seeing a Mirror Universe Star Trek sequel yet? Wouldn't it be great to see what an all-out invasion of the Mirror universe looked like? Why be worried about remaking Kirk vs. Khan when you can instead break new ground and have Kirk vs. evil Kirk?

You could go the obvious route and cast the ultra-fine Megan Fox, Hollywood's current it-girl, in the role. To me that won't do. I want someone hotter and someone that deserves to be seen more. The perfect 21st century Marlena Moreau is this lady, Absolute Poker spokesperson and Smallville actress Serinda Swan. Sorry for the shitty background music but it's not my YouTube video so turn down the sound and concentrate on imagining these curves in a Mirror universe Starfleet uniform:

 

 

 

 

Edith Keeler. It's practically sacrilege to even think about remaking in any way, shape or form what is probably the greatest episode of the original Star Trek, "The City on the Edge of Forever". But let's do a mind experiment and suppose that there was a decent way to use the original's elements and blow up the story for the big screen. Maybe Harlan Ellison has an idea or two how to make that happen, or maybe here's the chance to go with Ellison's original version of the story. So who gets to play the part of the woman that Kirk nearly sacrificed all of history for because he loved her?

In the original it was Joan Collins that played Edith Keeler. I still want to retain some of Collins' posh English veneer for the new Edith so I chose to look at other English actresses that looked right for the part. Gemma Arterton, Bond girl from Quantum of Solace was considered but I don't think she projects all of the vulnerbility and quiet strength that Keeler needs to stand side-by-side with a time-lost James T. Kirk. A close runner-up was up-and-comer Carey Mulligan who played Sally Sparrow in Doctor Who a couple of seasons ago, but I wanted a little more of a classical beauty to Edith. That's why my top pick for the new Edith Keeler is Talulah Riley, seen in Pride and Prejudice, St. Trinian's, Nearly Famous and the upcoming comedy The Boat that Rocked. Riley isn't known at all in America and I think that would play in her advantage in a now-big franchise like the new Trek. Here's an except from St. Trinian's that, while it doesn't really show her acting chops, it does show that she's a woman with many looks as well as got that young Joan Collins vibe to her.

 

 

Captain Ronald Tracey. As played by Morgan Woodward in the episode "The Omega Glory", Tracey was the commander of the USS Exeter. He went power mad on the surface of Omega IV and decided to play the Yangs against the Kohms. If none of this makes any sense to you, all you need remember is that the episode ended with Kirk reading off the Constitution of the United States, one of the Yang's most holiest documents. Hey, to be fair do you think that anyone that had a hand in making this episode would have thought people would be writing about it 40 years later?

For the movie version of Captain Tracey I'd forget that BS about Omega IV and the allegory between the Yanks and the Communists but keep the part that we know Tracey's already got the seeds of going off the deep end. It doesn't have to be because of Omega IV. Suppose Nero's mucking with the timeline means that Tracey never gets assigned to Omega IV but he comes across some other opportunity that gives him the idea to become a warlord. What if Tracey gets his hands on some kind of superior technology that can smack the ass of anything the Federation throws at it? What if he's the guy that starts a war with the Klingons? Throw away the crap from the episode and keep the good stuff and now Tracey's a threat to the quadrant. Make it personal to Kirk: have him off Pike but Kirk has to find some other way besides direct force to get his revenge.

My first choice to play Tracey was Sam Neill. He's about the same age as Bruce Greenwood and could easily be a seasoned Starfleet captain, plus he also has shown he can pull off crazy like In the Mouth of Madness. However, I changed my mind after trawling through IMDb and I think that I found the perfect guy that sci-fi fans want to see as a Starfleet captain wanting to be worshipped as a god: Michael Biehn. Kyle Reese from the original Terminator. Corporal Hicks from Aliens. And in the role that sold me he should be the new Captain Tracey, the Navy SEAL with the bends in James Cameron's The Abyss. Dude's 52 now. Abrams, get this guy out of direct-to-video hell, do that Tarantino thing done to John Travolta and make Michael Biehn a Starfleet captain. You know it's the right call to make.

 

 

 

Carol Marcus. Creator of the Genesis Device. One-time lover of James Kirk. Mother to Kirk's only son. This is a biggie.

No one knows, not even J.J. Abrams, knows whether Carol Marcus even met James Kirk in this new Star Trek timeline. Maybe she did but they never had a son. Maybe they haven't met yet but they will but Carol never gets pregnant. Maybe they already did the horizontal mambo and Kirk's a dad, he just doesn't know it yet. All options remain open but wouldn't it be cool to see history take a different path? What if Kirk became more involved in his young son's life, becoming a father figure for young David? Do you think Kirk could stay away as easily from David's life now that in this new altered timeline he knows what it's like to grow up without a father? The seeds of a great story about the responsibility of fatherhood may have been unintentionally sown in 2009's Star Trek. This could be a great storyline for a film three or five years down the road.

When casting Carol Marcus, the temptation would be to find the prettiest actress available. I say that would be a huge mistake. Carol Marcus needs to be the woman that, while attractive, captures Kirk because of her intelligence. Kirk's not just a lady killer, he's also supposed to be a genius level tactician, a walking stack of books. There are a ton of hot chicks in Starfleet and on the planets Kirk is kicking it at. Carol Marcus' killer appeal has to be the package behind her eyes and that's the killer app that gets Kirk to almost give it up for a life of a normal guy. I went through several possible Carols but I kept coming back to the same person, over and over, because I think she best embodies the brains and beauty of Carol Marcus: it's Sarah Polley. It has to be. And she's just as whipsmart as the Carol Marcus from the Star Trek universe. She directs, she acts, she writes. She's the perfect choice.

Here's Sarah Polley in an interview. You're about to be sold that this is the woman who should play the mother of James Kirk's son.

 

 

 

 

Miss part one?

 

docorlando
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Posts: 64
Posted: 11 years 7 weeks ago

Good stuff, Patrick; shows a lot of real thoughtfulness with casting. I agree: now that we've got the shiny new cast, let's have some fun with 'em! It's like the Star Trek version of the Ultimate universe.

Also? You have WAY too much time on your hands.

Al-Dog
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Posts: 9
Posted: 11 years 7 weeks ago

Lots of interesting casting choices.

But, when is part 3 coming out? Because there is no way that you can have a list like that and include Harry Mud.