Monday, 31 March 2014

“Into Darkness”: conjuring the memory of "Square Pegs"

Merritt Butrick as David Marcus in
"Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"
Merritt Butrick as Johnny Slash in "Square Pegs".

It’s a windy path from the last "Star Trek" movie to that short-lived 1980s sitcom “Square Pegs”, but here it is.

"The Wrath of Khan" leads to…
Merritt Butrick as T'Jon in the "Symbiosis" episode
of "Star Trek: The Next Generation".
It was 1982 and "Star Trek" was undergoing a re-boot after the successful but unpopular “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”. It was decided the sequel would bring back one of the most fearsome enemies the Enterprise ever faced: Khan. Amid Captain James T. Kirk’s battle with Khan across the cosmos, he discovers he has a son – David Marcus…

…Square Pegs, Square Pegs, Square, Square, Pegs
David Marcus was played by Merritt Butrick, whose other prominent role of the period was none other than Johnny Slash on "Square Pegs".

And of course “Into the Darkness” re-imagines Kirk and the Enterprise’s first encounter with Khan.

The aftermath
"The Wrath of Khan" would become one of the best "Star Trek" movies of all time, while "Square Pegs" was cancelled after one season. Sadly, the linchpin of our two degrees of separation – Merritt Butrick – would die of an AIDS-related illness in 1989 at the age of 29. Before that, he became just one of a handful of actors to appear in the "Star Trek" movies and the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" TV series.

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