Every Actor Who's Been In Both Star Trek And Star Wars

The rivalry is as old as the hills: Is "Star Trek" superior to "Star Wars" or vice versa? While one is a TV show that began in the mid-1960s, and the other is a film series that didn't start until after "Trek" had been off the air for eight year, a schism arose in fandom, pitting the two against one another — perhaps inspired by nothing more than their shared genre, mutual popularity, and similar titles. 

One can argue whether or not this rivalry is warranted at all (the arguments are as old as the rivalry; one is sci-fi, the other sci-fantasy. One is speculative fiction about the future, the other is nostalgia for the distant past, etc.), but the rivalry has certainly — often playfully — been in place for decades, creating something of a mental divide between the two. There will be no interaction between the actors and creatives working on the two projects. George Lucas simply cannot direct an episode of "Star Trek," and William Shatner is forbidden from approaching "Star Wars." 

Imagine the cognitive dissonance, then, created by the announcement of J.J. Abrams being hired to direct "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" in 2014 ... only a few years after completing "Star Trek Into Darkness." There's no logical way to argue that this felt like an injustice, but for many it felt like an ineffable line had been crossed. Abrams was violating the unwritten rule that "Trek" and "Wars" remain ever separated. 

Of course, for those paying attention, multiple actors had been crossing that line for years. Here are all the actors who have appeared in both the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" franchises.

George Takei

The most notable "Star Trek" luminary to cross over into "Star Wars" (and most of the actors on this list began in "Trek," moving to "Wars" later) was none other than George Takei, the helmsman of the U.S.S. Enterprise starting in 1966. Takei voiced a character named Lok Durd in a 2009 episode of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." Lok Durd was a Neimoidian general who served as part of a separatist android army, was captured in a skirmish, but managed to escape and continue a campaign of malfeasance. Lok Durd also invented a weapon called a Defoliator that could destroy organic life, but leave the androids unharmed. 

While Takei has played a whole range of roles in his career, Lok Durd appears to be one of the few over-the-top villains Takei has been allowed to sink his teeth into. Takei was asked about working on "Star Wars" by CBR in 2009, and argued that "Star Trek," being about diversity, would a relationship with "Star Wars:" 

"Well, I guess I'm the only actor associated with 'Star Trek' to have done anything with 'Star Wars,' but I don't consider it jumping ship. You know, the 'Star Trek' philosophy is to embrace the diversity of life and 'Star Wars' is a part of that diversity ... [W]ith the episodes of 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' that I worked on, I think there is a merging there. It does deal philosophically with certain issues of the time, which is what 'Star Trek' was known for. War and peace, technology and humanity, sacrifice and courage, these issues I found engaging."

Brent Spiner

Brent Spiner is one of the more prolific "Star Trek" actors, having played Data on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," but also different models of Data (his evil twin Lore, his prototype B-4) as well as Data's creator, Dr. Noonien Soong. Thanks to "Star Trek: Enterprise" and "Star Trek: Picard," Spiner has played various ancestors and descendants of Soong as well. Spiner has been a mite ambivalent about "Star Trek" over the years: loving that he got to play such an excellent character, but sometimes bristling at being shouldered with it as well. 

In the animated TV series "Star Wars Rebels," Spiner played a politician in exile named Gall Trayvis: a noble senator who initially spoke out against the evils of the rising Empire ... until it was revealed he was an Imperial spy who took a great deal of glee in the suffering of the Rebels. Like all good villains, he was also a coward. 

Perhaps because "Star Trek" (at least ostensibly) takes place in a morally complex universe, largely absent of "heroes" and "villains" in the archetypal sense, perhaps it was appealing for a "Trek" actor to let loose and be cartoonishly evil. Both Takei and Spiner played villains in the "Star Wars" universe, which has to be enjoyable after playing tied-up, uniform-wearing diplomats.

