Star Trek: Prodigy returned today with a brand new episode that's likely to delight longtime Star Trek fans. SPOILERS follow for Star Trek: Prodigy's sixth episode, "Kobayashi." The Protostar's self-appointed captain, Dal, decides to take on the unbeatable Kobayashi Maru simulation via the ships' holodeck. Of course, Dal needs a bridge crew, but he decides against inviting his crewmates to participate in his arrogance. Instead, he has the holodeck randomly select officers from among its databanks. He ends up with an all-star team of Star Trek favorites, including Spock, Scotty, Dr. Crusher, Uhura, and Odo. Each character, even those whose actors have died, has the voice of their original actor through the use of archival audio from their live-action appearances.
Prodigy's creative team always knew they'd have to use old material for characters whose actors had died. However, writer Aaron J. Waltke tells ComicBook.com that he wrote Odo's role in episode 2019, before René Auberjonois's death. He'd intended that the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine star would reprise the role.
"Yeah, when we first were starting to write it, we were like, 'Let's honor some of these characters that maybe are no longer with us, but also mix in some others,'" Waltke says. But then, Auberjonois sadly passed at age 79 before recording his performance.
"And then, over time, it just so happened to be that we lost René, and at that point, we were like, 'Well, we have to try to make it work,'" Waltke says. "Because Odo has always been one of my favorite characters across all of Star Trek, period, and I hope that I did his character justice in that he always was this figure that was both playful and snarky, but also could get the job done, and, I would argue, was one of the greatest security officers that ever worked with Starfleet, even if he never formally joined them."
In the end, Auberjonois' death helped push Waltke and the rest of the Prodigy team to make "Kobayashi" a full-on tribute to past Star Trek greats. "It was something that we wanted to honor," he says. "But as soon as we tapped into this idea that we were going to be bringing past characters back, it did make sense for us to see if we could really find a way to honor these legacy characters in the best way that we could."
What did you think of the episode? Let us know in the comments. Star Trek: Prodigy debuts new episodes weekly on Thursdays on Paramount+.