Star Trek is one of the most iconic franchises in the history of television or film. Despite the original series only running for a few seasons, it spawned numerous spinoffs and films, and created the kind of cult following that basically defined one part of nerd culture. It shouldn’t be much of a secret that, among those nerds, there are going to be some pretty big names. After all, we’re talking about a show that counted Martin Luther King, Jr. as one of its biggest, earliest fans. So it’s no real surprise that once in awhile, some pretty unexpected celebrities have a tendency to pop up in the general vicinity of the Enterprise crew.
10. Jim O’Heir
Much loved for his portrayal of bumbling civil servant Jerry Gergich in the NBC comedy Parks and Recreation, veteran character actor Jim O’Heir is also a member of the enormous Star Trek family. O’Heir (whose Parks co-star Chris Pratt auditioned for the role of Kirk in the re-launched Star Trek movie series) donned a plastic forehead to become a member of the Jye, a humanoid species of the Delta Quadrant in the Star Trek: Voyager episode Critical Care.
Though unnamed, O’Heir’s character had an interesting story arc within the episode. His character was betrayed by the episode’s antagonist Gar (who had an affair with his wife). Though O’Heir’s appearance was little more than background dressing, for fans of Parks and Recreation, his brief and unheralded appearance is sure to make them smile.
9. Seth MacFarlane
The man behind Family Guy and Ted is famous for his love of Star Wars, which has seeped over into his hit animated show on numerous occasions. However, Seth MacFarlane is also a huge fan of the Star Trek franchise as evidenced by his appearance in two episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. In seasons three and four of Enterprise MacFarlane appeared as Rivers, a Starfleet engineer. Rivers remained in the background, but MacFarlane’s presence was felt elsewhere in the series.
The Enterprise character Ensign MacFarlane, who appeared in the episode The Xindi, was named for the famous cartoonist. Keen fans of Family Guy would also note that MacFarlane reveals his fandom for Star Trek with a multitude of scenes parodying the original series, as well as The Next Generation. After all, the fact that Patrick Stewart has been so prominently featured in McFarlane’s work isn’t just due to the fact that Stewart is awesome; it’s because MacFarlane is an enormous fanboy. Who says you can only love Star Wars or Star Trek?
8. Bryan Singer
Few directors have influenced modern science fiction more than Bryan Singer. The director of X-men, X2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Superman Returns is a well known super-fan of Star Trek. Seeking to mix business with pleasure, Singer has been trying to bring a new incarnation of Star Trek back to television.
As famous fans of the series often are, Singer was offered the chance to appear in the franchise. In the 2002 movie Star Trek Nemesis Singer appeared as a tactical officer aboard the USS Enterprise-E, commanded by Captain Jean Luc Picard (played by Patrick Stewart, who – as Dr. Charles Xavier – Singer has directed on multiple occasions within the wildly successful X-Men franchise).
7. Joan Collins
Iconic diva Joan Collins achieved critical acclaim for her work in film, theatre, television, and literature. However, the Dynasty star is also remembered for making guest appearances in the biggest TV shows of the 60s and 70s, including Batman, Mission: Impossible, and Star Trek: The Original Series. On April 6, 1967 The City on the Edge of Forever aired for the first time, it was the 28th episode of Star Trek to ever be shown on television.
The episode focuses on Dr. McCoy, who is transported back into the 1930s forcing his crew members into a delicate rescue mission. In 1930s New York McCoy meets Edith Keeler, a social worker running a soup-kitchen, played by the legendary Collins. The episode is remembered as one of, if not the, best episodes in the original series. For her contribution to an episode which lives on as a favourite to many, Collins’ cameo must certainly be considered one of the greatest ever in the franchise.
6. Tom Morello
Founding member of Grammy Award-Winning band Rage Against The Machine, Tom Morello is frequently listed as one of the most influential guitarists to ever pick up the instrument. It would be surprising to many, including legions of “Rage” fans, that Morello appeared twice within the Star Trek franchise. In 1998 Morello appeared in the feature film Star Trek: Insurrection. He played a Son’a officer, the Son’a being the antagonists to the crew of the Enterprise.
