While “Star Trek: Discovery” fans await new episodes to air sometime early next year, they will get more of one of the show’s most memorable characters — Harry Mudd.
Mudd is an eccentric space entrepreneur-slash-con man-slash-slaver from the original “Star Trek” series who was played by Rainn Wilson in “Star Trek: Discovery.” At the “Discovery” panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, showrunner Alex Kurtzman announced that CBS is creating four short standalone “Star Trek” episodes called “Short Treks,” one of which will be all about Harry Mudd.
The four episodes will each run about 15 to 20 minutes long, and CBS plans to release them monthly starting sometime in the fall. Wilson returns as Mudd in one short, which he’s also directing, and Aldis Hodge (“Straight Outta Compton”) will appear in another story, in which he finds himself the only human on a deserted ship. A third short will dive into the backstory of the Discovery’s first officer, Seru (Doug Jones), who’s the first of his species to join Starfleet, and the last focuses on Discovery’s eager-to-please Ensign Tilly (Mary Wiseman), who was one of the lighter and funnier characters in “Discovery” Season 1.
A deeper look at Mudd might be the most interesting idea, though. The character first ran into James T. Kirk and his crew in “Star Trek: The Original Series” as a villain who tried to sell women to the Enterprise crew as wives, and later conned his way into becoming the leader of a planet of androids. He appeared a couple of times in “Star Trek: Discovery,” which takes place about 10 years before Kirk’s voyages, first as a Klingon prisoner, and later in a “Groundhog Day”-like episode in which he murdered the crew of the Discovery over and over again (it was funnier than it sounds). Mudd’s both a comic, eccentric character and a pretty evil one, so digging deeper into his story might mean there’s more of him to come in “Discovery” Season 2.
In fact, though the episodes are closed, stand-alone stories, they’ll apparently hint at what’s to come in “Star Trek: Discovery” Season 2. CBS quoted Kurtzman in its press release as saying the episodes will “also introduce audiences to new characters who may inhabit the larger world of ‘Star Trek.’ “