Star Trek Voyager has been off the air for a decade, but actor Garrett Wang still has some issues with how the show was run, and how it was ended. In a new interview the Ensign Kim actor reveals how he feels about decisions made by show producers Brannon Braga and Rick Berman, including not getting a chance to be on the big screen.
Wang on Berman, Braga and no Voyager feature film
Garrett Wang spoke to the official Star Trek site about his life today and his life on board the USS Voyager for seven seasons as Ensign Harry Kim. He was very candid about some of his issues with the show, starting off with the whole perpetual Ensign thing, saying:
Kim was probed, beaten, tortured and held the distinction of being the first Voyager crew member to die and come back to life. What more does a guy have to do to get promoted to Lieutenant for frak’s sake? To add further insult to injury, other crew members such as Tuvok (Russ) and Paris were being promoted, demoted and then re- promoted throughout the seven-year run of Voyager.
I’m not trying to be negative here; just saying it like it is. During the fourth season, I called writer/producer Brannon Braga and asked him why my character hadn’t received a promotion yet. His response? “Well, somebody’s gotta be the ensign.” Geez, thanks. Thanks for nothing.
But Wang doesn’t just have a bone to pick with Brannon Braga, the actor also recalls a strange direction he received from show producer Rick Berman, saying:
When casting ended on Voyager, all the actors were invited by executive producer Rick Berman to attend a congratulatory luncheon. It was during this lunch that Berman informed us that he expected all actors portraying human roles to follow his decree. He told us that we were to underplay our human characters. He wanted our line delivery to be as military — and subsequently devoid of emotion — as possible, since this, in his opinion, was the only way to make the aliens look real.
My first thought was, “That’s not right! What the heck was Berman talking about? Was he pulling our legs? The human characters shouldn’t be forced to muffle their emotions. We were human, not androids!”
Wang goes on to say that he believes his revealing some of his concerns to a TV Guide reporter early in Voyager’s run "sealed the death" of any chance of him getting to direct an episode, noting "I was the first actor in Star Trek history to be denied the chance to direct."
Garrett Wang wishes Kim got promoted from Ensign (L), but he did get to be a captain in an alternate time line (R) at least
Like some actors from Star Trek: Enterprise, Wang seems to have issues with Voyager’s crew not getting the chance to get to the big screen (like the original Star Trek and Next Generation before). Here is Wang’s suggestion for a better version of Voyager’s finale:
If I was running Star Trek: Voyager, what I would have done is keep the first hour exactly the way it was and, the second hour, I would have taken the same kind of pacing as the first hour and then ended it with a caption on screen saying, “To be continued at a theater near you.” Then I would have done a two-hour feature film.
For much more from Wang, read the full interview: Part 1 and Part 2.
And for even more Wang, Syfy.de has released another clip of Wang from Fedcon XX, this time talking about lessons learned on location for Star Trek: Voyager.
OMG, a Voyager movie…someone please wake me up, I am having a nightmare, and it is a really bad one!
Captain of the USS Delusional!!!! even TNG struggled on the big screen Voyager struggled on TV only Jeri Ryan kept it on air for so long!!!
Bitterness does not become him. Albeit, slightly out of context and maybe some truth there, but still a bit undisciplined, wouldn’t you say?
Couldn’t have been any worse than Nemesis, and besides – Voyager actually needed to be 1 or 2 hours longer. That ending was…weak.
“he expected all actors portraying human roles to follow his decree. He told us that we were to underplay our human characters. He wanted our line delivery to be as military — and subsequently devoid of emotion — as possible, since this, in his opinion, was the only way to make the aliens look real.”
That explains just about everything.
Although gw has a point, he should look at the positives, being cast for a tv show that ran for 7yrs and know how lucky he was to be picked out of hundreds if not thousands of applicants.
Too bad GR wasnt around to make voyager good from the get go.
@2. Lighten up, Stef. People are allowed different opinions on the quality of the show.
Garrett, it’s not always a good idea to air differences with the boss publically. That said, I really don’t think Voyager was ever going to get the big screen treatment. There just isn’t a way to could turn an edisode of the show into a two hour movie, and make any kind of money on it.
I still think Nemesis would have been better served as a blow off to the dominion war and have like a mega movie with all three casts having something going on.
I can also see why that never happened as well, but I still like that idea better than the actual movie we got.
VGR and ENT were terrible.
Seriously? You had a career acting on Star Trek for seven years which gave you a steady paycheck, (more than what I make at my studio) and launched you out of complete obscurity and you COMPLAIN?
At least Garrett is honest.. That’s what I like most about him.
VOY sucked balls and Ensign Kim was the most boring character of all star trek series.
@13 Apparently, that’s because he was just following Berman’s orders, to the letter.
‘Tis an odd fellow who is offended because his fictional character is not promoted.
Why is it that every actor who says something negative about a show is considered “bitter” by the fans?
