Sunday, April 3, 2016

Colonel Philip Green: Star Trek’s Most Mysterious Villain?

Despite reappearing sporadically in Star Trek: Next Generation and in a couple of episodes in Star Trek: Enterprise, why is it that Col. Green remains a “mysterious” villain to the casual Trekkie?

By: Ringo Bones 

Despite the actor Philip Pine saying that Col. Green was one of the most recognizable villains of Star Trek, it seems that to younger Trek fans – especially those born after the last episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation aired back in 1994 – Colonel Philip Green is still a relatively obscure minor character that, to them, is probably reserved for high-stakes Star Trek trivia games. But despite his picture inexplicably appearing in TNG after Data was assimilating the Dixon Hill novels prior to participating in a Holodeck role-play in the episode The Big Goodbye, and a few episodes in the 21st Century era Enterprise, why is it that Col. Philip Green is still a relatively obscure and mysterious villain to the young Trekkie? 

When he first appeared in the original Star Trek series episode titled Savage Curtain, Colonel Philip Green was a despotic militia leader on Earth in the 21st Century during World War III, Green, known for his motto: “Overwhelm and devastate,” was notorious for striking at his enemies during treaty negotiations. During the war, Green led a faction of violent eco-terrorists whose actions led to the death of 37-million people. Barely two years after a cease-fire had ended the war Green ordered the euthanasia of thousands of radiation-sickened humans so they would not pass on mutations to future generations. Green outlined his rationale by speaking to a crowd about how they must “reject the impure and cast it out.” This act was met with mixed feelings by survivors, may regarding him nothing more than a genocidal madman. Others saw him as a pragmatic visionary who “humanely” euthanized radiation-afflicted individuals, preventing those afflicted and their descendents from passing on deadly mutations and the suffering that would come to that. (ENT: “Demons”) This controversial and posthumous view of Col. Green resulted in the heated debates about him and the impact of his policies for many years; among the students of Green’s teachings, years afterward, John Frederick Paxton made use of his ideologies to lead a group known as Terra Prime in an unsuccessful bid to expel all non-humans from the Sol System in 2155 (ENT:”Terra Prime”). 

As a Star Trek fan himself, Philip Pine – the actor who played Col. Philip Green when he first appeared in Star Trek TOS – was delighted to receive the role of Green, play the part, and be associated with it. “The character of Green was well-written,” he remarked. To the first generation of Trekkies, Col. Green proved extremely popular. Although Philip Pine had previously played many villains in television productions, he found Col. Green to be most often recognized by Trekkies at the time. “I think Colonel Green is probably well-remembered because he was such an unmitigated bastard,” Pine mused. “He had no redeeming qualities at all, none. The guy’s smile was even sinister! He probably had bad teeth and they hurt. Everything about him was bad.” Col. Green’s timeline in the Star Trek universe happened way after the Eugenics Wars / Gene Roddenberry's Sino Indian War of 1992 – 1996. 

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