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Nicolas Cage is a Trekkie: Here Are 5 ‘Star Trek’ Episodes He Would’ve Saved

8 Minute Read
Jan 12 2023
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Nicolas Cage is a fan of Star Trek. As fans of both Trek and Cage we’re already imagining him in bad episodes he could’ve made great.

Nicolas Cage is a national treasure. His energy on screen is undeniably magnetic. And he stars in so many stone-cold classics, you’ll run out of breath naming them all. But one of Cage’s greatest gifts is how he elevates undeniably bad films.

Nobody watches the Ghost Rider movies because they expect cinéma vérité; they come for Cage’s off-the-wall performance. He makes the low-budget Five Nights At Freddy’s knock-off Willy’s Wonderland fun without uttering a word. And one of the most rewatched deleted scenes of all time comes courtesy of the Wicker Man remake in which Cage freaks out about some CGI bees stuck on his face. The movie is not good, but Cage is more than good – he is transcendent.

So naturally, people want Cage for every franchise. And in a recent interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, Kevin Polowy asked Cage if he would be in The Mandalorian. Cage would be brilliant in Star Wars, no doubt. However, his allegiances lie elsewhere.

“I’m a Trekkie, man,” says Cage. “I’m on the Star Trek, I’m on the Enterprise. That’s where I roll.”

Say no more! Nicolas Cage in Star Trek? Our minds swim with the possibilities. And while we’re confident Cage will be in Star Trek if he wants to be in Star Trek, we can’t help but imagine what might have been already. With that in mind, we’ve gathered together a list of episodes, one from each of the classic Star Trek series. None of these episodes are good, but each could become instant classics if we add Nicolas Cage.

Courtesy of CBS Television

Star Trek: The Original Series – Lazarus in “The Alternative Factor”

When people think of the original Star Trek, they usually focus on the show’s third season when they think of “bad” episodes. But here’s the thing: a lot of those episodes don’t need Cage. “Spock’s Brain” already has someone shouting, “Brain and brain, what is brain?” So Cage? Not really necessary. And while the thought of Cage as a space hippy in “The Way to Eden” is amusing, that episode already has enough wonderfully bizarre performances without him.

But there is an episode from Star Trek‘s first season that Cage is perfect for, and it just so happens to famously be the worst – “The Alternative Factor”.

For the uninitiated, “The Alternative Factor” is about Lazarus, a mad scientist who discovers there’s an alternate-universe version of himself. And rather than being happy about this, Lazarus goes insane with rage and tries to destroy said alternate self. The problem (other than the whole engorged ego thing) is that if he succeeds he will also destroy all universes in the process.

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Sounds fun, right? It’s actually very boring. And while Lazarus actor Robert Brown is great elsewhere, he just doesn’t have the kind of dynamic, madcap energy Lazarus needs to sell “The Alternative Factor”.

On the other hand, Cage is great at playing twins in conflict (see: Adaptation). And do I believe Cage can make me like a dude who wants to destroy everything out of sheer hubris? Well, I’ve seen him play Castor Troy in Face/Off so, uh.. yeah.

Also, let’s be honest: if you just look at the character design for Lazarus, you already know why Nic Cage would play him brilliantly. Moving on!

Courtesy of CBS Television

Star Trek: The Next Generation – Armus in “Skin of Evil”

There’s a temptation with Star Trek: The Next Generation (and this list, frankly) to pick goofy characters for Cage to play. Certainly, TNG has no shortage of weirdo guys who Troi dates and weirdo guys who Crusher dates. But as funny as it would be to cast Cage as a glowy guy in a body sock or a sex candle, it kind of feels like we should use Cage’s acting chops for some serious good, you know?

Tasha Yar gets the rawest deal in the history of Star Trek. Her death in “Skin of Evil” is so unceremonious that it feels like a punishment. And it doesn’t help that she’s killed by a puddle of goo named Armus. But what if, and hear me out, that puddle of goo was Nicolas Cage?

If you subtract the execution of “Skin of Evil,” the idea of Armus is actually kind of interesting. He’s a combination of all the worst traits of the people who used to inhabit his world. Armus is the personification of worthlessness, isolation, and the rage that comes with both. And if there’s something that Cage plays well, it is rage.

More than that, Cage plays loneliness well. Think of his performance as the angel Seth in City of Angels. He cannot touch, cannot connect directly with humans – and that makes him kind. Now imagine a version of Seth whose feelings of loneliness make him mean – that’s Armus. And if Armus had all those layers instead of being a goopy pile of sewage rage, well then maybe Yar’s death would feel more potent.