Ethan Phillips

The final "central" "Star Trek" cast member to have made the move into the "Star Wars" world is Ethan Phillips, better known to Trekkies as Neelix on "Star Trek: Voyager." Neelix was a friendly, hobbit-like person who was brought onto the U.S.S. Enterprise as an ambassador and mess hall chief. "Voyager's" writers often pulled Neelix in two directions, alternately making him a comic relief character, and a deeply tragic figure who lost family in the war. Apart from Neelix, Phillips also appeared on an episode of "Enterprise" as a Ferengi. 

Ethan Phillips has voiced multiple roles in "Star Wars," all in video games attached to the franchise. He played a character named Hammam Flatt in "Star Wars: Force Commander," several parts in "Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds," and others in "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic." After having to be buried in Tallaxian makeup (including false teeth) on "Voyager" for seven full seasons, one can sense Phillips' sigh of relief having to do all of his acting in a recording booth, sans makeup. 

Simon Pegg

Simon Pegg's appearance in both "Star Trek" (2009) and "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" probably came about because director Abrams liked working with the actor. Stepping into the role originated by James Doohan in 1966, Pegg played the Kelvin timeline's iteration of Scotty, the acerbic and peeved engineer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, bringing to the role a wry sense of humor along with some comedic exasperation. Pegg, famously a sci-fi nerd, was happy to play the role and would go on to co-write "Star Trek Beyond." 

Appearing only briefly in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," Pegg was cast as a junk trader named Unkar Plutt who ends up selling out the character of Rey to the First Order. Pegg voiced the character, but it was largely a CGI creation based on his movements. This is another case of an actor starting on "Trek" as a noble character, then moving to "Wars" as a wicked one.

Clive Revill

In the case of actor Clive Revill, he was known for a broader, enormous career outside of both "Star Trek" and "Star Wars." Revill, an actor from New Zealand, had an impressive résumé full of British productions and had been nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in Billy Wilder's "Avanti!" He was also nominated for two Tonys in the 1960s, for "Oliver!" (in which he played Fagin) and for "Irma La Douce." He worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company, appeared on "Columbo," and played various roles on "Alvin and the Chipmunks." Revill, still kicking at 92, is an actor's actor. 

In 1980, Revill provided a small amount of voice work in "The Empire Strikes Back," a sequel to "The Star Wars Holiday Special." In "Empire," Revill voiced the evil Emperor (not yet named in 1980), dubbing over uncredited actress Marjorie Eaton, who wore a cloak and sported scary "monster" eyes. Revill and Eaton would both eventually be replaced in the 2004 remastering of "The Empire Strikes Back" by Ian McDiarmid (who played the role in "Return of the Jedi"). 

Revill went on to play a notable comedic part in an episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" wherein Picard and the crew are magically teleported into Sherwood Forest and find themselves playing the roles of Robin Hood and his Merry Men. Revill, in a poetic piece of casting, would play the wicked Sheriff of Nottingham. 

Patty Maloney

And speaking of "The Star Wars Holiday Special," the Steve Binder-directed 1978 TV movie, and direct canonical sequel to the hit film a year previous, remains one of the most grating and terrible pieces of trash in TV history. In it, Chewbacca the Wookiee — essentially a space sasquatch — must return home to his family of sasquatches in time for Life Day, the closest "Star Wars" analogue to Christmas. 

Chewbacca's son is a creature named Lumpy (the "Star Wars" tie-in novel "Aftermath: Empire's End" revealed that his full name is Lumpawaroo) who liked to watch holographic Cirque du Soleil performances and bad TV shows. Lumpy was played by actress Patty Maloney, perhaps best known for the Sid and Marty Krofft series "Far Out Space Nuts." Lumpy, however, only spoke the Wookiee language, so Maloney's voice was not used. 

Maloney would go on to star in the best episode of "Star Trek: Voyager," called "The Thaw." In it, the Voyager crew had to project their consciousnesses into a computer simulation where a manifestation of fear (played by Michael McKean) had taken over the world with his army of scary carnival performers. Maloney was one of the members of Fear's retinue. 

One could perhaps argue that both of Maloney's "Trek" and "Wars" roles are equally terrifying. 

