Star Trek: Voyager Cast Discusses Characters' Growth, Evolution

When it comes to Star Trek shows, Voyager stood in a class all its own because unlike its predecessors, the crew was completely disconnected from the comforts built by the United Federation of Planets. Stranded in the Delta Quadrant, the crew only had their resources and Starfleet principles to survive as they try to journey back home in the Alpha Quadrant. Running for seven seasons, Voyager premiered on UPN in 1995 and ended in 2001. Stars in the House, an organization benefitting the performing arts, reunited the bulk of the cast in a live stream. Participating in the reunion were Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Garrett Wang, Robert Duncan-McNeill, Roxann Dawson, Robert Picardo, Tim Russ, Ethan Phillips, and Jeri Ryan.

Robert Beltran, Jeri Ryan, Kate Mulgrew, Garrett Wang, and Tim Russ in Star Trek: Voyager. Image courtesy of ViacomCBS
Robert Beltran, Jeri Ryan, Kate Mulgrew, Garrett Wang, and Tim Russ in Star Trek: Voyager. Image courtesy of ViacomCBS

The first question to the cast was lobbed to Mulgrew asking her what it was like going in the Star Trek franchise as the first female captain. "It was terrific and overwhelming to be the first female captain," she said. "I had about four days. I started on Monday morning. It was formidable. Never read or watched science fiction before Voyager. I anticipated nothing short of trying to embody this character." Mulgrew replaced Canadian actress Geneviève Bujold, who quit a few days into shooting, in the role of Janeway. When the new captain stepped onboard the bridge, Duncan-McNeill (Paris) recalled his castmates including Wang (Harry Kim) felt unsure given the awkwardness with Bujold. "Everyone breathed a sigh of relief when Kate said 'Engage'", Wang said.

Distinguishing the Robert's on Star Trek: Voyager

On the set, Picardo, who played The Doctor, mentioned since there were three Roberts on the set, each had their own variation. Beltran, who played the first officer Chakotay, became "Robert." Duncan-McNeill became "Robbie" and Picardo was "Bob." The bulk of the questions to each cast member became what was their most and least favorite thing about their role. Most had similar answers saying the rapport built among the cast and being a part of the Star Trek community were the best things about their time on the show. Dawson (B'Elanna Torres) and Phillips (Neelix) mentioned their worst experiences in their roles are the hours spent in the makeup chair since they played non-human characters. Wang disliked the uniforms, which he claims are "tight and hot." While they fit well standing up, sitting became an uncomfortable experience.

Mulgrew admitted she loved to have another chance to reshoot season one. She felt she started to get her sea legs from the following season on. Duncan-McNeill soured on Paris initially but grew to like him as the series progressed. He credited Dawson for helping to make Paris a better character since the series paired them together into a relationship. Dawson enjoyed the fact that B'Elanna was a child of two worlds, but not accepted in either, which helped her become a role model and figure of empathy. Russ and Picardo initially felt constricted by their characters with their lack of emotions.

Ryan's least favorite aspect of Seven was her costume. Aside from its tight nature, it was also biologically constricting. She briefly talked about what happened with her character in Picard and provided a production update for season two. Given the restrictions due to the quarantine, Ryan said production is set to start shooting in the fall. The last major bit introduced was the advances and diversity introduced through Star Trek's physicians from CBS News correspondent Jon LaPook. The report focused on how the franchise helped guide medicine through generations and embraced diverse casting through each series with McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Crusher (Gates MacFadden), Bashir (Alexander Siddig), The Doctor (Picardo), Phlox (John Billingsley), and Culber (Wilson Cruz). You can catch the stream below.

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.