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Q: I'm just catching up with "Star Trek: Discovery" and am wondering: Is Rainn Wilson's character a reference to something from one of the old shows? He feels, I don't know, significant somehow.

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Author: 
Adam Thomlison / TV Media

You have a good eye for character development. In a show, indeed a long series of shows, that often features a creep-of-the-week type of disposable villain, Harcourt Fenton Mudd (Harry, for short) is indeed different.

The fact that he's being played by a known actor -- former "The Office" star Rainn Wilson -- is a giveaway, but for fans of the original '60s "Star Trek" series, the name alone does it. Harry Mudd was a recurring, fan-favorite character in the original show.

Mudd is an intergalactic space conman who first appeared in the sixth-ever "Star Trek" episode (titled "Mudd's Women"). He returned again in the second season, in an episode titled "I, Mudd," and again in an episode of "Star Trek: The Animated Series" that aired in the mid-'70s.

There's no word yet on whether he'll return in "Discovery," but given that they used him twice in just the first season, and that the showrunners seem to enjoy callbacks to the old "Star Trek," the chances are good, at least.

In an interview with StarTrek.com, Wilson, an avowed fan of the series, said, "To get to go back and do a classic character from the original series ... You know, actors are always like, 'Oh, it's a dream come true.' It really was a dream come true for me." 

 

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