One of the more intriguing bits of Star Trek: Discovery casting news so far was the reveal that The Office‘s Rainn Wilson would be playing fan-favorite Original Series character Harry Mudd in the new prequel series. Even if you’re not a huge Mudd devotee, that’s just damn good casting. Still, I don’t think even the most die-hard fans expected this much Mudd in their eye. Apparently Wilson’s Mudd won’t just be a one-off — he’s slated to appear in “multiple” episodes of Discovery.
That news comes from the July issue of the official Star Trek Magazine (h/t Trekmovie). And while I’m in the camp that thinks Wilson will make a fine Harry Mudd, it’s still…surprising. After all, Discovery‘s first season is clocking in at 15 episodes. If he’s showing up multiple times, that presumably means he’ll be part of some larger ongoing story arc. Otherwise, it’d be pretty unlikely for the Discovery crew to just happen to run across the guy twice (or more) in their debut season.
But that might actually make some sense. Trek‘s various TV shows have traditionally tended toward standalone episodes, or short, multi-episode arcs. The later series experimented with more serialized storytelling, but that’s definitely the exception more than the rule when it comes to the world of Trek. Discovery, however, is going to tell a season-long storyline that involves “an incident and an event in Star Trek history that’s been talked about but never been explored.”
At least, that was the plan early on. There have been so many delays and changes to the show, including the departure of original showrunner Bryan Fuller, it’s hard to guess how much the Discovery we’ll see in the fall will resemble its original incarnation. If it is still telling a more serialized story, however, and Mudd is part of that story, it would make sense for him to recur.
A flamboyant, interstellar con man, Harcourt Fenton Mudd first appeared in TOS‘s first-season episode “Mudd’s Women,” played by actor Roger C. Carmel. He returned in the second season’s “I, Mudd,” and Carmel voiced the character a third time in an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series entitled “Mudd’s Passion.” With Discovery, it seems Mudd could feasibly double the number of his onscreen Trek appearances — or more.
Star Trek: Discovery is a prequel series set approximately ten years before the events of The Original Series. The Walking Dead‘s Sonequa Martin-Green stars as Michael Burnham, first officer of the USS Discovery, serving under Jason Isaacs’ Captain Lorca. The cast also includes Michelle Yeoh as Starfleet Captain Philippa Georgiou, James Frain as Spock’s father Sarek, and Doug Jones (Hellboy) as science officer Saru. Discovery is set to premiere on CBS sometime in fall 2017, then move exclusively to the CBS All Access streaming service for the remaining episodes.