Jason Isaacs

Since the premiere of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ in September, some ‘Trek’ fans have been wondering if and when some familiar faces might appear on the show. Though several people who have long associations with ‘Star Trek’ have been involved behind the scenes, the same has so far not held true in front of the camera.

But will that be changing anytime soon? For the moment, at least, it’s anybody’s guess. Jason Isaacs, however, who plays Captain Lorca, is not exactly in a hurry to go down that road, fearing that it could pull viewers out of the story:

“Someone asked which cast members from the existing series would you like to guest star – I think people watch good drama shows and they completely suspend their disbelief, they feel like they’re looking through the keyhole at another world, if you do it well enough. If you have stunt celebrity cameo casting, it completely pulls them out of it. They feel like they’re watching a ‘Saturday Night Live’ sketch.”

To be fair, the options for such an appearance are limited to say the least, as many of the franchise’s familiar characters haven’t even been born at the time ‘Discovery’ takes place. For the rest, age becomes an issue. The cast of fellow prequel ‘Enterprise’, for example, would all be over a century old by this time. Certainly not impossible for ‘Star Trek’, but at that age, they’re not likely to be traipsing around a war zone. And as for the original series? Well, the surviving cast members have all aged fifty years (that’s just how time works), so even setting aside the fact that ‘Discovery’ is set ten years prior to that show, they’d likely have to recast in order to feature them in their original roles.

And that brings us to the big one: William Shatner. There’s been a steady call for Shatner to make a cameo or guest appearance of some sort for quite some time. Though it’s most recently (and perhaps predictably) surfaced with regard to ‘Discovery’, the same desire has periodically rippled through fandom as far back as when ‘Enterprise’ first aired (with potential guest spots even being pitched in the writers room during the show’s later seasons) and seems to resurface whenever a new installment of the rebooted J.J. Abrams continuity enters pre-production. For his own part, Shatner has commented on the possibility in the past, and while he hasn’t ruled out an appearance, he has made clear that he doesn’t see the point in doing a cameo just for the sake of the cameo:

“Well it would depend on what the participation was, I wouldn’t want to do something that was a throwaway sort of gratuitous place in the plotline. They would really have to exercise their imaginations to have a fifty years older captain in there – if it was the character. They would have to do something remarkable.”

Further acknowledging the issue of age (Kirk would be twenty-three at the time ‘Discovery’ takes place, and Shatner is… not), Shatner has said he’d be amenable to appearing in another role, suggesting he could play Kirk’s father.

Would you like to see any veteran ‘Star Trek’ performers appear on ‘Discovery’? And if so, would you like to see them as their established characters or in new roles? Let us know in the comments and be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more ‘Star Trek’ news as it becomes available!

‘Star Trek: Discovery’, which stars Sonqua Martin-Green, Jason Isaacs, Doug Jones, Anthony Rapp, Shazad Latif, and Mary Wiseman, airs exclusively via the CBS All Access streaming service. The series is currently on a midseason break and will return on January 7, 2018.