Friday, July 29, 2022

Star Trek: Prodigy | Cast & Crew Interviews | Nickelodeon & Paramount Plus

Kate Mulgrew on STAR TREK PRODIGY's Animated Janeway Character Design | TrekCore

STAR TREK: PRODIGY's Kate Mulgrew tells us about working with the show's creators, Kevin and Dan Hageman on creating an animated version of Captain Janeway.

Star Trek: Prodigy premiered October 28 on Paramount+ in the United States (and CTV Sci Fi Channel in Canada), with a one-hour opening episode to kick of the show’s first season; it will also be available on Paramount+ in Latin America, the Nordics and Australia. New episodes premiere every Thursday, exclusively on Paramount Plus. The series will also air on Nickelodeon following its streaming launch. Click HERE for more information!

Additional international premiere dates have not yet been announced, although the series is expected to debut on Paramount+ in the U.K. when the service launches next year.

Kate Mulgrew on Returning to Janeway for STAR TREK: PRODIGY | TrekCore

In a group interview setting, STAR TREK: PRODIGY's Kate Mulgrew talks about revisiting her character - Captain Kathryn Janeway - for the new animated series.

Envisioning a Brighter Animated Future in ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’

***This article originally appeared in the November ’21 issue of Animation Magazine (No. 314)***

It’s been 55 years now since the original Star Trek series started its journey to boldly go where no one has gone before. And after hundreds of hours of seeking out new life and new civilizations across nine TV series (with more on the way), and more than a dozen movies, Gene Roddenberry’s creation is still boldly going — this time, into CG animation with Star Trek: Prodigy, the first TV series in the franchise aimed at younger audiences.

Developed by Kevin and Dan Hageman, Star Trek: Prodigy follows a crew of young aliens who come together aboard an abandoned Federation starship to search for a better future. Guiding their voyage and exposing them to the ideals of Starfleet is an emergency training hologram with the likeness and voice of the legendary Captain Kathryn Janeway of the USS Voyager.

Kate Mulgrew voices a hologram mentor version of her Star Trek: Voyager character Kathryn Janeway in the new animated series Star Trek: Prodigy.

Kate Mulgrew reprises her role as Janeway, joined by a cast of young talent playing aliens both familiar and new. Among them: Rylee Alazraqui as Rok-Tahk, a bright but shy eight-year-old female Brikar whose hulking body resembles a pile of rocks; Brett Gray as Dal, a hopeful, 17-year-old maverick from an unknown species; Angus Imrie as Zero, a formless Medusan who wears a containment suit to keep others from going mad at the sight of its true self; Jason Mantzoukas as an argumentative, 16-year-old Tellarite named Jankom Pog; Ella Purnell as a 17-year-old Vau N’Akat named Gwen, who’s always dreamed of exploring the stars; and animation veteran Dee Bradley Baker as Murf, a blob-like alien who likes to eat ship parts.

Produced by the Nickelodeon Animation Studio and CBS’s Eye Animation Productions, Star Trek: Prodigy is animated by Technicolor and its first season is set to premiere this month on Paramount+ in the U.S., followed by a linear TV run next year on Nickelodeon.

Embracing Optimism

The approach had immediate appeal for Nickelodeon, says Claudia Spinelli, Nick’s senior VP of animation development. “It was just immediately apparent that this is a story we needed to tell and needed to have become part of our library,” she says. “It captures so many of the things that are just inherent in kids today, and also those qualities that are always about what it is to be a kid.”

Director, co-executive producer and creative lead Ben Hibon says Star Trek: Prodigy was a great chance to reconnect with the ever-present and overarching themes Roddenberry established for the series.

“It’s a story of the many rather than the story of a few, or the one,” he says, paraphrasing a classic line from Mr. Spock. “That’s something that always really connected with me. There’s also that positivity of Trek … this idea of finding that better version of yourself by empathy, by connecting, by integration, by trying to understand others.”

Hibon says much of the first season was already written when he beamed aboard. “There was a great sense of the arc of the characters and how they were fleshed out, and the arcs of the story — but there was no visuals whatsoever,” he says. “I came on board as a storyteller, but also to start visualizing what the show and that world would look like.”

Building the look of the show required using his storyboarding skills to find visual narrative ways to express concepts and figure out what was the right amount of newness required to extend the look of Star Trek without making it unrecognizable. He also, as director, worked on the tone of the show.

“The cinematic style was very important for the show,” he says. “It needed to have a grand sense of adventure, humor and honest emotion.” In establishing the look, Hibon says his approach to camera work, lighting and blocking incorporated live-action techniques.

That follows the original approach of Star Trek, which set out to tell believable and realistic science-fiction tales. “We really paid attention to keeping things within the realm of reality, of realism, in terms of action,” Hibon says. “We really love the idea of never breaking that glass ceiling. We never go into the fantastical for the sake of it, or for the action’s sake of it.”

Art director Alessandro Taini comes to Star Trek: Prodigy from the videogame world. “I always wanted to work in animation because it’s all about storytelling,” he says.

A show like Star Trek: Prodigy presents a lot of opportunities. “You need to, first of all, respect the history of the show,” Taini says. “You need to make sure anything you do, even if it is something new, you need it to still be related to the style of Star Trek, without going too crazy.” That gave Taini an opportunity to create new alien planets and explore variations on the look of Star Trek’s foundational design for things like starships, via elements such as signage. Colors also were pushed in ways that suited CG animation, shooting for the right mixture of stylization while still being grounded.

While the potential of animation to create a universe with depth is unlimited, CG animation has to work within the limits of budget, schedules and technology.

Star Trek character design also has its tradition, and Prodigy adds elements of classic Trek with Jangkom Pog, an alien known as a Tellarite that dates back to the original live-action series; as well as the holographic version of Janeway. Even though she is the only human-looking member of the Prodigy team, Janeway is an iconic live-action character whose design had to look like part of the same world as alien characters designed for animation.

“We’ve been trying to find a real balance between realistic and stylized,” Taini says, adding that he is pleased that Mulgrew was happy with the final design.

The ship is a major element in any iteration of Star Trek. A focus on details over a slightly stylized but still recognizable version of the classic starship architecture produced the right results, Taini says.

Most of Taini’s team worked remotely, with a group in Los Angeles and matte painters, concept artists, 3D artists and others working from all over the world.

Voicing the Future

Hibon says many factors play a role in creating the final characters. There are the initial designs on the page and the script, but the actors played a big role in interpreting them for this show.

For example, Gray brought a lot of energy to his role and helped give Dal a lot of enthusiasm and hope. “He fancies himself a bit of a maverick,” Hibon says of Dal. “At the end of the day, a lot of his great plans fall very often very short, but his heart is big and … his belief in himself is contagious.”

Similarly, Alazraqui’s young voice for the oversized body of Rok-Tahk brought out nuances that were reflected in the animation. “The character is so large that we had to turn down a lot of her animation and the movement,” Hibon says. They worked out what Hibon describes as “very, very small micro animation” to capture the character’s mix of fragility and innocence.

Introducing Roddenberry’s ideas to a younger audience was really exciting, Hibon says, as Prodigy takes for the first time a young and inexperienced crew of characters on a journey of growth and exploration through the Star Trek lens.

“They have questions,” he says. “They’re trying to do things for the right reasons, but everything is challenging. Those challenges help the characters learn who they are, but also test them to use their minds and think through problems with logic. I think there’s something that is right about it, as a message for a younger audience,” Hibon concludes.

Star Trek: Prodigy premieres on Paramount+ on October 28.


Set Phasers to Fun! ‘Star Trek: Prodigy' Puts a Young Crew at the Helm

“Star Trek: Prodigy” is the first “Star Trek” series aimed at younger audiences.

[Click HERE for video interview]

Almost exactly 55 years ago, the original “Star Trek” series starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy took viewers across the galaxy, to explore brave new worlds. Now the legacy of what Gene Roddenberry created continues in the new Nickelodeon Animation Studios series, “Star Trek: Prodigy.”

Rather than adults at the helm as we’ve seen in so many “Star Trek” projects, “Prodigy” focuses on what would happen if a group of young misfits discovered a Starfleet ship and set off on their own adventures. Brothers Dan and Kevin Hageman created the series with the goal of appealing to a younger audience in mind.

“You think about ‘Star Trek’ and it’s always about fully formed adults on a bridge, weighing massive consequences,” Dan Hageman said. “And we thought it would just be really interesting if you had a bunch of kids who knew nothing about Gene Roddenberry and Starfleet and they get introduced to it.”

Brett Gray (“On My Block”) plays Dal, a young teenager who escapes the hard life of a mining colony and discovers the U.S.S. Protostar. Along the way he meets Rok-Tahk played by Rylee Alazraqui (“Stillwater”), Jakom Pog played by Jason Mantzoukas (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Zero played by Angus Imrie (“The Crown”) who all try to figure out what the U.S.S. Protostar can do. 

But they aren’t completely without help. Many fans will be delighted to see the return of Kate Mulgrew as a holographic Captain Janeway from “Voyager.” And the Hageman brothers are quick to point out this is not a continuation of the “Voyager” story even though the events take place during the same time period and in the Delta quadrant.

“We also wanted, not just Janeway, but those other Trek elements that we can’t talk about yet but you will see later on,” Kevin Hageman explained. “We did not want our show to be the little sibling to the live action show. We were like, how can we write this so we get kids and adult fans. And that our show is going to sit up there on the mantle with the best of them.”

Over the course of their adventures together, this motley crew will each be introduced to Starfleet and the ideals it represents. And the Hagemans say that’s ultimately what they want the audience to experience as well.

“We want to honor the old as much as we want to honor the new,” Dan Hageman said.

“For me it’s what the Federation is all about,” Kevin Hageman said. “The coalition of different species all coming together and dreaming of becoming better. That’s what I hope kids take from this show.”

You can boldly go along with the kids of “Star Trek: Prodigy” when it premieres Oct. 28 on Paramount+. The series stars Kate Mulgrew, Brett Gray, Ella Purnell, Rylee Alazraqui, Jason Mantzoukas, and Angus Imrie. It was produced by Nickelodeon Animation Studio; Secret Hideout; and Roddenberry Entertainment.


'Star Trek: Prodigy' sends the franchise back into the animation universe

"Star Trek" has had its younger fans, but rarely has the direct appeal of "Star Trek: Prodigy" been made to them.

The enduring sci-fi franchise goes where it hasn't often gone before with the debut of the animated series Thursday, Oct. 28, on Paramount+. Produced by the animation arms of Nickelodeon (which will run the program later) and CBS Studios, the saga brings back Kate Mulgrew to voice a hologram version of her "Star Trek: Voyager" character Capt. Kathryn Janeway. However, the show centers around her new trainees, six young aliens who learn about working together -- and the workings of Starfleet -- while traveling aboard an abandoned ship.

"Janeway defined an era for me and, as it turns out, the rest of my life," Mulgrew reflects. "To play a hologram is probably the most clever way to introduce this character to children. To introduce 'Hologram Janeway' to 10-year-olds, 15-year-olds is an exciting approach, and very smart. From there, of course, the sky is the limit ... but I am delighted to be back playing her. I love her. When a character defines a part of your life, you are in turn deeply grateful, which I am. And she has never left me."

"Star Trek: Prodigy" executive producer Alex Kurtman has been a major keeper of the flame, having co-created and overseen the Paramount+ series "Star Trek: Discovery" and "Star Trek: Picard," and also having a hand in the streaming service's animated but more-adult "Star Trek: Lower Decks." He maintains "Star Trek" has "always been a family show, the show that parents watched with their children -- and those children become parents, and they pass it on to their children. I think that legacy is important."

"Star Trek" also yielded a 1973-74 Saturday-morning NBC cartoon show (with the voices of the original series' cast), but Kurtzman credits sibling "Star Trek: Prodigy" creators Dan and Kevin Hageman with bringing "such a wonderful objectivity, just based on their own experience doing kids' shows ('Trollhunters,' etc.), about an area in 'Star Trek' that felt like a really wonderful place to look at. It was great. And obviously, having Kate back to play Janeway is everything, because that blessing allowed us to tell this story in a way that I think we otherwise would not have been able to tell."

With a second season already ordered, "Star Trek: Prodigy" also features in its voice cast Brett Gray, Jason Mantzoukas, Ella Purnell and -- as the tyrannical Diviner and his enforcer Drednok -- John Noble ("Fringe") and Jimmi Simpson ("Westworld").

"The 'Star Trek' world has been pervasive for a lot of my life, and I'm 73," Noble notes. "I'm really thrilled to do (this)."


From Heavy:

Everything You Need to Know About the Newest ‘Star Trek’ Series

This Thursday will mark a bunch of firsts for the “Star Trek” franchise. October 28, 2021, will be the first time fans will get to stream “Star Trek: Prodigy,” which is the first show of the franchise to be geared toward children. Below are some of these firsts, along with everything you’ll need to know to watch “Prodigy.”

Fans who want to watch “Prodigy” must be a subscriber to Paramount+, where the series will stream. Eventually, the show will air on cable TV, courtesy of Nickelodeon. These entities — Paramount, Nickelodeon, and “Star Trek” — are owned by media conglomerate Viacom. 

The first episode will stream this Thursday, and the entire first season of the series will be 10 episodes, according to IMDB.

Who Is on the Show?

For most Trek fans, the big draw will be the return of Captain Janeway, played by Kate Mulgrew. As the star of “Star Trek: Voyager,” fans are familiar with her no-nonsense style. Still, Janeway will be a hands-off character on “Prodigy” since she will be a hologram. 

The rest of the characters on the show are a group of teenage aliens. Heavy spoke with three of the show’s stars — Ella Purnell (Gwyn), Rylee Alazraqui (Rok-Tahk), and Brett Gray (Dal). Rounding out the rest of the team are Jason Mantzoukas (Jankom Pog), Dee Bradley Baker (Murf), and Angus Imrie (Zero). 

In addition, Paramount announced recently that actress Jameela Jamil will be on the show as well, as a Trill Ensign. Multi-talented actor/singer Daveed Diggs, best known for his role in “Hamilton,” will also be on the show as an Andorian named Commander Tysess. 

Returning to “Star Trek” will be Jason Alexander as Dr. Noum. Alexander is known the world over as George Costanza from “Seinfeld” and appeared on the “Voyager” episode “Think Tank.”

The most significant announcement from that release was the news that Chakotay (Robert Beltran) would also be reprising his role on “Prodigy.” The bad guys on the show will be John Noble and Jimmi Simpson. 

What is Janeway’s role?

Heavy’s own Robin Zabiegalski asked Mulgrew this question recently. Zabiegalski assumed that Janeway would be more of a mentor “Prodigy” compared to her commander role on “Voyager.” Mulgrew had an interesting response. 

“Captain Janeway was a mentor to get crew… to most of her crew,” said Mulgrew. ”Certainly, to characters like Seven of Nine. So that’s an innate part of her character.”

“I don’t think that Hologram Janeway or Captain Janeway would be very pleased to see the way Dal sprawls himself in the captain’s chair. But I will teach him in short order to sit up straight and fly right.”

Who Are the Show’s Creators?

The creative team that produced “Prodigy” is Dan and Kevin Hageman, and the show’s director is Ben Hibon. Heavy was able to ask them about the show’s tone at the New York Comic-Con, which you can check out here. The show’s writers include Aaron Waltke, Julie Benson, Shawna Benson, and a few others. Check out the complete list of “Prodigy” writers and producers available from IMDB.

Without question, the Hagemans and Hibon owe a great debt to the franchise’s creator, Gene Roddenberry. 

How is “Prodigy” different from “The Animated Series” or “Lower Decks?”
The most significant difference between “Prodigy” and the two other Trek animated series is that ST:P was created using 3D-style animation. “The Animated Series,” which aired in the mid-1970s, was hand-drawn, cell animation, while “Lower Decks” uses Adobe Animate and is still considered 2D animation, according to the shows’ director, Barry Kelly.

Is the show Canon?
While this might be up for debate in some circles — as is the case with “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier” — director Ben Hibon says that “Prodigy” is canon. That means what happens on “Prodigy” could have real-life effects on what goes on with other Trek shows. It also takes place in the Prime Timeline, and not the Kelvin-verse (or Mirror Timeline). 

When does “Prodigy” take place in the Trek timeline?
While this question might be answered by watching the show, some have speculated that “Prodigy” takes place in the same era as “Star Trek: Discovery.” That would put “Prodigy” in the 31st or 32nd Century. ScreenRant’s Dana Hanson suggests that the group of teens who finds the U.S.S. Protostar could have discovered it after the fall of the Federation. This would align with the story from Season 3 of “Discovery,” where both The Burn and poor communications made the Federation a relic from the past.

What Kind of Ship Is the Protostar?

Fans might see the Protostar and immediately think of the U.S.S. Prometheus, which appeared on “Voyager.” But the Prometheus is a class of its own, as its NX-76884 designation reveals. This new kind of ship might explain how a small and inexperienced crew could operate a starship. 


From TrekMovie:

Interview: ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Producers Talk Legacy Characters, Canon, And Not Dumbing Down Trek

In addition to speaking to Kate Mulgrew, TrekMovie also participated in an NYCC group interview with Star Trek: Prodigy executive producers/co-creators Kevin and Dan Hageman and executive producer/director Ben Hibon. The producers talked to us and a handful of other outlets about how the animated show isn’t just for kids, how it fits in with other Trek, and even about the likelihood that we’ll see some legacy characters on the show.

This interview has been edited for clarity.  

Was Prodigy an idea you brought to CBS Paramount and Nickelodeon or were you asked to develop a Star Trek show for kids by them, and Prodigy came from that?

Dan Hageman: The latter. Secret Hideout came to us and said, ‘We would love to figure out an entry point for the Star Trek universe for a younger audience.’ And then Kevin and I kind of went away and then we came back and said we’d like to make this show, and they were enthusiastic about it, and the rest is on the screen.

Kevin Hageman: At first we were really nervous about doing a Trek show because I don’t think I could write an episode of, let’s say, Voyager. But when we left that meeting, we’re like, ‘Well, what would we do?’ And we decided, ‘Wait a minute, if these main characters are outside of everything Starfleet and they start to discover it and learn it and stuff like that.’ That’s really relatable and it’s a wonderful jumping-off point for kids, right? For most shows, it’s always these fully formed officers who just know everything. The best of the best. What kid is the best of the best?

Dan Hageman: I think the first thing we would say very early on is: ‘We don’t want to work on little Kirk and little Spock.’

Kevin Hageman: That sounds like it sounds like a terrible show.

Dan Hageman: I’m sure it has an audience, but we don’t want to write that.

What was the most difficult thing to adapt from Star Trek for a kids’ show?

Dan Hageman: Well we always try to blur the line. We never really view it as a kid show. We view it as a show for people who don’t know Star Trek,  which could be young or old. And so we always had that perspective of the outsider and that freed us up. We wanted to keep the stakes real for an older audience. We never want to dumb things down for kids. Kids are really smart. They may have a learning curve in the show, but they’ll get there.

Kevin Hageman: I think the hardest part is the balancing of the tone. It’s really hard as a writer to get that tone that will hit everyone. The comedy needs to be smart. The storytelling needs to be really clever. It’s got to work for both kids and adults. That’s always the challenge

Dan Hageman: A lot of Star Trek is already is great for all ages. But there’s always a few episodes that might not be appropriate for kids and for our show I’m sure we’ll all avoid those episodes.

What were some of the challenges of translating the live-action world of Star Trek into your 3D animation style?

Ben Hibon: I don’t I don’t think we necessarily try to carry through a certain or specific style from something else as much as trying to create something new that would capture all the elements that we’re looking for. So it’s kind of looking at the page, looking at the intentions of the character and the ambition of the show as a character-driven story. And then how do we best capture this with animation. Therefore, we decided to go very cinematic in terms of the scale of the adventure.

We wanted to have something that would fit really nicely within other Trek shows because we’re canon. It is a continuation. So we wanted that realism of the world itself to feel as realized as other Trek shows. That also dictated how we would design the world itself, the background, how lived-in it is, how tangible in texture it is. Those are the different pieces that we’ve been looking at doing.

For character design, we wanted to have something that had a sufficient amount of facial detail, being able to emote very much so we could really focus on close-ups and emotion as much as the danger, the stakes, the fun, the adventure, all of these elements. We wanted to be able to shoot it at any distance for it to look good.

For Ben, how does directing for Star Trek compare with your other work like Heavenly Sword and Harry Potter?

Ben Hibon: Thanks to Kevin and Dan and Nickelodeon and Paramount, there was a lot of excitement, enthusiasm, and freedom in terms of really creating something that did not necessarily need to mirror anything prior to it. Aside from tone, respecting rules in terms of what was established. But in terms of visually creating imageries, it was very flexible, very organic, and therefore very creative.

I can say the same for the Harry Potter animation; for example, where we made an animated version of a fantastical world. But that piece of content did not exist in that mythology yet. And I think it’s the same here. We’re adding a piece of the puzzle without duplicating it. We’re just creating an addition to it. And by doing that, and using a different medium, it just gives us a lot of lateral movement. We can go back to the known, we can explore the unknown, and hopefully just marry the two in an interesting way.

Is Captain Janeway the only hologram that you guys actually considered?

Kevin Hageman: One hundred percent we knew it was Kate right away.

Dan Hageman: We knew it right after it was like, ‘In case you don’t know anything about Star Trek.’ And then Kate Mulgrew. It went in that order.

Kevin Hageman: She’s loving but disciplined. She just fit that perfect mentor for a bunch of wayward kids. ‘

And are there going to be other appearances of other hologram characters from Star Trek?

Kevin Hageman: Let’s just say yes, there will be other holograms. But I don’t want to make it sound like legacy characters who might show up in our show are going to be holograms. Our kids are starting in the Delta Quadrant and they’re venturing into Federation space, the Federation space of all the other shows at that time period. So we might see real characters coming in, not as holograms.

Since the USS Protostar is an NX experimental ship with a cadet training program, are there going to be new surprises for Trek fans?

Dan Hageman: There’s some big secrets about the ship that will be explored. And the season revolves around some of those secrets.

Kevin Hageman: Even though you guys have seen the ads and you knew Janeway would show up, when we first wrote the pilot, no one had any idea until you get to that last page and all of a sudden Janeway shows up and it was really, really shocking. We love mystery. We love moments like that. And there will be many more.

You just announced four new characters including Captain Chakotay, which sounds like the crew of a starship. Can you say anything more about them, and are they the original crew of the Protostar?

Kevin Hageman: [Laughs] Nice question, but we can’t tell you anything, except you are wrong on [them being former Protostar crew].

Dan Hageman: We have to keep our details tight on that one.

Prodigy arrives next week

The Prodigy debut will be available to stream on Paramount+ in the United States on October 28. The series is also coming to Paramount+ in Latin America, the Nordics, and Australia, and  CTV Sci-Fi in Canada. It will debut in 2022 in parts of Europe with the launch of the Paramouint+ Sky partnership.


From TrekMovie:

Interview: ‘Prodigy’ Cast On Learning Lessons From Star Trek… And Hologram Janeway

At New York Comic Con, TrekMovie participated in a series of group interviews with members of the cast and crew of Star Trek: Prodigy. In addition to speaking to Kate Mulgrew and the executive producers, we also spoke to voice actors Brett Gray (Dal), Ella Purnell (Gwyn), and Rylee Alazraqui (Rok-Tahk). They told us and a handful of other outlets about their views on Star Trek and offered some insights into their characters through their relationships with Hologram Janeway.

This interview has been edited for clarity.  

Being part of this show, what have you learned about the message of Star Trek and how do you feel it will resonate with other kids?

Brett Gray: It’s awesome. I feel like today I got a crash course in the Prime Directive from Kate Mulgrew herself. Just that ideal of the world being a place that all of us belong to together no matter what species or race or generation or any of those sort of things that we use to place people in boxes. No matter what, we all belong and we all have a spot on the team, and have strengths and weaknesses that we can use to lean on each other to help take us all forward.

Rylee Alazraqui: I think that it’s going to teach people to work together and to realize people for who they really are, and to look at the qualities in people and appreciate them more, and work together and have cooperation with other people.

Ella Purnell: I would agree with what Brett and Rylee have said. What is cool is that we are new to the world as the characters. And we’re learning about it as the episodes go on. We come in with each character caring more about themselves than the collective. I think what they learn—and what I’m gathering as the greater message for Star Trek—is it’s about team building. It’s about being a family and a collective. And I think that extends into the fan base as well.

Can you sum up what Hologram Janeway teaches your characters, without spoilers?

Ella Purnell: It’s a really good question… Each character obviously has their own arc and their own lessons that they have to learn and [Janeway] facilitates almost every single one… I think for my character, she teaches her a softer, more vulnerable side of leadership. Gwyn has learned leadership from the Diviner only. And that is not the kindest way to lead. I think she learns from Janeway that it is okay to be vulnerable. And that kindness and love and respect are a greater asset when it comes to that.

Gwyn (Ella Purnell)

Brett Gray: “Think first” is my answer for Dal, because he has the tendency to jump into things without knowing what’s going to happen or have a plan, which is great. The gumption is incredible. But I think Janeway teaches him to think first and how does this affect the people around you. And how are you utilizing the members of your team so that this can be one mission and executed in a way that is strategic and not just audacious.

Dal (Brett Gray)

Rylee Alazraqui: I think Janeway teaches Rok-Tahk to stand up for herself more and be more confident. Because she kind of gets bossed around by Dal sometimes. And I think that she just needs to stand up for herself and she’s learning how to take on more challenges by herself instead of leaning against everyone else. She has to learn how to be responsible.

Rok-Tahk (Rylee Alazraqui)

How familiar were you with Star Trek when you got cast? Did you watch any to prepare and what did you like most if you did?

Brett Gray: Unfortunately, I didn’t do any sort of preparation at all. I didn’t watch anything. The only memory I have of Star Trek is at my grandma’s house. She loves sci-fi in general and she would always have, at nighttime, Star Trek. I remember there being this interesting cast of people and they were very respectful and poised. It was admirable to watch, definitely. It was something that I was interested in but I was so young I didn’t really have a way in for myself. So it’s awesome to bring this one through because I feel like it’s the perfect thing for first-time Trek people to come in and start with this new group of kids and learn as it goes.

I know the big characters. It’s funny, I actually did my first Captain’s Log, and it was completely wrong. The Captain’s Logs were supposed to be super poised and like [adopts formal speech], ‘Hello, today this is what happened.’ And my Captain’s Log is like [adopts energetic voice] ‘So let me tell you how…’ Which they ended up keeping and really liking. So I feel like not having the pressure of living up to something has also come in our performances.

Ella Purnell: I have to agree with that. My stepdad always used to watch it and I would come downstairs and he’d be sitting watching the reruns, I couldn’t tell you which… but it was must have been the very first couple ones because my teenage self would be like, ‘The graphics are terrible.’ It’s just different from what I grew up watching. And that was my first experience with the Star Trek.

I actually like the idea that none of us really have any experience or have married ourselves too closely to the original ones, because I think that’s what’s going to modernize it—not that it needs modernizing—but it’s going to carry the sense to the next generation and make it more relatable and attractive for them.

Rylee Alazraqui: When I got [cast] I didn’t know what it was. So we watched a [Star Trek] movie. I don’t know which one… And I didn’t really learn that much from it because either it was too confusing or it was inappropriate for my eyes to watch. I don’t know, there are many reasons and I was confused and I was focused on the marshmallows and my hot chocolate. I think that I’m learning a lot from just doing these recording sessions and reading the scripts. And it’s going to be really exciting for me to learn more and for everyone who’s watching the show to learn about the Prodigy of Star Trek.


Prodigy arrives in 2 days

The Prodigy debut will be available to stream on Paramount+ in the United States on October 28. The series is also coming to Paramount+ in Latin America, the Nordics, and Australia, and  CTV Sci-Fi in Canada. It will debut in 2022 in parts of Europe with the launch of the Paramouint+ Sky partnership.


From TrekMovie:

The All Access Podcast Tunes In Interviews With ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ Creators And Cast

Interview: Kate Mulgrew On How Hologram Janeway Is “Fully Alive” In ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’

The series premiere of the animated kids series Star Trek: Prodigy arrives next week, which will include the return of Star Trek: Voyager’s Kate Mulgrew, voicing Hologram Kathryn Janeway. Speaking to TrekMovie and a handful of other outlets in a group interview during New York Comic Con, Mulgrew talked about returning to the character and gave us some insights into what’s different and what’s not so different about Hologram Janeway.

This interview has been edited for clarity.  

Ella Purnell [Gwyn] has said each of the characters learns something in their arc from Hologram Janeway, but does Hologram Janeway have her own arc?

