So, I’ve been one of the biggest proponents of this belief for about a decade now,and as much as I scream it from the rooftops, no one seems to listen. And though I know I’m not the first to say this…
I’m making it official.
Because once it’s posted in a blog, it becomes the truth. You know what I mean? It’s like on that State Farm commercial. “They can’t put anything on the internet that’s not true.” Right? Right?!
Anyway, as the title says, I wholeheartedly believe that two of my all-time favorite things in life are in actuality the exact same thing! (In the vein of Superman/Clark Kent, Batman/Bruce Wayne, or Green Arrow/ Oliver Queen)
In this series I am going to list out 8 different reasons why the Genius of Star Trek is really just the Genius of the Bard himself repackaged.
So, without much ado about nothing, I give you reason number 8:
Star Trek and Shakespeare #8 – Shakespearean Actors in Star Trek
When it comes to actors in Star Trek, most either have their origins in a Shakespearean training or have been a part of a large scale Shakespearean production.
Don’t believe me?
Well, let’s just start with the two most famous Shakespearean Star Trek actors:
First, the Original Gangster himself Captain James Tiberius Kirk,
also known as the Priceline Negotiator,
Mr. Billy Shatner,
alongside him is the follicly challenged but no less manly X-men saving, moral compass wearing Capt. B.A. Picard
Sir Patrick Stewart
Both were official members of the Royal Shakespeare Company and, not surprisingly, became the first two captains of the franchise.
Coincidence? I say Nay.
But the list does not stop there. Others you may have seen or heard of include that Klingon dude hard enough to off his own boy Chancellor Gorkon (who just so happens to be played by another Shakesperean actor David Warner) and do it in the name of his people (Julius Caesar anyone?) named General “patch-over-my-eye-even-though-we-live-in-the-23rd-century-and-have-the-technology-to-fix-that-junk” Chang played by RSC member Christopher Plummer.
Now, if your head is spinning so far, let’s take a head count, that’s Will Shatner,1, Sir Patrick Stewart,2, Christopher Plummer,3, and David Warner,4.
4 Shakespereans and that’s just one movie…. and a captain!
Shall we continue?
Adding to the list of the distinguished is that Native American Number One hailing from my hometown, Chakotay. Not only is he a seasoned Shakespearean, he even takes the time to teach workshops of the Bard.
Did you know that that elusive Borg Queen played by Alice Krige was also a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company? Yeah, makes so much more sense now, huh?
Now, for the rest of this list. I will focus only on the major characters of the shows and movies. I’m sure there are some actors who have appeared in an episode here or there that have also had a role in a Shakespeare production, and I will have undoubtedly missed them. If so, please add them in the comments below.
Now, would it amaze you to know that the lovely Nyota “first-kiss-between-a-white-man-and-black-woman-on-tv” Uhura was also a Shakesperean? Yep, played in a 1983 version of Antony and Cleopatra.
Almost as odd, Walter Koenig, that wily Russian you just never could trust, played alongside her.
The beloved Mr. Worf, or as a roommate of mine once affectionately called him, “Ridges,” also played in a Shakespeare production, sort of. It was called Zombeo and Julecula, obviously, a horror version of Romeo and Juliet. Now, though some might scoff at this inclusion as it is in all honesty a stretch, I find it in every way fascinating, so I’m including it. (Plus, it gives me another person to add to my list, so, there!)
Plus Whoopi/Guinan “what-the-crap-is-with-your-hat?” voiced a character in The Lion King which is a very good adaptation of Hamlet. So, bam. Again.
Let’s also not forget that the unflappable, except for that bun in that year of hell, Capt. Janeway was in many a Shakespeare production onstage. From Othello to Titus Andronicus to Measure for Measure, she is a seasoned pro.
We can’t leave out the great Ethan “how-come-we-never-saw-a-chef-on-a-starship-before-but-his-character-forced-the-prequel-to-add-a-chef-reference-in-just-about-every-episode” Phillips as well.
And of course, continuing the Bardian weight of Voyager, Tuvok “who happened to also exist as a non-Vulcan on the Enterprise-B when the Nexus attacked” was also a Shakesperean.
And love it or hate it, let’s not forget our friends from the reboot and the amazing Ben Cross who plays Spock’s daddy. Yep, involved in a number of Shakespearean Stage productions, too!
Not to mention everyone’s favorite deep-voiced bad guy, Benedict Cumberbatch, is even set to play the melancholy Dane in an upcoming production of Hamlet.
Well, there you have it. That’s at least 15 solid connections to Shakespeare throughout the many facets of the Star Trek Universe. Not a bad start to what I believe will be the greatest blog series ever invented by mankind.