The Farscape Fan Favorite Character That Wasn’t Supposed To Last

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated

The unique sci-fi series Farscape was a surprise hit, able to overcome erratic scheduling by SyFy (then known as The Sci-Fi Channel) to develop a fervent cult following that persists to this day, over two decades later. Part of the reason for the success of Farscape, if you ask fans, is that the main villain, Scorpius, is one of the greatest sci-fi anti-heroes of all time. This is why it’s stunning to learn that he was never intended to become a main character and was originally intended for one story arc.

Scorpius Was Originally A Much Smaller Role

For someone just watching Farscape for the first time, years after cancelation, it’s surprising that Scorpius doesn’t show up until “Nerve,” 19 episodes into the first season. In fact, he wasn’t going to appear again after Season 1, but plans changed when Wayne Pygram blew the crew away with his intense performance, making the leather-clad villain menacing, calculating, and oddly charming in equal measure.

And that was after the dramatic changes made to the character before production even began. Before the Farscape cameras started rolling, the producers weren’t even going to cast a human in the role of Scorpius.

Another Puppet

The talented Rockne S. O’Bannon, the creator of Farscape (who also worked on Alien Nation and, recently, Evil), created Scorpius to be one of the many puppet characters, with a design that matched his insectoid name. Given the incredible designs of the other puppet characters from The Jim Henson Company, there’s no doubt it would have been a cool puppet, but he also was going to appear much earlier as a henchman for Bialar Crais.

Now, Crais is another fantastic Season 1 villain with his own redemption arc, but the thought of Farscape without Scorpius as the main villain is mind-blowing.

Developing Scorpius

When Wayne Pygram came on the Farscape, set as Scorpius for the first time, the cast and crew referred to him as the perfect performer for the perfect role. Getting into the spirit of the villainous role, Pygram made multiple suggestions about his back story and motivations, which were typically far darker than what made it to the screen. The highly intelligent villain, determined to get the secret of wormhole technology from John Crichton (Ben Browder), was unafraid to use anyone or anything to achieve his goal.

Even The Runner-Up Actor Got On The Show

While Pygram ended up with the role, the actor he beat out also ended up becoming part of Farscape, appearing for the first time in the same episode as Scorpius. That’s right, Paul Goddard, who played Stark, tried out for the role of Scorpius, got the role of Stark as a consolation prize, and kept returning because he was a hit on the set. Considering Stark’s importance to the crew of the Moya, it’s again surprising to learn that his existence was also a happy accident.

Impossible To Imagine Farscape Without Scorpius

Farscape without Scorpius, or even Stark for that matter, would be such a drastically different show that it’s inconceivable. How could the story be told without the eventual arrival of Harvey? Or Pygram getting to demonstrate his drumming skills on camera?

Today, Farscape may look like a cheap production that’s a little corny and hamfisted, but it’s also one of the greatest sci-fi series of all time, and Scorpius is a better villain than those found in any modern show. If you’ve never seen it before, or it’s time for a re-watch, you can catch it for free on Tubi, Pluto TV, Crackle, and Amazon Freevee. While enjoying the sinister anti-hero in action, imagine him as a scorpion puppet. And despair.