Kate Mulgrew Talks ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’; Creators Explain Why Animated Janeway Hasn’t Been Revealed

Last week we finally got a first look at Star Trek: Prodigy, with the reveal of the “crew” for the show. The CG-animated series about a group of alien kids who take over an abandoned Starfleet vessel will also feature the return of Kate Mulgrew, voicing her Star Trek: Voyager character Kathryn Janeway. Now Mulgrew is talking more about what it took for her to accept the offer, and the show’s creators are also explaining why they haven’t shown us what Janeway will look like on Prodigy.

Mulgrew was first “bewildered” by Prodigy offer

Speaking to CBR, Kate Mulgrew explains her initial reaction when executive producer Alex Kurtzman first approached her to reprise her Voyager role for Prodigy:

 “I was curious about it; slightly bewildered about it being an animated series, I didn’t quite understand it. It was explained to me in detail and I thought to myself ‘Wow, this will be terrific to bring this to young people who may be watching this with their mothers who watched me as Captain Janeway in live-action and it will bring the entire family into the orbit of Star Trek and this is something that I very much want to do.'”

Even though she was originally “bewildered” by the idea of performing as Janeway for animation, she appears to have now fully embraced the new experience, telling CBR:

“I love to use my voice, I love the solitude of the recording booth; I love the freedom of it,” Mulgrew continued. “Star Trek truly is the gift that keeps on giving.”

Earlier this year, Mulgrew also hyped the series and its creators, saying “It’s very sophisticated. It’s feature-film quality. The Hageman brothers are geniuses.”

Show creators explain why they haven’t revealed Janeway… yet

Speaking of creators Dan and Kevin Hageman, the pair were happy to finally be able to talk about their “bridge crew” when it was revealed last week. They also shared the image on their personal Twitter, highlighted the work of creative lead Ben Hibon and the Nickelodeon Animation.

With Kate Mulgrew the only announced member of the voice cast, and of course having a big connection to Star Trek, many were hoping to get a look at her character as well. The Hagemans understood this inkling, but explained on Twitter that they wanted to let the new crew have their moment in the sun acknowledging, “if we showed you Janeway, it’d be the only thing anyone would want to talk about..” However they did offer some hope, ending with “In due time…”

They are also promising to reveal the character names “when the time is right.”

Star Trek: Prodigy is a show made specifically to appeal to kids. Having a bridge crew of kids is part of that appeal. Perhaps to stress that point, the brothers also offered up an “alternative” crew showing the original Star Trek cast morphed into kids.

Star Trek: Prodigy will debut on Paramount+ later this year.

Keep up with all the news and reviews from the new Star Trek Universe on TV at TrekMovie.com.

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Always loved Mulgrew’s voice. Every time Janeway speaks on screen, she has my undivided attention. I just love that character so much and still shocked she’s coming back! And yes it makes perfect sense why they didn’t show Janeway. I think that’s fine. I could even wait to see her whenever they make a first trailer for the show. And while I know it’s a kids show, I’m getting just as excited about it like I am about SNW and more seasons of the other shows.

But it’s nice to finally hear something about the show. And even though we probably won’t get any actual new shows airing until probably late summer/early fall, we should be getting lot of news at least. With FIVE shows all literally in production now, we’re probably going to get tons of it in the next few months.

“Every time Janeway speaks on screen, she has my undivided attention.”

100% agreed.

One thing Trek has consistently done impeccably is the casting of the shows’ captains. From Shatner and Stewart, to Brooks and Mulgrew, they were all often the highlights of their respective series’. If DSC has done anything right it’s the casting of Jason Isaacs and Anson Mount.

To be fair they DID originally cast Genevieve Bujold as Captain Janeway in VOY – and that didn’t work out too well. ;)

Her voice always reminded me of Honor Blackman’s from Goldfinger.

