Star Trek fans recently had their first chance to experience What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, a documentary about the third Star Trek television series when the film made its one-night-only theatrical debut. One of the themes of the documentary was how Deep Space Nine was looked at as the awkward middle child of the Star Trek family, wedged between the franchise’s flagship Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager, the flagship of then-new network UPN. But Voyager lives just as much in the shadow of The Next Generation and the original Star Trek.
Speaking to Trek Movie, Mulgrew says she never really felt any of that shadow while working on Voyager, and certainly not the way that the Deep Space Nine cast and crew did. In fact, it ticks Mulgrew off whenever she hears Voyager framed in such a way.
“No. I don’t think that ever occurred to me,” she says. “I was aware of Next Generation being wonderfully received, and Patrick Stewart’s great popularity and success as a captain, but I was absolutely immersed in the business of making Star Trek: Voyager my imprint, and of value in and of itself.
“Being the first female captain was seismic, there were tidal waves of publicity and reaction and response because a girl had been put in command. And I had to wrestle with that for at least a season, maybe a season and a half.
“I was determined to make Janeway the best captain I could make her, and not for any real feminist reasons—because I wanted as an actress and as a human being to put my stamp on that beautifully written woman. And I thought around me was a very, very good group. I’ve remained very close friends with Bob Picardo, Ethan Phillips. I mean, these guys were pretty terrific, so, no. And I’m aware of the competitive nature of it all. I’m a deeply competitive person myself, or have been in my life as an actress. It always pisses me off when people say that Voyager was less than Next Generation, and Janeway was less than Picard, or less than Kirk. And it’s all so silly, isn’t it?”
Even so, Mulgrew has said that she’s not eager to reprise Janeway again the way Stewart is for Star Trek: Picard. “I don’t know. It surprised me when Patrick came out on the stage—I was there that day—and announced it. It surprised me that he wanted to. But I think he knows it will probably have a shot at being quite a hit. And there’s no one who likes to work as much as Patrick Stewart. And for him it will probably be very successful. Picard was beloved. Yeah, it’ll be interesting. I don’t know what to say about Janeway. Seven years is a long time to play a character. I’m not sure that she would enjoy resuscitation. She was a very, very vibrant person, while she was."
What do you think of the comparisons between Janeway, Kirk, and Picard? Let us know in the comments.