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Rainn Wilson to play Harry Mudd in Star Trek: Discovery

CBS have revealed that Rainn Wilson (The Office, Galaxyquest, Super) has been cast as Harry Mudd in Star Trek: Discovery. This news brings hope that the series will take place in the Prime timeline (which has been mentioned previously).

Harry Mudd (full name Harcourt Fenton Mudd), was originally played by Roger C. Carmel in Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Animated Series.

Mudd’s interstellar exploits began when he deserted his nagging wife, Stella (played by Kay Elliot), and became a peripatetic grifter who roamed through the galaxy practicing various cons, schemes and scams – not always successfully. By 2266, Mudd had already been convicted of smuggling (receiving a suspended sentence), transporting stolen goods, and purchasing a space vessel using counterfeit currency. For these last two crimes, Mudd was sentenced to undergo psychiatric treatment, the effectiveness of which was officially disputed. He held a Master’s License, permitting him to legally operate a spacecraft, but this license was revoked on stardate 1116.4, for operating stolen spacecraft and transporting illegal goods

In 2266, Mudd, using the illegal Venus drug, attempted to sell Eve McHuron, Ruth Bonaventure and Magda Kovacs to a group of lithium miners led by Ben Childress on Rigel XII. Thedrug gave the impression that the three women were beautiful, when in fact they were not. Childress and the other miners married the women anyway, as they were more interested in companionship and the benefits that having three practical, intelligent women around could provide, and the women were happy to escape their previously lonely existence. Before leaving Rigel XII, Mudd asked to remain on the planet, saying it would be adequate punishment, though this request wasn’t granted by Kirk. Criminal charges were later pressed against Mudd for his actions and he spent at least some time in jail.

Somehow though, Mudd soon escaped. He then promptly began to sell the plans for alien technologies to various worlds – without bothering to pay any royalties to the actual off-world patent holders. This ended when an attempt to sell Vulcan fuel synthesizer technology to the inhabitants of Deneb V backfired. The transaction was unmasked as a hoax when the Denebians actually contacted Vulcan to ensure that Mudd had the rights to sell the technology in question… which rights, of course, he lacked.

The penalty for fraud on Deneb V is death. However, Mudd managed to “borrow” a spaceship and escape before the sentence could be carried out. He ended up fleeing to a previously uncharted planet, one that was populated entirely by androids, programmed to adapt the planet for productive use, who became interested in studying Mudd as a specimen of Humanity. This meant that while the androids attended to his every need, and even made him the titular ruler of the planet (later named Mudd in his honor), Mudd was not allowed to leave.

Mudd then attempted to broker a deal where he would be allowed to escape, if he provided the androids with other prime Human specimens to study. Therefore, in 2268, Mudd identified the starship Enterprise to the androids as a likely source of exceptional examples of Humanity. (Mudd had no idea at the time that the androids instead planned to take over the galaxy and make all organic sapient races so totally dependent on them that they could effectively enslave these races.) Subsequently the android known as Norman, posing as a member of the Enterprise crew, successfully took control of the ship and took it to the planet Mudd. The crew of the Enterprise, however, was able to escape captivity by identifying Norman as the control for all of the planet’s androids. The crew proceeded to confuse Norman with illogical behavior, causing him to break down. After the androids were reprogramed, Mudd was left behind on the planet as an example of a Human failure – along with 500 uncontrollable android replicas of his wife Stella for company.

Eventually, Harry Mudd stole another spaceship and escaped the androids’ planet in 2269. He traveled to planet Ilyria VI and “sold” Starfleet Academy to its inhabitants. Mudd then used the proceeds of that con to travel to Sirius IXwhere he discovered a love potion crystal that he sold to over a thousand of the planet’s inhabitants. Unfortunately, the buyers suffered allergic reactions to thecrystals, and Mudd was forced to flee to the mining planet Motherlode, where he also tried to sell the love potion drug. Once again, however, he encountered the crew of the Enterprise and was captured by Captain Kirk and Spock.

Mudd was incarcerated in the brig, where he gave the love potion to Nurse Chapel as a gift. She then took the potion to Spock, but found that it did not take effect immediately; as a Vulcan, the effects of the drug took longer. Later, the drug did affect him, and Spock fell in love with Nurse Chapel. Fortunately, the drug only had temporary main effects – and a rebound after-effect. After yet another escape, Harry Mudd was again captured and sentenced to an indefinite period of rehabilitation therapy, without guarantee that it would be effective.

In the video game Star Trek: 25th Anniversary, Mudd encountered Kirk again in 2268, between the events of “I, Mudd” and “Mudd’s Passion“. He was discovered on a salvage mission of a derelict ship of unknown alien origin. While aboard, he managed to accidentally sell weapon components to pirates, become infected with unknown alien drugs, nearly kill an Enterprise landing party with faulty equipment, and destroy a priceless archive of computer records. Following the conclusion of his investigation, Captain Kirk ordered Mudd to donate five of every artifact he found to research. Also, Lt. Uhura arranged for Mudd to meet his “long-lost wife” at a nearby starbase. In the game, Mudd’s voice was provided by Tom Wyner.

In US comic strip “It’s a Living”, Mudd later purchased a planet for its rare ores, but found, to his dismay, that the planet was actually a large egg for a space-faring creature. After it hatched, Mudd sold the planet back to its original owner (who was unaware of the creature), but he still ended up losing out, as the ores were then floating in space and were actually easier to mine.

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