In tonight’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery, episode 5, Rainn Wilson will star as Harry Mudd, a character that you might remember from the original series.
Wilson has a long list of credits to his name, so if he looks familiar to you there’s a good reason why. He’s known for many roles, including starring in Six Feet Under, The Office as Dwight, Hesher, Super, Cooties, Juno, Almost Famous, The Boy, Permanent, Backstrom, Roadies, and more.
Mudd is a well-established character from the original series. He’s a scoundrel and a con artist who had many run-ins with the original Star Trek crew. His full name is Harcourt Fenton Mudd. Here’s what he looked like on the original series, when he was played by Roger C. Carmel:
Harry Mudd is a 23rd century human male known for being a con artist, but also a lovable rogue rather than an evil, dark-hearted villain. According to Star Trek canon, before he encountered the Enterprise, he left his nagging wife Stella behind and did scams and cons in space. He was convicted of smuggling and buying a space vessel with counterfeit money. He was sentenced to psychiatric treatment. He had a license for operating a spacecraft that was revoked after he was convicted of operating a stolen craft and transporting illegal goods.
He was using an illegal Venus drug when the Enterprise found him the first time, and tried to sell three women to a group of miners. The drug made them appear beautiful when they weren’t. When the miners discovered the truth, they were still happy and married the women anyway.
After escaping jail, Mudd began selling alien tech without paying patent royalties. He was caught and escaped before he could be sentenced to death. He ended up on a planet populated by androids who studied him as a specimen of humanity. But he couldn’t leave.
On a later episode, Mudd gave a love potion to Nurse Chapel, who tried to use it on Spock.
Rainn Wilson has said that his version of Mudd is a darker, edgier character because we’re in a darker universe. He said that Mudd is “mischievous and deadly.”