The Rock Showcased His Best Acting In A Star Trek Episode?
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson made an early acting appearance on Star Trek: Voyager.
Sure he’s known for his starring role in this year’s Black Adam and holding down appearances in franchises like Jumanji and The Fast and the Furious franchise, but long before those major blockbuster roles, Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock celebrated his breakout performance in an iconic episode of Star Trek. As Gizmodo so kindly reminded us, back then, he was better known by his stage and ring name, as the wrestler hadn’t yet shifted his focus to Hollywood, but all of that changed when he appeared in a 2000 episode of Star Trek: Voyager titled “Tsunkatse.” With his signature eyebrow raise, the WWF Smackdown star took on his first big role as what other than a championed fighter.
The 15th episode of Voyager’s sixth season would see Dwayne Johnson appear as an expert sportsman in the combat of Tsunkatse – a bloody battle to the death. The Rock’s character would serve as Pendari’s champion in the Star Trek episode and face off against Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine. In what’s viewed by many longtime fans as a funny episode featuring the familiar faces of Deep Space Nine stars J.G. Hertzler and Jeffrey Combs, the episode was the jumping-off point for what would be a decades-spanning career for the wrestler-turned-movie star.
The year following The Rock’s appearance on Star Trek would see him appearing as The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns, a role that would solidify him as not only a beefed-up athlete but one with some major acting chops. His turn as the cursed King would be so popular that it would spawn a standalone feature with Dwayne Johnson in his first leading role. The film would move into franchise form, although Johnson’s name was only attached to the initial 2002 feature.
Of course, since The Rock’s appearance in Star Trek: Voyager and his initial film breakout in The Mummy Returns, things have only continued to skyrocket. Save for 2020, when many projects were put on the back-burner due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dwayne Johnson has appeared in at least one feature per year, oftentimes doubling up on his performances. While he was at first viewed through the lens of strictly action flicks, the actor proved his comedic abilities, quickly landing him a slew of roles in features like Baywatch and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
This past year has seen Dwayne Johnson lead two DC-based films, the animated DC League of Super-Pets and the box office blunder, Black Adam. While The Rock had certainly hoped for more of a Star Trek-like following for his DC antihero, it seems like the future of Black Adam is now being put on hold with the recent James Gunn and Peter Safran takeover of the newly formed DC Studios. At least he’s not alone, as many other major heroes including Superman and Wonder Woman are facing questionable futures with the two new co-CEOs teasing that some major changes are on the way.
While The Rock may not be jumping back onto Star Trek via any of its current running offshoots anytime soon, the actor is filming a holiday adventure feature titled Red One. Set to drop just in time for next year’s season of merriment, the film will see Dwayne Johnson star alongside Chris Evans, Kiernan Shipka, Lucy Liu, J.K. Simmons, and others.