In a fascinating Easter egg in the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode “The Inner Fight,” fans are given a glimpse into the fate of the infamous Star Trek villain, Harcourt Fenton “Harry” Mudd. Played by actor Roger C. Carmel, Mudd was a swindler and smuggler who appeared in two episodes of the original Star Trek series and one episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series. Known for his sexist exploits and comedic criminal buffoonery, Mudd’s character took a darker turn in Star Trek: Discovery. However, in Lower Decks, set a century later, Mudd’s name lives on, as Captain Freeman visits a bar named Mudd’s, a seedy hangout for criminals. This intriguing Easter egg sparks speculation about Mudd’s journey from a notorious criminal to a potential business owner, leaving fans curious about the true story behind Mudd’s Bar.
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The Character of Harcourt Fenton ‘Harry’ Mudd
Harcourt Fenton ‘Harry’ Mudd is a character that has left a lasting impression on fans of the Star Trek franchise. Played by actor Roger C. Carmel, Mudd made appearances in the original Star Trek series, as well as in Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: Discovery, and most recently in Star Trek: Lower Decks. Each iteration of Mudd’s character has brought something unique to the table, showcasing the range and depth of this captivating character.
Mudd’s Appearances in Original Star Trek Series
In the original Star Trek series, Mudd made two memorable appearances. The first was in the episode “Mudd’s Women,” where he served as a seller and transporter of mail-order brides. Mudd transported a group of incredibly attractive women who were made artificially more appealing through the use of a miracle pill. However, it was later revealed that the pills were placebos, and the women’s beauty was, in fact, a result of their own confidence and self-worth.
Mudd’s second appearance in the original series was in the episode “I, Mudd.” In this episode, Mudd had become the ruler of a planet populated by androids. Mudd used an android-replicating machine to surround himself with beautiful companions and even recreated his nagging ex-wife. However, he soon found himself abandoned on the planet with 500 clones of his ex-wife, which gave a fitting end to his sexist and comedic antics.
Mudd’s Return in ‘Star Trek: Lower Decks’
Mudd’s character made a return in the animated comedy series Star Trek: Lower Decks. In the episode “The Inner Fight,” set a century after the events of the original series, Mudd’s name lives on, but in a different context. He has opened a series of bars that attract seedy criminals, with one of them being visited by Captain Freeman. This hints at Mudd’s attempt to go straight and become a successful business owner, albeit in a rather unconventional way.
Another episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks titled “Mudd’s Bar” delves deeper into Mudd’s establishment and the various characters that frequent it. This episode provides a humorous and entertaining look at Mudd’s life after his previous escapades.
Carmel’s Portrayal of Mudd in ‘Star Trek: The Animated Series’
Roger C. Carmel reprised his role as Mudd in the Star Trek Animated Series episode “Mudd’s Passion.” In this episode, Mudd stumbles upon pheromonal crystals that force people to fall in love. However, when the effects wear off, the users are left with intense feelings of hatred. Mudd is eventually apprehended and forced to undergo rehabilitation therapy, which marks the last appearance of Mudd in the straightforward Star Trek timeline.
Mudd’s Villainous Role in ‘Star Trek: Discovery’
In Star Trek: Discovery, set approximately ten years before the events of the original series, Mudd returns as a more insidious and murderous villain. Played by Rainn Wilson, this version of Mudd uses time-travel to repeatedly murder people before the timeline resets, allowing him to kill the same individuals over and over again. This portrayal of Mudd showcases a darker and more dangerous side to the character, moving away from his previous comedic criminal buffoonery.
Mudd’s Attempt to Go Straight
Despite his villainous behavior, it seems that Mudd made an attempt to go straight in his life. This is hinted at in the Star Trek: Lower Decks episode “Mudd’s Bar,” where his establishment serves as a seedy hangout for criminals. It is possible that Mudd underwent rehabilitation therapy after being apprehended in the Animated Series episode “Mudd’s Passion.” This experience may have inspired him to start Mudd’s Bar and leave his criminal past behind.
Mudd’s Mention in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’
In the 2012 film “Star Trek Into Darkness,” Mudd’s character is not seen on camera, but he is mentioned in relation to an event called “the Mudd Incident.” This incident explains the presence of a non-Federation ship on the USS Enterprise. While the exact details of this event are not explored in the film, it suggests that Mudd’s criminal activities have caught up with him even in the Kelvin-verse.
Mudd’s Existence in the Kelvin-verse
The Kelvin-verse, established in the 2009 Star Trek film, exists in its own continuity. It is implied that Mudd exists in this alternate timeline, as evidenced by the mention of the “Mudd Incident” in “Star Trek Into Darkness.” Although no young version of Mudd was cast in the film, it can be inferred that Mudd’s criminal endeavors continued in this parallel rendition of events.
Carmel’s Age and Mudd’s Future
Roger C. Carmel was relatively young when he portrayed Mudd in the Star Trek Animated Series, suggesting that the character had many years ahead of him following his arrest and rehabilitation. Given the advanced medical technology in the Star Trek universe, Mudd could have lived well into his 120s or 130s. It is intriguing to consider if Mudd truly underwent a transformation and became an honest businessman after his rehabilitation. The current portrayal of Mudd in Star Trek: Lower Decks leaves room for speculation about the nature and success of Mudd’s business ventures.
Harcourt Fenton ‘Harry’ Mudd is a character that has left a lasting impact on the Star Trek franchise. From his appearances in the original series to his portrayal in Star Trek: Lower Decks, Mudd’s character has showcased a range of comedic, villainous, and ultimately captivating qualities. His attempts to go straight, his criminal activities in various timelines, and the potential for his character’s future have made him a fan-favorite and a complex addition to the Star Trek universe. Whether Mudd is seen as a comedic criminal or a dangerous villain, his character brings a unique dynamic to the world of Star Trek.