In the most recent episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, “The Inner Fight,” Nick Locarno (Robert Duncan McNeill) returned. Originally appearing in Star Trek: The Next Generation season 5’s “The First Duty,” Locarno may look and sound familiar. This is because he’s played by the same actor who portrayed Tom Paris on Star Trek: Voyager.
McNeill is one of many Star Trek actors who have appeared in multiple franchise roles. For this week’s Trek Tuesday, here are eight Star Trek actors who have played various roles. Did we include your favorite? Be sure to let us know in the comment section.
Majel Barrett Roddenberry
Majel Barrett Roddenberry originated the role of Number One in the original Star Trek: The Original Series pilot, “The Cage.” However, she was recast when the show was sent back to be retooled for a second pilot. In that episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” Barrett played the USS Enterprise computer. In “The Naked Time,” she debuted as Nurse Christine Chapel.
In Star Trek: The Animated Series, Barrett would go on to add additional characters to her resume. Among these was M’Ress, the Caitian who shares comm officer duties with Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols). In TNG season 1’s “Haven,” Barrett makes her first appearance in the role of Lwaxana Troi. Number One, the ship’s computer, Chapel and M’Ress have all been subsequently recast. However, Gene Roddenberry and Barrett’s son Rod Roddenberry says there’s one role she wouldn’t want to see played by someone else. “I think Lwaxana might be a harder pill for her to swallow,” said Rod.
Clint Howard is notable for appearing in five different Trek shows in five different roles. As a child actor, he first appeared as Balok in TOS season 1’s “The Corbomite Maneuver.” This character was also referenced in the most recent episode of Lower Decks through the Information Broker. Howard’s next appearance was as a human in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 3’s “Past Tense, Part II.” Next, he appeared as a Ferengi in Star Trek: Enterprise season 1’s “Acquisition.”
Howard has appeared twice in the currently ongoing era of Star Trek. He first appeared as a “Creepy Orion” in Star Trek: Discovery season 1’s finale, “Will You Take My Hand?” Most recently, he appeared as Buck Martinez in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2’s “Under the Cloak of War.”
According to his entry on Memory Alpha, Jeffrey Combs has played a whopping 21 roles on Star Trek. This number includes the various Weyoun clones played by Combs and considers Hologram versions of his characters to be distinct roles. Trekkies may remember him best as Brunt the Ferengi or Weyons 4 through 8 on DS9, or Thy’lek Shran, the scene-stealing Andorian on Enterprise.
However, Combs has played various characters, the vast majority of which are nonhuman. Most recently, he has appeared on Lower Decks in the recurring role of AGIMUS. While initially introduced as an antagonist, AGIMUS began progressing down the path to redemption in “A Few Badgeys More.”
In Discovery season 1, Sara Mitich portrayed Airiam. Prosthetic makeup gives this crewmember a distinct cybernetic appearance. In Discovery season 2, the role of Airiam was recast, with Hannah Cheesman stepping into the role.
However, Mitich continues to appear on Discovery. From Discovery season 2 onward, she has played the recurring role of Nilsson. Interestingly, Cheesman and Mitich appear in Discovery season 3’s two-part episode “Terra Firma.” Here, they play Mirror Airiam and Mirror Nilsson, respectively.
Trekkies will most likely know Ethan Phillips from his performance as Neelix in all seven seasons of Voyager. However, this was not his first Star Trek role. He previously appeared in TNG season 3’s “Ménage à Troi” as a Ferengi. Later, he would appear as a different Ferengi in Enterprise‘s “Acquisition,” alongside Howard and Combs.
But you might not realize that there’s another cameo appearance by Phillips in the Trek universe, and it happened on the big screen. Star Trek: First Contact features a memorable scene in which Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) drags Lily Sloane (Alfrie Woodard) onto the Holodeck. In this scene, the holographic Maitre d’ is played by Phillips.
Annie Wersching first appeared in the role of Liana in Enterprise season 1 episode “Oasis.” Interestingly, in this episode, her father is played by René Auberjonois. As you are probably aware, Auberjonois is best known for playing the main character Odo on DS9, making this entry something of a twofer. And this wasn’t the only role besides Odo played by Auberjonois. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Auberjonois appeared in the uncredited role of Colonel West.
Meanwhile, in Star Trek: Picard season 2, Wersching played the recurring role of a parallel universe Borg Queen. Trekkies were shocked when Wersching died in January 2023. However, Picard season 3 honored the late actor with a ship named the USS Wersching.
On Lower Decks, Tawny Newsome plays the starring role of Beckett Mariner. However, she also appears in multiple other roles throughout the series. One example is an ensign aboard the USS Archimedes in Lower Decks season 2’s finale, “First First Contact.”
Many of the other stars of Lower Decks perform similar duties, lending their voices to additional characters depending on the episode’s needs. Eugene Cordero, Fred Tatasciore and Dawnn Lewis are just some of the other regular Lower Decks voice actors who have played multiple roles in the animated series.
First appearing in TOS, James Doohan is best known for playing Montgomery “Scotty” Scott. The character (and his accent) are so well known you might not realize the Canadian actor did not naturally speak with a Scottish accent. Further, Doohan even auditioned for the role of Scotty using multiple different accents.
But Doohan’s penchant for various voices meant he also voiced supporting characters in several TOS episodes. On TAS, this skill was utilized to its utmost. There, in addition to reprising the role of Scotty, Doohan played the recurring role of Arex. Further, he played many other supporting roles throughout the show’s 22-episode run, including Admiral Robert April in TAS season 2’s “The Counter-Clock Incident.”
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