Star Trek

Star Trek: 10 Actors You Didn’t Realize Played Multiple Roles

Star Trek: 10 Actors You Didn’t Realize Played Multiple Roles

No matter which part of the franchise, there’s something the Star Trek  production teams were always great at: bringing back actors they’d already worked with for different roles. Merritt Butrick was Kirk’s son David and T’Jon on The Next Generation, Marc Alaimo was a Romulan on TNG before becoming Gul Dukat on Deep Space Nine, Suzie Plakson was Worf’s lover K’Ehlayr as well as a Vulcan, a Q, and an Andorian. The list goes on, and it’s a lot longer than you’d imagine.

For the purposes of keeping the list surprising, we’re leaving out all the main cast members who appeared as different characters in other series or movies. We’ve made one exception for someone who was a regular cast member for one season, but already had a history with the original series. Feel free to guess before scrolling down!

Some of these are no-brainers and some will hopefully give you that “who knew?” sense of discovery. And speaking of Discovery, let’s hope we get to see of these actors there, too! Here are 10 Actors Who Played Multiple Roles on Star Trek.

10. Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn only just makes the list for having played Lt Worf in the Next Generation as well as General Worf in the Undiscovered Country movie. He also, bizarrely, played Worf on an episode of the TV series Webster in the episode €œWebtrek€, different show, same character. Two characters isn€™t much but some may not know that he also holds a credit as €œRisa Tourist€ in the Next Generation episode €œThe Captain€™s Holiday€. As well as his feature film performances he returned again as Worf in DS9 and managed to make even more of the character. He also played Willie Hawkins in the dream episode as well as various episodes of Family guy as Worf. Various voice roles in computer games are also noted.

9. Mark Lenard

Mark Lenard, aka Spock€™s dad of course appeared in the original series as well the Next Generation and various movies but that was always as Spock€™s dad. Appearing in multiple incarnations of the show is not enough to get on this list but what some may not know, though if you don€™t you€™re not a real trekker, is that he also appeared in the Original Series as another pointy eared hob-goblin. In €œBalance of Terror€ the accomplished and talented actor lent his gravitas as the €œRomulan Captain€, who was never named, but who gave Jim Kirk a good run for his money before bowing out to a hero€™s death. This almost cold war echoing tale was particularly engrossing and stands the test of time thanks to Mark’s dignified performance and apparent chemistry with William Shatner. Ironic since they only spoke to each other on screen. He was to return in Journey to Babel as the aforementioned Spock€™s Dad, and from there the rest is history. Or future, depending on how you look at it. Aloof and intelligent as well as a thoughtful and genuinely caring father he was always a reliable performer and made seemingly meaningless lines come across as alive and believable.

8. Tim Russ

Tim Russ was of course Tuvok in Star Trek Voyager, and a damn fine performance of a Vulcan it was. He had to show a breadth of emotion, but he has also appeared in a couple of other episodes. In The Next Generation episode “Starship Mine”, where Captain Picard risked being killed by a radiation sweep, Tim played Devor, one of the thieves. In the film Star Trek Generations he also appeared as a random Lieutenant on the Enterprise B in one of those €œhey, wasn€™t that€€ moments and is credited as the voice of Tumar in the Starship Farragut animated episodes. He is also soon to be seen in the upcoming TV movie Star Trek Renegades but that is as Tuvok. It€™s worth mentioning though just for the fact that a new Star Trek story in the classic universe is due out later this year.

7. Malachi Throne

Another one of those €œwho, oh, that guy€ actors is Malachi Throne. Few can be said to bridge the old and the new Star Trek in such an odd fashion. He was on set with Leonard Nimoy in both his first ever and last Star Trek television episodes (not counting the new movies) and was originally offered the role of Dr McCoy but turned it down. In the original pilot €œThe Cage€ he provided the voice for the telepathic jail keepers and later took on the role of Commodore Jose Mendez in €œThe Menagerie€ from the original series. The obvious link between those two episodes is interesting, but he then rather randomly got a role on The Next Generation as Senator Pardek in the €œUnification€ two parter. Pardek had worked for years to unify Vulcan and Romulus only to launch an attack on Vulcan that was foiled by the Enterprise with Picard at the helm. Although hardly canon it should be noted that he was also cast as Korough in the New Voyages episode €œIn Harms Way€

6. Diana Muldaur

Hands up who watched the appearance of Dr Roman Polaski on the Next Generation Enterprise and thought, €œhold on, I know that face, wasn€™t she€.€ And you were right, she was. But she was also two of them. Best known for her work on LA Law, the gifted actress was, in the Star Trek context, better known for her excellent performance as Dr Miranda Jones, a blind, telepathic aide to the Medusan Ambassador Kollos in €œIs There In Truth No Beauty€. But she also appeared as Ann Mulhall in the thought provoking €œReturn To Tomorrow€ whose body was taken over by Sargon€™s wife, Thalassa. This technically pushed her appearances up to three characters since she was required to play both the human Mulhall and the alien as two distinct individuals. When she appeared on The Next Generation then as Dr Beverly Crusher€™s temporary replacement she earned her fourth character credit and, more importantly, her first recurring role in the Star Trek universe. Always professional and believable, as well as being a beautiful woman both in early years and later, she was a welcome addition to the Next Generation cast and the Star Trek universe as a whole.

5. Majel Barret

Being the voice of the Starfleet computer in every series of Star Trek, including the first of the reboot films, isn€™t enough to get you on our exclusive list. Being one of only two actors to survive the pilot and appearing as 3 different characters in the Star Trek universe though, that will do it no problem. Majel Barret aka Majel Roddenberry first appeared as Number 1, the first officer of the Enterprise on The Cage. When the show was given an unprecedented second pilot though all but she and Leonard Nimoy were jettisoned. Majel returned as Nurse Christine Chapel, Doctor McCoy€™s able assistant and unrequited lover of Spock. Her inclusion was somewhat controversial but personal life aside she became an integral and well-loved member of the crew. So much so that she even appeared in Star Trek The Motion Picture as the fully qualified Dr Chapel. When The Next Generation series came along she again provided the role voice of the Starfleet Computer, but it was her unforgettable performances as Lwaxana Troi that once again sealed her place as a Star Trek legend. Her attempted courtship with Captain Picard and his reactions to her were a great source of comic relief, but she was also capable of more dramatic outings such as admitting to the loss of a daughter she never spoke of. Majel, we salute you.

4. James Sloyan

Another regular on the Star Trek circuit is James Sloyan. Always professional, always believable and with an emotional depth and breadth that he can make any character come to life. But those talents cannot be hidden behind any mask and we are never fooled when we see him pop up again. Yet, he manages to make each character unique and memorable for their own reasons. His most frequent role was as Dr Mora Pol in €œThe Alternate€ and €œThe Begotten€, both DS9 stories where he played a Bajoran scientist who studied Odo. But he had previously appeared in Star Trek Next Generation as other characters. Perhaps uniquely, he appeared in two different episodes as four different characters. In €œThe Defector€ he was an apparently lucky escapee who claimed his name was Setol, but he was discovered to be Admiral Alidar Jarok who the Romulans allowed to escape in order to ascertain his loyalty. In €œFirstborn€ he played the Klingon k€™Mtar who later turned out to be an older Alexander who had come back from the future to change his own path. Arguably though his best performance was as Ma€™bor Jetrel in the Voyager episode €œJetrel€. The mass murderer who caused the metreon cascade, a weapon of such awesome destruction that it somehow vaporised its victims. It was said to be a cloud that enveloped the moon of Rinax and resulted in the deaths of 300,000 people. Astonished by the power of the transporter he becomes convinced he can save the victims but alas, it is not to be. He succumbs to metremia after using Neelix as a guinea pig for a potential cure. A complex character to be sure and one which, in the hands of a lesser actor, may have been ridiculous. But with the ever impressive James Sloyan bringing life to the words on the page he was a character that spoke of vengeance and regret.

