Star Trek. Arguably the greatest sci-fi franchise ever to grace the small and big screen. It has been with us for over fifty years (and counting). Overall those various films and series there have been some rather surprising cameo and guest appearances and many actors you didn’t know had been a part of the franchise. Some have been famous actors who have blended into the background, while some have been loudly and proudly obvious to all that are watching. Let’s countdown the ten actors you didn’t realise had been in Star Trek, starting off with a legendary actor.
10. Ron Pearlman
Famous for many roles in iconic sci-fi movies such as; Hellboy and Blade 2, Ron Pearlman has a sparkling filmography under his belt. You may (or may not) have noticed that he was in the final Picard-era Trek movie, 2002’ Star Trek: Nemesis. Although the main antagonist was played by Tom Hardy before he became an A-lister, Ron Pearlman played a Reman guard in the film. He was under a lot of prosthetics, but you can still just about make him out.
9. James Avery
If you’re a child of the 90s then James Avery will be best known to you as the actor who played Uncle Phil on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with Will Smith. But he also played a Klingon general in the fourth season of Star Trek: Enterprise. James Avery also tried out for the part of Worf, that eventually went to Michael Dorn.
8. Kelsey Grammar
This one is hard to imagine but yes, Frasier himself is one of those famous actors who had a role on Star Trek. It was a pretty good one too as he played Captain Morgan Bateson of the USS Bozeman. Sporting a rather fine beard, he appeared in just one episode of season five of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Perhaps there is an idea there for a future series with captain ‘Frasier’ Bateson at the helm of a new starship?
7. Tom Morello
Now, this is a cool one. Especially if you’re a rock music fan. If you’re not, then Tom Morello is the guitarist in legendary bands Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave. Being a huge Trek fan, he asked to be part of Star Trek: Insurrection, but he was largely unnoticed because of makeup. Because of this, he was offered a part as crewman Mitchell in Voyager to make up for it. He was in a scene with captain Janeway too, so it wasn’t all bad.
6. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
This one is more of the legendary cameos from a now A-list actor. Back in the ’90s when he moved from wrestling to acting, this was Dwayne’s first proper acting role. True to form, he actually played a Pendari who beat Seven of Nine in a fight on Star Trek: Voyager. The Rock’s career has gone from strength to strength since his debut on Voyager, so hopefully, he looks back fondly on his Trek beginnings.
5. Kim Cattrall
Yep, Samantha from Sex in the City was one of the actors on Star Trek. Before she was ‘enjoying’ herself in New York City she had a rather cool role on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. She played a Vulcan helmsman called Valeris in the movie and was part of a tense ‘mind meld’ scene with Leonard Nimoy on the bridge. If you watch the scene back now, it’s clear to see where she got some of the inspiration for her more risqué scenes in the hit show that followed next.
4. Kirstie Alley
Keeping the theme of strong women is our number four offering, Kirstie Alley. Another star of Cheers! like Kelsey Grammar earlier in our list, Kirstie actually appeared in a movie as opposed to Next Generation like Kelsey. She starred as Lt Saavik in Wrath of Khan. One of her highlights was being given the special honour of guiding the Enterprise out of spacedock, much to the dismay of Admiral Kirk at the time. The look on Dr McCoy’s face is worth another watch alone.
3. Seth Macfarlane
This is possibly the ultimate fan-boy casting. It’s no secret that Seth is a huge Trekkie; you only have to look at the Trek references in his shows; not to mention The Orville, which is a huge Star Trek send-up. It’s no surprise then, that he was given a part as a Starfleet engineer in two episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. It’s odd watching him play a straight role as you expect him to burst out with a Peter Griffin voice at any moment, but to give him credit, he pulls it off very well.
2. Iggy Pop
Yep, the ever-youthful godfather of punk and singer of The Stooges was actually in Star Trek. He played a villainous Vorta called Yelgrun in a Deep Space Nine episode entitled “The Magnificent Ferengi”. Although he was under quite a bit of makeup, you can quite clearly see it’s Iggy; especially when he speaks with that unmistakable drawl. His performance is superb, and he even manages to add some humour to the role. You also feel that at any moment he may remove his shirt and start gyrating around the ship.
1. Christopher Lloyd
Our number one choice for the greatest ever Star Trek ‘cameo’ goes to…Christopher Lloyd. It would be a further three years before he plays the iconic Doc Brown on Back to the Future. Before those dizzy heights he was one of many actors on Star Trek. He played the fantastic rebel Klingon commander Kruge on Star Trek iii: The Search for Spock. Having portrayed largely comedy roles previous to appearing in the movie, Kruge was a departure for him to play. He nailed the role perfectly; displaying the evil and powerful nature of the character, but with an endearing cheekiness to go with it. Christopher Lloyd has mentioned in recent interviews that he had a lot of fun playing such an evil character, and it showed. With plenty of Star Trek shows coming now and in the future, there could be plenty of possibilities for him to return as another character. We live in hope.
That’s our list of ten actors, you didn’t realise had been in Star Trek. Did we miss any? Which was your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out more of our Sci-Fi articles HERE.
Read about IMDB information on Star Trek HERE.
Jungle Cruise – Review
Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt swing in with force in Disney’s new Jungle Cruise. And while the movie has fun callbacks to the Disney Park ride and a clever plot, if this movie is trying to be the next Pirates of the Caribbean, it falls short. Here’s our review of Jungle Cruise.
