Star Trek: The Animated Series characters we want in live action

Paramount’s unveiling of Star Trek: Prodigy may not be the only exciting new development in Star Trek animation. Giant Freakin Robot claims the studio wants characters from Star Trek: The Animated Series, which aired 1973-74 on NBC, to appear in live-action Star Trek projects.

GFR suggests Arex, the three-armed and three-legged Edosian navigator, and M’Ress, the Caitian communications officer, are the most logical candidates to make the jump from animation cels. Since the two were both Enterprise bridge officers in the cartoon and have become fan favorites through various novels and comic books, the speculation is sound.

But we can speculate, too!

Here are five non-recurring but remarkable characters from Star Trek: The Animated Series we’d enjoy seeing in the flesh—even if, in some cases, it would take prosthetics or digital wizardry to make it so.

Ari bn Bem

A native of the planet Pandro, Ari bn Bem was an independent observer aboard the Enterprise during the episode bearing his name (“Bem”). He was also a “colony creature,” capable of disassembling and reassembling himself at will.

Today’s CGI would have no problem bringing Bem’s bizarre (to us humans, at least) body arrangement to the live-action screen.

Plus, Bem’s character arc—from harshly criticizing Captain Kirk and crew to humbly confessing himself a fellow “eggling” when compared to the universe’s higher entities—make him one of animated Star Trek’s more endearing characters. What else would you expect from the skillful pen of David Gerrold?

Ensign Walking Bear

A Comanche helmsman, Walking Bear also studies many ancient Earth histories and cultures. He’s the only person to recognizes the Mayan plumed serpent god Kukulkan when he reveals himself to the Enterprise.

No, the Comanche and the Maya, let alone their legends, have no historical relationship to each other. But Walking Bear was the first (and at that point only) Native American Star Trek character, and was created by Russell Bates, himself a member of the Kiowa tribe.

Bringing Walking Bear into modern, live-action Star Trek (as the fan production Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II has done) would give creative teams a chance to develop him into a full character who authentically portrays Comanche heritage.


Before Star Trek premiered, NBC worried Spock looked too Satanic. But Star Trek: The Animated Series doubled down on sympathy for “the devil,” giving us Lucien, a pointed-eared, horned, hooved, goateed native of Megas-Tu, a world where magic is real.

The episode leaves open the question of whether Lucien directly inspired the Lucifer of Jewish and Christian tradition. Having the character on hand in a live-action project could open the door to more explorations of good and evil—and who decides which is which—in the signature Star Trek style.

Commodore Robert April and Dr. Sarah April

We couldn’t ignore either of these Starfleet pioneers!

According to “The Counter-Clock Incident,” Sarah was the first doctor aboard a ship equipped with a warp drive. She designed much of the equipment that became standard in Starfleet sickbays.

Robert was the first captain of the Enterprise, even before Christopher Pike. After his tenure in the center seat of the NCC-1701, he led a distinguished diplomatic career as an at-large Federation ambassador.

The Aprils spent most of their animated appearance as septuagenarians, so they’d both be young and at the height of their careers in the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds era.

And the fact they could be realized with less makeup than other characters on this list should make them shoo-ins for live-action consideration!

Which characters from Star Trek: The Animated Series would you like to see in live-action? And who would you cast in the roles? Tell us on Facebook, on Twitter, or in the comments!