At New York Comic Con, TrekMovie participated in a series of group interviews with members of the cast and crew of Star Trek: Prodigy. In addition to speaking to Kate Mulgrew and the executive producers, we also spoke to voice actors Brett Gray (Dal), Ella Purnell (Gwyn), and Rylee Alazraqui (Rok-Tahk). They told us and a handful of other outlets about their views on Star Trek and offered some insights into their characters through their relationships with Hologram Janeway.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Being part of this show, what have you learned about the message of Star Trek and how do you feel it will resonate with other kids?
Brett Gray: It’s awesome. I feel like today I got a crash course in the Prime Directive from Kate Mulgrew herself. Just that ideal of the world being a place that all of us belong to together no matter what species or race or generation or any of those sort of things that we use to place people in boxes. No matter what, we all belong and we all have a spot on the team, and have strengths and weaknesses that we can use to lean on each other to help take us all forward.
Rylee Alazraqui: I think that it’s going to teach people to work together and to realize people for who they really are, and to look at the qualities in people and appreciate them more, and work together and have cooperation with other people.
Ella Purnell: I would agree with what Brett and Rylee have said. What is cool is that we are new to the world as the characters. And we’re learning about it as the episodes go on. We come in with each character caring more about themselves than the collective. I think what they learn—and what I’m gathering as the greater message for Star Trek—is it’s about team building. It’s about being a family and a collective. And I think that extends into the fan base as well.
Can you sum up what Hologram Janeway teaches your characters, without spoilers?
Ella Purnell: It’s a really good question… Each character obviously has their own arc and their own lessons that they have to learn and [Janeway] facilitates almost every single one… I think for my character, she teaches her a softer, more vulnerable side of leadership. Gwyn has learned leadership from the Diviner only. And that is not the kindest way to lead. I think she learns from Janeway that it is okay to be vulnerable. And that kindness and love and respect are a greater asset when it comes to that.
Brett Gray: “Think first” is my answer for Dal, because he has the tendency to jump into things without knowing what’s going to happen or have a plan, which is great. The gumption is incredible. But I think Janeway teaches him to think first and how does this affect the people around you. And how are you utilizing the members of your team so that this can be one mission and executed in a way that is strategic and not just audacious.
Rylee Alazraqui: I think Janeway teaches Rok-Tahk to stand up for herself more and be more confident. Because she kind of gets bossed around by Dal sometimes. And I think that she just needs to stand up for herself and she’s learning how to take on more challenges by herself instead of leaning against everyone else. She has to learn how to be responsible.
How familiar were you with Star Trek when you got cast? Did you watch any to prepare and what did you like most if you did?
Brett Gray: Unfortunately, I didn’t do any sort of preparation at all. I didn’t watch anything. The only memory I have of Star Trek is at my grandma’s house. She loves sci-fi in general and she would always have, at nighttime, Star Trek. I remember there being this interesting cast of people and they were very respectful and poised. It was admirable to watch, definitely. It was something that I was interested in but I was so young I didn’t really have a way in for myself. So it’s awesome to bring this one through because I feel like it’s the perfect thing for first-time Trek people to come in and start with this new group of kids and learn as it goes.
I know the big characters. It’s funny, I actually did my first Captain’s Log, and it was completely wrong. The Captain’s Logs were supposed to be super poised and like [adopts formal speech], ‘Hello, today this is what happened.’ And my Captain’s Log is like [adopts energetic voice] ‘So let me tell you how…’ Which they ended up keeping and really liking. So I feel like not having the pressure of living up to something has also come in our performances.
Ella Purnell: I have to agree with that. My stepdad always used to watch it and I would come downstairs and he’d be sitting watching the reruns, I couldn’t tell you which… but it was must have been the very first couple ones because my teenage self would be like, ‘The graphics are terrible.’ It’s just different from what I grew up watching. And that was my first experience with the Star Trek.
I actually like the idea that none of us really have any experience or have married ourselves too closely to the original ones, because I think that’s what’s going to modernize it—not that it needs modernizing—but it’s going to carry the sense to the next generation and make it more relatable and attractive for them.
Rylee Alazraqui: When I got [cast] I didn’t know what it was. So we watched a [Star Trek] movie. I don’t know which one… And I didn’t really learn that much from it because either it was too confusing or it was inappropriate for my eyes to watch. I don’t know, there are many reasons and I was confused and I was focused on the marshmallows and my hot chocolate. I think that I’m learning a lot from just doing these recording sessions and reading the scripts. And it’s going to be really exciting for me to learn more and for everyone who’s watching the show to learn about the Prodigy of Star Trek.
ICYMI: Powering up the Protostar clip
Dal and Rok-Tahk power up the USS Protostar and discover the universal translator (also available at startrek.com).
Prodigy arrives in 2 days
The Prodigy debut will be available to stream on Paramount+ in the United States on October 28. The series is also coming to Paramount+ in Latin America, the Nordics, and Australia, and CTV Sci-Fi in Canada. It will debut in 2022 in parts of Europe with the launch of the Paramount+ Sky partnership.
Keep up with the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.