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Actors You Didn't Know Were Huge Star Trek Fans

It's long been debated which is the best science fiction franchise of all time, but "Star Trek" has plenty of reason to be considered top dog. Yet for many, it will always have a certain reputation as a bit geekier due to its more cerebral nature. What it sometimes lacks in fast-paced, explosive adventure, it makes up for with thought-provoking stories filled with political and social allegory. 

For that reason, some "Star Trek fans" — often called "Trekkies" — may not wear their fandom as passionately on their sleeve as others. But every once in a while, a superstar actor will reveal to the world that they too are every bit as big a fan as those who go to "Star Trek" conventions and cosplay as Kirk and Spock. In fact, some have been lucky enough to get to appear in the series. 

While well-known "Trek" fans like Whoopi Goldberg, Jason Alexander, and Simon Pegg were famously able to parlay their fandom into on-screen roles in the franchise, there are other famous Trekkies that you'd never suspect, all hoping to one day chart a course to the final frontier.

Tom Hanks

"My entire family worshipped at the feet of 'Star Trek'," superstar Tom Hanks told British talk show host Graham Norton in 2019. But that was hardly the first time the "Forrest Gump" actor openly espoused being a member of the church of "Star Trek." In 2004, Hanks appeared on Conan O'Brien's self-titled talk show and discussed growing up a "Star Trek" fan. "Oh, I set the clock by 'Star Trek,' it was on at 6 o'clock on channel 2 in Oakland," he noted. He later named-dropped the classic episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion" and talked about having met William Shatner. 

While rumors have persisted for years that Hanks was once the top choice to play a major role as Zephram Cochrane in the 1996 "Star Trek" film "First Contact," the actor threw cold water on the notion in 2021. He revealed that he knew nothing of being in consideration while a guest on the Happy Sad Confused Podcast, saying, "The guy who invented warp drive? Oh come on! I would have jumped on that!" 

"First Contact" co-writer Ronald D. Moore confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter in 2021 that while Hanks' name may have come up at some point for the role, "it was never really on the table." As for what role Hanks hopes to play in the future? "Let me play a peaceful Romulan. Man, I think that'd be fun," he told Graham Norton.


While Rihanna is a music star first and foremost, she's done her fair share of acting in movies like "Battleship" and "Ocean's 8." But for the 2016 summer blockbuster "Star Trek Beyond," she returned to the music studio to release a new single for the film's soundtrack. As was revealed in a promotional video released by Paramount, her participation in the film was more than just a business deal; it was a fulfillment of her lifelong dream. "'Star Trek' has been a part of my life since I was a little girl," she said in the video to promote her song and the film.

"My dad really is the one who introduced me to 'Star Trek'" she continued, revealing how she connected with the franchise from an early age. "It just took me one episode to fall in love with this other world that I couldn't understand but I felt like I could relate to." As for the song, titled "Sledgehammer," which she wrote specially for the Justin Lin-directed three-quel, she knew it had to be something special because of what the series meant to her.

"This is something that's been a part of me since my childhood. It's never left me. So, it wasn't just like doing a song for any random film." The electro-pop ballad ultimately charted on the Billboard Top 40, while she released an accompanying music video that features new "Trek"-related sequences with the Enterprise and Rihanna made up as one of the film's signature aliens.

Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig came to fame in the 2004 crime comedy "Layer Cake" before shooting to superstardom as James Bond in "Casino Royale" a few years later. Today, many know him as the world's greatest detective with a Southern drawl, Benoit Blanc, from Rian Johnson's "Knives Out" series. But while Craig did have a secret cameo in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," his real dream has always been to appear in "Star Trek."

In 2007, not long after making his debut as the iconic British super spy, Craig told World Entertainment News about his hidden agenda to take flight into the final frontier. "I would love a stint in the TV show or in a film," Craig told the outlet (via AirlockAlpha). "It's been a secret ambition of mine for years," he continued. 