Fionnula Flanagan

Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan started in film in the 1960s with an adaptation of James Joyce's "Ulysses," and had already appeared in high-profile American TV shows like "Gunsmoke" and "Bonanza" — also winning Emmys for "Rich Man, Poor Man" and "How the West Was Won" — before becoming involved in "Star Wars" in 1984. In "Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure," Flanagan played Catarine Towani, a survivor of a crashed spaceship who ended up in the care of Endor's Ewoks: a species of primitive teddy bear-like aliens last seen in "Return of the Jedi." Catarine would eventually be captured by a minotaur-like creature, but heroically freed by her children Cindel and Mace. In a horrid gut punch, Catarine is mortally wounded right at the film's conclusion. 

Flanagan is also Data's mom on "Star Trek." Well, sort of. Data's creator, Dr. Soong, had a wife name Juliana Tainer who died, and whom he replaced with an android counterpart. The episode "Inheritence" is about Data finding about how extensive his family really was. Flanagan would also play a Vulcan ambassador in an episode of "Enterprise," which is a dramatic shift away from the matronly roles she played in both "Trek" and "Wars." Adventure mom, to android mom, to emotionless diplomat. I suppose that could be "motherly" as well; Moms are allowed to be emotionless diplomats. 

Jason Wingreen and Ed Begley, Jr.

Another victim of Lucasfilm's tinkering with the "Star Wars" movies after the fact was actor Jason Wingreen, who played the voice of the mysterious, helmeted bounty hunter Boba Fett in "The Star Wars Holiday Special," in "The Empire Strikes Back, " and in "Return of the Jedi." In the prequel films that followed, the character was recast with actor Temuera Morrison, who would replace Wingreen's vocals in 2004 — but Wingreen can still lay claim to the character. 

Prior to "Star Wars," however, Wingreen's face can be seen in the original series "Star Trek" episode "The Empath," a third-season cheapie wherein Kirk, Spock, and McCoy are tortured by aliens on an avant-garde theater set. Wingreen played a doctor who was trapped in a tube-like prison. Not a huge role and, according to an interview in StarTrek.com, one he didn't even remember shooting, but a "Trek" role nonetheless. 

Boba Fett's voice was also once provided by actor Ed Begley, Jr. in a (relatively obscure) 1996 audio adaptation of "Return of the Jedi," a piece of media for deep-cut Starwoids. Begley, as fans of "Star Trek: Voyager" know, also played a Bill Gates-like supervillain in a two-part time travel episode called "Future's End" wherein a computer impresario was stealing 29th-century technology to invent dial-up internet. Yes, that is real. Both villains, I suppose, but Bill Gates and Boba Fett are very, very different characters. Only one, for instance, has a charity foundation. 

Felix Silla

The amazing Felix Silla has an impressive list of roles on his résumé. He played Cousin Itt on "The Addams Family." He played Twiki on "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century," he was a stunt double for the character of Short Round in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (he was an extensive stunt performer, often standing in for child characters), and if you've ever seen the bonkers 1975 "Maltese Falcon" spoof "The Black Bird," you'll have seen him play the character of Litvak, a gnashing, hilarious Nazi villain. 

Silla, having such a broad variety of roles, perhaps inevitably would appear in both "Star Trek" and "Star Wars." In the former, he played one of the creepy psychic Talosians who imprisoned Capt. Pike in the original Trek pilot "The Cage." He had no lines, but a lot of menace. Silla likewise had no lines in "Return of the Jedi," wherein he played one of the many Ewok characters. Specifically, Silla played an Ewok who flew a hang glider.

Prior to films, Silla also worked in an Italian circus as a horseback rider and trapeze artist. In short, you want to know this man's biography.

Ron Perlman

Who could forget "Star Trek: Nemesis?" As it turns out, most people. Released in 2002, it was one of the least successful "Trek" movies, and indicated that the franchise was, after a glorious 15-year heyday, finally on the wane. 

