STLV 2015: After 20 years, entire Voyager crew makes it home to Las Vegas

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To uproarious applause, the entire cast of Voyager took the stage of the Las Vegas Rio on Saturday to talk to fans, tell jokes, and reminisce on the show’s 20th anniversary.

Robert Beltran, Garrett Wang, Ethan Phillips, Jeri Ryan, Kate Mulgrew, Roxann Dawson, Robert Picardo, Tim Russ, and Robert Duncan McNeill lined up for quick introduction and a lot of questions. Of all the different shows’ casts, Voyager’s is famous as the most collegial – and they did not disappoint a full crowd of fans.

“It’s like nothing’s changed,” McNeill said. “Except Bob’s hairline.”

Picardo quipped, “What was there to change?”

Dawson noted that everything was the same, “except now we’re all bringing out adult children along with.”

When Mulgrew rose to address the crowd, she had to wait because of the applause.

To her crew she said, “You guys were there for me from the beginning. I was not the first choice. I came in shot out of a cannon. Something happens when you’re in the trenches together for seven years. It transcends friendship. It was a great privilege to work with you.”

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“Technically I’m cheating because it’s only my 17th anniversary,” Ryan said. “It is amazing how it feels like no time has passed. It’s barely controlled chaos at any given moment when you get us together.”
Indeed one of the agents of that chaos was Phillips. A running gag throughout the panel was Phillips’ tongue in cheek claims of delusional grandeur, including starring in F Troop, studying philosophy at Yale, writing for every Star Trek series (except TNG), and being lovers with Avery Brooks for several years.

“I’d prefer not to talk about that,” he deadpanned.

“When we started this show, Captain Crunch was just a private,” Phillips joked, but sincerely added, “It is a joy to be with you. I love all these guys and I have since I met them.”

Wang said that of all the conventions he’s done, this is the first one that gave him butterflies in his stomach.

“I guess I could sum it up in two words,” he pulled up a George Takei mask and said, “Oh myyyy.”

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But are they fans of the other shows…
One fan asked if they were fans of the other shows within the franchise.

“No,” Mulgrew said, to which Dawson quickly added, “I became a fan really fast.”

“Oh yes, me too,” Mulgrew amended.

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Dawson shared that she grew up with William Shatner’s daughter, Leslie, and always wanted to play outside with her, but Leslie always just wanted to watch reruns of her father on Star Trek – so that had left a bad taste in her mouth from the franchise.

Wang noted that although he had always been a big science fiction fan, he wasn’t a fan of the modern incarnations of Trek. The first one he caught was Code of Honor, generally regarded as the worst episode ever. (Indeed, Michael Dorn had ragged on the episode earlier in the day.)

“Every line, every scene was garbage,” he said. So he stopped watching. He tried it again nine months later and it was a rerun of Code of Honor. Then two years later, he tried again and it was … Code of Honor.

“I realized God was telling me ‘Don’t become a fan of TNG!’ Because I would have been too nervous to audition for Voyager. So really, God helped me get on Voyager.”

They also all said they don’t rewatch Voyager, except perhaps with their children. Ryan says her son is a big fan and Russ has only watched translations in German and Spanish. Dawson noted that her kids tried to watch it too, but couldn’t get over the forehead.

Mulgrew doesn’t rewatch Voyager. “It’s not rewarding to look back. It’s important to live in the moment.”

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Favorite memories…
The crew were asked to cite their favorite memories from the series. Ryan said it was the inauguration of her character’s new astrometric labs. She recounted that some of the actors performed the Lord of the Dance on it, which spurred an impromptu dance recital.

Wang said he and McNeil would play a game of throwing their comm badges at each other to see if they could get the Velcro to stick. Mulgrew got involved and landed a comm badge on her first attempt, then announced, “I’m the captain” and walked off.

Mulgrew asked McNeil which of the episodes he’d directed was his favorite. McNeil said, “I think the episode Kate’s probably thinking about is the first episode I ever directed: Sacred Ground. Kate was phenomenal in that episode. It was a big story for Janeway and there was some real nuance. Then Bob Picardo in Someone to Watch Over Me.”

Phillips shared his one secret as an actor for the first time in 20 years. “My secret was that Neelix had a crush on Captain Janeway.”

The audience gave out a huge “aww” as the two embraced, but Dawson and Ryan each quipped “I thought it was me!”