It’s obvious Garrett cares passionately about Trek. Whether all agree with him or not, it’s admirable that he’s willing to comport himself as a Trek fan/professional and not distance himself.
Ending Voyager with a feature film isn’t a bad idea, except that the movie would’ve sucked because the TV show sucked.
I do sympathise with Wang, however, about the poor choices of the people in charge of the show. His testimony only reinforces the conclusion that most fans drew long ago, however, which is that Rick Berman was a glorified bean-counter who tanked the franchise.
Let’s have the human characters devoid of emotion in order to make the aliens seem more real? Uhh…but don’t the emotionless humans, then, seem less real? But it’s better to have realistic alien characters than realistic human characters? Can you imagine Gene Roddenberry coming up with an idea like that? What’s the Andorian word for unimaginative?
Every article I read about Garrett, he’s complaining about everything the Star Trek Powers That Be did, and saying *he* absolutely could have done it all better if only he’d been in charge of the decision-making rather than being a lowly peon.
…He is a true-blue Trekkie! ONE OF US! ONE OF US!
(I do agree with him about the emotion thing.)
While the statements he made in some magazine probably did’nt help his chances of directing an episode of Voyager, he forgot to mention he was late on a few occasions turning up on set, I think I read before his character was nowhere to be seen in an episode as punishment? lol
What Garret said is proof that by Voyager Berman and Braga had no idea what they were doing. Look at Farscape and Doctor Who…neither series asks their actors to do what Berman does and they do or did perfectly fine! Same goes for Stargate!
I watched all of VOY (as well as TOS, TNG, DS9 & ENT) and enjoyed a lot of it but still have to wonder if there was enough of a following to warrant a cliff hanger movie. Other than FC, the TNG movies were weak overall and I wish it had stayed on TV. I would love to see that era represented in a 6 part miniseries that brings in elements from TNG, Titan, DS9, and VOY – maybe even New Frontiers. Not a “let’s-include-everyone-from-every-show-and-mash-it-all-together-into-fan-wank.” Just a big story that perhaps includes a story that originated in one show and it has evolved into something that affected some from another show as well as Starfleet Medical where Beverly or Bashir is and Starfleet Command where Adm. Picard or Jellico is. The Dominion War could be that element or something that happened during it. An 8-hour miniseries could cover many characters – some old and many new.
Problem with ds9, voyager and enterprise was over saturation.
Star Trek grew stale and the writers seemed bored, I really miss the TNG days, running home from school looking to see what the enterprise encountered and what cool civilizations, natural phenomenons or ethical dillemas the crew would face.
I never really enjoyed any of the ds9, voyager or enterprise characters or stories. The only one that stood out I think was 100th epis for voyager, timeless.
Instead of trying a space station, crew lost in space or a prequel series, why not just go with another big starship, bigger and more grand than the enterprise, a sulu series, kelvin or titan series would have been better, btw war stories are boring for tv, stick with what worked in tos and tng
We said goodbye to VGR long ago.
The Berman “no emotion for humans” mandate spells out SOOOOOOOO much about went wrong with Berman-era Trek.
Braga was damn right to keep one character as a Ensign, though. And you couldn’t pay me to see a VOY movie.
@23 we are a diverse fanbase, my opinions are practically the opposite of yours. I love DS9, VOY and ENT because of their characters and stories.
I do like TNG, it has some great episodes but I wouldn’t invest in DVDs and the TNG movies are good, espeically First Contact and Generations.
I can’t stand TOS and it’s movies :P
Ensign Kim was POORLY written. He was a kid who was by the book and wet behind the ears but very smart (seems like the standard on trek tv…) but he was written into the crewmember i couldnt stand watching. People complained about Wes Crusher but Kim was faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar more annoying and it was laughable to even see him commanding his own ship in the finale. He had the potential to be one of the brightest out of the entire crew if written better.
Then again, there were problems with the entire crew that I’m sure all of you are already aware of.
I would have seen it. We all would have seen it. Were Trekkies. That’s what we do.
@25. You nailed both issues, John:
(1) Voyager was an awful show largely because of Berman, the guy responsible for running the franchise into the ground;
(2) Wang is on of those “entitled’ type of employee who whines about everything and blames others for supposed injustices against him….not to mention him being frequently late to work and calling in sick much too frequently…and his actual talent level is not close to his self perception of it (think George Takei).
@28. No, I would not have paid to see a Voyager movie. As a ST Captain once said:
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! THE LINE MUST BE DRAWN HEEERE!!!!!
Even at Trek fans, we all have our limits beyond which we can be pushed. A Voyager movie would been my personal limit of what I could take from Berman and company.
@29 whoa whoa whoa….leave Takei out of this please. Yes there are times when he talks as if he’s God’s gift, but he’s light years ahead of GW (and not just because he was a member of the crew that started it all either). Trek VI gave everyone a glimpse at what he could do, where he’d progressed and what an Excelsior show (handled by the right ppl) could have given the fans of the Trek universe. it was a shame they never made it.
