Clint Howard is the only actor to have had a role in both the original series (The Corbomite Maneuver as Balok) and in Star Trek: Discovery (the Orion in Will You Take My Hand?).
The fifty-two year span “puts me in Mickey Rooney territory,” said Howard, “I’ve just been doing this so long. The coincidences are going to start to become the reality. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal when I made Star Trek, because nobody knew what it was going to become.”
Howard interviewed when he was seventeen for the Luke Skywalker role in Star Wars, and at the audition, had a big name remember his role in Star Trek. “I got an interview to go meet George Lucas and read for Star Wars,” he said. “Very preliminary interview. It was at Fox and I remember seeing Mark Hamill there. I’d seen him at other auditions. Francis Coppola was in the room, which makes your jaw drop because he’s a big man. Not physically, although he’s not small. It’s just he’s got a huge presence.
“All of the sudden I’m going, ‘This is the big leagues here.” Coppola is looking at me…George was turned away from me in a big leather chair, and just like in the movie he spun around in his leather chair and we made eye contact and the first thing out of his mouth was, ‘Commander Balok, Corbomite Maneuver.’ In retrospect, it was pretty cool, but when you’re seventeen years old and trying to get an adult part in an adult film, to have the director make a reference about your work as a six or seven-year-old tends to throw you off your game.”
Howard got his part on Discovery due to his brother’s friendship with Akiva Goldsman. “Akiva Goldsman is a very close friend of my brother Ron and they’ve collaborated and they’ve won Oscars together,” he said. “…A couple of months before, Akiva called and said, ‘Hey, I’m going to direct a new Star Trek show. Would you be interested in doing it?'”
Working with Mary Chieffo was a positive experience. “Working with Mary; she’s really good,” said Howard. “I always appreciate when an actor has the ability to shift gears and change up on the fly and have the thing get better, and she did. It was wonderful.”
Would he come back if asked? “Oh sure,” he said. “…the fact that it’s Star Trek is a yes at the drop of a hat.”