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Picardo discussed the episode Real Life, where he simulates a holographic family for himself. The episode started off as Father Knows Best, then it became Married With Children, and it finished as ER, the actor observed.

“The Doctor was a bit of a windbag. He thinks he would be a terrific husband and father and I believe it was B’Elanna Torres changed it to teach him a lesson,” Picardo said. “The lesson is very clear that life brings us surprises,” he said wistfully. “The older I get the more I realize that nobody knows anything.”

Phillips told about getting his friend Brad Dourif on the show to play the Betazoid killer Suder, but amongst all his tall tales people doubted it. Picardo said, “Ethan, you told a heart-felt story, but no one is going to believe you!”

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One day on set Wang and Ryan were moving to reshoot a scene and Wang grabbed her elbow to gentlemanly lead her back to position between takes. What he grabbed was, however, not her elbow.

Later in the day, Ryan appeared on set with post-it notes on her costume: one to indicate her elbow and the other labelling her chest as “not an elbow.”

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Fans ask the tough questions…
One fan asked what it would have been like for Janeway to have children.

“I did have children on that ship,” she joked and looked at her assembled shipmates. She then reminded the crowd about how she and Tom Paris had children as giant lizards in the much ballyhooed episode Threshold.

“Let me tell you,” McNeil interjected. “If you take some mind-altering substance and watch that episode, you’ll enjoy it.”

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Another fan asked if Beltran as a person was more like Chakotay or a gigolo he’d played on the stage a few years ago. Mulgrew interrupted, “I think Seven of Nine married the Commander, but Captain Janeway had the gigolo.”

One fan asked, “It’s been 20 years, can Harry Kim finally get a promotion?”

Mulgrew deadpanned, “Hope springs eternal.”

Manu Intiraymi, the actor who played Icheb, surprised everyone by asking the panel to share their wisdom from years of experience as actors.

Picardo’s wisdom was, “I know that I’ll never be able to spell your last name.”

Another fan posited a theory that the Borg were grooming Janeway to become the next Borg queen and that he wanted to see the story of Future Janeway becoming assimilated and if Seven would join her.

“I think you were very prescient, but that story has already been written,” Janeway joked. “By the great Ethan Phillips!”

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aqua77002

Would have been nice if Jennifer Lien had been there in order to make a complete cast reunion.

Kevin

Any comments on Jennifer Lien?

Visitor1982

Did Ryan and Mulgrew have an heart to heart together before this thing? They couldn’t get along at all during Voyager.

Juan De La Fuente

Wonderful!! touching moment of course! healthy envied of people who could attend. greetings from Argentina!

Ralph Daay

Visitor1982…
Now don’t get me wrong I am #teamjaneway all the way… But to answer your question, I imagine that Kate has mellowed somewhat working on Orange is the new Black. Lord only knows how she’s probably had to humble self, as other less skilled actresses take center stage. She is working with younger prettier girls and maybe learning how to share a little bit better… suddenly respectful, team-player Ryan doesn’t seem so bad to her.

Kevin…
I’m sad there doesn’t seem to be an acknowledgement of Jennifer Lien either. For years now, I’ve listened to radio interviews, podcasts, read articles and trawled forums to learn why she was gotten rid of, and then happily returned for that strange episode… Wang has been so candid about Kate’s resentment toward Ryan, as has Ryan! I wish someone would finally shed some light on why Kes was kicked off.

Diego

And Jennifer Lien? Greetings from Buenos Aires, Argentina!

Prodigal Son

A very good group of actors. I feel bad for the that the writers and producers gave them such a piss-poor creative canvas to work with. These talented, great people deserved better than that.

Monty Tabor

I used to bash this show…now I just miss Star Trek. My Dad (who never took an interest in this stuff) said that he liked Voyager….I will always remember that. He died in 1997. Star Trek is like a clock for me now…time passes…Trek is eternal. We are not.

