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Star Trek: Enterprise Star John Billingsley on Turning Down SNW Role

There are several instances where Star Trek actors appeared in multiple franchise projects playing different characters beyond just Jeffrey Combs. Another example is Tim Russ, who appeared in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and an episode of Next Generation before landing the role of Tuvok in the main cast of Voyager. Before playing Deep Space Nine's security chief Odo, Rene Auberjonois was also in TUC, and Brent Spiner, who's best known as the beloved android Data in TNG & playing members of the Soong family across TNG, Picard, and Enterprise. Given the opportunities provided now from the current Paramount+ franchise shows, we could have had another in Enterprise's John Billingsley for Strange New Worlds as revealed by the actor in Trek News.

Star Trek: Why Do We Not Have a Live-Action Alien Character Lead?
Jolene Blalock and John Billingsley in Star Trek: Enterprise. Image courtesy of Paramount

Billingsley played the Denobulan, Dr. Phlox on the UPN series for all four seasons. It would have been feasible to see him return since his species can live at least 300 years, but it wasn't what producers had in mind. "Oh, now here's the thing that got me! I was asked to audition for a small supporting part in 'Strange New Worlds'. And I said to my agent, 'Could you just let them know that I was on Star Trek!?' I turned it down."

As far as fandom reaction to Enterprise and if he's willing to return for an animated series like Lower Decks or Prodigy, "I think there's a strange disconnect between the folks making the new shows and Enterprise," the actor explained. "I think we were seen at the time, fairly or unfairly, to be the red-headed stepchild of the franchise, the show that, briefly, crippled the franchise. So, I'm not sure if there's any great appreciation or even cognizance for the Enterprise cast, with maybe the exception of the captain, as characters to be resurrected. I could be wrong. But yes, I would happily come back, especially to voice Phlox. Coming back as old, fat Phlox would require me to get into two-and-a-half hours of makeup."

For more on Billingsley talking about his interactions with other Star Trek actors and his appearance on The Orville, you can check out the entire interview here.

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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