When it comes to sex on the starship Voyager, the captain had a strict rule.
Speaking at Denver Comic Con, Star Trek: Voyager star Kate Mulgrew revealed that she had pretty strong ideas about not sexualizing Captain Janeway, the first female lead character in Star Trek franchise history. She even believes her stance eventually led to the introduction of Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine.
“That moment stands out for me when Jeri Ryan arrived. That was an interesting moment because – there’s been a lot of controversy about it generated by me – again unfortunate,” Mulgrew explained during her panel. “When you’re the first female captain you hope against hope that that’s going to be sufficient until the day it wasn’t. Because men like – as they should, as all of you should and I love and adore every one of you – they love sex. And they need it. And I said ‘No’ to all of that going in.
“I said, ‘I’m not going to sleep with Chakotay, it’s not going to happen,’” she recalled. “I said you’re just going to have to go somewhere else for it, so they got this very beautiful girl to come in. She played a wonderful character. And yes, I was unsettled by it because I had hoped – as I’m sure Hillary Clinton hoped. We all hope. Hope springs eternal that we can do it by ourselves but we still need sex. So that one stands out.”
Taking a firm stance on sex was just one way in which Mulgrew was forced to be firm after falling under an intense amount of scrutiny for being the first female Captain. Well, the first female captain to last for more than a day at least. The role of Janeway originally went to French-Canadian actress Genevieve Bujold.
“She lasted one day! As a result of that strange dance for the first six months at least ten guys from administration – Paramount, UPN – stood on the lip of the stage arms crossed like this and just watched me,” Mulgrew remembers. “They just watched. It was sort of unbelievably unnerving. But I took it as the gauntlet that it was. And I said to myself, ‘You want to play that game? Then I am going to play it with you and we will see wins this. And it’s going to be me.’
“Something in me rose up at the very thought that after Miss Bujold defected, that I would fail and then they would bring back another man,” Mulgrew continued. “I thought, ‘No, no, no we can’t have this. We simply cannot, we must go forward.’ And so we did. And guess who had me to the White House after the end of the first season? A woman by the name of Hillary Clinton.”
Star Trek will find its second female lead in Star Trek: Discovery’s Sonequa Martin-Green. The new series debuts on Sept. 24.
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