Monty Tabor

It has been and ever shall be part of my life…

I never got into Voyager, watched all of it once; only enjoyed the Sulu, 7 of 9 intro, and finale…

Snugglepuff

Ryan looks as beautiful as ever

Mawazi

Loved Voyager. My wife and I binge watched it in about 3 months. Maybe that’s the best way to experience it. The concept was very good. Star Trek needed a show in which Starfleet and the UFP were not there to come to the rescue and even communication was out of the question.

stallion

I have fond memories growing up watching Voyager and Deep Space Nine. After rewatching it the actors/characters are so likeable. Voyager did have it rough with UPN not really liking the lost in space premise of the show. Through out the seven year run I feel like Voyager was able to squeeze in themes and episode that dealt with it Lost in space premise.

kmart

I love the concept of VOYAGER, but the execution … no. The whole thing of having to live with the consequences of your decisions is very hit&miss, plus with the magicbox tech, everything stays clean-looking and you don’t get the idea these folks are struggling (which is my problem with pretty much all 24th century trek, and why I admire DS9 for struggling to get a sense of reality-one-can-relate-to into a life-is-just-too-damn-easy-for-you-so-I-can’t-relate RoddenberryLand.)

Herb Flynn

Jennifer’s absence is sadly noticeably :(

Tony Todd's Tears

In reference to Jennifer Lien. She made a con appearance a few years ago. She is of course a little older now, and had gained some weight. I’m not sure what the response at the con was, but the comments here on Trekmovie when the photos were post were incredibly disrespectful and inappropriate.

She has been retired from acting since becoming a Mom in 2002. From what I understand she has made a few appearances, but not many.

Cygnus-X1

10. kmart – August 9, 2015

I love the concept of VOYAGER, but the execution…

I agree.

Imagine what VOYAGER might have been if Ron Moore had gotten free reign of it to execute his vision of a lone ship out in the far reaches of the galaxy far from home, which he later applied to his BSG. VOYAGER could potentially have been awesome.

Brannon Braga has been very responsible in assuming the blame for VOYAGER—and during the latter years of the series, when he was the showrunner, he would seem to have been responsible for the poor writing done by his staff—but, VOYAGER actually got better during the years that Braga was running the show. It was consistently worse in the early years when Jeri Taylor was the showrunner. Still, somehow both Taylor and Braga managed to consistently produce shows with the same sort of writing flaws, show after show. It’s really remarkable and I’m honestly curious as to how they managed such consistently poor writing. The pattern was that an episodic theme would be introduced and would start to be developed, and then suddenly the thematic development would just end, as though the writers hit a deadline and had to hand in unfinished scripts. Episode after episode exhibits the exact, same pattern of the bottom dropping out of the thematic development, often giving way to a deus ex machina technobabble resolution to whatever crisis was set up earlier in the story. The only two episodes that Ron Moore ran or co-ran were the two parts of Year of Hell, which stands out as a highlight of the series. Generally speaking, though, VOYAGER is frustrating. So much potential gone unrealized.

Vokar

Jennifer Lien was the only female cast member who brought me in to watch the show when it was on teevee. Without her, I quit watching. That was the last Trek series to be of any interest to me.

Monty Tabor

Voyager’s most intriguing episode was “Distant Origins”. This whole notion got me to thinking if such a think were really possible.

Anthony Thompson

I enjoyed the show tremendously and I liked Jennifer Lien very much. The writers didn’t serve her well.

GSTrekfan

Well some people can say what they think were Voyager’s “faults,” that’s their opinion, and the show’s many fans might not agree, of course. And there have been articles written about how Voyager was perhaps more like TOS than other Trek series. Not that Voyager was a perfect show, nothing is, but many people enjoyed watching it and still do now. PS I’m glad Ron Moore wasn’t the Voyager producer, another DS9 IMO we didn’t need, but JMO.

Lore

I remember when Jennifer Lien made an appearance at a con, and the comments on this site were disgraceful. If she had come back there would be the same comments. The reason she was taken off the show was obvious. They needed some sex appeal to keep up ratings. Jeri Ryan was cast with a good back story for her character, there seemed no sense in keeping Lien’s character. Kes was too bland and her abilities were boring. Lien was a good actress though.

brianhead

The brain is an organ that is beyond understanding. So its innerworks and hardwiring from logic to emotions is almost impossible to duplicate…Everyone is going to have a different opinion. What someone hates about a concept in Voyager, another can absolutely love…I have seen proofs in logic, inductively sway one way to the other, by someone step by step, using sound premises and a sound conclusion based on their version of defintions…

Yes, there is a convention of rules for what is well written and what is not…

But no one here knows it…Or no one here has established, “Here’s why it is bad’ : …and then here is a good example of how it should be done…etc

Mike

Voyager, along with DS9 are my favorite series. It is good to see them all together.

