Each episode of “Star Trek” provides multiple opportunities for interesting guest appearances. Many prominent actors have done at least one guest appearance in the “Star Trek” universe. Some, like Trek veterans Jeffrey Combs and Vaughn Armstrong, appeared in several episodes, as multiple different characters.
Several major Hollywood stars appeared in some iteration of “Star Trek” long before they were famous. Here are a few of the biggest names to appear in the Trek-verse.
Kirsten Dunst started her acting career quite young. Her breakout performance in “Interview With the Vampire” came when she was only 12 years old.
A year before that, she appeared in one episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Dunst played a young alien girl in the episode “Dark Page.” Her character formed a close bond with Lwaxana Troi, a recurring character played by the First Lady of Star Trek herself, Majel Barrett.
By the time Dunst was a teenager, she became a queen of the high school rom-com, starring in movies like “Bring It On” and “Crazy/Beautiful.” She’s best known for her role as Mary Jane in the “Spiderman” movies.
Though Famke Janssen did a lot of television work in the 90s, she didn’t really get her big break until she starred as Jean Grey in the first “X-Men” movie.
Almost a decade earlier, she was in one episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” The role was only the second she’d ever landed. She played Kamala in the episode “The Perfect Mate.” Her character, an empathic alien, was literally created to be the ideal romantic partner for a dignitary, to be given away as a part of peace negotiations. However, she fell in love with Captain Jean-Luc Picard before she met her intended.
Janssen went on to have a wildly successful career, becoming one of the biggest names in film and television. She was in several “X-Men” movies, all the movies in the “Taken” trilogy, and had major recurring roles in “How to Get Away With Murder” and “The Blacklist.”
Just a few years before she started to really make it, Ashley Judd landed her very first role ever — Ensign Robin Lefler on “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Judd appeared in two episodes in 1991, “The Game” and “Darmok.”
She played a young Starfleet Academy graduate whose first posting was the Enterprise. During her time there, she had a fling with Wesley Crusher. She also helped Geordi LaForge prepare the ship for their battle with the Tamarians.
By the mid-90s, Judd was a Hollywood “it girl.” She landed roles in major feature films like “Heat” and “Double Jeopardy.”
Years before she became a household name and years before she starred in “Bring It On” with “Star Trek” alum Dunst, Gabrielle Union was a Klingon. It’s understandable if even the savviest “Star Trek” fans missed her guest appearance. As a Klingon, she looked nothing like the fresh-faced teen queen she would become.
In the “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” episode “Sons and Daughters,” Union played the Klingon warrior N’Garen. She was a weapons officer aboard the Klingon warship captained by General Martok.
Though Sarah Silverman was starting to make a name for herself on Saturday Night Live in the 90s, she wasn’t yet the big-name actress she would become. Her first non-SNL television role was actually on “Star Trek: Voyager.”
She starred as Rain Robinson in the two-parter “Future’s End.” The episode, which had a very “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” feel, involved the crew of Voyager traveling back in time to San Francisco in the mid-90s. Silverman played a scientist that worked with Tuvok and Lieutenant Tom Paris to complete their mission.
Silverman’s career took off in the 2000s. She landed multiple television and film roles and even had her own show for a few years.