In recent months, there has been a lot of talk about Kate Mulgrew coming back to live-action to play Kathryn Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager, a character she is currently voicing on Star Trek: Prodigy. The actress herself has even been dropping hints. It was also discussed earlier this month on stage at New York Comic Con by both Mulgrew and executive producer Alex Kurtzman. Now Mulgrew reveals what she has told Kurtzman it would take to get her to do it.
Mulgrew wants taut stories, adventure, exploration… no bun of steel
When Kate Mulgrew was in Bloomington, Indiana last weekend to visit the Janeway Memorial, she did a fan Q&A event and of course, the subject of returning to live-action came up. At first, Mulgrew recounted her version of the events of the NYCC panel when Kurtzman hinted at an “idea” for the return of Janeway, with her reaction:
[Alex Kurtzman] said, “I think it’s in discussion.” You know, in Hollywood, what does that mean? That’s like a man saying to you after a date, “I’ll call ya.” There’s been a hue and a cry of late. I was in Europe doing a tour and there was a lot of that too, “When are we going to see Janeway live-action?” There seems to be something interesting going on. You know, I didn’t think I would, because I’m a certain age now. Just as I was a certain age then, right? But I’m very strong and still full of life and I adore this character. So why on earth wouldn’t I bring her back?
When asked if she had specific ideas about Janeway’s story for a given series, the actress said she didn’t because she doesn’t want to be “crushed,” but did reveal what she told Alex Kurtzman she wants:
I said this to Kurtzman. The writing is going to have to be absolutely exquisite and as tight—I mean so tight. I want that language to just burst! And I want the story to be so tenuous and taut. I said, “No languishing.” I don’t want peaks and valleys. I want a Janeway that everybody can say, “That’s what she’s become. I’m with her! This is great!” Right? And I think some sort of extraordinary adventure. Even greater than Voyager. Even greater than the Delta Quadrant.
Later, when talking about storylines she wanted to see more of on Star Trek: Voyager, Mulgrew mentioned the idea of “the loneliness of command,” pointing to the episode “Night,” as a “brief” example of executive producer Rick Berman’s reaction to her desire for more exploration of the personal sacrifices Janeway had made. She then turned the discussion of the past around to return to the idea of her possible future return:
If I come back live-action, that will be a moot point, because the flip side of it was: Yes, I missed the turn in the Delta Quadrant. But secretly, privately after I cried on the bridge and said, “We’re all lost in the Delta Quadrant,” I think I went to my quarters and went, “Yes!” Because the scientist—the explorer is so alive in Janeway. She just loves it. She was made for it. So we would get into that a little more with the older Janeway. And no more of those buns on my head.
Star Trek: Janeway or Janeway in another Star Trek?
Alex Kurtzman is no stranger to making accommodations for a legacy Star Trek star, having made Patrick Stewart an executive producer on Star Trek: Picard and given him input on its development. Paramount+ currently has three live-action shows, but by this time next year, they will be down to two following the third and final season of Picard. While Strange New Worlds is just getting started, Discovery is likely past its halfway point with production soon to wrap up on the fifth season.
There have been indications that Paramount+ is ready to move forward with a new live-action show. Alex Kurtzman confirmed at SDCC that there were at least two in active development, hinted to be a Starfleet Academy show and a Michelle Yeoh-led Section 31 show. Picard showrunner Terry Matalas has said he hopes to see a spin-off of that show set in the early 25th century and members of the cast have indicated they’re eager to be on board, including some former Star Trek: The Next Generation stars. In theory, Admiral Janeway could be part of such a series, but it isn’t known if Mulgrew would be satisfied with a recurring or supporting role for her return to live-action. For now, fans will have to settle for animated Admiral Janeway (and Hologram Janeway) on Star Trek: Prodigy.
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