Thank you so much for this article! I love Voyager, and I’m so happy I could read about this since I couldn’t be there myself. <3

Katie

First there bever was animosity between Kate and Jeri. Someone started that rumor as Jeri didn’t attend any Convention for the first 10 year after Voyager went off the air due to a stalker issue. It just so happened Kate did. I saw those 2 during the Voyager Op Kate barely let go of Jeri’s hands between takes. They even shared a drawn out hug in the beginning and end of the OP gathering. I don’t need to say anything about the stage appearance we all saw it who went.

As for the one question that was posed about Janeway being groomed to be the next Borg queen…she WAS the Borg queen in the new Voyager novels. I recommend reading them she is one heck of a Borg Queen. But alas she is saved and become human again as well as a Vice Admiral.

awww it was lovely for you all to be together again… I love each and every star trek series… the amazing thing is the casting for each … as all have been fabulous… thank you for taking on these roles, for doing Voyager, it did and continues to entertain me…. You guys rock all of you… and I wish you all continued happiness, love, laughter and good health… :) For the folks missing Jennifer Lien… please know she retired from acting and voice over work in 2000, a little later she had her son, she choose to stay home with him… and you can’t fault her for that… :) Have a fabulous day everyone…

Jerr

@26 “First there bever was animosity between Kate and Jeri. Someone started that rumor ” Jeri had an audio interview last year(?) saying Kate was terrible to her on set.

Well, whatever the truth is, I hope that Jeri and Kate have had a heart to heart and buried the hatchet. Life is too short to hold onto grudges for almost two decades. If Wyatt Cenac and Jon Stewart can kiss and make up, can’t Jeri and Kate?!

The cast looks terrific–every one of them. I hope they enjoyed the reunion as much as us and the audience did.

Ahmed

=======================

Brannon Braga @BrannonBraga

With my Voyager cast at STLV! Photo bombed by Marina Sirtis.@STLV

https://twitter.com/BrannonBraga/status/630816808337960960

^^^ Love it!

And after all, Marina *did* guest star on three episodes of ST:VOY. 8-)

BatlethInTheGroin

Jared Whitley: Your headline is incorrect since Jennifer Lien wasn’t there. You should really change it, as it’s an insult to Lien to call the assembled group the “entire Voyager crew.”

BatlethInTheGroin

#26: You are incorrect. Ryan herself is on record as saying that Mulgrew was horrible to her on set.

Monty Tabor

Guess you gotta have a starship called Enterprise to get a movie…that’s kinda sad…it is what it is…

Cygnus-X1

I’m glad to see that there are no hard feelings between KM and JR.

Here’s the story of the strife on VOYAGER (and more), according to Ms. Ryan a couple years ago. It’s a very good interview all the way through: http://girlonguy.net/podcast/girl-on-guy-100-jeri-ryan/

TOMUTIONMYHA

Sadly, from reading the article it looks like Robert Beltran reprised his last 2 years as Chakotay and just sat on the bridge with nothing to say! ;(

Debbie Freake

I love the show It airs where I am all the time. I watch it everyday and every year. & I don’t think the writers did too bad of a job, since it still airs all over the world 20 years later

Debbie

Love Voyager great to see the cast together. Would have loved to have been there. Hope they are all planning to be there next year STLV 2016 as a small group of us are travelling from Australia.

BatlethInTheGroin

Voyager, in my opinion, is a very mixed bag. I enjoyed it and still do, but it was all over the place. It had some great characters portrayed by solid actors (Seven, Tuvok, the Doctor, Seska and the Borg Queen), some good actors playing weakly written characters (Neelix and Paris) some potentially good characters ruined by severe over-acting (Janeway and Torres–though I think Mulgrew is FANTASTIC on Orange Is the New Black), some characters that are too bland to care about (Kes, Kim and the Wildmans), and some poorly conceived characters played by bad actors (Icheb and Chakotay). Plus, the writing is often godawful. I still watch it, but for my money, it’s the weakest corner of the Star Trek universe.

BatlethInTheGroin

I notice that the site admins still haven’t fixed the incorrect headline. Come on, guys!

