- Walter Koenig thanks fans for recognizing the importance of the supporting characters in Star Trek: The Original Series.
- Koenig and his fellow cast mates didn’t realize how much fans loved their characters until attending a Star Trek convention.
- The supporting cast of Star Trek: TOS was originally secondary, but the audience’s stamp of approval made them realize their importance and pushed for better development.
Star Trek legend Walter Koenig thanks the fans for showing the actors of Star Trek: The Original Series how important their supporting characters really were to the series. Koenig played Ensign Pavel Chekov in TOS seasons 2 and 3, and he reprised the role in 7 movies from 1979’s Star Trek: The Motion Picture to 1994’s Star Trek Generations. While the entire crew of the USS Enterprise is beloved by fans, there’s no question Star Trek: The Original Series revolved around the three lead characters, Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley), and the rest of the cast were supporting players.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, Walter Koenig discussed how he and his fellow Star Trek supporting cast mates, Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura), James Doohan (Scotty), and George Takei (Mr. Sulu) didn’t realize how much fans loved their characters until they attended a Star Trek convention. Koenig notes how important the fans’ “stamp of approval” was. Read his quote below:
We were secondary characters. We were subordinate characters. We were at the end of the episode titles characters, you know. And if we had not gone out on the road, if we had not gone to conventions where 8000 people piled into a hotel in New York, we hadn’t realized, or the audience hadn’t realized how much they cared for us. And they did in the exchange of ideas between themselves. Then we would never have realized that we were important to the show. Or maybe we weren’t until they gave us the stamp of approval. But once we got the stamp of approval, we thought we deserved more. And we’re actors. We all think we deserve more. And in our case, they’re all talented people. They did deserve more. But the audience gave us the hint. They said, “You guys are better than just that.”… The people who created Star Trek had to acknowledge that to some degree, and make these subordinate characters a little bit more important than they were. They still could have done more.
Star Trek’s Original Cast Would Be Better Developed If TOS Were Made Today
Strange New Worlds is doing what Star Trek: TOS didn’t.
Star Trek: The Original Series reflects the era in which it was made. As an action-adventure series in the 1960s, the focus was on Captain Kirk as the bold leading man, and Star Trek was already innovative in numerous ways, such as its lead character triumvirate of Kirk, Spock, and Dr. McCoy. Unfortunately, as Walter Koenig pointed out, the roles of Sulu, Uhura, Scotty, and Chekov were to usually serve the plot and dole out exposition. The supporting cast didn’t have their characters’ personal stories explored the way the Captain, the Vulcan, and the Doctor did. Yet it’s a testament to Star Trek and the actors, writers, and directors that Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, and Sulu became beloved characters regardless.
Walter Koenig’s favorite of the Star Trek movies he starred in is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, which he felt gave Chekov, Scotty, Uhura, and Sulu the best character development.
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds essentially shows what Star Trek: The Original Series would be like if it were made in the present day. The crew of Strange New Worlds’ Starship Enterprise has had their backstories spotlighted in just two seasons, with episodes devoted to specific characters. Lt. Spock (Ethan Peck) has received two Vulcan comedy episodes, Lt. La’an Noonien-Singh’s (Christina Chong) childhood trauma with the Gorn has been a focal point, and Ensign Nyota Uhura’s (Celia Rose Gooding) history has been explored far more than TOS did for the character. But it’s undeniable that all of that was built upon the foundation laid by Walter Koenig and the cast of Star Trek: The Original Series.
Star Trek: The Original Series is available to stream on Paramount+.
Source: Screen Rant Plus
Star Trek: The Original Series
- Release Date:
- William Shatner, Gene Roddenberry
- Sci-Fi, Action, Fantasy, Adventure
- Story By:
- gene roddenberry
- Gene Roddenberry
- Streaming Service:
- Star Trek
- Gene Roddenberry
- Gene Roddenberry