At the time, "Star Trek" had been off the air for a couple of years following the cancelation of "Star Trek: Enterprise," and the JJ Abrams-directed movies were still two years away. Though Craig's comments didn't make much noise at the time, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" star Brent Spiner included Daniel Craig in his dream cast of a proposed adaptation of his book "Fan Fiction," a story where he and his fellow "Star Trek" cast-mates get caught up in a sinister conspiracy (via Inverse). Could Craig one day join "Trek"? With so many new "Star Trek" shows in development (via Trek Movie), anything is possible.

Rosario Dawson

In 2020, actress Rosario Dawson joined the "Star Wars" universe as Ahsoka Tano in "The Mandalorian," and she'll be getting her own solo series on Disney+ in 2023 (via IndieWire). A self-professed sci-fi geek, Dawson fangirled over getting the part, telling audiences at Star Wars Celebration, "It's been just such a thrill and honor to bring this character to life" (via Entertainment Weekly). But Dawson's geek cred doesn't end there, and according to a 2020 interview with Variety's After Show, she won't be satisfied until she appears in "Star Trek" too.

"The two universes, 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars.' I get in those two, I'm telling you, man, that's it," she said, "I will just retire." During the discussion, Dawson was already dreaming up ways she could join the "Star Trek" universe. "I could jump on ["Star Trek: Discovery"], I could be on 'Picard.'" She admitted she'd be willing to don heavy makeup just to play a background alien, saying, "I could just be a background Romulan or Vulcan, whatever, it'd be so fun. Just throw me in there, I can walk through as a Klingon." 

In fact, Dawson is so desperate to be a part of the franchise, she'd be happy to play a doomed character with no dialog. "I can be a redshirt and get killed right away." However, Dawson's Trekkie family is having none of that. Apparently, her brother shut that idea down and said she had to be a captain. Given Dawson's meaty role in "Star Wars," we can't say we blame him.

Robin Williams

Sadly, one celebrity "Trek" fan that never got to appear on the series is comedian Robin Williams, who died in 2014. Over the years, several "Trek" regulars have mentioned how Williams was a Trekkie at heart, and in 2021 a reunion of "Star Trek: Voyager" cast members talked about how Williams sometimes visited the set while filming nearby (via TrekMovie).

In Ben Robinson and Mark Wright's book "Star Trek Voyager: A Celebration," Ethan Phillips, who played alien cook Neelix, reminisced about meeting Williams, who was on the lot filming "The Birdcage" (via TrekMovie). He and Williams ran into each other between two sound stages and as Williams got closer, "He sees me and goes, 'Oh my God, Mr. Neelix!' Then he does this whole routine about what it's like to be a chef in outer space. ... I had a private performance for like a minute and it was really funny. Then he came up, gave me a big hug and said, 'I love your character, sir.'"

Williams being a Trekkie was not news to some, as original series cast member Walter Koening wrote in his book "Chekov's Enterprise" that the "Mork and Mindy" star often visited the Enterprise set during production on the first "Star Trek" film in the '70s (via TrekMovie).

The producers of "Trek" were well aware of Williams' love for the franchise and even wrote a role for him on "The Next Generation." The part played by Matt Frewer in the fourth season episode "A Matter of Time" was originally developed for Williams, but production on the 1991 Spielberg film "Hook" got in the way (via StarTrek.com).

Mila Kunis

Many may be most familiar with Mila Kunis as the flighty brunette Jackie on "That '70s Show" or always-bullied Meg on "Family Guy." But since her star-making turn as Jackie, the actress has had an impressive career, most notably starring in Darren Aronofsky's Academy Award-winning psychological-horror "Black Swan." In 2011, Kunis came out to the world as a diehard Trekkie, thanks to a Q&A session with GQ in the wake of that film's release.

"I got into ["Star Trek"] in my late teens; 18, 19, 20. Something like that. I got into it later than most people," she acknowledged. "But let's not talk about it in the past tense. I'm still a 'Star Trek' fan. You never stop being one." Kunis ranked the various "Trek" series' that existed at the time in what she calls an "ongoing argument" with "Family Guy" creator Seth McFarlane. For Kunis, "The Next Generation" is her favorite, while somewhat controversially, she places "Voyager" ahead of "Deep Space Nine." 