Disinvited

#40. BatlethInTheGroin – August 12, 2015

I support yours and others’ calls that Lien’s absence be addressed. However, perhaps Whitley’s thinking here is that Naomi Wildman, Neelix and Kes were from the Delta quadrant and so they left home and in no way made it there?

The Wildman role was shared by 4 different actresses representing various stages of that character’s maturity and yet I don’t recognize a one of them in this coverage, either.

BatlethInTheGroin

#41: The difference is that Naomi was a minor character among many minor characters. Kes was a main cast member, and the only one not at the convention, so the headline is simply wrong.

David G.

The moderator (one of the co-head honchos at Creation) acknowledged Jennifer Lien’s absence from the reunion early on during the stage presentation, and made a comment along the lines that he wished her the best, wherever she was. (Rewatching “Voyager”‘s initial seasons, it’s really striking just how excellent Jennifer Lien was in her skilled acting on that show, and how important Kes actually was in the storylines during those first years. Would’ve been interesting to have had the chance to see what Jennifer would have done in her gradual aging of the character.)

Maybe I missed this in the article, but cast members on stage noted that this was the first time the seasons 4-7 cast had all been together since the series ended.

During the minutes that preceded the photo op with some of the fans just prior to the stage appearance, all the cast members were hugging each other, actively visiting with each other, and clearly having a blast just in the fact of all being in the same room again. And yes, that goes for every member of the company, despite whatever may have occurred between any of them years ago. The only thing the fans in the photo op had to worry about was Wang or McNeil putting on a wild expression for their high-priced photo op, since the cast members were clearly pumped and having a great time being together.

scotchyscotchscotch

I lol’ed at “I’m the captain!”. Sounds like this was a very fun and candid panel thanks for sharing

Loved reading this and the comments! It’s been so long but at the same time doesn’t feel like it, but also it does. I suppose all things considered most of what you see on screen did age reasonably well.

Kes was good in the early years but I don’t see her being replaced with Seven as a bad thing at all. The truth was that Seven being introduced refreshed the series, not just in a sexual way but because it allowed for so many new storylines and for her to fit in properly and in a logical way. i.e. she could work in ship related areas, or interact with actual “knowledge” that Kes simply didn’t have. They tried putting Kes in the Mess Hall and then in Sickbay but those areas were already filled with established cast members so it was a hard sell.

Kes had all those plants and worked in the Airponics bay, but as much as houseplants can be interesting and be healthy, clean the air for the crew etc, there wasn’t much of a story there.

That said she was a part of the show in the early years so it is a pity she didn’t go to the reunion.

Leroy Stone

I really wanted to go to this, but my work schedule couldn’t fit it. Hopefully there will be a clear recording of this part of the convention on perhaps youtube. I liked Star Trek Voyager a lot. And I suppose if one to remove all bias, this would have been the one series that’s closer to Gene Roddenberry’s vision than any of the other series. Think about that for a moment. A female Captain trying to blend a diverse crew of Starfleet and Marquee for the sole purpose of returning them all home. They meet unusual and interesting races in the Delta Quadrant, yet they are basically alone. They forge alliances. Made mistakes. And attempted to bring a Borg drone back into humanity.

I love all of Star Trek (well except maybe for JJ Abbrams thingy Trek – which was actually a film resume for Star Wars). But Star Trek Voyager and even Deep Space Nine did some incredibly brave things for a network television series. With the current wishy washy style of television – Star Trek will never make it back on the small screen. But for it’s time, Voyager was truly amazing.

P.S. Yes, I loved Enterprise as well.

Leroy Stone

Also, I missed the character of Kes. It would have been great to see her and Seven of Nine build a friendship. A lot of great potential there.

GG

As far as Mulgrew and Ryan “not getting along” back then, it’s just like any other job that the rest of us had in life. You’re close to some of the people you work with, and others, not so much. Mulgrew probably just resented (and rightfully so) that they brought on a “hot chick” when she was the female lead. She may have taken her frustrations out on Ryan (wrongfully so), but it probably wasn’t personal. No big “scandal” behind it. Mulgrew probably just initially didn’t want her there. The time on the show was just a “snapshot” in their lives, and they probably get along fine now. They had great scenes together. It’s probably no big deal at this point, and they can now just fondly reminisce about the show years later.

BatlethInTheGroin

And the writer STILL hasn’t corrected the headline.