Just as “Star Trek” fans were clamoring over the summer for the return of Michael Dorn as Worf, they got him. Well, kind of.
For the first time since 2002’s “Star Trek Nemesis,” Dorn found himself back in a Starfleet uniform and forehead ridges (albeit slightly less than authentic-looking) for Seth MacFarlane’s “Ted 2” as his character Rick and his lover Guy (Patrick Warburton) cosplayed Worf and The Tick at New York Comic Con.
With the comedy sequel arriving this week on Blu-ray and DVD, Dorn joined Spinoff Online to talk about his tongue-in-cheek return to his most famous role, and the status of the Worf-led “Star Trek” revival series he’d proposed to Paramount Pictures.
Spinoff Online: You’re at the stage of the “Star Trek” experience where you get to do cameos and lighthearted stuff like “Ted” and “Ted 2.” What’s the fun for you to be able to play with your image from “Star Trek” and the image of Worf?
Michael Dorn: I’ve been really protective of the character. So when the situation comes up where it’s not disrespectful of the character, or they’re not just, “Here’s the character as a cameo” just to kind of, then I like it. I enjoy it. The one good thing about doing more “Star Treks” than anyone else on the planet is it gave me the opportunity to really pick and choose the stuff that I want to do. Now I can just work with my friends. If something really interesting comes up, even if it’s not a huge part, I’ll say fine, I can do it. I’m at this point in my life where it’s not about the money. It’s about the project.
What’s cool for you to be working with somebody like Seth MacFarlane who’s been so super-successful in Hollywood and is also a gigantic fan of your work and “Star Trek”?
When you work with Seth, we occasionally talk “Star Trek,” and I don’t mind that. Most of the time we talk about many other things: We talk about comedy, we talk about music, we talk about what his plans for the future and all the different things and how he goes about directing and how he enjoys it. And we talk about flying, that I’m passionate about, we talk about all kinds of stuff. The interesting thing is it’s not just about “Star Trek,” but it’s funny. We all know that he’s a fan of the show. He knows the episodes, he knows the universe. Like I said, if it was just that, if it’s just him peppering us with questions, then it wouldn’t be as fun as it is.
As far as just playing comedy and getting to be silly, whether it involves “Star Trek” or not, is that something that you’ve had a real appetite for? You did get to do some subtly funny things on that show and in other points in your career.
Oh, yeah. I mean, I probably love comedy more than anything else. I’ve always felt that I had a contribution because most of the times when I get these jobs, in sitcoms and other things, they would say, you know, “Michael, you’re really funny.” I go, “Well, thank you. That’s why you hired me.” They go, “No, no, no – you’re really funny.
So I have an aptitude for it, and also, one of the things that happened with Worf is, the first year they had a scene in this one show, I did the line, and it was totally a deadpan, sort of nothing to it. And the producers flipped out. They ran it back. They said they ran it back 10 or 12 times and laughed their asses off, just because it happened really organically. That led to the Worf lines. Every year, they had one Worf line that they put in it that’s humor. So I enjoy, if I had to do anything, my favorite thing would be to do a sitcom – but a sitcom in front of a live audience. That to me is the best.
The last time we spoke, we talked about the #WeWantWorf campaign that was kind of happening at full speed. I’m curious, we know now that Paramount’s announced a vaguely defined new “Star Trek” series. Have you had any chance to get any definition from them as to the status of your idea?
We talked with them last year, the beginning of last year. I always tell the story that they didn’t say no. I always knew, and the people that I was working with, maybe they were a little optimistic about it, but I’m always kind of a realist. I said, “They’re going to do it or they won’t do it. Also, they own it. So they might want to do their own.” So when this came out, it wasn’t a big shock to me at all. I mean, everybody was calling me saying, “Hey, Michael, what do you think? What do you say now?” I think it’s an opportunity. I think it’s great for them.
But now that they’re not involved, or they’re not interested in what we’re doing, it’s an opportunity to take another track and go to another part of science fiction. Maybe do my own kind of “Star Trek.” We definitely have the backing. The fans are there; there’s a definite fan base. As long as it’s science fiction, I think we have a shot. I’ve always — maybe it’s my ego, but I always think, “You know, OK, if they don’t want us, we’ll just do something that’s better than theirs.”
I think your audience is still there with the appetite for whatever you want to bring them, which is cool.
Right. I think that I am Worf. No matter what happens, I think that there’s a certain amount of the fans that will follow the character, or the guy who plays the character. My Plan B is to do the character, have a character without makeup, of course, it would be me, and have him be just like Worf, just without the makeup. Have him be a strong, kind of warrior type guy that can’t wait to fight. He has a spiritual side and a sense of the society that he lives in and preserving that. So it’ll be Worf, just without the makeup.
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