But her love of the franchise goes beyond just being a passive viewer, as she even admitted to attending some in-person "Trek" events. "I went to the Star Trek Experience in Vegas maybe five years ago. I hung out with a bunch of fake characters inside Quark's bar," Kunis revealed, referring to the tourist recreation of the set of "Deep Space Nine" that ran from 1998-2008. "There were all these actors there pretending to be the different characters from the different shows. Yes, I loved it." But that's not all, as Kunis says she's also a collector, counting a signed Leonard Nimoy photo and several "Star Trek" figurines among her possessions.

Ben Stiller

If you haven't been paying attention to Ben Stiller outside of his biggest films, you may never have realized what a huge "Star Trek" fan he is. But the truth is, if you've followed his career closely you'd be aware, because he hasn't exactly been shy about it. Turn back the clock to 1996: Stiller hosted the "Star Trek" 30th anniversary TV special, and went on a personal diatribe about his love for the franchise, and growing up watching Kirk, Spock, and Mr. Sulu. 

To this day, Stiller continues to be open about his fandom, and in 2020, he appeared as the very first guest on the debut episode of "The Pod Directive," an official "Star Trek" podcast hosted by "Star Trek: Lower Decks" star Tawny Newsome. In the episode, Stiller talked at length about considering the series "his best friend" while growing up. "'Star Trek' for me was something you could watch every night," he told Newsome and co-host Paul F. Tompkins. But his love for "Trek" didn't stop when the TV turned off. "My mom took me to a couple of conventions in the late '70s," revealing how he'd stand in line to collect memorabilia and autographs.

Unlike some other stars though, Stiller's fandom benefited from growing up in a showbiz family. "My parents knew William Shatner a little bit," he said, revealing that his mother's work on the game show "The 10,000 Pyramid" gave him rare access to certain celebrities. "That was exciting for me!"

Seth MacFarlane

Admittedly, the revelation that Seth MacFarlane is a massive "Star Trek" nerd might not come as a huge surprise, even if you've never seen him talk about it. You may have never even have seen his homemade "Star Trek" movies, but fans of "Family Guy" have seen countless homages to the show, most notably in the episode "Not All Dogs Go To Heaven." 

McFarlane also cast Patrick Stewart as the lead in "American Dad." But his love of the sci-fi franchise shines most brightly in his live action sci-fi comedy "The Orville," which wears its love for "Star Trek" unashamedly on its sleeve.

In fact, when building out his production team for the sci-fi sitcom "The Orville," MacFarlane brought in a number of "Star Trek" veterans. This includes producers Brannon Braga and David A. Goodman, writers Andre Bormanis and Joe Menosky, plus directors James Conway, Jonathan Frakes, and Robert Duncan McNeill (the latter of whom played Commander Riker on "TNG" and Tom Paris on "Voyager"). "He filled the room with 'Next Gen' people so that the show would look and feel like it," Frakes told the audience at the Lexington Comic and Toy Convention in 2018.

But unlike so many others, MacFarlane actually got the chance to fulfill his dream of being a part of the "Star Trek" franchise. In 2004, when "Family Guy" was in the midst of its first cancelation, he played Ensign Rivers, a young engineer in a pair of episodes of "Star Trek: Enterprise."

Olivia Wilde

Sci-fi fans probably recall Olivia Wilde's turn as the digital dame Quorra in the 2010 film "Tron: Legacy." More recently though, Wilde has decided to transition to sitting behind the camera, and directed "Star Trek" star Chris Pine in the 2022 indie drama "Don't Worry Darling." But we have to wonder if while making the movie, she wasn't a little bit excited to be meeting the modern day Captain Kirk, as the actress-turned-director described herself as a Trekkie in a 2011 interview with Gizmodo.

The interview was to promote Wilde's film "Cowboys and Aliens," and Gizmodo asked about Wilde's participation in science fiction films like "Tron," wondering if she might be interested in any other franchise. To the surprise of many, she name-dropped "Star Trek," since she "grew up as a Trekkie" and had some unexpected ideas about who she could play. She told Gizmodo that "I think 'Star Trek,' they were always great female roles, but there's no reason the captain shouldn't be a woman. I think we could do Captain Kirk as a woman."

