Of all the episodes in the first season of Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access, arguably the most inventive and adventures was the seventh, “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad.” CBS seemed to think highly of the episode as it was shown to Emmy voters during Discovery’s “For Your Consideration” campaign. As such, it may come as some surprise to fans that the episode went through a last-minute rewrite before filming.
“Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad” brought back Rainn Wilson for his second episode playing Harry Mudd. This time, Mudd had his hands on a device that would allow him to keep looping time and he was out for revenge on Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) after Lorca left Mudd behind while escaping a Klingon prison ship.
During a panel at Star Trek Las Vegas, Wilson explained that he was surprised when he showed up on Discovery’s Toronto set to find that most of the script for the episode that he had received just a week earlier had been jettisoned.
“It was pretty early on in the series and there had been some writer turnover,” Wilson recalled (via Trek Movie). “They were really finding their sea legs as a series. So, a lot of it was scrapped and rewritten at the last minute, or the three or four days before we started shooting, there was a mammoth rewrite on that Mudd stuff.”
Despite that, Wilson had nothing but praise for the work that writer Ted Sullivan did for the episode.
“I just want to give a shout-out to a very special writer on the current staff named Ted Sullivan,” Wilson said. “He is really something. He flew in from LA and he really helped me a lot, with the character and with the plotting. The directors were great as well, but he is a great resource in the Star Trek universe. I really enjoyed working with him. I think he really got Harry Mudd’s voice and he is a great asset to that writer’s room.”
Wilson worked closely with the Star Trek: Discovery writers to bring the character of Harry Mudd, played originally by Roger C. Carmel in Star Trek: The Original Series, into a new era.
“I talked a lot to the writers about what the Star Trek: Discovery universe was,” Wilson said. “It is a time of war with the Klingons, and it is much darker, and it needs to reflect our modern times…We talked a little bit about the role that Harry Mudd would play and what he is up to and I knew I had to bring a kind of edge to him, that hadn’t been in the character previously, in order to make him fit in. If you took Roger Carmel and put him into Discovery it wouldn’t work.”
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The first season of Star Trek: Discovery is available to stream in its entirety on CBS All Access in the U.S., through CraveTV in Canada and through Netflix in other international markets.
Star Trek: Discovery Season Two is now filming in Toronto and will premiere in early 2019.