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Courtesy of CBS Television

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Silaran Prin in “The Darkness and the Light”

Everyone is going to say Cage should be in “Move Along Home” because it’s the episode everyone always thinks of as the silliest and the most meme-worthy. But here’s a question: who would Cage play? Fallow a.k.a. the guy who brings the weird board game everyone gets stuck inside of? That sounds funny, sure, until you remember that he’s barely in the episode.

No, if you’re going to boil Cage down to a cameo you make it count. And “The Darkness and the Light” is a Kira story that would’ve been better with Cage in it.

Kira is a freedom fighter before she becomes a liaison to Bajor’s provisional government. And that means she killed a lot of Cardassians, soldiers and civilians both, in the name of Bajoran independence. Kira carries around a lot of guilt over the people she killed during the occupation. And as she is about to give birth to the O’Brien’s baby (long story) she is thinking about life and death a lot.

And that’s when Silaran Prin starts killing everyone in Kira’s former resistance cell. He was a civilian who got injured in one of the cell’s attacks. From his perspective Kira is evil. But the weight of his few scenes with Kira never quite gel.

There are two reasons why Cage would make for a great Silaran Prin. One, he can sell the idea that Kira is in the wrong, even if only temporarily. And, two, he can make you believe that Kira may well die. Those are the two things “The Darkness and the Light” are missing and that’s why the episode never received classic status.

Cage as Silaran Prin would take Kira to her darkest place so she can finally see that she does deserve the light.

Courtesy of CBS Television

Star Trek: Voyager – Alice in “Alice”

This list is too sensible. Time to shake things up. How about if we take on Stephen King’s Christine in space – and cast Nicolas Cage in the titular role?

Let’s take a step back. “Alice” is an episode of Star Trek: Voyager where Tom Paris falls in love with a hotrod shuttlecraft he finds in a space junkyard. He names the ship “Alice” and links his mind with it only to discover the ship is kind of alive. Before you know it, Paris is emotionally cheating on his wife with Alice who presents herself as a beautiful woman.

Tom Paris’s mid-life crisis, boomer dad energy often makes him unlikeable, but never more so than in “Alice” where he literally abandons his wife and chosen family for an evil space car. But you know what would fix that? A little bisexuality – oh and also Nicolas Cage playing the evil space car.

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Seriously, think about how much more interesting it would be if, instead of a girl he had a crush on in high school, the shuttlecraft appears to Tom Paris as Nicolas Cage. Cage could bring a little of that Gone in 60 Seconds energy at first and then lean heavily on the seduction. The weakest part of “Alice” is Alice herself. but put Cage in that spot and things get spicy and unpredictable.

B’Elanna gets jealous. Harry gets jealous. But mostly Cage gets to play an evil space car and Tom Paris gets to be interesting for once. It’s a win-win situation.

Courtesy of CBS Television

Star Trek: Enterprise – Tarquin in “Exile”

We avoided making Cage an awkward love interest for one of Star Trek‘s most famously underwritten women for too long. Hoshi Sato, come on down! You’re the next contestant on “Love Cage-in’ Style”.

Early in Star Trek: Enterprise‘s Xindi arc, Hoshi gets a psychic message from an alien living in exile. He offers to help Enterprise fight back against the Xindi and, in exchange, Hoshi has to stay in his big, creepy mansion. It’s Beauty and the Beast in space – and it’s terrible.

However, the problem with “Exile” isn’t that it’s too weird and awkward, it’s that it’s not weird and awkward enough. Tarquin knows everything about Hoshi before she even arrives on his home world. He cooks her a weird meal of pizza and alien noodles. And then he tries to convince her to live with him for the rest of her life.

It’s all so boring! How is it all so boring? Nicolas Cage would never let this happen. There’s an entire scene where Tarquin shows Hoshi the graves of all his former companions. Can you imagine Cage pouring every ounce of his awkwardness into that? Because I sure can.

The funniest thing about “Exile” is that Hoshi, who usually wears a conservative uniform, wears these uncharacteristically revealing outfits around a guy who she is clearly repulsed by and who has all the charm of pizza and wet noodles. Conversely, I’m not going to say Nicolas Cage can make this hot, but he can it so off-the-wall that you can imagine Hoshi starting to wonder if maybe she’s into this.

Just Put Nicolas Cage in Star Trek

Obviously, we do not want to imagine Nicolas Cage in any of the current shows. Those actors are still currently playing those parts – or, at the bare minimum, they played those parts recently.

The bottom line is this: Nicolas Cage is a Trekkie. If he wants to be in Star Trek, he should be in Star Trek. If you want to cast him in a deeply complex role, he will absolutely own that. But if you’ve got a quirky weirdo you’re not sure will translate from the page to the screen – hire Nicolas Cage!

We thank you for listening to these completely sensible demands, Paramount.

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Lina Morgan
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