Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who played Lwaxna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation, has more appearances in Star Trek than any other actor and was in every series until her passing. But there’s a hilariously subversive secret connection between two of her characters.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned to appreciate Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Lwaxana Troi episodes. Episodes featuring Deanna Troi’s chaotic Aunt Mame-esque mother transform the usually serious show into a screwball comedy. When I was younger, I’d roll my eyes, and wonder who thought this was a good idea, but the older, wiser me can’t help but grin at how she effortlessly flustered Captain Picard.
I truly believe Lwaxana is one of the highlights of TNG. As a chaos agent, she gives Q a run for his money.
She was, of course, played by Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, who played many roles on Trek, including Nurse Chapel in the original series, and the ship’s computer in TNG, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager.
One detail links Nurse Chapel and Lwaxana Troi, a joke which makes Lwaxana’s presence even more of a subversion of Trek’s serious side.
Lwaxana Troi always travels with her valet, the physically imposing, but mute Mr Homm. Mr Homm was played by Carel Struycken who played another mute physically imposing manservant, Lurch in the 90s Addams Family movies (typecasting’s a real bummer).
Nurse Chapel’s most prominent role in the original series was in an episode entitled What Little Girls are Made Of, in which she’s terrorized by an evil android named Ruk. Ruk was played by Ted Cassidy, who played Lurch in the 60s Addams Family TV series.
Do you see where I’m going with this connection to Lwaxana Troi?
Ruk and Mr Homm are played by actors who played the same character, have the same granite-like facial features, and even wear the same silvery translucent cape.
In other words, Lwaxana Troi somehow neutralised the immortal killer android, made him her Butler, and named him Mr. Man (Homm being quite similar to Homme, which is French for ‘man’).
Unfortunately, the timing is off for this to have been done deliberately. Homm’s first appearance in Star Trek was in TNG’s first season in 1987, while the Addams Family movie wasn’t until 1991. Thus Carel Struycken had no connection to Lurch, or Ted cassidy, or Ruk when he was cast as Mr. Homm.
But the great thing about beloved franchises is that the fans’ interpretation is just as valid as whatever interpretation the writers intended. If we will take this coincidental connection into canon, then it’s canon. It just so perfectly fits the subversive chaos that is Lwaxana Troi.
Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was Star Trek. Her role as the computer voice made her the only actor involved in all Star Trek titles up to the 2009 movie, which came out a year after she passed away. And an old recording was used, so that the restored Enterprise-D revealed in the Star Trek: Picard finale would have her voice. She dominated the franchise, so it’s fitting that she dominated a frightening villain into servitude.