by Jesse Schedeen
With more than a dozen movies and hundreds of TV episodes, there's a lot of "Star Trek" content out there. Some of today's biggest stars paid their dues by beaming down on various "Trek" shows. In honor of the 50th anniversary, here are some of the most surprising actors to appear in the franchise.
Any good Starfleet captain needs a booming baritone voice. So who better to match wits with Captain Picard than Dr. Fraser Crane himself?"Next Generation" episode "Cause and Effect" as the time-displaced Captain Bateson.
Back in the mid-'90s,"Star Trek: The Next Generation," where she played a telepathic child in Season 7's "Dark Page."
The "X-Men" franchise isn't the only way "Next Generation" episode "The Perfect Mate" as a love interest to Captain Picard (played, of course, by fellow future X-Man Patrick Stewart).
Back when he was still busy delivering the People's Elbow on a weekly basis, "Star Trek: Voyager" episode "Tsunkatse." In that episode he played (what else?) an intergalactic brawler.
Not only did legendary actress Joan Collins appear in an episode of the original "Star Trek," she played the woman who is arguably the most important of Captain Kirk's many love interests. Collins played 1930's social activist Edith Keeler in the episode "The City on the Edge of Forever," which is widely regarded as one of the best in the whole franchise.
Prior to becoming a major Hollywood leading lady, a young "Star Trek: The Next Generation" as Ensign Lefler, basically the Starfleet equivalent of an army brat.
It's pretty obvious from watching any of "Star Trek: Enterprise" as Ensign Rivers.
If you thought "Star Trek: Voyager's" Doctor was high strung, just wait until you meet this guy. Andy Dick played the EMH Mark II in the episode "Message In a Bottle," proving that not all upgrades are truly an improvement over the original.
Long before she had her own Comedy Central series, "Star Trek: Voyager" storyline. She played Rain Robinson, a 20th Century SETI researcher who happened to bump into the Voyager crew during one of their many adventures.
At this point it's tough to picture Jim O'Heir as anyone other than the bumbling Jerry Gergich from "Parks & Rec." But O'Heir also appeared in the "Star Trek: Voyager" episode "Critical Care," where he played a humanoid alien with luck about as lousy as Jerry's.
If that physics thing doesn't work out, Stephen Hawking could always fall back on his second career guest-starring in various TV shows. Hawking has the distinction of being the only actor to play himself in the franchise. He appeared (in holodeck form) alongside other great historical thinkers in the "Next Gen" episode, "Descent, Part I."
Admittedly, "Star Trek" doesn't seem like the coolest career choice for one of punk rock's most legendary stars. But "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" episode "The Magnificent Ferengi."