Actor Duncan Regehr Discusses His Glorious Moment as Star Trek’s ‘Sex Candle Ghost’

Duncan Regehr as Ronin.
Duncan Regehr as Ronin.
Image: CBS/Viacom

“Sub Rosa” was a very strange episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, an old-school gothic adventure featuring a haunted candle, a ghastly Casanova, and just enough scifi nonsense to keep the whole thing from being magic.


That Casanova, who used the power of being a sexy alien ghost to seduce Dr. Beverly Crusher and her grandmother, was named Ronin, and was played by Canadian actor Duncan Regehr, who also played Shakaar on Deep Space Nine. Recently, Trek Movie sat down with the actor to get his take on Ronin and his seductive powers, all these years later. All in all, he was a good sport about it.

“Ronin was the quintessential romantic figure,” Regehr said. “Byronesque and a bit like Dracula, in a parasitical way. I really enjoyed the role and the idea of two lovers enjoined as one being… also working with Jonathan Frakes. We were neighbors at the time. He has a wonderful sense of humor and a highly optimistic approach. As a director he’s an actor’s dream.”

The whole cast, Regehr said, was a delight to work with, and even though the episode was a whole mess, he seemed to find a lot of joy working on it.

“And beautiful Gates [McFadden, who played Dr. Crusher],” Regehr said, “what a pleasure! Full of ideas, she is one intelligent thespian, as is Patrick [Stewart]. I recall our first meeting: He stood in front of me and looked straight into my eyes, challenging me in a friendly way to hold his gaze, which I did. I said, ‘Give us a kiss then!’ and he replied, ‘Oh you’ll do!’”

Now I’m imagining a wonderful fanfic world where Ronin seduces Picard instead of Crusher. And as for the colloquial name of “sex candle ghost”? He’d never heard of it, but Regehr seems like a fan.


“‘Sex candle ghost’? I didn’t know it was called that, but I like the title, and love the notion that the episode is both affectionately lauded and critically derided… gives it an air of notoriety, very Hollywood headline-sounding. Sex Scandal Ghost… haunts bedrooms, ignites darkest passions!

At least, until he gets outed as an alien energy being and his candle gets blown to hell.


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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.


Brian Burns

Okay, so I have a weird theory about this episode. We know how Ron Moore was a big wig on TNG at this time, and we know that Ron Moore is running Outlander these days. I wonder considering whole Scottish motif and torrid romance elements, if Moore had starting reading the series this far back (first novel was 1991, Sub Rosa aired in 1994). And this episode was influenced by Outlander, a series he wouldn't get a chance to officially adapt for another 20 years. Has anyone read anything from Moore regarding this?