Star Trek has been host to a lot of firsts. It was the first primetime series to use the Wagon Train to the Stars premise, blending the Western and Science Fiction genres. It was also the first show to feature an interracial kiss between two of its main characters, Kirk (William Shatner) and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols). It was also the first major franchise to reboot its film using an alternative timeline.
Internally, though, one of the most significant firsts to the actual premise of the long-running franchise is Earth’s first contact with the Vulcans – taking place just after Zefram Cochrane's successful test of his warp vessel, the Phoenix – on April 5, 2063. In honor of today's significance, Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin decided to celebrate with a little first contact of his own.
The director posted a still on YOMYOMF from the first day of shooting Star Trek Beyond. The post was also intended as a contest, featuring two actors in alien makeup. The first person to guess the identities of the two actors will win a crew shirt and a signed poster, both unavailable until after the film’s release, due to "spoilers for the film and [because] the poster hasn’t been finalized yet." (click the above link for more info). Lin says:
“To celebrate the moment when Humans and Vulcans made first contact (April 5, 2063), thought I’d share a photo from the first day of the STAR TREK BEYOND shoot. Here I am hanging with two of my favorite people to ever work with,” Lin hints, “I know this will probably be a tough one since the casting of these two actors hasn’t been announced yet and you won’t find them listed on IMDb. So here’s a hint–I’ve worked with them both before STB. Good luck.”
We now have the identities of the two alien cameos. If you guessed Danny Pudi and Kim Kold, excellent facial recognition skills. Hopefully you entered the contest. Find out the official winnners here. Take a look at before and "after" pics:
Fans of Lin's work will already be somewhat familiar with both of the alien actor's faces. Danny Pudi recently had a bit role in Captain America: Winter Soldier and has a part in the upcoming DC sitcom Powerless. Most fans will recognize him, though, as Abed Nadir from Community, for which Lin directed several episodes during its first and second seasons. As for Kold, the former footballer (soccer player) portrayed Klaus, a member of antagonist Owen Shaw's race team in Fast & Furious 6.
Now that the actors have been revealed, the only mystery remaining is what role these aliens play in the film. Although only bit players, they could be allies or enemies of Idris Elba’s mysterious villain. Pudi's character bears a slight resemblance to the Jem Hadar from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but is missing the reptilian scales and devilish horns of those terrifying Federation adversaries (as well as being a century away from first contact in either universe). The latest Star Trek outing has kept rather quiet about the identities of two mysterious alien species teased in the trailer as well. All we know thus far is that Sofia Boutella’s pale alien aids the crew of the Enterprise, while Idris Elba’s character is a villain – and is likely in charge of the swarming ships seen in the trailer. The film also recently went through some reshoots and added veteran actress Shohreh Aghdashloo as a Federation official.
Although Lin himself has called the film "much more traditional" in terms of the Star Trek of yore, many fans are concerned about the course of the franchise. They fear another round of action-over-substance plotting, which defined the previous two films, but still made the reboots more commercially viable to traditional moviegoers audiences. At any rate, all will be revealed when Star Trek Beyond opens this summer.
Star Trek Beyond opens in U.S. theaters on July 22, 2016.