Kate Mulgrew on Playing Janeway in Star Trek: Prodigy

Dec 23, 2022

The first Star Trek series geared towards a younger audience, Star Trek: Prodigy, stars legacy Trek actor Kate Mulgrew as Hologram Kathryn Janeway, a version of the franchise’s first female captain. Mulgrew made her debut as Captain Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager, originally airing on January 16, 1995, a role for which she won a Saturn Award for Best TV Actress in 1998.

In advance of Prodigy’s Season 1 midseason premiere on October 27, MovieWeb had the opportunity to catch up with the Janeway(s).

Bringing Kathryn Janeway’s Legacy to Next Generation


MW: Captain Janeway is a legacy character in Star Trek. Now, you can bring that legacy to the next generation of fans. What’s the overall journey been like for you?
Kate Mulgrew: Oh, it’s just been thrilling. I’m so happy that Alex Kurtzman called me and asked me to do this because I hadn’t considered animation theretofore. It just wasn’t in my thinking. It just wasn’t in my mind!

He said, “How would you feel about bringing her back for a very young demographic, who will see and understand and meet Star Trek for the very first time?”

I think there was a moment’s hesitation, because live-action Janeway – bringing that character into the culture was huge, and has had reverberation of unending significance – I could not have known or anticipated the phenomenal nature of the thing. I’m feeling it again with Prodigy, albeit in an animated form. It is reaching these kids, and these kids are sitting next to their mothers, who are very familiar with Star Trek: Voyager. So the children are learning, through these characters, and through Hologram Janeway, what it is to talk Star Trek. And then, of course, they’ve got the cross-generational conversation with their parents, and with their grandparents.

So in a way, it’s absolutely thrilling. The math alone is intriguing. I really feel like Star Trek has reached an entirely new level in the world.

Related: NYCC: Star Trek: Prodigy Adds Infamous Next Generation Alum

On Playing Different Versions of Kathryn Janeway


MW: As the first female captain, you kind of had to be infallible. Without giving too much away, you kind of see something different from Vice Admiral Janeway this season. What has that been like?

Kate Mulgrew: Well, that’s been particularly gratifying, because it’s eminently playable for me. Hologram Janeway has to follow a certain structure that I have established with (series creators, writers, and executive producers) Kevin and Dan Hageman to be a very solid, and very sound one.

But then Vice Admiral Janeway gets to play the Stradivarius. I get to run the gamut of emotions – and the gamut of command – in playing her. Which, in the sound booth, is really fun to do. Because I’ve got my headphones, I’m watching those guys on Zoom, but I’m alone in my imagination with it. So I get to travel with Vice Admiral Janeway into the minds of the young audience in my imagination, which in live action, you just don’t have the time to do. So I’m of two minds, and I’m actually traveling within my consciousness when I’m recording. It’s really fun!

MW: What is the difference between playing her in animation and live-action?

Kate Mulgrew: As I just said, I think there’s more freedom. Aurally, there’s more freedom, and vocally, there’s more freedom. I get to play [with the character] in such a way that with the time constraints in live action, you just don’t have the time to do it. For example, there’s no time for: “Let me just do this take, and this time I want to cross my legs at this moment.” All the decisions must be made after the first rehearsal, and then it’s time to shoot it.

But in the booth, I can say, “Let me have another one, quickly;” “Let me do this, this way, or this way, or this way;” and these guys are very amenable to anything I want to do. So the whole feeling is not only of creative freedom but also that it’s absolutely collaborative in a way that live action is less so.

Star Trek: Prodigy’s mid-season premiere will be released for streaming on Paramount+ on Thursday, October 27, 2022.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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