I love the picture of the de-aged TOS cast; Sulu is especially adorable as a kid. Chekov doesn’t actually look any different, but then, I guess Koenig was hired to be the young one. :-)

Mulgrew has a great voice, so having her voice an animated series is a great idea.

She has a great voice, but it is a deep voice effected by years of smoking, so it would take some audio engineering to give it a youthful sound.

The leads of the show are young, but I don’t think Janeway is supposed to be.

I agree, it seems like this will lean into Janeway as a heroic leader shaping a new generation.

I note that Mulgrew talks about really leaning into her voice acting, and being less inhibited in a voice-booth. This doesn’t sound like she’ll be acting younger.

Denials make me think that Janeway is the Prodigy – that show will be about adventures she had as a kid or a teenager. … anyone else?

I seen that idea suggested on another board and I actually would love that idea. Seeing Janeway go from a aimless teenager to becoming the celebrated Captain she becomes later would make a great origin story!

Can we show some respect to Jeri Taylor’s backstory novels?

No offense, but it would take a lot of audio engineering to make Kate Mulgrew sound like a kid. At that point her voice would be unrecognizable so you could just cast any young actor in the role.

Yeah. I would think that if they were doing a story about a young Janeway, they would just recast.

Even harder given her smoker’s voice. They’d have to do so much audio magic that it would probably make it pointless for her to be involved versus just having another actor do it?

Agreed but I still wouldn’t dismiss the theory. It’s entirely possible that Mulgrew is just the narrator.

Possibly, but I also think with a voice there’s a little more room for suspension of disbelief than there is with visuals. And maybe she’s able to alter her voice enough for it to work, like many voice actors are able to convincingly portray characters of different ages.

Heaven help us all if this ends up being the Wandavision of Star Trek. I’m so glad that overated Marvel mess is over, BTW…what a crapfest.

Well, it seems to prove that when a serialized series doesn’t stick the landing, it’s done.

But perhaps short term incredible ratings are worth it even if the long-term views and rewatches plummet.

Was the ending bad though? It seems to me that it was no better or worse than any other entry in the MCU, it’s just that some of the audience are disappointed that the fan theories didn’t pan out and there were no big reveals involving Magneto, The X-Men or Mephisto.

It was fine. Not as good as the episodes that came before it, but if you’d told me beforehand that the entire series would only be as good as #9 ended up being, I’d still have been happy to see it every week.

I’d agree with that.

I’m beginning to think that there is definitely a divide among viewers.

There’s a group that will rewatch the BSG reboot or the early seasons of Lost or even TMP because of the great writing, acting, directing or vfx in the early going.

Then there’s folks like me who just can’t make themselves rewatch them if the plot doesn’t land, or only do so very rarely because great plotting is one of the things that makes a series, film or novel something to come back to. Yes, the quality of the journey is important, but I find it hard to commit to retaking a journey when I don’t think the final destination is worth it.

In literature, it explains why there are only a few novels by Dickens that I reread, but my Austen collection gets revisited regularly.

I can appreciate that the first group are on balance focused on other important qualities, but in a competitive streaming television universe, I don’t think they are sufficient to retain the long-term value of a product.

The question of what is satisfying is not only intensely personal, but also changes over time. Not just with stories and media but nearly every experience we have, from family to food, to our physical health. I love it when I revisit and find myself noting that element of pleasure and/or insight. I just watched the tenth cut of a friend’s film, and what’s cool is that all the hard work over the last few years finally landed in a horrifying and satisfying way. We are so lucky to be alive.

I don’t know that it “proves” that at all, since while that assessment of the finale is an opinion as valid as any other, it doesn’t at all appear to be the prevailing one.

Certainly speaking for myself, I’m much more looking forward to rewatching the entirety of WandaVision than I am, say, season 1 of Star Trek: Picard, even though I’m a much bigger fan of Star Trek than the MCU, and of Jean-Luc Picard than I am of Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch. WandaVision isn’t my absolute favorite thing I’ve ever seen, but I certainly think it’s clever, inventive, funny, soulful, and exciting.

