Kate Mulgrew: There Have Been “Conversations” About ‘Star Trek: Janeway’ Show, Fans Could Make It Happen

One of the more entertaining events at the 56-Year Mission Star Trek convention in Las Vegas was a solo panel with Kate Mulgrew. The actress talked about the highs and lows of her seven years leading Star Trek: Voyager, her return to the franchise for the animated series Prodigy, and the possibility of taking on the role of Janeway again for a new live-action series.

Star Trek: Janeway?

The moment that may have had the capacity crowd buzzing the most was when a fan asked, following on from Star Trek: Picard, were there any serious talks about her returning to live action, possibly even a “Star Trek: Janeway“? The actress beamed at the suggestion and offered some hope that it could happen, telling the Vegas crowd:

I would say simply, that’s up to you. There are talks. There are conversations. Have I been offered anything directly? No. I think they are looking at Picard and looking at the reaction to Picard… I don’t know, but I think Janeway was one of a kind. Right? But I do think it is up to you as much as it is up to me.

In past years, Mulgrew had been skeptical about returning to the role for live-action but that attitude seems to have shifted in the last couple of years with other recent hints of this possibility. One clue regarding her attitude change came earlier in the panel when she talked about a new energy she feels with the franchise and how it is a counterpoint to some of the negative elements of the modern world, including how the COVID pandemic has “put a veil” over many elements of society:

There is a real sense of revitalization. And Star Trek never dies. And Star Trek is undaunted by this kind of stuff. So we have to persevere. And we have to do it with real gusto. I just sat in the green room with Anson Mount. My youngest sister would call him “dreamy.” A lovely, lovely guy. And we talked about what it means, because he is before the original. And he was explained to me how he feels about being in that position. And then I told him a little bit of what it was like to be Janeway, and how it’s crossed every timeline and every sector, every quadrant, and every goal. And it’s just the most extraordinary thing, Star Trek. And I’m increasingly delighted to be a part of it.

Kate Mulgrew at the 56-Year Mission Star Trek convention (Photo: TrekMovie.com)

Praise for Prodigy producers and Kurtzman’s “new way”

Another fan noted how Patrick Stewart was given creative control on Picard and asked how much influence Mulgrew has with Prodigy. The actress was effusive about the collaboration she has had with the producers:

I was offered [creative control] before I even went into negotiations. That is exactly what Alex Kurtzman said. “This will be deeply collaborative from the first moment, you could teach us.” And that’s exactly the way it’s been. But let me say right here, Kevin and Dan Hageman are geniuses, the creators and the writers of Star Trek: Prodigy. So, it’s nothing but a joy. Every time I am in the booth—which feels like once every two or three weeks—that is what it feels like. It’s so liberating creatively. It’s so much fun. I often walk out and I just feel great. It’s very, very different. And it’s so wonderful to be with them. So yes, it’s collaborative. I think it’s a different thing. Live action is much more exacting, because it’s very, very expensive. And a lot hangs on it, so I think that’s why Sir Patrick requested that. And I’m not sure it was entirely fulfilled.

Mulgrew then pivoted from Prodigy to the larger new Star Trek Universe being put together by Alex Kurtzman:

These guys are incredible, Kevin and Dan Hageman. As is Alex Kurtzman. I know it’s the new way. I know. I am not completely stupid. I do get that. But the new way can be a splendid new way. And I think that this is tsunamic in its drive and in its depth and its promise. Kurtzman will deliver. If he keeps hiring guys like Kevin and Dan Hageman, trust me, for the next 50 years it’s going to be brilliant.

Letting Janeway command like a woman

In response to a fan asking about which Voyager episodes she liked the most for their emotional resonance with her character, Mulgrew talked about how showing Janeway’s femininity was something she pushed for with executive producer and co-creator Rick Berman:

“Night” was so good. A deep dive into the loneliness of being a female captain of childbearing years, whose fiancé had just said goodbye to her and is taking the dog. I’ve got a complement of 165 and I missed the gas station. What could be worse? So she’s profoundly alone. I loved that. And I loved the thing with Mark Harelik, “Counterpoint,” where I got to show the possibility, however subtle and very nuanced, that Janeway could fall in love. That Janeway missed that. Janeway really missed all those things. I used to beg Rick Berman, over many martinis, “Please show her femininity in the right ways.” Her loneliness, her vulnerability, her longing. Give me something every now and then to refresh the memory of the audience. This is a woman all alone at the helm of this starship.