"Nemesis" was about a clone of Picard's (played by Tom Hardy) who instigates a revolution of Remans against their oppressors, the Romulans. The Remans have an orc-like appearance and can read minds through touch. Picard's clone had an unnamed right-hand henchman Reman viceroy, played by the glorious Ron Perlman. Perlman is no stranger to the makeup chair, having played animals and creatures in many iterations (he was in the "Beauty and the Beast" TV series, "The Island of Dr. Moreau," and he was Hellboy), so appearing as an alien orc was right in his wheelhouse.

In "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," Perlman voiced a character named Gha Nachkt, a big-mouthed goblin creature of the Trandoshan species (thank you Wookieepedia). Gha Nachkt was a feckless trader who found R2-D2 on a derelict Rebel vessel, hid the droid from Anakin Skywalker, and tried to con General Grievous out of some cash. Gha was murdered for his trouble. Perlman typically plays strong or imposing characters, so it's a delight to see him play someone a little more sniveling.

Ian Abercrombie

Another character-actor-about-town is Ian Abercrombie, whom "Seinfeld" fans might recall as Mr. Pitt, Elaine's boss. "Army of Darkness" fans will recognize him as the Wise Man. Fans of the 2002 "Birds of Prey" TV series (who are legion) will know him as Alfred, Batman's butler. Those with a keen ear, however, might recognize his voice from the 2008 animated feature film "Star Wars: The Clone Wars." Abercrombie played the role of Senator Palpatine, prior to his becoming the evil Emperor, and played the part up until his death in 2012. He was replaced by Tim Curry. 

Over in the Delta quadrant, meanwhile, Abercrombie appeared in two episodes of "Star Trek: Voyager." In the fifth season, he was in an episode entitled "Someone To Watch Over Me," where he played the stern Abbot, overseeing a visiting alien who is going a little overboard with hedonism (the visiting alien is played by "Kids in the Hall" star Scott Thompson). In the sixth season episode "Spirit Folk," Abercrobie plays an Irish drunk. Whether his character was evil, stern, or broadly comedic, Abercrombie nailed it. 

Olivia D'Abo

In the sixth season episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," called "True Q," Olivia D'Abo played a Starfleet intern who is on board to acquire some field experience on a real starship. The omnipotent prankster Q (John de Lancie) then appears to her and tells her that, while she was raised as a human, she's actually a Q herself and is now ready to join the ranks of enlightened trickster gods. As one might, she is reluctant to give up being a human at the drop of a hat and tests out her godlike powers first; she cheats on tests and tries to kidnap her crush, Cmdr. Riker. D'Abo is sweet in the role, playing an inexperienced youngster on a show full of stuffy adults. 

"Star Wars: The Clone Wars" gave many Trek actors a chance to infiltrate "the other side," and D'Abo appeared on the show in 2008 playing Luminara Unduli, a background Jedi character previously played by Mary Oyaya in "Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones." Luminara was known for her skill as a swordfighter and the strength of her mind powers. Perhaps not too much a stretch from playing a Q. The main difference being one is an inexperienced god, the other an experienced mortal. There's a metaphor somewhere in there about meeting in the middle. 

David Birney

It's possible that more actors have played Darth Vader within a single continuity, within a single entertainment franchise than any other character. Several actors have worn the suit, others have played him at different ages, and multiple people have provided his voice. In the same 1996 "Return of the Jedi" radio drama listed above (the one wherein Ed Begley, Jr. played Boba Fett), Irish actor David Birney played the voice of Darth Vader, bringing a new kind of menace to the role. That audio drama, by the way, is far more in keeping with "Star Wars'" pulpy spirit than any of the movies made after 1980. 

Birney was also on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," in the sixth season finale "Tears of the Prophets." By that point on "DS9," a full-fledged war had broken out, and many, many new characters — generals, soldiers, politicians and the like — began appearing on the show. Birney played a Romulan senator named Letant. While Darth Vader is a notable cinema villain, Romulans aren't slouches and Birney could draw from one to play the other. 

Birney passed away in April of this year. 

George Coe

George Coe played a notable role in one of the better episodes of "Star Trek: The Next Generation," titled "First Contact" (not to be confused with the feature film). In the episode, Cmdr. Riker had disguised himself and infiltrated a species that was on the cusp of inventing warp drive (an event in "Star Trek" that allows starship-controlling species to make contact). Riker gets found out, however, and Starfleet's first contact doesn't go so well. Coe plays the president of the planet in question, and he has some legitimate, intelligent concerns when he finds out about the aliens on his homeworld. The discussions he has with Picard are pure "Trek." 

Coe was also one of the many actors who snuck in the back door of "Star Wars: The Clone Wars," playing a spindly sloth-like alien named Tee Watt Kaa. Although a "Star Wars" character, Tee Watt Kaa was — in "Trek" tradition — a pacifist who refused to fight. This becomes difficult when an evil Neimoidian — OMG, is that Lok Durd played by George Takei? — invades his village. By the end of the episode, Lok Durd is fought off, but Tee Watt Kaa understood that conquering came at a price. 

Both roles question the fundamental ideas behind their respective franchises. One might wonder if Coe had considered that. 

Brian George

Brain George is another actor one might recognize from "Seinfeld," having played the character of Babu Bhatt, owner of the Dream Café, whose life is casually ruined by the title character. George appeared on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" as Dr. Bashir's father, a doting man who pressured his son to succeed. Also, Dr. Bashir was secretly genetically engineered (illegal in "Star Trek"), leading to additional conflict between the two. 

George would also play the animated "The Clone Wars" version of Ki-Adi-Mundi, a cone-headed Jedi council member first seen in "Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Meance," played by actor Silas Carson (who also played various other aliens throughout the "Star Wars" prequel films). Ki-Adi-Mundi is ... a Jedi. He ... talks about diplomacy. He is ... stoic? One must admit that Ki-Adi-Mindi isn't much of a character, at least not as far as the feature films go. 

Greg Grunberg

If you need a bearded engineer type to look sternly over the planned actions of a deathly serious upcoming skirmish, Greg Grunberg is your guy. Grunberg started his career with the stellar straight-to-video horror/smut film "Witchcraft V: Dance with the Devil," though he may be better known for his role as psychic cop Matt Parkman in "Heroes." He's also worked with J.J. Abrams on a number of occasions, including his regular role in the TV series "Felicity" and his brief role as an ill-fated pilot in "Lost."

Being in Abrams' camp is likely what led to Grunberg's roles in both his "Star Trek" and his "Star Wars" movies In "The Force Awakens," "The Last Jedi," and "The Rise of Skywalker," Grunberg played a character named Temmin "Snap" Wexley, a serious engineer of some kind. In Abrams' "Star Trek," Grunberg played the voice of James T. Kirk's stepfather. The original actor, Brad William Henke, was cut from the film, and Abrams brought in Grunberg to fill in Henke's lines in post-production. 

It counts! It counts!

Deep Roy

Another long-time actor in Hollywood with a fascinating acting career, Deep Roy has been a stunt performer and actor since the 1970s. He served as the stunt performer for Warwick Davis in "Leprechaun." One of his early roles was playing a stand-in for Yoda in "The Empire Strikes Back," and one can find amusing behind-the-scenes photos of Roy getting into the Yoda costume. Roy would also play the weird-looking musician Droopy McCool, a.k.a. Snit, a member of the Max Rebo Band. Oh and an Ewok. He also played an Ewok. It is unknown if Deep Roy, Felix Silla, and Warwick Davis ever conversed in their Ewok costumes. 

Roy would also play the mute engineer Keenser, a co-worker of Scotty's, in the 2009 "Star Trek" film. Given Roy's plaintive looks at Scotty, one might posit that he was in love with his friend. Their romance, sadly, is never explored. 

Roy frequently plays silent characters, although he was given a magnificent acting challenge in Tim Burton's film "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," wherein he played every single Oompah-Loompah.