In 2000 Morello appeared as a Starfleet crewmember in season six of Star Trek: Voyager, in the episode Good Shepherd. The episode featured Captain Janeway taking a hands-on approach with the tutelage of a trio of underperforming crew members. Though Morello’s performances may have been missed by most, he did manage to get a line in on Voyager, instructing the enigmatic Captain Janeway that her desired destination was, “to the left, ma’am”.
5. King Abdullah bin Al-Hussein
For many reasons, it’s good to be the king. King of Jordan, Abdullah II bin al-Hussein, who is a huge fan of Star Trek, was thrilled to be offered the chance to tour the set of Star Trek: Voyager in 1996. Much to the Royal’s surprise, he was offered the chance to appear in the background of the show, which he accepted immediately. King Abdullah played a science officer in the opening of the season two episode Investigations.
Many would think pretending to be a member of a Starfleet would be a stretch for the monarch. However, King Abdullah is more than familiar with military matters. The King is a graduate of the British Royal Military Academy who served as a Second Lieutenant in the Royal Hussars. In Jordan, he served as a member of the 40th Armored Brigade and the Royal Jordanian Air Force as a cobra attack helicopter pilot.
4. Mick Fleetwood
Mick Fleetwood, of Fleetwood Mac fame, had perhaps the strangest cameo ever witnessed in the Star Trek universe. Manhunt, from season two of Star Trek: The Next Generation, featured ship counselor Deanna Troi’s mother Lwaxana (played by Gene Rodenberry’s then-wife), searching for a mate on the Starship Enterprise. Among the pool of unsuspecting bachelors is a highly uncomfortable Captain Picard. During the episode, Fleetwood appears briefly as an Antedean dignitary.
However, despite Fleetwood getting a close-up, even his most dedicated fans would have missed him entirely were they not clued in. Fleetwood, an enormous fan of Star Trek himself, was given a costume that included a huge fish-like headpiece that rendered him completely unrecognizable. The hilarious wardrobe and unique cameo added to what lives on as one of TNG’s most lighthearted and charming episodes.
3. Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking, owner of one of the most brilliant minds in recorded history, has influenced the Star Trek franchise in a myriad of ways. The scientist’s research into space, and particularly black holes, has provided ample fodder for the writers of Star Trek and many other sci-fi series and movies. Hawking has many achievements to be proud of. One of the least important accomplishments of Hawking, which is still pretty cool, is that he is the only person to play himself in the Star Trek franchise.
In the sixth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Hawking appeared in the episode Descent. In the episode chief science officer Data sought scientific advice from the holographs of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking – over a game of poker. Hawking was also honored in the franchise by having a shuttlecraft named after him, which appeared in The Next Generation series as well as the movie Star Trek Generations.
2. Iggy Pop
Unlike most celebrity cameos, when punk rock icon Iggy Pop appeared in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode The Magnificent Ferengi, he wasn’t relegated to the background or protected from challenging scenes and dialogue. Iggy – a sci-fi nut at heart – played Yelgrun, a Vorta clone, whose role within the evil Dominion was to coax and convince other races into servitude. Iggy’s Yelgren featured in an entertaining game of cat-and-mouse with everyone’s favourite Ferengi: Quark. Yelgrun and Quark faced off in negotiations over a prisoner exchange (with one prisoner being Quark’s mother Ishka). Quark would eventually best Yelgrun, with Iggy’s character ending up in Starfleet custody.
Iggy’s turn on DS9 can be considered one of the greatest ever cameos on Star Trek thanks to the importance placed on his character, as well as the acting chops the singer brought to the table.
1. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is well-known for being a movie mega star, professional wrestling icon, and owner of an Instagram account you need to follow. However, most people have no idea that Johnson is also an alum of the Star Trek universe.
“The People’s Champion” surprised both Star Trek and wrestling fans in 2000 when he appeared in Tsunkatse, an episode from season six of Star Trek: Voyager. In the episode Johnson played to his strengths, portraying a pit-fighting champion from the planet Pendari. Johnson’s Pendari character battled popular crew member Seven of Nine (a reformed Borg) during the Tsunkatse fighting tournament. After an epic duel, Johnson’s Pendari was victorious, thanks to some signature pro-wrestling moves. Johnson’s guest appearance remains one of the most special cameos to occur in the franchise, given the incredible success Johnson has achieved since his stint in the delta quadrant.