“Star Trek: Discovery” will see the return of Harry Mudd this week and things are going to get wild.
The role of Mudd, played by Roger Carmel in the original series and taken over by Rainn Wilson in “Discovery,” was introduced into the new series last week as a fellow captive on a Klingon ship alongside Captain Lorca. But when Lorca discovers Mudd has been passing information to the Klingons in return for preferential treatment, he leaves him behind during his escape. According to Wilson, Mudd is out for revenge.
“The only thing I can say is he was not so happy to have been abandoned there by Captain Lorca, so I imagine the s— is going to hit the fan,” Wilson told Variety.
Though Mudd only appeared in a handful of episodes in the original series, he has long been a fan favorite character. Wilson attributes that to the nuance Carmel brought to the role.
“‘Star Trek’ always had a comic thread running through it,” Wilson said. “Some episodes were downright silly, especially in the original series. Roger Carmel just gave a great performance as Harry Mudd and has obviously been a fan favorite for decades because he brought that sense of fun, but he also brought danger. He was equal parts charming and despicable and that is very tough to play, so I was very inspired by what he brought the equation. I think that my Harry Mudd is a little darker because this new ‘Star Trek’ universe is a little darker. I think our current times are a little darker than they were in 1966. … It’s a testament to Roger Carmel that the character still lives and thrives and is still regarded so highly.”
Mudd is notorious for having a weak grasp of ethics, surviving mostly off of his ability to hustle, con, and connive better than those around him. Despite this, Wilson does not believe Mudd is inherently bad.
“I used to play a lot of Dungeons & Dragons as a kid, and you choose your alignment in that for your character,” he said. “You can be lawful good or chaotic evil. Harry Mudd is chaotic neutral. He’s trying to make his way in the world and he’ll do whatever it takes to get ahead. He’s a scrapper and a merchant and he just operates by a different moral code. He’s ultimately just a straight up capitalist. … I think Harry Mudd is a lot like Donald Trump: he follows the rules when it works for him, but he’ll bend the rules when it suits him.”
In addition to Mudd, “Discovery” has already brought back classic characters like the Vulcan ambassador Sarek and referenced several others. So what other characters would Wilson like to see join the new show?
“I would say Balok, the alien played by Clint Howard [in the original series]. I don’t know much about him, so I don’t know how he would get back in. I wonder if you could merge universes, like Q from ‘Next Generation.’ I loved him and I looked forward to every episode he was on. He was always so exciting because, again, he would just throw a monkey wrench into the workings of the Enterprise and play outside the rules. And Q is beyond space and time so he could definitely have an encounter with the Discovery.”
“Star Trek: Discovery” Episode 7, titled “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad,” will be available to stream on CBS All Access beginning Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET.