Another ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ Star Reveals ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Appearance

During a Star Trek: Voyager panel on Sunday at the 55-Year Mission Star Trek convention, one of the cast members revealed a reunion is happening with Kate Mulgrew on her new animated Star Trek show.

Beltran is back

Robert Beltran (Voyager’s Chakotay) told the Las Vegas crowd of Trek fans that he is returning to the Star Trek franchise two decades after Voyager wrapped up. Prefacing what he was about to say with “I don’t know if I’m supposed to say this or not yet,” the actor stated:

I’m working on this voiceover/animation thing that Kate [Mulgrew] is doing, Star Trek: Prodigy.

Robert Beltran at 55-Year Mission convention, Las Vegas, August 15 2021 (Photo: Jon Spencer/TrekMovie.com)

Beltran didn’t reveal if he would be reprising the role of Chakotay, but appearing as Janeway’s loyal first officer seems to be a good bet.  The series is set in the Delta Quadrant on an abandoned experimental Starfleet ship commandeered by alien teens, so if Beltran is reprising his Voyager role, it would likely be via hologram. Of course, Mulgrew herself is voicing the Emergency Training Hologram on the USS Protostar.

Chakotay and Janeway together on Star Trek: Voyager

Prodigy was given a two-season order by Paramount+ and the first season arrives this fall, so Beltran could appear in either season. This revelation is the first known legacy actor joining Kate Mulgrew on Prodigy.

New Prodigy group image including Janeway


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BELTRAN. Quite possibly the last Trek alumni I’d ever have expected to see back. The man was positively miserable for much of Voyager’s run.

This is incredibly surprising and I’m here for it.

Quite agreed. Can’t wait to see.

They wasted his character… and the Native American advisor was worse than a joke

I agree… I hate to just sum it up to money, but good money is the only reason i can see him coming back.

Well, it’s also not the same creative team he was getting fed up with, and while voice work has its own special challenges, it is far easier to do logistically, especially right now as the pandemic still affects live action production.

I wonder if part of the appeal (besides the money) was a chance to do his character a bit more justice than was done on Voyager, to right a few wrongs?

Also it’s voice acting, it’s super easy. No costume, no makeup, no crazy long days, no memorizing, the script is right there, you can go line by line, and you can do it from literally any city that has a studio as they’re all hooked up via high speed ISDN lines. It’s a MUCH easier sell than a live action commitment.

Hey, you can do it from home if you have a good mic and those plates on the walls that prevent echo.

Good recording remotely was possible even back in the 60’s. Mel Blanc famously recorded Barney Rubble from his hospital bed for a few weeks.

I think they’ve walked away from those ISDN circuits as common high speed connections became ubiquitous, but similar idea. The pandemic has accelerated it seems voice actors setting up their own small home spaces for doing voice work.
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/digital/how-voice-actors-are-building-remote-set-ups-working-at-home-1289235/

Most voice actors are using SourceConnect or a similar service from home now if they don’t want to go to studios.

This is very cool. Always liked his character even though it wasn’t well developed.

The LD writers talked about working with Prodigy on legacy characters that would appear in both shows in-person, not as holograms (since they had to put in little rationales for how they might end up in Delta after LD…so I feel like it might be possible that he shows up in person. But if there’s more then one hologram, will there be a copy of Voyager’s EMH on board too, and what about a security hologram via Tuvok? Chakotay seems like a kind of undefined/useless role to replicate in the form of a hologram, so I’m skeptical.

They could have a flashback to the real Janeway and Chakotay. He doesn’t have to be a hologram like Janeway. He didn’t say how big his role on Prodigy was.

I’m thinking he’s more likely to be the “real” Chakotay. Might Starfleet model a holographic training program on one of its starship captains? Sure, that makes all the sense in the world. A Maquis fighter that same captain was sent to apprehend? Not so much… though of course we don’t know yet what happened to Chakotay (or most of the rest of Voyager’s crew) upon getting home, and what his and the other Marquis’ status is with Starfleet. Though we know this show takes place in 2383 (at least at first), we also don’t know when this Starfleet vessel was launched (could the Janeway hologram have been created before the real Janeway first went to the Delta Quadrant?).

I’m guessing it is indeed the real Chakotay, seen at home in the Alpha Quadrant, just as we see the real Troi, Barclay, et al. there late in Star Trek: Voyager’s run. But we’ll know soon enough!

Yes, that seems much more likely than a flashback. What would a hologram experience a flashback of? Chakotay might be connected to the far-distance-communication-project developped by Lt. Barclay. So the Janeway-hologram could phone home and run into him.

Yes, a flashback does sound plausible.

Now I’m wondering if there will also be scenes set in the Alpha Quadrant with the real Janeway. That would be a good way to bring Chakotay back.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the real Janeway turned up at the very end of Season One as some kind of cliffhanger moment.

I basically just wrote the same thing. Should have continued reading the comments first ;-)

I feel like Beltran reprising Chakotay would be problematic these days considering he’s not of Native American ancestry and the person who consulted on Voyager’s Native American representations, Jamake Highwater, was a liar and had no indigenous ancestry.

Wow. Mind blown. I see Marks (Hightower’s real name) is outed on Memory Alpha. Was this actually a big part of building the character behind the scenes?

Beltran does have some mestizo heritage, doesn’t he?

The creation of the character of Chakotay was a great example of the road to hell being paved with good intentions. But I think that as long as they don’t lean into the “Indian” aspects of the character, having him appear (in person or as a hologram) on Prodigy shouldn’t be too problematic. Just don’t expect any “a-koo-chee-moya” vision quests!

Considering many Mexicans are descended from tribes native to that country, well, it’s close enough. Far closer than Hollywood did in the past, anyway. Not exactly Rock Hudson being painted brown now, is it?

As for the consultant, just hire a better one now. One who is actually Native. Done.

Considering many Mexicans are descended from tribes native to that country, well, it’s close enough. 

No, it’s not. Not by a longshot. Watch the film ROMA.

Maybe you think a character from Warsaw could be labeled as Croatian because, hey, they’re all Slavic languages?

No, because Mexico is in the Americas and about 20% of Mexicans identify as Indigenous. And it’s stated in the series that Chakotay’s people are descended from Central America. So yeah, I was wrong. It’s not close enough. It’s right on the money.

Mexico is in North America. Recall one thing called NAFTA?

Well, I don’t think people in ancient Mesoamerica cared about our current maps. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mesoamerica

Did you read your link? Mesoamerica is a historical region and cultural area in *North America*.

Yes, in current North America. But look at the map. The Mesoamerica cultural region extended from Mexico into current Central America. Also, you might consider that Central America is in North America too. Click on the article for North America. They’re lumped together.

Also, also, Mexico is included in maps of Middle America or Mesoamerica.

Are we done here? I think we’re done here.

Yeah, relax. I’m just being an asshole. Tough day. Sorry. :-)

Native American applies to all native peoples of the Americas. Its not called Native United Statesean.

Considering Beltran is Mexican Mestizo you are wrong. I mean look at his face! He is clearly not a White man.

Yes, I agree.

But I also have always wondered if the decision to cast Beltran over the other finalist Tom Jackson was because Jackson was a Canadian indigenous actor has a strong identity.

More, he had been the principal character in a successful Canadian series North of 60. So he would have challenged the input of a consultant who was a fraud.

Jackson closed his career as the Chancellor of a university. Not anyone who would have stood quietly for the kind of input that’s came from that fake consultant.

You’re being very silly if you’re arguing that anyone in Latin America (or, for that matter, Hispanics in the US southwest) is “Native” by virtue of the fact they lack 100% Spanish conquistador bloodlines. Yes, after 500 years, your typical Chilango has some Native blood. (So does Elizabeth Warren, for that matter. Should we start casting her as Native?) That doesn’t make that person culturally Yaqui, for example. Lest there be any doubt about this, check out Alfonso Cuaron’s film ROMA. Moreover, there’s an acid test for determining whether one can be called Native: are you an enrolled member of a tribe? Beltran is not.

Oh good grief, now you’re getting into Beltran’s enrollment? Asking for his papers? You’re being very silly yourself.

Another great piece of literature to read on this point is the Ecuadorean novel “Huasipungo.” You will never, ever equate “mestizo” with “Native” after reading it. Never.

Also, according to Memory Alpha, Chakotay’s tribe (which was never named for some weird reason) was descended from people in Central America.

Not named likely because he was meant to represent the entire spectrum of the indigenous people across the Americas. Just as Sulu was named Sulu because GR intended the character to be representative of East Asia in general and the Sulu Sea touched many countries in SE Asia.

Probably, and I’m not sure I agree with that strategy. It’s somehow both expansive and reductive at the same time. And all bland.

I grew up in the Cherokee Nation, had Cherokee grandparents, went to school with full blood Cherokees. And rarely did anyone ever refer to themselves as Indian or Native American. They were Cherokee. It was the same with people from other tribes I’ve known. “I’m Creek.” “I’m Choctaw.” But if you put anyone from any other tribe on television, they’d be happy to see it, I’m sure.

For a franchise that gets so into the weeds of science fictional terms, it’s odd how… cautious? cowardly?… they are when it comes to specifying actual cultures sometimes. Just pick a tribe. O’Brien wasn’t a basic European. He was Irish, dammit.

I’ll go with “cowardly” for 500, LeVar. The whole character of Chakotay is one reason why I ultimately view VOY as something of the first failed Star Trek series.

Edit: I say “LeVar” not only for its Jeopardy reference, but because we had something of the same problem with Geordi LaForge, albeit to a lesser degree. There have been claims the character is Somali because some Okudagram listed his birthplace as Mogadishu. LeVar Burton doesn’t look Somali in the slightest. That’s not to say that a non-Somali cannot be born in Mogadishu, but it still comes across as ignorance by the creator of said Okudagram. Fortunately for TNG, the problem was a bit less acute, because LaForge’s ethnic identity was much less of a defining characteristic of the character than it was for Chakotay. Indeed, “Interface” implied he was really a military brat.

I’m less inclined to find it offensive when an ACTOR is playing a character of a different culture, as with Patrick Stewart playing a Frenchman or Korean Linda Park playing Japanese Hoshi Sato. As long as the culture is given respect, it’s usually fine with me.

I should point out that for me it’s when the SCRIPT treats Natives, or any others, as a broad, vague tribe of nameless people, that’s frustrating. Actors, on the other hand, I’m willing to give some lead way.

Sorry, that should be “leeway.”

Fair enough. And I’m not justifying the decision in either case. Just putting out potential reasons why it was done the way it was.

Not named likely because he was meant to represent the entire spectrum of the indigenous people across the Americas.

…which is insulting and, quite frankly, racist.

If you choose to be overly sensitive to that, knock yourself out. My personal viewpoint is that if they wanted to go that route it would have been better to name a tribe or do something somewhat specific. But they didn’t and I understand why. In the grand scheme of things I don’t find it to be all that offensive. And yes, I am on the outside looking in. I am aware.

Would love to see Chakotay back, even in animated form. I’m wondering how much he’d be in it. Is this a cameo like McCoy in TNG, or a reoccurring thing?

I’m surprised that the producers even asked him to reprise his role. Surprising what a dump truck full of $$ can do…

Why would you be surprised? Those old producers of the 90’s are gone.

“First known legacy actor joining Kate Mulgrew on Prodigy…” unless you count Billy Campbell.

https://trekmovie.com/2021/02/17/billy-campbell-talks-reprising-and-redeeming-his-okona-character-on-star-trek-prodigy/

Didn’t see that one coming. Good for Mr. Beltran..

If he appears as a hologram on the new ship, that would be dumb as f**k. Holo-Janeway, Holo-Chakotay… who’s next? Holo-Tuvok and the rest of the Holo-Voyager Crew?

If he appears “in the flesh”, would be better and make more sense. But how exactly would he be involved in anything going on the Delta Quadrant aboard a derelict ship that Starfleet literally lost? More lost than Voyager ever was…

Maybe it was another Caretaker-like incident, the ship had Chakotay on board as a captain and he’s the last surviving crew member? That would be cool, though not sure how well it meshes with established canon.

In the relaunch novels (most of which I haven’t read), doesn’t Chakotay take command of Voyager after Janeway gets promoted and return to the Delta Quadrant on an exploratory mission?

Sounds like maybe it’s a flashback of Janeway using an experience with Chakotay (that was never shown on Voyager) as part of a lesson for the Prodigy crew?

Interesting, I thought he didn’t want to have anything more to do with Trek. I guess they paid him good money to return.

That’s what I’m thinking. Maybe Mulgrew asked him to return. Who knows? He made no bones about how paper-thin some of the story ideas were. (In his opinion)

To put it mildly. I recall an interview in which he said he became an actor to do Shakespeare, not “f*cking Star Trek.”

Then he shouldn’t have signed the f*cking contract that gave him a steady job for 7 years.

To be fair, he couldn’t have known that he would get the most boring character in the franchise. A former Starfleet officer who betrayed Starfleet to join a terrorist organization to help his people, and is now forced to serve in the organization that he betrayed, and is incidentally the first major Native American character in the franchise sounds like a great character. Its not his fault that all he did for seven years was tell parables and occasionally argue with Janeway.

Malcolm Reed is the most boring, in my opinion. No personality whatsoever. At least Chakotay talked about his Spirit Guide now and then.

learning that he was actually s31 was interesting, could have been used more in a future season

I find everyone on TNG apart from Worf to be more boring than Chakotay. But that’s me.

Just going where the work is, probably

Works for me.

To be honest, I would rather like to see Robert Picardo. Chakotay was kind of meh as character to me.

That’s who I was hoping for when I read the headline.

It would honestly be surprising if a ship had a command training hologram but no EMH, so Picardo might still show up on Prodigy.

I think Picardo will show up too. Maybe not first season but eventually. He’s not one of the most popular Voyager characters but one of the most popular Trek characters period. And of course being animated there are no aging issues to think about. So I think its a great chance we’ll see the Doctor again.

Chakotay is back too??? You don’t know how much this has warmed ,my heart hearing this news. As somone rewatching all of Voyager for the first time, probably since it first aired, I definitely understand the issues the show had and even a character like Chakotay had with fans. I have criticized the show many times but still love it.

And rewatching it, even with its flaws, the show just has amazing heart! I fell in love with most of these characters early on. Maybe NOT on the level of TOS or TNG but they are all very important to me as I gotten to remember a lot of the great character moments they all had over 7 seasons.

Maybe I’m a Star Trek apologist (hence why I keep giving Discovery a chance lol). I don’t care, I love these characters and shows, sue me, and it’s great to see so many of them returning 20 years later in any format. I wouldn’t have the slightest issue if they all came back frankly, yes, including Neelix. ;)

Haha too funny about Neelix – I was watching the episode the other day featuring the breakfast show A Briefing with Neelix and I really enjoyed it. I have to agree getting Beltran back is great news and despite Voyager being my least favorite Berman Trek series, I still go will watch more than 50 percent of the Voyager episodes, if they are on TV.
As for Prodigy, it’s a kids show so I don’t expect to be watching much BUT who’s kidding who, of course I will tune into the premiere and a few episodes just to check it out.

Voyager won my loyalty by engaging our kids.

As has been said, some of the best of Trek and some of the worst, but there truly are a lot of peak quality episodes in its seven year run.

Definitely agree. Voyager was never my favorite show but I always loved it and it’s currently my third favorite in the franchise. I just love all the trippy episodes it did, which are my favorite stories in Star Trek in general. Voyager just did a lot of crazy stuff, not always great in its execution but still a lot of fun and interesting episodes.

One of the reasons I wanted to do a grand rewatch of the franchise was to see how different my views of the shows would be when I watched them all as a whole again and not just choose to watch my favorite episodes over and over. And because of that, I am watching episodes I literally could not remember because I just kept skipping over them and apparently that seems to include a lot of the Neelix episodes because I am now watching a lot of them I just don’t remember.

And one of the things I’m learning is that Neelix was not always just treated like a quirky comedic side character like Quark usually was. They actually gave him quite a few weighty episodes which makes me see Neelix in a different light now. Some of them I rewatched this year like:

-Mortal Coil
-Jetrel
-Rise
-Fair Trade

These are from the first four seasons (which I just finished). Until I watched them this year I literally didn’t remember any of them and it was nice to give Neelix more layers than just the happy-go-lucky cook and morale officer. I never remembered the character was actually a soldier who fought in a war for instance which gravely affected him because it ended up as a genocide among his people (Jetrel).

But again the issue with Voyager is that something like that was brought up way back in season 1 and then just dropped again. I can’t recall a single episode it was ever brought up in any way and it was never used to develop the character. These are are real problems Voyager had. It was treated too episodically and characters like Neelix suffered for it because the character did have more dramatic episodes and had a much deeper background they only explored rarely.

neelix’s last full ep was more moving than the actual Voy series finale

You know, I think I agree with you, Tony. Kinda like how the penultimate episode of Enterprise felt more like a series finale than the actual finale did.

