Star Trek: Prodigy's Dee Bradley Baker Discusses Murf's Big Changes

As its title suggest, Star Trek: Prodigy's latest episode, "Crossroads," is a turning point for the USS Protostar crew, as they discover that they are fugitives on the run from Starfleet, the very organization with which they had hoped to find sanctuary. But it brings some more specific changes to Murf, the Mellanoid slime worm member of the crew. SPOILERS follow for Star Trek: Prodigy's latest episode, "Crossroads." Having enclosed himself in an egg-like cocoon, Murf emerged at the end of this week's episode less a worm but instead with arms and legs, standing upright in a new childlike form.

What does this mean for Murf's future? had the chance to speak with Dee Bradley Baker, who voices Murf, touching on the character's changes, evolving his performance, and Baker's history as a Star Trek fan. Here's what he had to say:

113 – All The World's A Stage
(Photo: Nickelodeon)

We're here to talk about Star Trek: Prodigy, but I also hear your voice on shows like Star Wars: The Bad Batch
and in plenty of other things. After doing The Bad Batch where you're playing half a dozen or so different characters talking to each other, does making noises for a space slug on Prodigy feel like a relaxing counterpart? Or is it a lot more complicated than someone might assume?

Dee Bradley Baker: Murf in contrast to The Bad Batch is a simpler mission in some sense. But ultimately, weirdly, it all feels the same to me. It's all a different mode of acting, which is all that I'm really doing. Whether it's just it's making [Murf noises] or if I'm talking like the Bad Batch, it's all serving a script that's serving a story, and that's nailing down specific behavior beats and tone that helps the story be told. So it really all feels the same to me as wildly and weirdly different as it is. But you're right, it couldn't be more different; what I do on The Bad Batch compared to doing a creature like Murf, at least in terms of the vocal pyrotechnics involved.

I know from other interviews that you were a fan of things like Star Wars before you started getting jobs in those universes. How deep were you into being a Star Trek fan before you were cast as Murf? Did you ever hope you'd have a role in it, and did you expect it would be a space slug if it happened?

Well, let's see. I watched Star Trek religiously every week. I asked my dad if I could have my ears modified to be like Spock's ears. I literally wanted that to happen. I wanted that. I bought this really awesome blueprint manual for how the Enterprise was all put together. I don't know if you're familiar with that, but for me, that was just the coolest thing in the world. I did go to what was called a Starcon, an early convention, probably right around 1980 it was, but I didn't pursue it past that.

So I very much was into it. I thought it was really cool. I read The Making of Star Trek. I probably read some novelizations. I followed all the original movies that came out. I was very excited about Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I remember where I saw it. I was in Indiana. It was Christmastime. So yeah, I was, I think in those days, a pretty good fan.

These days, I'm not as far into it as you can get these days. I'm much more preoccupied with voiceover work and then also raising the family and just kind of juggling life in middle age. I don't have the freedom to zip around like I did back when I was young. But I was very much into it when I was younger. 

I've been watching Prodigy with my eight-year-old, and she is basically obsessed with Murf, so this episode had her excited. It's a big deal for Murf. He's going through some changes. How much did you know about what the arc for Murf looked like? Were you aware when you signed up that he's going to change?

Well, as we kind of fleshed out the character and the sounds and all that with showrunners Kevin and Dan, they wanted to conjure this little creature kind of as a person, as a sentient, helpful person. And I think they mentioned to me, "Well, he's going to change. He's not just going to be a little blob or a little protoplasm that scuttles around and makes joyous sounds and sometimes does things where it's like, 'Did he mean to help? Because he just helped, but did he mean that?'" and that he's going evolve and change.

And it's interesting that you say that your kid is into that because I mean, kids are like that, right? It's like the grownups around them are speaking this language that they only partially understand at best and maybe not at all. But they're trying to help out, and they're trying to engage with it. And they want to be helpful. And so it would only be natural that the kids would really relate to Murf because they feel themselves wanting to learn the language, wanting to help out, and they can feel themselves evolving and changing much more rapidly than grownups do. So that's very interesting to hear.

What can you say about how your performance as Murf might change going forward? We only get a glimpse of it in this episode, but are we going to see fully-formed dialogue down the line? Is this just a more incremental change? How does it affect the sound of Murf?

Oh, I might have a phaser gun focusing on my forehead were I to speak too freely as to what is coming down the pike, the Captain Pike, shall we say. But I think one can logically extrapolate from what is now to be revealed that there are changes and evolutions that are in play that would logically and naturally continue to be in play. And I'm just speaking logically here. But the NDA cone of silence is over my head on that one.

New episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy debut weekly on Thursdays on Paramount+.