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Christopher Plummer attends the New York Screening « Boundaries » at the Roxy Cinema in New York City on June 11, 2018.
Christopher Plummer, best known for his lead role in The Sound of Music, has died at the age of 91. Although the cause of his death is not yet known, Deadline reported that his wife was with him when he died at their Connecticut home.
As fans of Star Trek: The Original Series know, Plummer was also a member of the Star Trek Family. Plummer played the villain General Chang in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Land. He has also voiced the character in two Star Trek video games. Although Plummer appeared only once in the Star Trek universe, his contribution to the canon was enormous.
Plummer’s General Chang was a different breed of Klingon than Star Trek fans before. He was a warrior, of course, but he was also an intellectual. The character often quoted Shakespeare and gave Trek fans the highly quotable line: « You didn’t experience Shakespeare until you read it in the original Klingon. » Chang turned out to be a formidable prosecutor during the Enterprise crew trial . He was also exposed as a brilliant strategist when Spock discovered he was one of the brains behind the conspiracy to frame the Enterprise for attacking the Klingon peace delegation.
Plummer’s portrayal of the vicious, clever, Shakespeare-spitting Klingon was made by Well received by fans and critics alike. The New York Times raved about Plummer’s ability to show off his classic acting skills under so much makeup in a science fiction movie. The Washington Post praised Plummer’s ability to find the line between serious action and « the boastful bravery of an accomplished ham ».
The general consensus of film critics at the time was that Plummer had managed to turn all the gravitas of his classic training into a science -Fiction movie and somehow it worked.
CRY HAVOC! #RIP to # StarTreks General Chang himself, actor Christopher Plummer, who passed away this week at the age of 91.
Nicholas Meyer was the spirit behind The Undiscovered Country. He developed the story, which was written by Leonard Nimoy, wrote the screenplay and directed the film. In a 2014 interview with StarTrek.com, Meyer revealed that the part was written specifically for Plummer by Chang.
Meyer told the outlet that he had « always been a fanatical Christopher Plummer fan ». He was listening to audio recordings of Plummer playing Shakespeare and this was where the idea for Chang came to him. He wrote the role and when the script went to the casting crew he insisted that they get Plummer to play the role. Meyer even went so far as to tell them that he couldn’t do the film at all without Plummer.
However, Plummer wasn’t entirely sure whether the role was the right career move. On the Blu-Ray Extras for The Undiscovered Country, Nimoy shared that he had to call Plummer several times to convince him to take on the role. Plummer feared he would be taken less seriously as the villain in a science fiction movie under all that makeup. Apparently, Plummer eventually gave in and figured out a way to make the role work for him. His career was clearly unscathed as he appeared in multiple film and television roles.
Plummer is missing from Star Trek fans around the world. A remake of The Undiscovered Country would be a fitting tribute to the Star Trek legend.
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