To be honest Wandavision reminded me of a 9 hour holodeck episode. It was definitely a bit overrated.

Why did you watch it all? Don’t bother answering, I don’t actually care.

I haven’t seen WandaVision but might next year.

But I feel like this show might be more like Lower Decks than anything else. Silly kid stuff that is difficult for older folks to enjoy.

Just a guess. Hoping I’m wrong.

You think Lower Decks is kid stuff? Not liking it is one thing, as everyone’s tastes are different, but thinking it’s for kids just… doesn’t make any sense at all, to me. It’s like calling Star Trek: Picard a rom-com, or Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country a musical.

Sorry… There was nothing in Lower Decks that I would deem off limits to kids. The jokes were 5th grade level The cursing was bleeped out. (and most kids know the words already anyway) There were no “adult” themes or issues. This was very much a kids show. One that if my kid were 8 I would have had no problem with him watching it.

I’m wondering… What was in it that made you think it was aimed at adults? Because Kurtzman said it was doesn’t cut it. He says a lot of things that don’t turn out to be the case.

My head keeps thinking they mentioning her a lot as “Captain Janeway” and not as Admiral Janeway and now they not showing us images of her, makes me think one thing. When if it isn’t set after Star Trek: Voyager in a post Nemesis Era but what if it set before Star Trek: Voyager?!!!

Voyager was her first command though and chasing down Chakotey’s cell her first assignment.

“ In 2371, Janeway took command of the USS Voyager and received her first general order at Starfleet Headquarters. She was to locate a missing Maquis vessel, the Val Jean, which had disappeared in the Badlands with her security officer Tuvok, who was working as an undercover agent.”

Hmmm I get that but by the wording of “first general order at Starfleet Headquarters” there some wiggle room to add this new show pre Voyager. But that’s how I’m seeing things.

There’s some wiggle room Baggers I’d give you that. I think if they are being deliberate with their wording though that a post season 7 pre Nemesis setting might be a more viable setting for the first season of the show.

That’s true also, maybe her role in Prodigy on top of her role in bringing Voyager home is why she becomes a Vice Admiral so fast?

I’ve been going through a full Star Trek rewatch over the last couple of years and have literally just watched Endgame and Nemesis again in the last couple of days and I’ve actually been asking myself that question. It’s something I’ve never really pondered given her accomplishments but when you think about it you do have to wonder why they promoted somebody so quickly when a future version of them had just committed a massive breach of the temporal prime directive.

Think you might be on to something here!!!

the thing is voyager returns in 2378 and nemesis takes place in 2379 so there is not much wiggle room to keep her a capt before she becomes a admiral and it also depends on when in 2378 they return earlu 2378 mid 2378 or late 2378 and when in 2379 the events of nemesis take place early mid or late 2379

But in the post Voyager scenario she can get promoted as the show can overtake Nemesis. Of course the fact it’s a series focused on kids for kids could mean whatever period they set it in might be a small window to avoid ageing the character models.

Definitely some wiggle room to either slip in a ship before Voyager.

Alternate idea- I saw a thread on Reddit where someone suggested the idea of Janeway being a hologram. Could she be the Emergency Command Hologram (ECH) Mark II?

“I was curious about it; slightly bewildered about it being an animated series, I didn’t quite understand it.”


Given that Patrick Stewart had a new live-action series in production and Mulgrew likely had limited familiarity with TAS, it makes sense that this could have been a “Wait! What???” moment.

Good point.

I kind of like the idea that Kate Mulgrew has lived her life in such a fashion as to somehow be unaware of the existence of animation. I’m sure that’s not the case, but the idea makes me smile for some reason.

Perhaps she is playing an AI Janeway computer on the ship?

