This weekend, Star Trek: The Original Series Set Tour is holding their Trekonderoga event in Ticonderoga, New York. Saturday’s headliner for the annual convention was Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Gates McFadden. Speaking at a press briefing, TrekMovie and the gathered media were able to ask the actress some questions about her time as Dr. Crusher, her thoughts on Discovery, and what she knows about the new Picard Star Trek series in development with Sir Patrick Stewart.
Excited for Picard show, doesn’t know if she is in it
McFadden, who co-starred with Patrick Stewart through all but one season of TNG and through four feature films, responded to a question about what she knows about the new Picard show by revealing she is just as in the dark as the fans:
No, we haven’t [heard anything], and I am sure Patrick will fill us in sometime. I have no idea if we are in it, or if it is just Patrick or what. We will all find out, but it is just so cool, though. It is very exciting. Again, I am always blown away by the fans, who have loved the show and Roddenberry’s vision for so long and through so many different series, and they have all been so wonderful. I am as excited as everybody else.
Sees parallels with the Discovery and TNG casts
When asked a question about how Wilson Cruz had talked about researching Star Trek doctors for his role as Dr. Hugh Culber for Star Trek: Discovery, the actress talked about the parallels she sees between her cast and the new one:
I have talked to some of the [Star Trek: Discovery] cast and I love them. They have the same vibe that our cast did. They are laughing together. They love each other. They like to hang out together, which is awesome. So, that is inspiring to see that is still happening. I have yet to meet a Star Trek cast member of any show that I didn’t like. I enjoyed all of them, and they are all great people.
Specifically regarding Wilson Cruz’ comments about emulating Dr. Crusher’s heart in his performance, McFadden said:
That touches me. I am very happy he felt that way about Crusher, because Gene [Roddenberry] wanted her to be tough, but also very human. And really be more of a doctor and worried about humanity and really argue with [the captain] about the Prime Directive. That was one of the purposes of my character and I was really happy with that and thought it was cool.
Happy with Crusher being thought-provoking
Following up on McFadden’s comment about the original plan for Dr. Crusher, the actress talked about how she felt the role did indeed match Roddenberry’s vision:
I feel that happened a fair amount. I feel episodes like “The High Ground,” where I disobey because of the Hippocratic Oath and I want to save someone who is suffering, but I get us all in trouble. Again, it provokes a discussion and having a discussion where people think, that is the idea behind Star Trek, to give you the idea of possibilities and show you problems where you can go this way or that way and you have to think about what the solution is.
Sees message about gender identity in “The Host”
When asked if she felt there was a message about transitioning and gender identity in Data’s arc on TNG, the actress said she didn’t see that, but did point to a fourth season episode she felt did deal with those issues:
To me what was more fascinating in terms of kids transitioning was the episode about the Trill. I thought “The Host” had our first gay writer. I met the writer, I thought it was a fantastic script. A lot of people were very shocked by it. Again, I thought it was pretty daring to ask what is love. How much is the personality, the experiences you had. How much is the physical. Just asking those questions is really interesting and we should be thinking about that. I thought the Trill were more about transitioning to me than the machine becoming human.
Loves McCoy’s sickbay, wishes she used hers more
The press interviews took place on the recreation of McCoy’s sickbay from the original Star Trek, where she was asked what she would have liked to have seen or done differently with her set from The Next Generation. She also contrasted the looks of the two sets (TOS and TNG):
I would have liked the chance to have used certain things and had time to explore it. It was so, so clean, our set. It was so minimal. But, over time you could develop how you wanted to do your computer thing. But, I love the color palette of the whole series of this original set. It is awesome and they have done such a good job. It is Mad Men meeting Mars. I do love this color palette a lot, ours was much more sober.
Here is a brief video of Gates on the TOS sickbay set talking about how she liked the aesthetic.
Urban headlines Trekonderoga Sunday
Tomorrow’s headliner at Trekonderoga is Karl Urban. TrekMovie will have coverage of his appearance, so stay tuned on Sunday.