‘Trek’ in the News: LeVar Burton, Adrian Holmes, Kurtwood Smith, and… Armus!

Mart McChesney as Armus.

CBS Mart McChesney as Armus.

Star Trek” and the people associated with the franchise are always in the news. Some of the news warrants full stories and some of it is better included in a round-up. This is that round-up, which is now a regular Heavy on Star Trek feature, and this week’s round-up involves Adrian Holmes, LeVar Burton, Kurtwood Smith and… Armus, the goopy alien entity that killed Tash Yar.

Super7 Gets Their Armus On

Back in 2021, Super7 launched a line of 3.75″ “Star Trek: The Next Generation” Re-Action Figures, with Wave 1 featuring Captain Picard, Data, Worf, Wesley Crusher, Guinan, and a Borg drone. Now, Super7 is back with a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” Wave 2 6-Figure Set that includes several more favorite U.S.S. Enterprise crew members and a couple of foes. Fans can beam up Commander Riker, Counselor Troi, Lt. Commander La Forge, Dr. Crusher, Q, and… Armus. Yes, Armus! Every “TNG” must remember Armus, the walking alien oil slick who killed Tasha Yar — suddenly, shockingly — at the end of season one of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”

The Riker, Troi, and Q ReAction Figures can be purchased separately for $18 each, but if you want Armus you’ll have to buy the full set of six for $108.

Armus Action Figure

Super7The Armus action figure from Super7.


Adrian Holmes Debuts as Captain Robert April

When Captain Pike needed a pep talk and a kick in the butt in the first episode of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” he got it courtesy of his friend and mentor, Admiral Robert April. April is a true legacy character, as he was part of Gene Roddenberry’s pitch to NBC in 1964, according to Memory Alpha, but changed to Captain Christopher Pike for the original “Star Trek” pilot, “The Cage,” and then to Captain James T. Kirk when “Star Trek” finally went to series. Captain April did eventually make it to the small screen, as a character on “Star Trek: The Animated Series.” Now, he’s back, thanks to “Strange New Worlds,” with Canadian actor Adrian Holmes in the role.

The Internet Movie Database lists more than 150 films and television credits for Holmes. Those credits include the “Highlander” series, “The Outer Limits,” “Jeremiah,” “Stargate SG-1,” “Bratz,” “Smallville,” “Continuum,” “Supernatural,” “Arrow,” “The Boys,” and “Bel Air.” “Bel Air” is a reboot of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” that casts Holmes as Philip Banks, the role played by James Avery on the original show. Avery, according to Memory Alpha, was a finalist for the role of Worf on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and later guest-starred as K’Vagh, a Klingon general, in the “Star Trek: Enterprise” episodes “Affliction” and “Divergence.”

“April was Gene Roddenberry’s original pitch back in 1964 to CBS for the captain role, but he was changed to Capt. Pike later when NBC accepted it,” Holmes told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview that ran on May 12, 2022. “That was cool to discover. And then, in the 1974 animated series, he was really introduced in ‘The Counter-Clock Incident.’ So, it’s cool how it all came together. I’m learning a lot. I grew up a big sci-fi fan.

“A friend of mine is friends with LeVar Burton, and LeVar was so kind,” he added. “He sent me a video welcoming me to the franchise, and I was just so moved by his generosity. He basically said, ‘Welcome. We are family, and we’re just proud to have you.’ He said that when Gene set out to make ‘Star Trek,’ he knew that as human beings, we could get our sh– together. And if we were to become a space-faring civilization, we had to solve the problems that lie in here now. That is the core of ‘Star Trek’s’ ethos. It’s about us all working together to build a better future.”


LeVar Burton Lands His Next Project

LeVar Burton did not land the job of hosting “Jeopardy!’ despite the support of countless fans, but the popular star of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “Reading Rainbow” has several projects in the works. It was revealed in November 2021 by NPR and other media outlets that Burton and his production company, LeVar Burton Entertainment, were teaming with Entertainment One (eOne), a studio owned by game company Hasbro, to turn the beloved board game Trivial Pursuit into a televised game show, with Burton set to host and co-executive produce. It was also revealed, on April 5, 2022, that Burton would be joining his “Next Generation” castmates Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, Gates McFadden, and Michael Dorn in returning as their respective characters for the third and final season of “Star Trek: Picard.”

And it was announced on April 14, 2022, by Deadline, that Burton would play an unidentified recurring character on the second season of the Starz series, “Blindspotting.” The trade site reported that production on the show is underway in Los Angeles and Oakland, CA.


Kurtwood Smith is Burning Things Up in ‘Firestarter’

Character actor Kurtwood Smith is probably best known for his roles as Clarence Boddicker in “RoboCop,” “Red Forman on “That ‘70s Show,” Mr. Perry in “Dead Poets Society,” and Vernon Masters on “Agent Carter.” He’s also, according to the Internet Movie Database, a three-time “Star Trek” guest star. He played the Federation President in “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country,” Thrax, a Cardassian security officer, in the “Deep Space Nine” episode “Things Past,” and Annorax, the Krenim temporal scientist, in the “Voyager” episodes “Year of Hell, Part I and II.”

Smith is back simultaneously in movie theaters and television screens, as he co-stars in the reboot of “Firestarter,” based on the Stephen King story of the same name. The film was released on May 13, 2022, and is playing in theaters and on Hulu. Smith plays Dr. Wanless, whose Lot Six experiment helps transform a little girl, Charlie McGee (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), into the dangerous title character whose father (Zac Efron) tries desperately to protect her.

Smith is also reprising his role as Red Forman from “That ’70s Show” for an upcoming spinoff that will premiere in the near future on Netflix. According to Variety, the new show is set in 1995 and will center on Leia Forman (Callie Haverda), the daughter of Eric (Topher Grace) and Donna (Laura Prepon), who is visiting her grandparents Red (Smith) and Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) for the summer. While in Point Place, the trade paper noted, Leia bonds with a new generation of kids “under the watchful eye of Kitty and the stern glare of Red.”

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