An Emergency Command Hologram when the crew dies. That is why the bridge crew are all aliens we don’t know about. The ship could be stranded in a part of the galaxy that doesn’t know about the Federation. Maybe the farthest reaches of the Gamma Quadrant outside of the Dominion.

Two of the alien bridge crew could be alpha-canon species (Talaxian and/or Tellarite).

A third looks like a fairly accurate rendering of a beta-canon species (large rocky-skinned Brikarian) that debuted as Worf’s Academy roommate in the first Starfleet Academy YA novel series.

So, I’m wondering where and in what era some Alpha/Beta quadrant and Delta quadrant species kids would be on their own in a region of space without good governance and rule of law…

Definitely sounds post Nemesis, and could even be 32nd century.

so you think she will be like the andromeda ai/rommie in gene rodenberry’s andromeda

Emergency Command Hologram is an established failsafe in Voyager, so they would go with that.

Modeling an ECH on one of the great captains who had led her ship through extreme and extraordinary circumstances would make sense.

Andromeda has more parallels with Zora, the ship AI that evolved out of the merge with the Sphere data in Discovery.

I have seen the hologram theory out there but I wonder, assuming it’s true, why they didn’t just do the Doctor instead of Janeway. I course I love Janeway but the Doctor teaching the kids about life makes more sense to me. He had the greatest growth on the show and would be more than qualified. Also I loved the guys sense of humour. Unless their is something I’m missing, we dunno much about the show.

Starfleet command could of carried on the Doctor’s idea of the Emergency Command Hologram when Voyager returned to Earth. The designers could of picked Janeway as one of the designs.

I’m rewatching the whole of Voyager since I was a kid and I’ve got a whole new appreciation of Janeway and the other characters. I think Mulgrew’s portrayal is fantastic. Not that I didn’t in the past, but I think at the time I was like “cool, they’re passing Borg space. Sweet, the Doc has made it to the Alpha Quadrant…”, but now I’m seeing all the subtleties in the characters. For me, Mulgrew’s voice softly breaking when saying things like “60,000 light years seems a little closer today” was much more emotional than any of the forced stuff in recent iterations of Trek. Whilst, yes, there are a couple of inconsistencies between episodes, it’s great stuff which I am enjoying tucking into again.

In a way, I shouldn’t have done this because it will only hurt more if Kurtzman and his band of hacks destroy her character (to add to various others). However, as it’s a show for kids, I’m hoping they won’t at least be able to turn her into a hard liquor drinking, duel phaser toting, (apparently) quick witted, profanity using shell of her glorious former self.

N.B. If Kurtzman or any of the hacks read this and the penny drops that you can’t turn Janeway into a “badass”, please, please don’t bring out “Star Trek: Prodigy… rated R”. Hacks.

You know, it’s one thing to be critical of a body of work, and to express the reasons why you feel that way. That’s entirely fair. It’s entirely another to personalize such criticism by referring to writers like Michael Chabon as “hacks,” implying that they’re in it just for the money or attention and care nothing about the quality of their work. Do you really think that’s true of the author of the Pulitzer-prizewinning “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” who has never hesitated to reference his love for Trek in other novels or interviews over the course of his career? I don’t, and I was as disappointed by the season finale he wrote for “Picard” as anyone.

Sometimes people do their damndest and still fail. Sometimes they even do good work that for various reasons at the time goes unappreciated, as you seem to acknowledge yourself with your newfound appreciation for the subtleties of Kate Mulgrew’s performance in “Voyager.” That’s just life, however much entitled fans in a corrosive internet culture deem it otherwise.

Thanks for the response. Obviously there’s a bit of hyperbole in my comments, but to me, calling Kurtzman, Chabon, Beyer and the various writers on Discovery and Picard hacks is not entirely without basis.