With many Star Trek characters having a musical side, Mulgrew was asked if it ever came up that Janeway might play an instrument, and she revealed that this was suggested by the producers of the show, but she wasn’t interested. But the question lead to her talking more about the struggles she faced being a female captain leading a Star Trek series:

But it’s okay she didn’t [play an instrument], right? Janeway was a little busy. It’s bad enough that I changed my hairdo every two weeks for two seasons. What’s wrong with this captain? She goes into her ready room with a little bun, she comes out without. I finally said, “Knock it off, leave me alone. You didn’t do this with Picard.”… I know I am a woman. The audience recognizes that I am a woman. And if you are worried about the young male demographic, let them come to my command. They are certainly not going to come because I change my hairdo every three weeks. That’s absurd. And the minute they stopped with that… then it was over, and you guys did come. Because every good man wants to be commanded by a woman.

Kate Mulgrew at the 56-Year Mission Star Trek convention (Photo: TrekMovie.com)

Patrick Stewart’s early advice helped get through the last days of Voyager

The actress talked at length about shooting the series finale “Endgame” and how it was difficult for her personally to say goodbye to the show and her co-stars:

It was intensely emotional. That was seven years of my life. Of a life that definitively changed, and has been ever since. I was tired. I was pleased to be able to redirect my attention back to my children, who for seven years had to just take me as they got me. But in the final moment, it was absolutely overwhelming. Patrick Stewart warned me about that final moment, and I didn’t believe it because that was in the first season… He met me at craft service in the second or third week. I was very nervous and desperate to do it very, very well. And already tired. But filled with adrenaline and he had a cup of coffee—he didn’t have Earl Gray, how do you like them apples?—and I said, “How the hell did you do this?” And he said [mimics Stewart’s voice] “Listen to me carefully. Just keep your nose to the grindstone and do the best you possibly can and I can promise you that after seven years you will be very proud of yourself.” And he was right.

It was intensely hard, intensely gratifying work. And not many people get a shot at that in their life, but little did I know it was going to carry me to my death. It will, into a very nice sunset. But that was how I felt at that moment. It started with a scene with Tuvok, who has Alzheimer’s and Janeway goes in to say goodbye. You know, I love Tim Russ. I loved them all. I really did love them all. You don’t spend that much time with people over the course of seven years and not love them. And I had to do a scene with Tim. And it was excruciating. Not only was my own mother dying of Alzheimer’s disease, but here I was saying goodbye to my great friend, knowing God knows when I would see him again. And from there, one by one, they disappeared. Until finally it was just me alone on the bridge for a week of pickups all by myself. And I remember sitting in the captain’s chair for the last close ups. “Cut, print, thank you Kate.” And a technician came and started to drill the chair. I said, “I do beg your illustrious pardon.” [In captain voice:] “You are dismissed.”

Kate Mulgrew at 56-Year Mission Star Trek convention (Photo: TrekMovie.com)

More from the 56-Year Mission

We will be going through the rest of our material from STLV and have more to share from some of the other panels at the 56-Year Mission in Las Vegas. Check out the rest of our STLV coverage here.

Find more news about the Star Trek TV Universe here at TrekMovie.com

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I do hope they pick up a Star Trek: Janeway or some kind of Voyager continuation, Voyager was one my favorite Trek along with TNG.

I love all Trek, but I could certainly use a little more Janeway and Voyager in my life right now!

Yes, I desperately want to see all of them again!

Same! I always loved Voyager and I love it even more today after rewatching the whole show again last year. But Janeway herself is an amazing character and has become iconic in the franchise. They already seen how much fanfare there was by fans when she was announced on Prodigy. So of course the idea of her being in live action again would be a big no brainer; especially after Picard.

Where do I vote or to whom do we send the letter?

