Tag: David Ajala

A Cat Hails A Starship

Grudge the Cat is having a season of firsts on Star Trek: Discovery.

The floofy Maine Coon is the beloved companion of Cleveland Booker (David Ajala), a mercenary and cargo-runner who turns out to be a galactic do-gooder, stealing animals from the illegal interstellar wildlife trade and bringing them to the safety of sanctuary.

Considering the illegal wildlife trade is thriving and directly contributing to the extinction of many species here on Earth, it’s not a stretch at all to imagine people in the future would pay a hefty premium on ultra-exotic pets from alien worlds. The Booker/Grudge storylines may even prompt more people to pay attention to what’s happening here on our own world.

In Thursdays episode (mild spoilers ahead), the crew of the Discovery receive a hail from outside the cloaked and secret Federation headquarters of the 32nd century. Anyone with the top-secret location of the base — and the ability to hail ships within it — must be VIP or have urgent business, so the acting captain orders the hail on screen, and the entire bridge crew braces as the image resolves into…

…floofy Grudge sticking her face into the camera.

The cast does an excellent job of looking befuddled and amused at a cat contacting the Discovery on a priority channel when they were likely expecting Orions or Andorians or any number of antagonists.

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Grudge looking regal on the bridge of Booker’s ship.

And so, for the first time in Star Trek history, a cat has hailed another starship.

It turns out Booker, anticipating trouble on a dangerous mission, set his ship to auto-return to Discovery’s Commander Michael Burnham if he didn’t make it back in time. That sets up the episode’s main plot in which Burnham goes to rescue Book.

The best line of the night goes to Michelle Yeoh’s Commander Phillipa Georgiou: “That cat can’t get lost. It has its own gravity field!”

That’s floof, not fat, Georgiou!

Grudge is referred to as a female cat in the show, but she’s played by Leeu, a two-year-old, 18-pound male Maine Coon.

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Ayala as Booker with his beloved Grudge.

Star Trek: Discovery Casts A Handsome Maine Coon

A regal Maine Coon is the newest cast member of CBS’ Star Trek: Discovery, continuing the proud tradition of felines serving aboard Starfleet vessels throughout the franchise’s half century of existence.

Leeu, an 18-pound fluffster, will play Grudge, the feline companion to David Ajala’s new character, Cleveland Booker. Science fiction fans may remember Ajala from his excellent performances in 2016’s Kill Command, about a military AI gone rogue, and Captain Roy Eris in 2018’s Nightflyers, which was based on a short story by George R.R. Martin.

“We put out a casting call for a large cat … and he fit the bill. So far he seems to be a one-take wonder,” said Leslie Lawrence, one of Leeu’s trainers.

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Grudge making himself comfortable in the captain’s chair on Discovery.

For Discovery’s crew, getting a solid acting performance out of Leeu isn’t much different than a photographer getting a cat to pose for a picture.

“Everybody says that their cat can make a good set cat,” Lawrence said. “But it does take a specific animal to be able to stay cool and calm and collected, because when cats are done, they’re done.”

Find out more about Grudge in the video below: