Just this past week it was announced Bryan Fuller will be the showrunner of the upcoming Star Trek series which will hit our screens early next year. This is of course fantastic news with Fuller being a talented writer of sci-fi, he started his career writing for Deep Space Nine, and a respected showrunner with shows such as Hannibal and the upcoming American Gods. With Fuller on board and the release date coming ever nearer we can expect more news about the show soon including time period and casting; it’s with the latter that I concern myself with today. If the new series follows the classic Star Trek conventions then it will be set on a Federation starship with a diverse crew. While Star Trek always has ensemble casts, the captain can often be seen as the protagonist and are often vital to episode plots whether or not they are the focal point of the episode. So which of the actors currently working today could portray such a character? Here are my choices.
The man with the best chin in the business, Bruce Campbell, is already a popular guy in geek circles. The classic B-movie star is best known as Ash in the three Evil Dead films and more recently the TV sequel Ash vs Evil Dead. Do I really have to sell this to you? It’s Bruce Campbell! He’s incredibly charismatic and a likable guy and having a captain who possesses those qualities is half the battle, let’s not forget how dull Picard was in season 1 of TNG. He can do humour as well as being serious. With Ash vs Evil Dead he has propelled himself back into both geek and popular culture making it the perfect time for Campbell to become a part of Star Trek.
Currently starring in, and winning Emmys for, How To Get Away With Murder Viola Davies is one of the biggest names in television and so why wouldn’t CBS want her for Star Trek? She brings a level of authority and magnitude to her roles which we can witness soon in the much anticipated Suicide Squad. Also, like all 5 past Star Trek captains on TV, Davies is a respected stage actor having won Tony awards in the past. It’s always a good thing to add talent and Davies is one of the most talented actresses currently on TV.
Mad Men is one of my favourite TV series of all time with every aspect being impeccable from the writing to the direction and, of course, the acting. He’s just won an Emmy and Golden Globe for his role as Don Draper and now that Mad Men has ended he will be looking for another show to star in. Sci-fi doesn’t have the negative stigma it once did and Hamm’s ability to portray confidence, leadership and hidden vulnerability would make him perfect for sitting in the captain’s chair. He is no stranger to sci-fi on TV either having starred in the Black Mirror: White Christmas which is quite possibly the most depressing Christmas special of any TV show ever.
Jeff Daniels was in two of the best films of last year, The Martian and Steve Jobs, in similar roles. He was someone with power struggling to do what he thought was right under the tough circumstances. Sounds like a starship captain to me. Daniels is funny too as seen in Dumb and Dumber and while that’s not the sort of humour we want in Star Trek having someone who can be funny is always a positive. Let’s not forget his role in Looper either in which he showed he can play a dark charcter, it could be cool to have a captain with a dark side. Nor is he a stranger to television having starred in the Aaron Sorkin scripted The Newsroom.
A couple of years ago I binged watched the US remake of the Scandinavian thriller The Killing. It’s an underrated show and Mireille Enos as the lead character, Sarah Linden, was perfect as an emotional yet tough detective. Sadly she hasn’t been in much since and the things she has been are not worth seeing. She needs something like Star Trek to kick start her career again and Star Trek could definitely use her as a starship captain the likes we haven’t seen before.
Cranston may seem like an obvious choice but can you blame me? We all know how good he was in Breaking Bad as family man turned drug kingpin Walter White and recently he has cemented himself in acclaimed cinema with Trumbo. He was rumoured to play the villain in the upcoming Star Trek Beyond before Idris Elba got the role and ever since then I have wanted to see him be a part of Trek. Because of his most popular and memorable role it is easy to see Cranston as a villain and while part of me wants to see that I would much prefer seeing him in the fabled captains chair as a character we can all get behind.
As I referred to earlier, CBS loves to hire stage actors to portray Star Trek captains and so I wouldn’t be surprised if Mark Rylance is high up on their list. The British actor has played just about every classic charcater you can imagine on stage and has recently moved to the big screen as the best thing in Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies and will soon be the titular character in Spielberg’s next film: The BFG. Just last year he starred in the BBC adaptation of the Hillary Mantel novel Wolf Hall in which he played the slimy and scheming Thomas Cromwell; just imagine if we got a Star Trek captain like that.
Who do you want to see play the captain in the new Star Trek series? Let me know in the comments and geek out with me about Star Trek on Twitter @kylebrrtt. Like, Subscribe and why not have a look at all the awesome stuff on the site like the many podcasts and blogs. I’ll be back next week so come back then for some more First Time Writing