There's a lot of crossover there!
Beyond both obviously being a part of the science fiction genre, you wouldn’t necessarily think of 1987’s RoboCop and the Star Trek franchise as having a lot in common. Paul Verhoeven’s dystopian classic gives us a view of precisely the kind of world that Gene Roddenberry‘s utopian vision predicted we would avoid. Not to mention that while Trek certainly has its share of cybernetic characters, we rarely see them getting up to the kind of bloodletting on display in RoboCop. Regardless, there’s one area in which the two stories intersect a lot–their casts.
Star Trek has been around for over half a century and has so far spawned over a dozen films, eight live-action series, and three animated shows. So, you might argue that there’s hardly a single film or show out there that doesn’t have cast crossing over with Trek. But what’s surprising about the RoboCop/Star Trek connection–and speaks volumes to the cast Verhoeven assembled for his film–is the weight of the Trek characters they would come to play. Some of the RoboCop cast went on to do more than just become your average alien-of-the-week, and instead played some of the most memorable villains and heroes in Roddenberry’s fictional universe.
The Hero of RoboCop Played Two Trek Villains
It’s interesting that while the hero of RoboCop remains Peter Weller’s signature character–playing the cybernetic officer in both the first film and the 1990 sequel RoboCop 2–he’s since gone on to play so many memorable villains in productions like Showtime’s Dexter and FX’s Sons of Anarchy. His time with Trek has proven no different. Alex Murphy wouldn’t have liked either of Weller’s Trek characters very much.
Weller first worked with the franchise toward the very end of Star Trek: Enterprise. He plays the ruthless xenophobe John Frederick Paxton who leads the hateful terrorist group Terra Prime. Blaming all of Earth’s problems on humanity’s interaction with alien species, Paxton and his followers demand Earth break off relations with species like the Vulcans and Andorians; and they’re not afraid to murder aliens and humans alike to achieve their goals.
On the other end of the spectrum, the RoboCop star played Admiral Alexander Marcus in 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness. Rather than working against Starfleet, in the Kelvin Timeline film Weller played a character in the upper echelons of command. We eventually learn Marcus–a member of the infamous Section 31–has been conspiring to secretly use Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) to ignite a war with the Klingons.
Ronny Cox Played Star Trek’s Most Hated Enterprise Captain
While Ronny Cox’s RoboCop character–Dick Jones, Senior President of Omni Consumer Products (OCP)–isn’t one of the many gun-toting crooks of the film, he’s arguably the story’s true villain. Proving just as ruthless as any of the criminals in the action flick, Jones cares only about the bottom line with no consideration of lives or laws. This RoboCop bad guy would go on to become one of the most hated captains in all of Star Trek; certainly the most hated captain to ever command a ship named Enterprise.
In the Season 6 Star Trek: The Next Generation two-parter “Chain of Command”, Ronny Cox plays Edward Jellico–the man who takes over command of the Enterprise from Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) when the latter is sent on a covert mission he isn’t expected to survive. As a captain, Jellico lacks any of Picard’s empathy. From a crew that’s already achieved the impossible he asks for more and with no warning, and he takes an immediate and irrational disliking to Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes). Star Trek fandom breathed a collective sigh of relief when “Chain of Command” ended with Jellico handing the reins back to Picard. Perhaps only Dr. Pulaski (Diana Muldaur) of Season 2 proved a more widely despised replacement.
Kurtwood Smith Is A Star Trek Frequent Flyer
Kurtwood Smith–known best as Red Forman, frequent wielder of the insult “dumbass” on the hit sitcom That ’70s Show–played the merciless Clarence Boddicker in RoboCop. Boddicker is the head of the team of sadistic crooks who execute Alex Murphy, rendering him serviceable to OCP to become the titular cybernetic cop. And this RoboCop bad guy has been all over Star Trek.
We won’t dive too deeply into his Trek history, since we’ve already chronicled it all. His first Trek appearance was as the United Federations of Planet President in 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Five years later he played the Cardassian Thrax–who was, in fact, a psychic stand-in for Odo (Rene Auberjonois)–on the Season 5 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Things Past.” The following year he was one of the most sympathetic villains the franchise has produced in Star Trek: Voyager‘s Season 4 two-parter “Year of Hell.” Most recently he voiced the intimidating interrogator Clar in “Veritas”–part of the inaugural season of Star Trek: Lower Decks.
Miguel Ferrer Was In Star Trek Before Any Of RoboCop’s Other Stars
The late Miguel Ferrer’s time in Trek was brief, but of all of his RoboCop colleagues, he was the first to enter Roddenberry’s universe. Three years before RoboCop‘s release, he appeared in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. While in RoboCop he plays Bob Morton, an arrogant and ambitious junior executive who is responsible for tapping Alex Murphy to become a cybernetic experiment, in Star Trek III he doesn’t have much to do. As the executive officer on board the USS Excelsior, Ferrer’s sole purpose is to try and fail to get the ship working so it can chase down the Enterprise. Ferrer would make a much bigger splash in the game-changing Twin Peaks as FBI Agent Albert Rosenfeld who–as impossible as it seems–was even more arrogant than Ferrer’s RoboCop character.
Ray Wise Played Two Memorable Trek Antagonists
In RoboCop Ray Wise plays Leon–one of Boddicker’s cruel underlings–but in Star Trek he would go on to land two utterly memorable one-off roles. Two years after RoboCop, Wise played the alien Liko in “Who Watches the Watchers,” a Season 3 episode of TNG. A member of a technologically less advanced race, Liko witnesses a Federation observation team, comes to believe they are gods, and attempts to reignite his people’s dead religions to worship them. Almost a decade later he starred in “Hope and Fear,” the Season 4 finale of Voyager, as a vengeful alien out to get destroy the Borg.
Robert DoQui Starred In A Bizarre Star Trek Episode
The late Robert DoQuis had the honor of being the only actor on this list to star in all three of the RoboCop movies in the original series. He played Detroit PD’s Sgt. Reed who, in the first film, spends most of his time yelling at someone or looking freaked out as the titular cyborg stomps through his precinct.
The RoboCop regular only had a single Star Trek appearance, and it was a memorably weird one. In the Deep Space Nine Season 4 episode “Sons of Mogh,” Worf’s (Michael Dorn) brother Kurn (Tony Todd) shows up at the station, having lost all of his status after Worf was thrown out of the Klingon Empire. Kurn first tries to get his brother to give him an honorable death, then attempts suicide. The episode ends with Worf having Doctor Bashir (Alexander Siddig) erase Kurn’s memory so he can forget he was a part of a dishonored family. Robert DoQuis plays Noggra, the Klingon who agrees to lie to Kurn and tell him he is the Klingon’s true father.