Hmmm food for thought. I definitely will be more diligent in my watching of Voyager. I never watched much DS9 when it first aired, so it was easy to watch each episode years later, simply because I had never seen them before. It turned out to be so excellent and my 2nd favorite after TNG (and S1 of TOS). With Voyager, I watched it while it was on the air and I have my favorite episodes, but I like the idea of rewatching some episodes I don’t remember. Hopefully there will be some hidden gems.
As for the character development, yeah the writers could have done more serielized story telling for sure. We shall see what is in store for SNW and how they hybridize episodic and serielized story telling.

DS9, TNG and VOY have become my favorite three shows in that order. But VOY used to be number four for a looooong time. It only jumped to number three in the last few years or so. I just really gotten to appreciate it a lot more for some reason, but as said I always liked it.

But it also turns out to be the show where I forgot a lot of the episodes. Not that many but about a dozen or so. For someone who has been watching it since it aired and rewatch a lot of it, it was surprising how many I completely forgotten. Second on that list is TOS (mostly third season which I avoid the most of) and then DS9 which is more crazy since that’s the one I rewatched from beginning to end but yeah I apparently skip a lot of those too lol. Mostly the first two seasons though and not that many.

But watching DS9 and VOY together for over a month now, it’s not even close which show has the better character development. DS9 just blows every show away IMO. Its amazing how great it handled not only its main characters but all the side characters. When VOY does develop a character, its OK, but it just really builds on it. But yes I think a big issue besides just lazy writers was the episodic nature. To be fair TOS and TNG did the same thing a lot of the time, but the format made it a bit easier to justify with those shows. With VOY it should’ve been a bit more serialized from the start. But I still really enjoy the show obviously and looking to Prodigy even more as more VOY characters hopefully show up on it.

I meant ‘but it just NEVER really builds on it.’

the ‘re set’ button was a real problem for the show

mr phillips has said on this site that the Voy showrunners, writers did not seem interested in building up relationships on the show, especially with neelix/kes

Neelix is still in the Delta Quadrant and really would be the easiest to write-in for a Prodigy guest.

Yes very true. And I said in a post when we were first told the show was based in the Delta quadrant. So I think we will see Neelix back since he’s literally (as far as we know) the only character who is still in the Delta quadrant at that time.

But I think tons of the characters will show up at some point, including Neelix. Beltran himself said he wasn’t sure if it was OK to announce it, so like Picard, there are probably other legacy cast members who are in it, but just not saying anything because they don’t think they can or should yet.

No thanks

yeah

Nice to hear this, why not?!

I don’t mind the character but unfortunately the man is a terrible ambassador for Trek.

My first thought would be Neelix. He remained behind and if anyone could organically show up to help the kids, it’s him.

Yes – and Neelix was a “kid person”; didn’t that community have Talaxians he stayed behind to help feature a kid that he became fond of?

If the lead character on Prodigy whose species is not confirmed is part Talaxian, we might see Neelix down the line.

Finding the small colony of Talaxians in the diaspora might be part of this character’s journey.

After all a character of mixed heritage who struggles with identity is pretty much a standard Trek trope. I can see Prodigy embracing that. More, having that character as the principal point of view character would be a first.

The one who looks kind of like a Talaxian is a Telllarite.

Honestly, no interest in him returning, animated or otherwise. As much as I enjoyed Voyager, i’m not sure I care about seeing anyone in the crew beyond Seven. Although… hm… I wouldn’t mind seeing what Tuvok is up to– especially after the loss of Romulus and Spock– could he become an important Vulcan figure within Starfleet? Ambassador or otherwise. An Admiral at this point? Could he lead renewed reunification efforts? Or might he side against reunification, a contrast from Spock?

Pretty slow news for this year’s Vegas convention.

Yeah, I just remembered this was also the same convention that announced Stewart was coming back to Star Trek in 2018. Its all been downhill from there lol.

But we also have to remember that clearly they are shifting all the big news stuff away from the conventions and back to Paramount+ with all their big event days like First Contact day and my guess will have another special day on September 8th to celebrate the 55th anniversary.

My guess is we would’ve gotten big news like the return of Q at a convention. But its now all being done via Paramount+. And let’s be honest, they need it more than the conventions do.

You also have to remember that the Las Vegas Con isn’t officially a Star Trek convention anymore. Creation Entertainment lost the license to make official Trek conventions.

Actually I know nothing about that lol. I didn’t know there was an official company that licenses all the conventions. I thought anyone can just do one as long as they got permission of course. But that makes a lot more sense now, thanks.

It is time to get some ds9 actors onboard of any of the New shows