The Star Trek: Voyager documentary To the Journey was featured on a panel at this month’s 55-Year Mission Las Vegas Star Trek convention that included details on where they are in production and what they have planned. They also showed a sneak peek, which is now available online.
To the Journey production continues
After wrapping up a record-breaking $1.2 million crowd-funding campaign earlier this year, the documentary team set up a new studio to shoot more interviews in June. At the Las Vegas panel, producer/director Dave Zappone said the team was still “deep in production,” but had already completed a number of interviews. He mentioned a couple of standouts, including one with Star Trek: Voyager co-creator Jeri Taylor (who was a surprise guest on the panel), thanking her and saying “She had us up to her home in northern California and our crew took over her house. It was a wonderful interview and you could not have been more gracious.” He also mentioned Robert Beltran’s interview, saying he sat down for them for two and half hours and it “really blew me away,” adding the actor “was just so open, he is just a wonderful, wonderful guy.”
A number of interviews with members of the cast were done in 2020 during a Voyager reunion on Star Trek: The Cruise. This summer they have been bringing in more people who worked on the show, including guest stars and behind-the-scenes creatives. In Vegas, the team played the following video to the crowd that showcased some of the people who had dropped by the studio over the summer.
Behind the scenes, bloopers, HD, and more
Zappone assured the audience that the doc will not just be talking heads, mentioning that they are working their way through archives to find more footage shot contemporaneously with Star Trek: Voyager in the ’90s. There is some particular material he was interested in, saying, “I am looking for the infamous blooper reel. We are looking everywhere for that.”
Voyager actor Garrett Wang has also been helping out with the doc and was part of the panel as well. He talked about how he and others are contributing their own footage:
I do have some footage from my own camera… So that’s the plan. It’s not just myself. There are other people that have documented their time on Voyager. That can definitely supplement this documentary.
The team is also planning on shooting footage on the Paramount lot with Garrett Wang giving a tour of where Voyager was shot and what it was like during that time. And with the team headed to the Destination Star Trek Germany convention to shoot more footage, including a Voyager reunion panel, Zappone revealed they are also going to take some time out to accept an invitation from the European Space Agency to visit their facilities and put Wang through some astronaut training.
One of the stretch goals for the crowd-funding was to help the team convert original Voyager footage into high-definition, and Zappone talked about how this was still a goal of the doc. “We are planning to upres—hopefully—the original 35 millimeter [film] like we did with What We Left Behind.”
To the Journey is the latest of a series of Star Trek documentaries produced by Zappone and his production company. He talked about how he has been surprised by the fan reaction so far:
Having done what we did with What We Left Behind and partnering with Ira [Steven Behr] who was an amazing collaborator, I knew the love for Deep Space Nine. I guess I didn’t realize it was just as great for Voyager. The fans are just as rabid, just as passionate. That is my pleasant surprise.
In 2020, right before the pandemic hit, the team was able to shoot footage of a Voyager cast reunion on Star Trek: The Cruise, which Zappone said was crucial to the doc, adding, “If we didn’t have that, I honestly don’t think we would have a film.” He also talked about how they got a lot of great footage from fans on the cruise and promised that they will use as much as they can, saying, “the emotional reactions and the impact Voyager had [on the fans], it just blew me away.”
When a fan asked what made Voyager different, the answers revealed some variety in what the team was looking at in terms of some of the themes of the doc. Co-producers Lilita Fatjo (who also worked on Voyager) offered her personal take:
As the only female on stage, I honestly have to say it was because there was a female captain. I had the privilege of working with Michael [Piller], Jeri [Taylor], and Rick [Berman] for years. And being part of two shows that were created–Deep Space Nine and Voyager–and just watching them create these shows and characters was amazing, but I would have to say it was because of Captain Janeway.
Zappone added on to that:
It’s not just Captain Janeway, it’s the strong women in general. Roxann Dawson and of course Jeri Ryan, and Jennifer Lien was also strong. So not just the captain.
Garrett Wang said he felt the show stood out for having “amazing chemistry” amount the cast from the start, but he also talked about the diversity of the show being a key differentiator. He he took some pride in his own contribution, pointing out how after George Takei, there were no Asian-Americans on TNG or DS9 in the main cast:
One out of every five people in this world is Chinese—not Asian, Chinese—that’s a lot. There should be an Asian in every Star Trek. Voyager [had a] Native American first officer, Asian-American ops officer, African-American Vulcan.
Zappone noted something that came up in Garrett’s documentary interview which was how at the time of the show in the 1990s, he was the only Asian-American series regular on television. Wang also told a story of later meeting Lost star Daniel Dae Kim who thanked him, saying he’d “paved the way.”
Hoping for a theatrical event and streaming
It’s too early to talk about how the doc will be released, but Zappone did say that in addition to being distributed on Blu-ray he was hoping to follow the same route as What We Left Behind and do a short theatrical release with Fathom Events, which he noted had sold out 1,000 theaters. After that, he said he expected the doc to become available for streaming, but wasn’t sure which service might pick it up.
To keep updated on the project, visit voyagerdocumentary.com.
More from Vegas
We still have some more from the con, so stay tuned to TrekMovie for updates. And don’t forget to check out the coverage we’ve already posted.
Find more news on Star Trek documentaries.