SPOILERS: Warning there are spoilers ahead.
To be honest, I was expecting a much less creative plot from this movie. Following suit with typical adventure movies, I was expecting this film to be a less-funny version of the Jumanji reboot. But the plot has an unexpected emotional centre and a clever twist. And while the film suffers from CGI villain goopiness, it gives the CGI villains actual heart and motivations.
The film centres on Lilly (Emily Blunt), a botanist in search of a healing petal. The petal is said to be able to cure any illness and resides deep in the Amazon Rainforest. She is accompanied by her little brother, McGregor (Jack Whitehall) and their hired skipper, Frank (Dwayne Johnson).
But a curse resides around the petal. Spanish conquistador Aguirre (Edgar Ramirez) and his crew went in search of the petal four hundred years ago. The petal can only be found with an arrowhead sacred to the Umbala or Headhunter tribe of the region. When Aguirre and his crew are on the brink of death, the Umbala tribe saves them. But Aguirre betrays them to get his hands on the arrowhead, and the chief of the Umbala tribe curses Aguirre and his party. They can never stray from the river, or the rainforest will take them. For four hundred years, they’ve lain dormant, having strayed too far from the banks of the river. They cannot die.
Now the arrowhead rests with a sexist scientific community. Lilly steals the arrowhead, just before it was set to be sold to Prince Joachim (Jesse Plemons). Joachim works for the German government during the height of World War One. He believes that the petal will not only bring victory to Germany, but will make him a world ruler. (How he thinks it will do that is unclear).
As Lilly, McGregor, and Frank make their way down the Amazon in search of the Petal, Joachim follows and occasionally attacks them in his submarine. Deciding he needs more help, he wakes up Aguirre, now a monster of the Amazon, and his crew. Aguirre, who is now made out of snakes, and his two colleagues, one of which is made out of honey and bees and the other mud and tee frogs, are sent on Lilly’s trail.
What happens next is the usual adventure. White water rapids, a run-in with the Umbala tribe (who become allies), submarine fights, swinging on jungle vines; you name it.
But after a run-in with Aguirre, Lilly learns the truth about Frank. In a plot twist I absolutely did not see coming, it turns out that Frank is actually Francisco, Aguirre’s cartographer. We learn that Aguirre was not looking for the petal for glory or gold, but to save his deeply ill daughter. Aguirre and Francisco grew up together, and they were willing to do anything to save his daughter. But when Aguirre betrays the Umbala tribe, Francisco tries to stop Aguirre. Francisco was also cursed to be unable to leave the riverbank, but Aguirre kept returning to fight and defeat (stab) Francisco.
Tired of constantly getting stabbed, Francisco traps Aguirre in a cave. Letting the Amazon have him and turn him into the monster he is today. Francisco then built a town on the river banks, built a boat in search of the petal, gave up, and now runs river cruises.
While the plot is very complicated, it’s easy enough to follow while watching the film. I will say that the motivations of Joachim are a little hard to follow. But the plot twist with Frank was very clever. It gives a CGI-heavy Aguirre a human heart. Now all he wants to do is break the curse and be allowed to die. To do so he needs a petal. The plot in and of itself was much more clever than I expected.
Characters and performances
One character that pleasantly surprised me was McGregor. At first, I thought he was merely queer-coded. He definitely fell into some gay stereotypes, but I thought that was all it was going to be. A guy who was subtly a little queer. But, when Frank asks him why follows Lilly, even through a jungle, he gives a surprisingly candid answer. He explains to Frank that he is gay and that Lilly is the only one who supports him.
When the world turned his back on him, she stood with him, and for that, he would “follow her into a volcano.” This is the first time I can remember that a Disney character was very, clearly openly gay. Disney has had about a dozen “first gay characters,” but all of them have been off to the side. None of them has stated their sexuality or been open about it. McGregor not only states it outright but is not ashamed of it and it is not his only character trait. He becomes brave and capable and is a good friend to both Frank and Lilly. It was really surprising to see good representation from Disney in this film.
Emily Blunt also gives a wonderful performance (as she always does). She’s headstrong and stubborn, but kind. The sexism was a little on the nose, with a tired bit about how she wears pants, but she was delightful.
And Dwayne Johnson was… okay. He plays the exact same character in every movie he’s in. And while his performance was good in this movie, I can’t help but think that another actor could have done better. He and Emily Blunt have a romance in this movie, but they have absolutely no chemistry. It was hard to believe their romance. I think another actor could have added a little more to Frank’s character. Frank is an interesting character, and another actor could have done more with him. This movie might have been better without Dwayne Johnson.
This movie also might have been better without Joachim. His motivations were really hard to follow. At the end of the day, he was just another stereotype of a German general who only complicated the plot.
It feels as though Jungle Cruise might be Disney’s attempt to re-make the magic of Pirates of the Caribbean. But I can’t see this film becoming a franchise. The first Pirates movie is masterful, with amazing rewatchability. But Jungle Cruise, while fun, is forgettable. It’s not a movie I see myself rewatching anytime soon. If this is an attempt to create a new franchise for Disney; it falls short. But, the film was fun to watch and was a good movie theatre experience.
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 5/10
Thank you for reading our review of Jungle Cruise. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Read our review of Emily Blunt in A Quiet Place Part Two HERE.
Read IMDB information about Jungle Cruise HERE.
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