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Why Rainn Wilson Loved Playing His Role On Star Trek: Discovery

Rainn Wilson as Mudd

Rainn Wilson's guest star spots as classic character Harry Mudd on Star Trek: Discovery were some of the series' best episodes to date. Wilson watched the original actor Roger Carmel portray Mudd on Star Trek as a child, it clearly meant alot. He recently spoke to CinemaBlend's Corey Chichizola about his streaming play Thom Pain on BroadwayHD, when the conversation turned to Star Trek Beyond. Wilson also talked about the difficulty in playing a part first made iconic by Carmel, and how he went about tweaking the role, and making it his own:

I find it very liberating that Roger Carmel plays the role of Harry Mudd in the original Star Trek. Two episodes, and one in the animated series. I can't be him, I can't just do what he does. I had to make it my own, and bring my own skin to the character. And the template that he created which is part comedic, part dastardly, part villainous, part charming. I kinda just went with that, the role that he needed to play in the series. But it really was a dream come true.

Rainn Wilson dove into the core of what made Harry Mudd an interesting character in the Star Trek universe, and turned that into something new that still felt true to the character through Star Trek: Discovery. While Wilson was somewhat "Mudd-ified," in his first appearance in the episode "Choose Your Pain," his role in "Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad," was really where he got a chance to showcase his take on the character. Wilson's Mudd invaded the U.S.S. Discovery and took his best shot at hijacking the ship in what was the most humorous episode of the series to date.

The episode was funny, but at the same time kept in line with the high-stakes tone Star Trek: Discovery has become known for in Season 1. Had Rainn Wilson abandoned his instincts and attempted to play the role closer to how Roger Carmel did back in the original Star Trek, his presence might have felt out of place. Thankfully, Wilson stuck to his gut, and now Star Trek: Discovery has a classic Trek character in its lineup that they'll hopefully bring back for Season 2, if not again in Season 1. While we have no reason to suspect Wilson will appear again in the currently airing season of Star Trek: Discovery, who knows what mysteries await the crew as it dives deeper into the Mirror Universe?

Star Trek: Discovery (opens in new tab) uploads new episodes of the series to CBS All Access on Sundays at 8:30 p.m. ET. The streaming version of Rainn Wilson's play Thom Pain is currently available to stream via BroadwayHD. For more about Star Trek: Discovery and streaming on CBS All Access in general, be sure to check out CinemaBlend's episode of The Cord Cutter Podcast to get a full breakdown of the service. For a look at what else is coming to television in the coming weeks, head over to our midseason premiere guide.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick likes good television, but also reality television. He grew up on Star Wars, DC, Marvel, and pro wrestling and loves to discuss and dissect most of it. He’s been writing online for over a decade and never dreamed he’d be in the position he is today.