Saturday, April 1, 2017

STAR TREK: DISCOVERY Casts Rainn Wilson as Harry Mudd

Is this Star Trek: The Wrath of Con (Man)?

The official Star Trek site has announced that the upcoming CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery has cast Rainn Wilson as original series character Harry Mudd.  It's not yet known how many episodes of the new series will feature the character.

Wilson joins Jason Isaacs as Lorca, the captain of the U.S.S. Discovery, Sonequa Martin-Green as Rainsford, a lieutenant commander and the show's lead character, Doug Jones as science officer Saru, Anthony Rapp as fellow science officer Stamet, James Frain as Sarek, a Vulcan astrophysicist and Spock's father, Terry Serpico as Starfleet Admiral Anderson, Maulik Pancholy as chief medical officer Nambue, and Sam Vartholomeos as junior Starfleet officer Connor.

Wilson, 51, is best known as Dwight Schrute on the American version of TV comedy series The Office.  He also appeared in the films Super, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Galaxy Quest, Monsters vs. Aliens, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Baadasssss!, House of 1000 Corpses, Juno, Smurfs: The Lost Village, The Last Mimzy, Sahara, and Almost Famous. His other television work includes episodes of Backstrom, Adventure Time, Reno 911!, Saturday Night Live, Entourage, Numb3rs, Six Feet Under, Monk, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Dark Angel, Charmed, and One Life to Live.

Created in 1966 by Gene Roddenberry and Stephen Kandel, Harry Mudd first encountered the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise in the Star Trek episode "Mudd's Women".  As a con artist using the illegal Venus drug, Mudd attempted to sell Eve McHuron, Ruth Bonaventure and Magda Kovacs to a group of lithium miners led by Ben Childress on Rigel XII.  The drug gave the impression that the three women were beautiful, when in fact they were not. Childress and the other miners married the women anyway, as they were more interested in companionship and the benefits that having three practical, intelligent women around could provide, and the women were happy to escape their previously lonely existence.  Before leaving Rigel XII, Mudd asked to remain on the planet, saying it would be adequate punishment, though this request wasn't granted by Captain Kirk. Criminal charges were later pressed against Mudd for his actions and he spent at least some time in jail.

In his second encounter with the Enterprise crew in the episode "I, Mudd", Mudd "borrowed" a spaceship and escaped the planet Deneb V before a death sentence for fraud could be carried out.  He ended up fleeing to a previously uncharted planet, one that was populated entirely by androids, programmed to adapt the planet for productive use, who became interested in studying Mudd as a specimen of humanity.  This meant that while the androids attended to his every need, and even made him the titular ruler of the planet (later named Mudd in his honor), Mudd was not allowed to leave.  Mudd then attempted to broker a deal where he would be allowed to escape, if he provided the androids with other prime human specimens to study. 

Therefore, Mudd identified the starship Enterprise to the androids as a likely source of exceptional examples of humanity.  Subsequently, the android known as Norman, posing as a member of the Enterprise crew, successfully took control of the ship and took it to the planet Mudd. The crew of the Enterprise, however, was able to escape captivity by identifying Norman as the control for all of the planet's androids.  The crew proceeded to confuse Norman with illogical behavior, causing him to break down.  After the androids were reprogrammed, Mudd was left behind on the planet as an example of a human failure, along with 500 uncontrollable android replicas of his shrill wife Stella for company.

Wilson will be the second actor to portray the character in live action, after Roger C Carmel on the original Star Trek series and in the Star Trek: The Animated Series episode "Mudd's Passion".

Star Trek: Discovery is currently scheduled to debut on CBS sometime in Fall 2017, with the remainder of the episodes airing on CBS All Access.

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