7 Actors Star Trek Has Never Hired, But Should

Here are our top 7 picks for actors that need to be introduced into the Star Trek franchise.

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

After a very long drought in which there were no shows or movies, Paramount brought the Star Trek franchise back to life with the 2017 premiere of Discovery. When that show proved successful, the studio went all-in, giving us plenty of great new shows like Lower Decks and Strange New Worlds and some that needed a bit more time in the oven (looking at you, Picard). With even more Star Trek shows on the horizon, including a long-awaited Starfleet Academy series, I decided to help Paramount with its casting by writing the definitive list of actors who have never been in the franchise but need to get cast ASAP.

7. Nicolas Cage

nicolas cage

Let’s face it: Nicolas Cage is one of the most compelling actors in all of Hollywood. He was the singularly best part of the recent underappreciated horror comedy Renfield, and it’s nearly impossible to take your eyes off the screen when Cage is doing his best Impaler impersonation. Sadly, though, he’s never been a Star Trek actor, and that needs to change.

For all the scenery he chews, Cage is an amazing character actor that knows how to inhabit any role and make it his own. After seeing him play Dracula, we’d really love to cake some freaky alien makeup on Cage and transform him into a Star Trek actor so he could threaten Starfleet in the hilariously hammy way that only he can pull off. Interestingly, Nicolas Cage would likely be interested because he once turned down a role in The Mandalorian because he loves Trek too much.

6. Mila Kunis

mila kunis

Even though she spends more time behind the camera as a voice actor than in front of it thanks to the ongoing success of Family Guy, Mila Kunis has been one of America’s favorite onscreen girls next door since the premiere of That ‘70s Show. While there was a certain appeal to seeing her reprise that role in the inevitable sequel series That ‘90s Show, we’d much rather see Kunis hanging out on the bridge of a starship as a Star Trek actor than in a dank basement.

While Mila Kunis may seem like an unconventional choice to play a Star Trek role, that’s kind of the point of casting her. In a world where stiff Federation types are constantly taking the rules seriously, Kunis could provide a fun running commentary on the daily absurdities of life on a starship. In short, she’d bring the vibe Ensign Mariner has on Lower Decks to live-action, and I’m so here for it.

5. Christopher Walken

christopher walken

The thing about Christopher Walken is that he is an accomplished character actor that can provide as much nuance to a role as needed. But Hollywood producers learned long ago that Walken is at his best when he goes big, which is why he has been a memorable big-screen baddie in everything from Sleepy Hollow to Tim Burton’s second Batman film. We need that kind of energy in a Star Trek actor so we could finally have a compelling franchise villain.

Why do we need a Star Trek actor like Walken to play a great villain? Simply put, the franchise has traditionally struggled to give us cool villains, and even great actors like Benedict Cumberbatch and Idris Elba have turned their usual sizzle into a disappointing fizzle on screen. But if anyone can elevate the kinds of disappointing scripts those actors got, it would be Walken. 

4. Florence Pugh

florence pugh hawkeye black widow

There are many reasons I’d love to see Florence Pugh as a Star Trek actor, starting with the fact that she has been severely underutilized in Marvel movies and TV shows. Pugh is supposed to be our new Black Widow, but it seems like we hardly ever see her (especially with Marvel’s reduced output), and she’s never handed anything meaty to do. In a Star Trek show, she could finally get to do something other than run around and make quips, and her MCU experience would help her elevate the inevitable Trek action scenes.

It’s a tall order, but we’d also love to see Pugh as a Star Trek actor because she could be like the Jeri Ryan to a brand-new generation of fans. Back in the day, Paramount added Ryan to Voyager and put her in a catsuit in a cynical move to draw in more viewers, but old fans and new fans alike were surprised when Ryan became the best part of the show due to her keen acting chops. Pugh has the potential to strike that same balance as a distractingly-beautiful woman who is also an absolutely amazing actor.

3. Willem Dafoe

Honestly, I want Willem Dafoe to be a Star Trek actor for the same reason I want Walken in the mix. Like Walken, Dafoe is an accomplished character actor who adds intensity and pathos to any performance (just go watch The Lighthouse if you doubt that). But he’s also not afraid to jump into genre films such as the original Spider-Man movies and the upcoming Beetlejuice 2, playing roles that let him get as big and loud as he wants.

While I hate to typecast Dafoe, it’s difficult to imagine him as a Star Trek actor playing anything other than a mustache-twirling villain. In fact, now that Strange New Worlds is gently exploring the general time period of The Original Series, I’d love to see Dafoe play Kodos the Executioner. This was a genocidal villain who once killed 4,000 people in the name of the greater good, leaving one survivor with a major grudge: none other than a young James T. Kirk himself.

2. Anya Taylor-Joy

It may sound like damning her with faint praise, but I just keep waiting for Anya Taylor-Joy to land roles that get as much attention as her talents clearly demand. She is captivating in the Netflix drama series The Queen’s Gambit, but her big film roles (like Last Night In Soho and New Mutants) keep getting overlooked. But as a Star Trek actor, she could show off her amazing acting ability in a role where she is guaranteed to be seen by millions.

Should she become a Star Trek actor, the best role for Anya Taylor-Joy would be one that somewhat mirrors her own professional life. It would be amazing to see her as an up-and-coming Starfleet officer with incredible potential who keeps getting overlooked by her peers. And, as we saw with Michael Burnham, I’d love to see her character eventually rise in the ranks and become a very unconventional captain.

1. Daniel Craig

Netflix knives out 3

Daniel Craig became a household name thanks to playing James Bond. However, now that his 007 days are behind him, he has gone “all-in” on roles that let him be quirky as hell, including Rian Johnson’s successful Knives Out films. As far as we’re concerned, this makes Craig the perfect Star Trek actor because he’s the best of both worlds (so to speak): a veteran character actor with the handsome look of a leading man.

While it might be cheating a bit in terms of casting, we’d love to see Craig as a Star Trek actor who is loosely modeled after his Knives Out character. From the very beginning, Star Trek has had episodes where characters investigate mysteries, but the only thing usually drier than the mystery is the character investigating it. But if Paramount could bring us a Benoit Blanc lookalike investigating who tampered with the warp core or who disabled holodeck safety settings each week, it would likely be the most popular Star Trek show in history.

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