While she might not have seen "Star Trek: Voyager," which featured actress Kate Mulgrew as the show's first leading female captain, it sounds like Wilde thinks a gender-swapped Kirk could work on-screen. Considering some of the wild sci-fi shenanigans the franchise has experience before, there's really no reason it couldn't, and Wilde is as good a choice as any to take on the role. 

Christian Slater

Many people know Christian Slater from "Mr. Robot," or any number of iconic films throughout his career, including "Heathers" and "Untamed Heart." What some may not know, however, is his bit role in the 1991 "Star Trek" film, "The Undiscovered Country." It's a role he got thanks to his mother — the film's casting director — whom he asked to get him even a tiny role in his favorite franchise.

Appearing on "Conan" in 2012, Slater talked about his cameo, where he played a Starfleet ensign serving under Captain Sulu. "That was a big deal," he told the talk show host. But O'Brien also exposed the true depths of Slater's obsession with "Trek" when he asked if he owned any memorabilia. "A buddy of mine knows I'm a huge Trekkie, knows I love the show ... [he] did get me the Captain Kirk chair," the actor admitted, referring to a full-size replica of Captain Kirk's famous command chair from the bridge of the original Enterprise. "You can push the buttons and all the lights go on and I love it!"

But when O'Brien asked the actor if he had ever dressed up as Kirk while sitting in the chair at home, Slater demurred. "I can't really confirm or deny that." If he did, he'd have authenticity on his side, as he confessed on Graham Norton's radio show in 2017 that he stole a Starfleet uniform from the set of "Star Trek VI." He said, "I have it in a box somewhere. It was William Shatner's costume from Star Trek II, actually" (via Digital Spy).

Sam Witwer

It seems like every week, someone you never expected is revealed to be a "Star Trek" fan, and in 2019, Sam Witwer added himself to the list. No stranger to iconic science fiction franchises, Witwer starred in "Battlestar Galactica" as Raptor pilot Crashdown, in "Smallville" as the arch villain Doomsday, and as the voice of both Emperor Palpatine and Darth Maul in various "Star Wars" animated projects like "Clone Wars" and "Rebels." 

But while he's wasn't campaigning for a role in "Star Trek," he did reveal himself to be a Trekkie in a surprising way. In November 2019, Witwer took to Twitter to voice his support for an HD remastering of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," suggesting that it would help fuel the "streaming wars." 

As diehard fans know, only the original "Star Trek" and "The Next Generation" have received HD remasters and restorations, with "DS9" and "Voyager" to this day only available in original standard definition ("Enterprise" was filmed in high definition on its debut in 2001).

But while Witwer may not be pushing to star in the next big "Star Trek" series on Paramount+, that might be because he's already been a part of the franchise. In addition to providing voice work for the "Star Trek: Online" video game, Witwer appeared in "Star Trek: Enterprise" as an unnamed alien Xindi in the 2003 episode "The Shipment."

Nicolas Cage

A self-professed comic geek, Nicolas Cage has played the comic book hero "Ghost Rider" and appeared in a supporting voice in "Into the Spider-Verse," but has never appeared in a major sci-fi or fantasy franchise. So, when interviewed in early 2023 about the possibility of ever joining the "Star Wars" universe alongside his "Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent" co-star Pedro Pascal, Cage stunned everyone when he spurned the galaxy far, far away by revealing his Trekkie status for the first time. 

"'No,' is the answer and I'm not really down. I'm a Trekkie, man," Cage told Yahoo's Kevin Polowy in an interview posted to Twitter. Cage noted that he's been a fan of the Final Frontier since he was young, when he would watch William Shatner on the series, but he loves the movies starring Chris Pine as well.

He further explained what he loves about "Star Trek" and science fiction generally: "To me what science fiction is really all about and why it's such an important genre is that is really where you can say whatever you want, however you feel. You put it on a different planet, you put it in a different time ... and 'Star Trek' really embraced that."

But despite being encouraged by Pascal to make an appearance on "The Mandalorian" (via Yahoo), Cage insisted to Polowy that there was no room in his fandom to betray his favorite sci-fi saga: "I'm on the Enterprise. That's where I roll."