You reach out to paramount plus, stating how much you enjoy the Star Trek franchise but would especially be excited to see a Janeway centric series. I got roasted on FB for it, but I kept my Par+ sub active, year round. I let Par+ know that I was doing so, to support the platform itself, as well as being enthusiastic about the current Trek content being offered. Star Trek is crazy expensive to produce and CBS is justified in wanting a return on that investment.

But what about DS9?

There was another Trek site, I can’t remember which, that had a proposal for a DS9 / Voyager joint continuation that sounded pretty interesting.

Love her. :) Bring on an Admiral Janeway series.

If it wasn’t for Prodigy, maybe there would be a shot. But imagine two shows with Janeway as the lead? I don’t think so.

…maybe they could make her an android! And a shadow of her former self…oh, wait.

No thanks.

I’m okay with the character in Prodigy, but don’t need an Admiral Janeway series. TNG, Voy, and DS9 left a mountain of potential story threads floating around out there. Would it kill someone to maybe develop a new “in universe” show that didn’t rely on legacy characters?

^^ this

Completely agree!

That’s how we got Discovery lol

Lover Decks was born out of this idea. Okay some TNG Names have an cameo appereance and some Titan. But that’s it

Did anyone else notice the title font from The Orville is what’s used in the background of Kate’s pictures, her name, etc.?

Whoa. That’s odd. Likely a coincidence (I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that font way before The Orville)

Could be a licensing issue. The Vegas con is no longer officially a Star Trek convention. Maybe that also includes they are no longer allowed to use Star Trek fonts.

Yes, yes, yes, yes.

I loved Janeway and would love to see her come back properly as an admiral, bring back Harry Kim too!

Mulgrew was/is a fierce role model for a lot of people.
I’ve friends who’ve met her a few times. They just love her.
I’d watch a Janeway centric series as I try to support all the different shows.
In my opinion, I think a 6 episode arc every year or so, would be perfect. I hope DS9 gets a similar treatment.
Nemesis tanked in 2002. The suits at Paramount were frustrated at how much creative control the cast was given. I think the CEO said it was time to re-imagine the franchise, should the trend continue.
I was surprised that Patrick Stewart got the same creative control for Picard and an EP role.
S1 and S2 of Picard was very uneven, for a lot of fans. Is it due to the creative control Sir Patrick was given? Maybe.
I’m acquainted with a few people who’ve either seen or know others that have seen S3 of Picard.
The general consensus is that it’s TNG, season 8. I hope so.

I’m praying to Kahless that we will get a Picard season 3 trailer tomorrow!

As far as actors getting creative control, I definitely agree it can be dangerous but the reality is after actors worked on a series for so long and they become so vital to the franchise, it’s probably the only way to keep them showing up. That seem like what happened directly with Leonard Nimoy. It was clear he wasn’t interested in playing Spock much by the time the movies came around and the only thing to convince him to keep playing Spock after TWOK if he got more creative control directing and writing several movies and it worked out for the most part. Shatner always had some of it when it came to his character at least but we saw what happened when he got full control with The Final Frontier.

With Stewart, the ONLY way they were going to get him back to play Picard if he had a producing role in it and where his character was going. He wasn’t going to just be on the sideline. But from what I can tell, he doesn’t explicitly decide the direction of the show so much as he says what he doesn’t want to do in it. Both seasons were written by others but he had notes of what he didn’t want like not being in a costume again, Picard more open, etc. It seems like he gets the final word on everything but he doesn’t come up with any of the ideas themselves. And I wasn’t happy with either season but I can’t imagine it was solely his fault. End of the day the writers have to make it work and both Chabon and then Matalas said the basic story ideas came from them. But it doesn’t help when you have 14 executive producers either. ;)

But I think that is par for the course. Terry Matalas said to get all the TNG actors back, he made sure all of them had a say of where they saw their characters 20 years later and incorporated that because he knew they could just say no if they weren’t happy with the character development.

I imagine if we get a Janeway show, Mulgrew will get the same benefit obviously. Sounds like she already has some creative control on Prodigy, at least with Janeway. She will probably have more of it if she gets a live action show, which is probably the only way they can get her back like the others.

