The Many Connections Between ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Spinal Tap’

Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, Rob Reiner

Getty Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Michael McKean, and Rob Reiner at 'This Is Spinal Tap' event in 2019.

It will be warp 10 and amps turned up to 11 thanks to the news that “Spinal Tap II” is officially happening. According to Deadline, actor-director Rob Reiner is reuniting with Christopher Guest, Michael McKean, and Harry Shearer for a sequel to the classic mockumentary, “This Is Spinal Tap,” which was released in 1984. Reiner will once again direct and play director Marty DiBerg, while McKean, Shearer, and Guest will reprise their respective roles as British rockers David St. Hubbins, Derek Smalls, and Nigel Tufnel.

The “Spinal Tap” universe — which went on to include live concerts by the fictional band, as well as music videos — is loaded with “Star Trek” connections direct and indirect. Among the direct connections, McKean, according to Memory Alpha, guest-starred as The Clown in “The Thaw,” a second-season episode of “Star Trek: Voyager.” The site notes that “The Clown was the holographic manifestation of the fears of five individuals who were part of a linked neural network.” Ed Begley Jr., who played John “Stumpy” Pepys in “This Is Spinal Tap,” guest-starred as Henry Starling in the “Voyager” episodes “Future’s End” and “Future’s End, Part II,” both of which aired in 1996, according to the Internet Movie Database.

McKean as The Clown in ‘The Thaw’

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According to Memory Alpha, Spinal Tap “actually had their beginnings on McKean and David L. Lander’s ‘Lenny and the Squigtones’ album.” McKean and Lander were longtime friends and performing partners who played Lenny and Squiggy on “Laverne & Shirley.” According to Memory Alpha, Lander preceded McKean in appearing on “Star Trek,” as he guest-starred as the Ferengi tactical officer of the Kreechta in the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episode “Peak Performance.” The Internet Movie Database notes that “This Is Spinal Tap” production designer Bryan Jones also worked on “Star Trek: A Captain’s Log” and “William Shatner’s Star Trek Memories,” and that hairstylist supervisor/makeup supervisor Michele Payne was a hair stylist on “Star Trek Into Darkness.”

Among other indirect connections between “This Is Spinal Tap” and “Star Trek,” Memory Alpha reports that Nicholas Guest, the younger brother of Christopher Guest, appeared as a Starfleet cadet in “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” Also, according to Memory Alpha, Christopher Guest is married to Jamie Lee Curtis, who is the younger sister of Kelly Curtis, who guest-starred as Sarda in the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” episode “Captive Pursuit.” Meanwhile, according to the Internet Movie Database, Harry Shearer provided a voice for an episode of the animated series “Captain Planet and the Planeteers,” which featured a Who’s Who of “Star Trek” talent that included LeVar Burton, Whoopi Goldberg, Dean Stockwell, Clyde Kusatsu, Ed Begley Jr., Malcolm McDowell, Allen Oppenheimer, Michael Bell, David Warner, Iona Morris, and Brian Tochi, as well as David Coburn. According to Memory Alpha, Coburn, who provided the voice of Captain Planet, also guest-starred in a live-action role as Ensign Bower in the “TNG” episode “The Nth Degree.”

Finally, Rob Reiner himself has several “Star Trek” connections, the most notable and most recent of which is “Home Movie: The Princess Bride,” according to IMDB. A 10-episode Quibi show that was produced and aired in 2020, during the pandemic, “Home Movie: The Princess Bride” featured an array of Hollywood stars performing moments from “The Princess Bride,” the classic film that Reiner directed in 1987. Among the “Star Trek” figures who appeared in “Home Movie: The Princess Bride” were John Cho, Zoe Saldana, Sarah Silverman, Rainn Wilson, and Chris Pine.

The Original ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ Trailer

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Deadline, in their story, spoke to Reiner about “Spinal Tap II.” He said, “The plan is to do a sequel that comes out on the 40th anniversary of the original film and I can tell you hardly a day goes by without someone saying, ‘Why don’t you do another one?’ For so many years, we said, ‘Nah.” It wasn’t until we came up with the right idea how to do this. You don’t want to just do it, to do it. You want to honor the first one and push it a little further with the story.”

Guest, Shearer, and McKean, with contributions from Reiner, wrote the music and lyrics for such Spinal Tap songs as “Smell the Glove,” “Hell Hole,” “Big Bottom,” and “Lick My Love Pump,” according to Deadline. Also, as noted, they’ve toured as Spinal Tap.

“They’ve played Albert Hall, played Wembley Stadium, all over the country and in Europe,” Reiner said. “They haven’t spent any time together recently, and that became the premise. The idea was that Ian Faith, who was their manager, he passed away. In reality, Tony Hendra passed away. Ian’s widow inherited a contract that said Spinal Tap owed them one more concert. She was basically going to sue them if they didn’t. All these years and a lot of bad blood we’ll get into and they’re thrown back together and forced to deal with each other and play this concert.”

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