Harcourt Fenton Mudd appears in a total of six episodes across four separate Star Trek series: Star Trek, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: Discovery, and Star Trek: Short Treks. He was portrayed by Roger C. Carmel in the Original and Animated Series and by Rainn Wilson in Discovery and Short Treks. Harry wears a different costume in each appearance and playing with layers and colors, a total of about a dozen different looks.
I want to start with his last appearance, in the Short Treks episode “The Escape Artist” because it gives us different versions of Mudd in the same shot:
This image is an excellent summary of Harry’s Basic Fashion Aesthetic: layers, leather, buckles and belts, epaulets, and color. He is, put simply, a Space Pirate.
The Original Series Era
Harry’s first appearance is the early (and to my tastes, terrible) TOS episode “Mudd’s Women”.
On twitter I described this as “Vaguely Shakespearean Disco Cowboy”. The outfit makes sense in context: Harry is delivering wifeys to miners, in a 1966 space show. The hat, belt, boots and trousers are stylized but standard for a western. The blouse is truly something. It’s puffy, it’s quilted, it’s coral, it’s a v-neck that puts Jean-Luc to shame — it’s amazing.
But Harry really steps it up in his second episode “I, Mudd”.
It’s clear Harry wants his clothing to help tell his story. He dressed like a cowboy to sell ladies to lonely miners (gross) and he dresses like a conquerer to sell the Enterprise crew to curious robots (still gross, but more fun).
The bones are the same: wide leg trousers, thick belt, tall boots, plunging neckline. But there he pulled out the hat and here, he’s added all that bling. There’s trim on the pants. There’s hair on his chest. A purple belt that matches the wall. Medals and cords and, incredibly, epaulets. It’s Sleazy Napoleon (read about Napoleanic influence on fashion here) and he surrounds himself with Robotic Rockettes.
His animated appearance, “Mudd’s Passion” (which is his last in the chronological timeline) is a version of the same.
Again, the bones remain the same. In this look the boots are the clear star. I want to see live action versions SO BADLY. Has anyone cosplayed this? Please send pictures.
But other than (legitimately amazing) boots and the even brighter colors (that absolutely pop in the animation), this is the same look as the “I, Mudd” one.
The Modern Era
Then 44 years later Harry resurfaces in Discovery‘s “Choose Your Pain”. In context, Mudd’s Disco era episodes predate his TOS appearances. I vividly remember hating the casting announcement. No slight to Rainn Wilson; I’ve never seen The Office so I honestly did not know who he was. I felt that Harry Mudd didn’t deserve to resurface. He was awful in the 60s, he’d be worse in 2017. And to be completely honest I still think he was an unnecessary addition to the series in every way. But I liked him better in the modern era, and I think I liked him best in “Choose Your Pain” where he came off as an analogue to Benicio Del Toro’s DJ in The Last Jedi (and now I ship them).
Wilson’s Mudd is quintessentially the space pirate. The coat (which you can buy) is magnificent and clearly cost more than the total ever spent on the TOS version. It’s quilted like his first look but vaguely Napoleanic/Georgian/Regency like the latter ones. Would anyone read my Harry/Stella Pride & Prejudice AU?
He’s also wearing layers and an abundance of jewelry. I think it’s my favorite Mudd look as well as my favorite Mudd episode. It’s colorful and intricate and over the top but also very serious. Just like Disco!
Harry reappears a couple episodes later in “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad”.
This episode is quite popular but my least favorite of that first season. I find it mean-spirited. And while I LOVE Stella, I hate the end. Harry Mudd endangers an endangered creature, terrorizes the Discovery crew, and straight up murders people in multiple time lines and his punishment is being reunited with his wife. WHAT THE ACTUAL F*CK.
Anyway, he wears potentially his best outfit EVER to infiltrate the ship:
It’s a Space! version of The Tick and I love it. NEON BIB.
Also in “Choose Your Pain” he has a robot spider and here he’s dressed as a bug and then later he has and is a robot man. I just super appreciate how none of this makes sense individually but all of it makes sense put together.
Beneath the bug his outfit is pretty simple. But look at his jazz hands. He’s still wearing an overabundance of rings. Harry Mudd is actually incapable of not caring about his appearance.
Which brings us back to his Short Trek. [SPOILER ALERT] There are a shipful of Mudds terrorizing Starfleet in his Short Trek appearance. One real and any number of android copies. This is both absurd and genius. Absurd because it suggests he was in contact with the android planet long before he hijacked the Enterprise and I don’t know why he would bother with his woman-selling if he had AN ANDROID ARMY. Genius because Smart AND Smarmy Harry Mudd is ten thousand times more interesting than Smarmy and Smarmier Harry Mudd.
Most of what Harry’s copies wear are copies of what Harry wears in “Magic…” with the exception of what is clearly a prison uniform provided to him by the Orions. (Only vaguely related but I’m still annoyed that Harry doesn’t reappear on Kronos in the final episode of Discovery‘s first season.)
But the best part is he wears BLUE in “Magic…” and then
YELLOW in “Escape Artist”. He wears Star Trek uniform colors in progression!!!
My other favorite thing is that the “Mudd’s Women” Women’s dresses show up on the androids in “I, Mudd”.
“I, Mudd” is a truly spectacular episode for costuming all around.
Harry has a clear Space Pirate aesthetic. He wears clothes that resemble a uniform but also mock uniformity. And he likes layers, colors, and accessories. He imagines himself a romantic hero, businessman, and commoner king and dresses the part.
To achieve “The Harcourt Fenton Mudd” choose a straight legged pant, a peasant blouse with a v-neck, a wide belt, tall boots, a plethora of rings, and a military jacket. Choose bright primary colors. Embrace gold. When you think you’re done add one more thing.
This fashion project was commissioned by Fran. Commissions are OPEN.