3. Jeffrey Combs

Jeffrey Combs is one of those actors who just grabs your attention with his physical and vocal performances and there is no rubber mask that can hide him. No matter what they do to him, however much make-up and horns they put on him you immediately recognise that wonderfully seductive yet unnerving cadence. He was Tiron in the DS9 episode Meridian as well as Brunt, a Ferengi liquidator in several other DS9 episodes, famous for hating Quark and wearing a bar of gold pressed latinum on a chain around his neck. But he is perhaps best known as the disturbing and unsettling Weyoun a Vorta diplomat, or at least one of several clones of. The role was specifically written for him by Ira Steven Behr and Hans Beimler for the episode €œTo The Death€. The story goes that the character was killed in the episode but that the producers loved Jeffrey, and the character, and decided to find a way to bring him back. He was to return in €œTies of Blood and Water€ revealing the Vorta cloning technology and allowing Jeffrey to be a sort of Doctor Who type character, always the same but with a little splash of individuality to each new clone. His talents were also used to varying degrees as a Patron in Vic€™s Lounge in €œWhat You Leave Behind€ (DS9), as Officer Mulkahey in €œFar Beyond The Stars€ (an alternate character in a vision) and Penk in the Voyager episode €œTsunkatse€. Not done yet, he was to be seen again as Commander Shran, back behind a mask, this time as an Andorian, in several episodes of Enterprise and lastly Krem, a Ferngi pirate in €œAcquisition€, also an Enterprise tale.

2. Tony Todd

There are actors out there who are incredibly famous, yet whose names you may not immediately remember. Tony Todd is one such actor. Ask most people €œdo you know Tony Todd€ and they may furrow their brow and shake their head slowly, pondering. Show them a picture though and they say €œoh, THAT guy, yeah, he€™s awesome€. To a certain generation he will always be Candyman but in Star Trek Next Generation he had a recurring role as Kurn, Worf€™s brother. He first appeared in €œSins of the Father€/€Redemption€/€Redemption II€ and returned in €œSons of Mogh€ in DS9. His most memorable performance in Star Trek terms though was in DS9 as Old Jake Sisko in €œThe Visitor€. In what was an emotional and extremely well written episode, he played an elderly Jake who lost his father in an accident at 18 which led his life down a path that was both full of success, but also of loss and longing. He lost his wife to his obsession with bringing his father back with Ben, appearing on occasion untempered by time, begging him to let go and enjoy his life. By committing suicide he was able to break the temporal link and send his father back to the moment of the accident, allowing him to change the outcome. He impressed so much, or maybe he was on retainer, he also played Alpha Hirogen in €œPrey€, the slightly disturbing Voyager episode about a race of hunters who liked to play with their food. It should also be noted that he is due to play Admiral Ramirez in the upcoming €œAxanar€.

1. Vaughn Armstrong

Our clear winner, just by virtue of the number of different roles he has played in the Star Trek universe is Vaughn Armstrong. Some of you are nodding your heads, maybe some of you are thinking €œno, there is another€ (and if you are then please drop a note in the comments), while others are doing yet more €œwho, oh, that guy€ faces. Let€™s just list this out €“ deep breath: Captain Korris in €œHeart of Glory€, Next Generation, Korath in €œStar Trek the Experience€ (short), Gul Danar, a Cardassian in the DS9 story €œPast Prologue€, Seskal, another, totally different Cardassian in €œThe Dogs of War€/ €œWhen It Rains€ also DS9, Telek R€™Mor, a Romulan from the past communicating through a wormhole in the poignant Voyager story €œEye Of the Needle€, Lansor/Two Of Nine in €œSurvival Instinct€, also Voyager, he was a Vidiian Captain in €œFury€, Alpha Hirogen in €œFlesh and Blood€, Korath (again) in €œEndgame€, lending canon to the character, all Voyager. Not content with playing a plethora of different and well crafter charaters, he also took on a well-earned recurring role as Maxwell Forrest in various episodes of Enterprise. But the chameleonic actor wasn€™t to be kept just to one part, oh no, he was also a Klingon Captain in €œSleeping Dogs€, a Kreetassan Captain in €œA Night in Sickbay€, and his own alter ego Maximillian Forrest in €œIn a Mirror Darkly€, all Enterprise episodes. Plus a couple of computer game voice roles. For one man to have played so many different characters and still manage to make each one unique deserves some kind of recognition and since we can€™t have any awards for this we at least had to make him our number 1. So thanks Vaughn, and congratulations. Is there another actor out there who deserves to be on the list? Are you currently seething that Kurtwood Smith didn€™t make it in instead of Michael Dorn? Sound off below!
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