John Billingsley spent four years playing the uniquely funny Denobulan, Dr. Phlox, on Star Trek: Enterprise.
John Billingsley was the first Denobulan introduced into the franchise, and he made the character vibrant, funny, wise, and weird all at the same time. And fans loved him for it. He’s still one of the many reasons that make a rewatch of Star Trek: Enterprise enjoyable.So what about returning to the character? Is it something Billingsley would consider almost seventeen years later?
In a recent interview with Billingsley to talk about the Hollywood Food Coalition, Trekmovie asked the talented actor if he would consider doing a live-action show, considering how other legacy characters were returning to the Star Trek franchise. Billingsley spent quite a bit of time in makeup each time he became the Denobulan so it’s no surprise the actor said he wasn’t sure he’d want to be a regular again.
"“I don’t know if I’d want to be a regular again. But I’d certainly go back as a guest or recurring. I mean, to be really honest, the makeup is tiring, but the thing that really is tough was the eyeballs. They put these gargantuan contact lenses in your eyes. And, they can’t account for astigmatism, because they cover the entire eye. So you’re more or less blind all day. I mean, you can see, but you can’t read… So I’d have to feel like it was interesting. I don’t know that I could do the series regular route again, but if it was a smaller arc? Sure, of course.”"
John Billingsley would return for a smaller arc on a live-action Star Trek.
Much like Armin Shimerman said when discussing a return to the character of Quark, Billingsley wouldn’t want to do the makeup full-time like he had to do on Enterprise. But with the proliferation of Star Trek series now, there are so many opportunities for the actor to return to the small screen as Dr. Phlox.
Denobulans were notoriously long-lived so a stint on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds could be a possibility. A guest appearance on Star Trek: Discovery might be pushing it a bit since that series has moved even farther into the future. But showrunners are opening doors for legacy characters across each of the Star Trek series so bringing Dr. Phlox back to the fold shouldn’t be that difficult. And those of us who really enjoyed Enterprise would undoubtedly tune in to see the doctor back in business.