RE: creative control. IIRC, regarding Nemesis I think I remember hearing that Stuard Baird was extremely difficult to work with for the TNG cast and a lot of them blame him for how badly the movie ended up being.

A new Janeway series would be fantastic.

While I’m not pushing for a Captain Janeway show, it’s pretty exciting one could end up happening. That’s how I felt about SNW, never pushed for it, but of course would be onboard if it happened. And lightning could strike twice.

For Mulgrew to say they been talking about it with her is pretty big news. Not surprising news obviously but pretty big. We know another 25th show is replacing Picard and this could be it. I think fans would push pretty hard for it once people learn its a real possibility now.

Of course she is already ON another show lol, but there is no law that says a character can’t be on two shows at the same time. And of course it may be a few more years before the live action show starts or after Prodigy is done. I always suspected they offered her Prodigy first just to get her in the door to playing the character again and if worked out they could convince her to play Janeway in live action as well again.

Would love to bring her back !!!!!!
And her cast members also!!

You know, I believe Kurtzman did say perhaps 2 or 3 months ago that they were working on 2 new shows with female leads.

I thought one would be a Mary Wiseman/ Star Fleet Academy show, and the other would be a Seven of Nine spin-off from Picard.

However, one of the two shows could be a Janeway show.

Who knows?

But my opinion would be … just nail down a strong, compelling, bulletproof sci-fi narrative that raises the bar for the brand. Then find the best lead or core group of actors to lead it. If that is a Mulgrew, or Mary Wiseman as Academy Head Master Tilly, or Jeri Ryan as Captain Seven, I am good with it. Just give me a fully sorted and bulletproof sci-fi narrative that raises the bar for the brand. In my eyes Picard S1&2 missed the bullseye.

Yes!!! Make it happen. Honestly, Star Trek: Janeway would excite me a lot more than Star Trek: Picard, and I was over the moon when I heard that news.

Just her and Tim Russ, if you cannot make “Star Trek: Tuvok”

Definitely one person I’d like to see come back. Make it happen

God damn it. No. We don’t need a Janeway show. But we do need a DS9 show! And DS9 in HD!
make it so!

This woman is definitely captain material. And trying to get Berman to understand feminine sensitivities must have been excruciatingly frustrating and quite hopeless for her. I’m sure her concerns went way over this little man’s ability to empathize and understand.

So many questions after Voyager finally making it home. A Janeway (/VGR reunion) series would finally gave the series a proper closure, yet also show us how Janeway and her old crew dealt with being away from home so long, missing out on the Dominion War, what happened to the future Borg tech, Janeway finally finding love (and a new dog)? So many story options.

Yeah we got snippets of some of the Voyager characters thanks to Picard, Prodigy and even Lower Decks, but I would like a full story of how everyone coped after coming home and some of the lingering Voyager story lines as you said. But I do think we will get more of that in Prodigy too now that the real Janeway and Chakotay are back on that show.

But I would love a proper Voyager reunion with all the characters the same way we are getting on Picard next season. Right now, anything feels possible, at least on TV. ;)

Any chances of a full Voyager reunion will probably be influenced a lot by how well (or badly) season 3 of Picard is received. If the TNG reunion turns out to be a huge hit for Paramount+ they may give the Voyager crew a go. However, if they can’t make it work for TNG, why should they even try with a crew that’s arguably less popular than TNG?

Definitely agree. Mulgrew said it herself, they are paying attention to the views and reactions of Picard and it will probably depend on how that shakes out mostly.

This is pure speculation on my part but I honestly think everything is on the table right now. I have a feeling they are discussing ideas of bringing back not only Janeway in live action, but DS9 and maybe even Enterprise characters back in a continuing form. It doesn’t mean any of these characters or shows WILL come back, but with all the legacy characters they are shoving in the new shows and the overwhelming positive fan reaction so far to all of them (even if they don’t love the show itself) is probably a big factor. And yes, probably get higher subscriptions when a legacy character is part of a show.

And it proves just how well these shows have aged that people are excited about bringing back characters from 20+ years ago as this thread has shown. Janeway is obviously a very iconic character now in the fanbase and most would love to see other Voyager characters back (definitely me) so I can see it happening; but there are probably tons of factors that needs to happen to even consider it.