Earlier this year, Nicolas Cage revealed he’d turned down a role in Disney+’s The Mandalorian because Star Trek, not Star Wars, was his jam. While I certainly hope Alex Kurtzman and the folks at Paramount were listening, just the same I thought I’d help things along by proposing a few ideas about the kind of Trek character perfect for the Face/Off star.
Make Him An Alien
I recently argued the sci-fi franchise needs more leading alien characters, and getting Nicolas Cage in Star Trek would be the perfect opportunity to add another.
Why would Cage offer a better chance than most at incorporating a new leading alien character in Trek? Because it’s Nicolas Cage.
We give you our thoughts on who Nicolas Cage could and should play in Star Trek.
No, that’s not just blind Cage love. One of the biggest challenges of introducing a successful alien character in any franchise–assuming that alien looks different enough from us boring humans–is that the actor’s performance may be buried under a mountain of makeup, prosthetics, and/or CGI. If you take a look at, say, Idris Elba as Krall in 2016’s Star Trek Beyond (who isn’t even playing an alien, but a mutated human) and try to tell me you’d recognize him as Elba if you didn’t know beforehand, I would expect your next words would have something to do with trying to sell me a bridge located in the Brooklyn area.
Nicolas Cage, on the other hand, is Nicolas Cage whether it’s Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate, or Law & Order: Special Deep Space Ahsoka. I do not believe any amount of practical or digital effects could ever hide his performance. His acting style and his facial features are too distinct.
Even when he’s made to look nothing like he normally does–such as in the upcoming A24 comedy horror Dream Scenario–there truly is no such thing as “completely unrecognizable” when it comes to Nicolas Cage. Make him an alien.
Make Him A Villain
In a perfect world, Nicolas Cage could absolutely make a great Star Trek hero, but it’s doubtful Cage would agree to a regular role in a live-action series. That leaves film, and as much as I think he would be great in the role of Captain Kirk, I have my doubts about Paramount’s willingness to replace 43 year old Chris Pine with 59 year old Cage (particularly considering projects like Star Trek: Prodigy and Star Trek: Starfleet Academy indicate the franchise is aiming for younger demographics). So, for the actor to make the kind of splash in the franchise he deserves, the lead villain in a Trek movie is the best option.
With his penchant for over-the-top performances, it’s easy to imagine Nicolas Cage playing a ruthless alien warlord–something along the lines of Christopher Lloyd’s Kruge in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
Alternatively, I could also see Nicolas Cage joining the long Star Trek tradition of corrupt Starfleet admirals; something like Peter Weller’s Alexander Marcus in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness.
Make Him A Believer
When talking about why he turned down The Mandalorian, Nicolas Cage was clear about why he prefers Star Trek. Speaking to Yahoo Entertainment, Cage said, “I like the political, and the sociological… to me, what science fiction is really all about, and why it’s such an important genre, is that is really where you can say whatever you want, however you feel. You put it on a different planet, you put it in a different time, or in the future, and you can without people just jumping on you. You can really express your thoughts… and Star Trek really embraced that. I thought they got into some serious stuff.”
Considering this, if you really want to get Nicolas Cage hyped up about appearing in Star Trek, you need a story that falls in line with the kind of sci-fi the actor describes, and–assuming he does play a villain like I suggest–he needs to truly believe in what he’s doing. His villain can have all the grandeur of Kruge or Ricardo Montalban’s Khan, but his quest shouldn’t be one for glory or vengeance. He needs to be a fanatical believer in whatever galactic cause he’s fighting for.
In A Perfect Star Trek World…
In a perfect world–if Nicolas Cage were to play a pre-existing Star Trek role–he would make an utterly perfect choice for Star Trek: Enterprise‘s Captain Jonathan Archer.
It seems doubtful that would ever happen. Not only does Enterprise seem like the absolute last of the TNG era series that the fandom wants any kind of revival for, but if that were to happen the fans would naturally expect Scott Bakula in the part rather than Cage.
But–all other considerations aside–Jonathan Archer seems like possibly the most natural fit for Nicolas Cage when it comes to established heroic Star Trek roles.