I've received a few messages over the last couple days asking why we are covering everything there is to cover about Star Trek, but we're completely ignoring Tony Todd.
In fact, one person asked why I hated Tony Todd. Really?
I guess it's not unfair to ask me that. I mean, there are a couple people in Trekdom I really could live without. But Tony Todd is not one of them. I loved him as Worf's brother Kurn in "Star Trek: The Next Generation." I loved him as a much cooler adult Jake Sisko in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." I picked up "Candyman" on DVD to watch him there, even though I hate watching horror films. And I even tuned in to his brief stint on "The Young and the Restless" a couple years ago.
Tony Todd is amazing, and I would love the rumor that's circulating right now to be true, that he's actually on a short list to be a regular in the upcoming Star Trek series for CBS All Access.
But there's a big problem with that rumor — I just don't think it's true.
Not that Todd is misleading us. I just think that an assumption was made somewhere along the line, attributed to Todd, and it blew up into something totally different. I was waiting to get a few minutes to talk to Tony about all this, but he's in Europe until next week, so I have to wait until then. However, this rumor just keeps going and going and going, and it seems no one is really willing to go back to the source and figure it out.
I did, however. I looked up the "Mortis" podcast, a program of less than 15 minutes, which maybe a third was dedicated to talking to Todd. It seemed they had caught up to the actor at a convention, and while they were interested in talking "Candyman," they also hit him up a bit on his departure from the embattled "independent" fan-film "Star Trek: Axanar," and also the talk of the new Star Trek series.
There is some cross-talk, and it's not always clear what is being said, but here is a bit of how I transcribed the conversation.
TODD: You know, CBS is doing their own series again ...
INTERVIEWER: Yeah ...
TODD: Uh, which I think we mentioned the other day. We're on a very short list. Well, we'll see.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, so you're actually on a list for the series?
UNKNOWN (Maybe Todd?): Yeah.
TODD: Cool. (laughs)
INTERVIEWER: Actually, I mean ...
TODD: I'm actually on a short list for a couple, you know ...
INTERVIEWER: I was gonna say, if you're actually in the series, I will give it a chance. Because, honestly, like since there has been not like a whole lot of mention, like, the timeline, and the cast or anything yet ...
TODD: (crosstalk) They are not even going to get an official cast until probably the fourth quarter of the year.
INTERVIEWER: Oh, OK.
TODD: And my only concern about it is that it is going to be on the online thing, I don't understand that part.
INTERVIEWER: I'm kind of confused at that as well.
TODD: Yeah, I've never done a series regular. I have always avoided it, because I like playing different characters. But this is one (game?) that we're looking at some stuff, so I'm sure we're going to be popping up in everybody's going to (move?) on something sometime very soon.
Now, I can't guarantee this is accurate. I've never been the greatest transcriptionist in the world, especially when the audio is not as strong as it should be for a podcast like this. But I'm hearing it differently from what others, including the interviewer, seemed to hear it.
To me, Todd said "we're on a very short list," which could mean that he, as an actor, is on a very short list of people being considered for the regular cast. And maybe that is what he said. I mean, the interviewer seems to think so.
There is a "yeah" that comes in right after that, but the voice pitch is different, and I can't verify that is coming from Todd. It doesn't sound like it's from him, but I also wasn't the one making the recording.
And the rest, the context of this one statement, it's not really conclusive. On one hand, it seems that Todd is talking about being on the short list for other potential projects without including Trek, even mentioning that casting for the show likely wouldn't begin until after next fall (I'm quite sure they will be casting this summer instead). On the other hand, however, he talks about how he's never been a "series regular" before, which kind of suggests he's talking about Star Trek again.
But I know what you're thinking: So what? It's a rumor. Just report it as a rumor.
And you could be right. Most of my entertainment work has been in rumors. Airlock Alpha, for instance, was always known as a news and rumors site (even when it was a spoiler site as SyFy Portal). However, we work very, very hard to verify rumors as much as we can, and maintain a very high accuracy rate in such reports. And have we ever been totally wrong? Yes. Once. Some 15 years ago, and some of the people at TrekBBS still won't let me live it down.
There is definitely a possibility that Todd said exactly what some are reporting, that he says he's on a "short list" for the new Trek series. But I'm not totally comfortable with that, especially in reviewing the audio, and how I'm hearing the conversation. To me, it sounds like Tony is speaking about something else, but the interview jumps to a different conclusion. It's loud at this convention hall, so I can understand that he might have misheard it.
Or maybe he didn't.
But as you read about Tony Todd and his possible return to Star Trek as a regular. Just know that not everyone believes that is the case. Trust me, I would love to have Tony Todd as a regular cast member in Star Trek ... but our news section isn't a place for me to share my wishful thinking.
We expect to talk to Tony Todd next week, or maybe he'll talk to someone else before that. Either way, we'll hopefully have a much better handle on this soon. And in the meantime, we'll limit our discussion of the Tony Todd and Star Trek possibility here in our opinion section — with the hope he does come back to Trek.