The last two Star Trek films were given a direct sendoff by the mere presence of Leonard Nimoy, who played the character of Mr. Spock for nearly 50 years.
But with his sad passing earlier this year — and reports that he was not going to pop up in this film anyway — fans are still hankering for a chance to see a familiar face from the past grace "Star Trek 3," especially as it's released in time for the 50th anniversary of the Trek franchise.
So who should it be? Someone from the original series? Maybe someone from one of the spinoffs? Possibly a face from a fan series? Here's our list of seven people we would love see make a cameo in "Star Trek 3."
Well, this one should be obvious, because not only has the original Capt. Kirk been lobbying for a chance to return since his character was killed off more than 20 years ago in "Star Trek Generations," but even at 84, this man does more in a day than many of us do in a month.
And Shatner is busy. He's going off on a cross-country motorcycle trek this summer, and is even appearing in a new competitive reality show in Asia. And, of course, he's Mr. Priceline from the popular travel website advertisements.
Of course, some have a bad taste in their mouth for Shatner. He's not the nicest man in the world, and maybe that's true. I've only met him once, and I thought he was a true gentleman, and a true professional. And how could you not enjoy him in "Boston Legal," or in his "The Captains" documentary, or in the 47 other things he started work on or completed in the time it took us to write this paragraph?
And this is Shatner. The original. The icon. His return to the franchise is long overdue, and what would be more fitting to pay tribute to his dear friend Nimoy than to have Shatner himself step in? As long as it's done right, we would join many fans in applauding such an appearance.
Mr. Data from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" would be a great choice as well, especially if we're trying to do something in honor of Nimoy. Data, of course, was meant to be the very smart, logical character on the bridge of the Enterprise, filling shoes that Spock would've if Kirk was in command.
Spiner brought us a character we have enjoyed for nearly 30 years, and whose death was really the only moving moment in "Star Trek: Nemesis."
The great part is that Spiner doesn't even have to play Data, or anything like that. He could easily play Dr. Soong, Data's creator, who could be very much alive during that time. Or even an all-new character. Spiner is such a versatile actor, that while it's sometimes hard to not think about him as Data, Spiner makes that separation by playing different characters we enjoy all the same.
While the original "Star Trek" is where Paramount Pictures is going with the current film franchise, we can't forget the impact TNG had on continuing the franchise into the future. Sure, the movies were doing well, but it was TNG that got us through "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier," and helped launch other great shows, like "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek: Voyager."
We're trying to stay away from captains and such, because they are such obvious choices. I mean, Patrick Stewart and even Kate Mulgrew would be killer picks to appear in a new Star Trek movie.
But even staying away from the stars, we can't ignore the man who played Capt. Benjamin Sisko in DS9. Brooks is such an amazing presence, both on and off the screen. And while some might accuse him of a little overacting, we still enjoyed every minute of it.
Brooks really shined in the DS9 episode "Far Beyond the Stars," that told a very moving story, but also gave us a chance to see all the actors with their hair down. OK, not Brooks, who was quite bald by then ... but Brooks' performance was so moving, it almost pushes some of us to tears today.
It's sad that we have to talk about breaking down racial barriers as late as the 1990s (which it should've been done in the 1890s), but Brooks helped do that. Capt. Sisko was a fascinating character, and a true leader in the universe of Star Trek. And we know he would bring that presence with him into a cameo role in the new Star Trek film.
While Brooks worked to break racial barriers in the 1990s, Nichols was really doing it in the 1960s as Lt. Uhura. She inspired so many people — including the likes of Whoopi Goldberg, who would follow her footsteps onto Star Trek some 30 years later.
Nichols never seemed to get enough screen time during the original series, but she really became fun to watch in the movie series. There's something about when she would pop on screen that would make us turn and notice. And hell, we even got to see her dance in what was probably one of the few watchable moments of "Star Trek V."
Yes, Nichols' recent stroke might make such an appearance more difficult. But that wouldn't stop us from wanting to see her again, and step onto the bridge of the Enterprise. Hell, she could be the new Uhura's very good-looking grandmother.
If Nichols suddenly appeared on the screen in the middle of "Star Trek 3," we're sure you'd hear audiences cheering from one side of our great planet to the other.
Yes, she appeared in just one Star Trek film, but it was a great appearance, and Saavik was someone we all loved and rooted for. And Trek, like for many actors, was a huge rocket boost for her career, putting her in places like "Cheers" and, well, "Cheers."
As much as it was fun to see Winona Ryder take on the role of Spock's mother in the 2009 film, I still think Alley would've been a much more interesting fit for the role, and one who would've been fun for the fans to see.
Sure, her not wanting to return for "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock" left a bad taste in many fans' mouths, but that was decades ago. Even Alley looks back fondly at her Star Trek career now, and we should, too.
We fell in love with a lot of doctors in Star Trek — starting with McCoy, and continuing through Crusher, the EMH and Bashir. But if we ever want to think of a doctor who would make us smile, we look no further than Phlox in "Star Trek: Enterprise."
Yes, it was one of the shorter-lived Star Trek series that it seemed few people watched. But Billingsley was great, and we've certainly enjoyed him in later roles, including his recurring spot in HBO's "True Blood."
It seems that fans want someone who is famous both inside and outside of Star Trek, but why would it have to be limited to just one person? And why can't we appreciate all of our spinoffs, including "Enterprise"? Sure, there were moments we would like to forget in that series, but there were other things the show did quite well. And one of those things was casting Billingsley as Phlox.
Hell, we don't know how long Denobulans live, so maybe he can even reprise his character. What is Phlox up to? This is a chance to find out.
Think about it: He's been so many great characters in Star Trek, if Paramount and CBS were to ever consider a Broadway show, it could save money by simply hiring this guy.
But look at these characters: Chancellor Gorkon, who was assassinated in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country." The "five lights" Cardassian interrogator in the TNG two-parter "Chain of Command," and yeah, I guess we can mention him as the Terran ambassador in "Star Trek V."
Hell, Warner also could've been the Bajoran poet Akorem Laan in the DS9 episode "Accession," according to Memory Alpha. The only reason he didn't is because he was on vacation, and his wife wanted him to relax, and not work.
Warner is great, however. And would make an amazing villain. Just look at what he did in a limited role in "Titanic," and imagine a director letting him pull out the full Warner.
Yeah, we definitely would buy tickets to see that.