September 8 marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek and, while some Star Wars fans might not want to admit it, Star Wars wouldn’t exist without. Even George Lucas himself once said that his space opera wouldn’t have been successful if Gene Roddenberry’s creation didn’t make science fiction popular. A handful of actors have also played roles in both franchises, with the most famous one being Simon Pegg.
Here’s a look at five actors who have made memorable impacts on both franchises.
1. Simon Pegg
The most famous connection between Star Trek and Star Wars is Simon Pegg. The actor plays the new Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott in the current Trek films and even co-wrote Star Trek Beyond.
On the Star Wars side, he’s had two roles. On Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he voiced the bounty hunter Dengar. (He’s one of the bounty hunters in The Empire Strikes Back who doesn’t have any dialogue.) In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Pegg got to play Unkar Plutt, the Jakku salvage dealer who wanted to buy BB-8 from Rey and claimed the Millennium Falcon was his. Pegg’s role was kept a secret until the film came out, although he did appear in the above behind-the-scenes reel Disney released at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con.
2. George Takei
George Takei is either known for being Sulu on Star Trek or as a social media star. For Star Wars fans though, he’ll always be the slimy villain Lok Durd in an episode of The Clone Wars. OK, he’ll always be Sulu to us too. Takei also voiced the character for the video game Clone Wars Adventures.
However, Takei made it clear which side he stands on in the Star Wars vs. star Trek debate. He told Fortune last year:
My preference is Star Trek. Yes, science-fiction, imaginative, great adventure but Gene Roddenberry had another dimension. He had a vision of a future about what America…the global society could be. [His] genius came to flower in addressing contemporary issues and be able to present them as futuristic.
3. Greg Grunberg
Who is Greg Grunberg? If you know J.J. Abrams‘ work, you should know who he is. Grunberg is the director’s good luck charm, having roles in Lost, Alias and Mission: Impossible III. In The Force Awakens, he played Snap Wexley, a Resistance pilot who joins Poe Dameron on dangerous missions.
Although Abrams didn’t direct Star Trek Beyond, director Justin Lin still included him as Commander Finnegan.
4. Ron Perlman
When it comes to Ron Perlman, a better question is: What hasn’t he done? The actor has over 200 credits on his IMDb page, so clearly, he had to have done some work in the two franchises at one point.
In 2002, Perlman played Viceroy in Star Trek: Nemesis, the final film with the Next Generation crew. For Star Wars: The Clone Wars, he played the annoying Trandoshan salvage ship captain Gha Nachkt.
Perlman also played Hellboy in the Hellboy movies, starred in Blade II and Pacific Rim, and played Clarence ‘Clay’ Morrow in Sons of Anarchy.
5. Sam Witwer
Being Human and Once Upon A Time actor Sam Witwer has plenty of important Star Wars roles on his resume. He voiced Emperor Palpatine in Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Starkiller in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and, most importantly, is the voice of Darth Maul in The Clone Wars and Rebels TV series.
He has one small Trek role. He was in a 2003 episode of Star Trek: Enterprise.
As pointed out by fans here, there are several other actors who have small parts in both Star Wars and Star Trek.
Deep Roy, who plays Keenser in the new Trek movies, had an uncredited role as Droopy McCool in Return of the Jedi. Brent Spiner, best known as Data in The Next Generation, voices Senator Gall Traybis in Rebels. Ian Aberbrombie had two different Voyager roles, but was the voice of Palpatine in The Clone Wars. Felix Silla played an Ewok in Jedi and was in the Trek pilot episode “The Cage.” Olivia d’Abo was Amanda Rodgers in Thhe Next Generation and Luminara Unduli in The Clone Wars.
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