As in my work, when assessing something I’m giving a final review to before it goes to a client, I ask myself whether it looks as if the colleague who drafted it *cared*. I don’t mind if technically it’s wrong and requires a fair bit of my time rewriting if it seems they did care; I’ll be patient and provide constructive feedback. On the other hand, if it is apparent they didn’t care, I’ll rewrite it and most likely not work with that individual for a number of months again.

Star Trek is no different. If it seemed like the producers and writers cared, I wouldn’t be anywhere near as tough on them as I am. For Picard, the entire boring season/show’s premise was a disappointment and had a number of huge errors from early on:
1. they knew who Bruce Maddox was yet they totally ignored the main lesson from The Measure of A Man on androids not being property – straight from the off, these androids are shown to be slaves…” it’s okay though we’ve included Bruce Maddox, it shows we’ve watched TNG…”;
2. in fact, their lack of care came even earlier with the Children of Mars Short Trek and ugly 130 year old+ Discovery era ships at Utopia Planetia;
3. total ignorance of Data’s (only) daughter, Lal, and no mention of what happened to the other Soong type android Starfleet had in storage, Lore… lack of care.
4. You can imagine Beyer giving herself a pat on the back for shoehorning the Sikarians in for deus ex machina, but being silent when the idea of completely carelessly destroying Seven’s character came up in the writers’ room.
It’s all forgiven though as someone thought to put a cheap CGI Quark’s sign up on the hitherto unheard of but close to Earth Freecloud.

Don’t get me started on the wreckage that is Discovery.

A little bit off-topic but does anyone here own VOYAGER DIGITAL Stocks? It’s a Bitcoin / blockchain related company that has recently become a hundred-bagger due to the rise of BTC… Unfortunately I sorta sold too early. I still got some left but too little to become a millionaire :-) I should have bought 74656 stocks instead of 1701 back then :-)
But it made me some money anyway. I also own VOYAGER THERAPEUTICS to honor the EMH but that hasn’t really worked out yet :-) But the (Borg) HIVE has been pretty effective as well. :-) I just love stocks with Trek names. Lots of pennystock metal explorers bear Trek names such as Discovery, Excelsior and even Enterprise. It’s crazy… Quite obviously they want to cash in on Trekkies…

My thoughts are that Captain Janeway is narrating the show. She could be recalling her past through Personal Log entries recorded while she was on Voyager in the Gamma Quadrant.

delta quadrant not gamma quadrant

Oops, my bad.

The more I read about Prodigy, the more I think it is NOT meant for legacy fans such as myself. Sure they will be some ties to previous series, obviously that is why Janeway is back BUT it seems obvious they are trying to gain a whole new audience and that is completey understandable and fine with me.

I for one had no real plans to watch this series. Of course when it comes out and if it is available up here north of the border, I will check it out. That said, I have no real expectations and I will remember, this show is supposed to be for kids – not some old guy like myself, who watched TOS when it is was still in its first run on NBC over 5 decades ago.

We definitely aren’t the target demographic for this show, but I’m still looking forward to it.

I hope that Prodigy is like TOS Animated Series in that it is accessible and enjoyable for kids, ostensibly the target audience, but also genuinely thought-provoking and fun stories that appeal to adults too.

TAS had thought-provoking and fun stories that appeal to adults? I mostly just remember it having awful animation and pretty weak writing.

The 70s was not the golden age of TV animation that we have now.

thats cause they went with the cheapest animation studio at the time filmation i do know one other 60’s tv series had them do the animation for the two animated series that were connected to the original live action series and they reused the same character are for both shows for the main characters even though they were made at different times the first series ran from 74 to 77 and the second series ran from 82-83 and those two animated series were the new adventures of gilligan and gilligan’s planet both animated followup series to the original live action gilligan’s island series

You remember wrongly.

tas was never aimed at kids though both gene and d.c fontana went after a tv news paper reviewer for calling it a kids show when they wrote it and created it to be a continuation of the original show they just went with the animation route cause it was cheaper and easier to get made then a live action series

Young minds, fresh ideas, be tolerant