Whether it’s justified or not, I’m surprised MR Wang is bad mouthing his former producers while he’s out looking for a new job. I know I wouldn’t want to go to an audition or interview with the reputation of having a bad attitude.
i liked kim and yes it dose not make any sence that he still be an enisgn for 7 years and if it had been tng , ds9 he would have been pronoted
i still feel that voyager was the worste star trek programe it was the only time i looked at the actor and saw a bunch of people wearing silly custumes
and i agree that branon was a lot to blame just look atb enterprise when he left and manny took over just how much better did that get
as for a big screen of voyager no no no no no no times all the star in the univeres
Wang is hardly the first actor from Voyager to express displeasure with the behind-the-scenes stuff, and they almost uniformly identify Braga & Berman as the problem.
That being said, he’s living in a fantasy if he ever thought a Voyager movie was a real possibility.
He (Wang) makes some good points. The “decree”, if it happened just like that, is unfortunate. I’m not sure any of the last three spinoffs could have supported films.
@33 “I liked Kim and yes it dose not make any sense that he still be an ensign for 7 years and if it had been tng , ds9 he would have been promoted.”
Perhaps William Shatner held Ensign Kim’s promotion to Lieutenant up…you know, just like he held up Sulu’s promotion to Captain all those years.
“I was the first actor in Star Trek history to be denied the chance to direct.”
Not exactly true. Shatner and Nimoy both wanted to direct during the original series run and weren’t allowed to do so either.
I think all comments should start with ‘IMO’ and then proceed. That way if your negativity makes an arse out of yourselves it’s O.K. With all this, how can you call yourselves Trekkies, Trekkers, Star Trek Fanboys/girls and be so negative about so much? To be a Star Trek Fan means you accept it all, the good, the bad and the ugly but you don’t rant about it!
“IN MY OPINION’!
If I would have done anything differently it would have been getting the ship home a year sooner, so they could have a season to reaclimate back into society. I always wondered how the maquee would have been greeted. I also didn’t like the “Nelix can only be happy with his own kind” thing.
@38. Dude, these are anonymous posts on a web site. Of course they are opinions. Duh? You think we all starting facts here? WOW??? LOL
He wasn’t the only main character never to get promoted lol Miles O’Brien never got promoted in DS9…Sure, he was as high up as he could go, but I did always feel bad for him having to call Nog sir…
As for Voyager, it wasn’t as good as it could have been…And Harry Kim was fairly weak…But I still enjoyed Voyager. And would have watched it in the theatre..
38 – “To be a Star Trek Fan measn you accept it all, the good, the bad and the ugly but you don’t rant about it!”
What a sad, sad, sad statement.
Blind faith and adoration over stating your true feelings? Not what Star Trek was about in the least bit, unless you are using the Vulcan logic of the early years of “Enterprise”.
Me, I loved DS9 and TOS, liked TNG (felt the characters were a bit bland at times, and now I see why – Berman at work), disliked VOY and hated ENT. My perrogitive. The world’s big enough for me to say that without being a “bad Trekkie/Trekker/Star Trek fan”. Just like its the perrogitive the guy three posts from now who flames the ever-loving hell out of me for stating that _I_ hated Enterprise (how dare I?!?!) and that he thought DS9 was targ droppings.
WE HAVE OPINIONS!
WE ARE DIFFERENT!
What sickens me (besides, like Shatner, being told how to say “sabotage”) is that Trek is built on the concept of the IDIC – infinite diversity in infinite combinations – but very few “fans” are able to live by that edict.
Oh well. As old Fred Nutter used to say after his editorial commentary on the local NBC affiliate here in Maine, “That’s our opinion. We welcome yours.”
I seem to remember quite well during the entire run of Voyager, Garrett was always late to the Paramount Studios fo rehearsals and shooting his scenes.
There were other issues with Garrett The execs and producers had with him. There’s a lot more to it than poor Garrett’s side of the story.
Love his use of the word “frak”; nice to hear from another BSG fan….
It was kinda lame he was an ensign for so long, but it would have changed nothing about the show or the character.
#30MJ ===== Even though Picard said the line is drawn here, he did change his mind later on……
Mr. Wang is absolutely right about the dull human characters. If his story is true, that explains a great deal about Voyager (and probably Enterprise as well.) Ensign Kim was a poorly fleshed-out character portrayed by a not particularly impressive actor. But Kim should have been promoted when Paris was demoted in “Thirty Days”. There’s no consistent explanation that didn’t occur.
I for one would have screamed bloody murder if after seven years of faithful (sometimes painful) viewing, “Voyager” did not show us the crew getting back to Earth. “Sorry, go to the theater and pay us $7 to see how it turns out.”
…and the horse you rode in on, Mr. Wang.
@46. Well, there is that. :-)
#37 I take his comment of
“Star Trek” history to include not just the TV series but the movies as well….but yes I understand that he was referring to just the ST series on TV
#10….Ahhhhhh, but you did watch, didn’t you………..