Kate Mulgrew returns as Kathryn Janeway's voice, her character in Star Trek: Voyager, in the upcoming animated series Star Trek: Prodigy. First announced for Nickelodeon, the series will debut on Paramount+ before airing its 10-episode first season on linear television. It's been 20 years since Mulgrew played Voyager's captain (excepting her cameo as Admiral Janeway in the 2002 movie Star Trek: Nemesis). In the past, she's been skeptical of the idea of returning as Janeway, at least in live-action. Why then did she decide to reprise the role for the Star Trek franchise's first animated series specifically aimed at children?
"She's always present in my life," Mulgrew tells CBR. "Not a day goes by where I don't have some reminder or request about Janeway or something to do with the future of Janeway. And when Alex Kurtzman approached me -- when I was doing Mr. Mercedes, that's when he called me -- I was curious about it; slightly bewildered about it being an animated series, I didn't quite understand it. It was explained to me in detail and I thought to myself 'Wow, this will be terrific to bring this to young people who may be watching this with their mothers who watched me as Captain Janeway in live-action and it will bring the entire family into the orbit of Star Trek and this is something that I very much want to do.' Also, I love to use my voice, I love the solitude of the recording booth; I love the freedom of it. Star Trek truly is the gift that keeps on giving."
Mulgrew has said in the past that it took some convincing to get her back into the Star Trek universe. "Well, frankly, the negotiations took quite a long time," Mulgrew said during the installation ceremony for a Janeway statue. "When Alex Kurtzman presented me with this idea, I wasn't entirely sure, and then over the months, the conversation evolved into what we could bring to an entirely new demographic of watchers. I thought the idea of bringing this to young minds was just too exciting, too evocative, and too promising."
Upon announcing her return, Mulgrew said, "I have invested every scintilla of my being in Captain Janeway, and I can't wait to endow her with nuance that I never did before in Star Trek: Prodigy. How thrilling to be able to introduce to these young minds an idea that has elevated the world for decades. To be at the helm again is going to be deeply gratifying in a new way for me."