Very good question, thank you. Initially, she’s there for purposes of mentorship and guidance. But you soon come to understand that she is leading them in an unexpected way. I don’t think I am allowed to tell you how that is, that is a spoiler. Suffice it to say that the hologram is very much like Captain Janeway and has many of her traits, and all of her sort of better qualities. And the kids respond to those qualities accordingly. So it’s not as if they’re responding to some sort of machine.

It’s very much a collaboration. And it’s a very felt relationship she has with these kids. Otherwise, they wouldn’t listen, right? What kid listens to an adult who’s shouting at them, or sternly reprimanding them or simply telling them what to do? A kid listens when the adult is interested in the kid. And that’s what Hologram Janeway is with all of these kids.

How much of Captain Janeway’s personality will we see with Hologram Janeway? Or is she just like educational software?

As I said a moment ago, that would be futile. To use a good Star Trek expression: she must be fully alive. She must be endowed with vitality, with heart, and with a capacity for great warmth and affection. Also discernment. She likes some better than she likes others. She responds to some more positively than she does to others, and vice versa. So there’s nothing clinical about this hologram, nor would it work if it were. It has to be alive. And she is very, very alive. It wouldn’t be interesting to me as a voice actor. Why would I do it? It has to resonate. It has to have all of our human qualities, of course.

How different will Janeway be on Prodigy, given she is a hologram?

Well, she’s animated [laughs]. It’s a distinct difference. I’m not REAL in this one. But all of the characteristics, and all of the virtues, and some of the flaws are much in evidence. The essential Janeway is there. That’s the whole point. That’s what’s so provocative, and what will prove to be so evocative about this Janeway. She embodies what was real, and she’s giving this demographic something through a genre that is not real. So it’s kind of an extraordinary sleight of hand, If you will.

You have done animation voice work before, but what is it like performing a character that you previously played in live-action?

Easy. Delightfully and refreshing easy. Which is a wonderful gift after having worked so hard for seven years to create the real Captain Janeway. To have her in my pocket like that and to have her spring out with such alacrity and such vivacity, pleases me very much. It’s a pleasure. And at this point in time—26 years later—it should be nothing short of a pleasure.

Did you have any input on the animated design of Hologram Janeway?

A wonderful question. We were in VERY close collaboration because it’s important to me that my physical features be exaggerated in just the right way. It’s easy to get that wrong. But these animators did it beautifully. So that the eyes are a little enhanced, the face itself is a little shortened, a little square, the mouth is more facile. Children need to respond to the eyes, the mouth. Every inch and step of the way, from the hair, which you know, was diabolically difficult for real Janeway. And these guys–Kevin and Dan Hageman–are just terrific to work with.

There is a genius to animation that I hadn’t given enough thought to, myself. And being a part of this is teaching me that it’s a very rare and very excellent form of art. It’s  craftsmanship that I have to stand back and sort of say, “Wow.” These are men who are not only incredibly smart and very, very gifted, but who can somehow enter into the imagination of a six-year-old kid and produce the dialogue that would be in accordance to that personality. It’s wonderful to be a part of it. I’m learning.

How did it feel when they approached you about returning to the role?  

I gave it a minute, even though the phone call came directly from Alex Kurtzman. And he is someone I admire very much. I like his intelligence. I like the way he thinks. I love his love of Star Trek. Because often in a producer/creator, those two things are not necessarily compatible. In him they are, very much so. But I had to sit on it for a minute because my creation of Kathryn Janeway was not only wholly invested, but I have to tell you, very defining. That was a decade of my life that never ended. It just keeps going on and on. So the significance of Janeway is very apparent to me. If I’m going to step into some recording booth and bring her to life again, I’d better understand that. So after considering that for about two days, I said, “I’d love to do it.” And it’s been great.

With Star Trek: Prodigy Captain Janeway is going to be the captain and an inspiration for a whole new young generation of fans. What does that mean to you personally?

It means the world to me, which is why I agreed to do it. And especially because it is children. In my experience with Star Trek, the targeted audience has always been sort of twenty to whatever [laughs]. To go into the minds of the young will be thrilling. And I’m so surprised Star Trek didn’t do this earlier. And I’m absolutely delighted and honored to be the one to take it in. Because who would absorb this more readily than a young mind? This kind of philosophy. The idea of Prime Directive is Kid Stuff 101. Let me be noble. Let me be fine. Let me be happy at being great. That’s what children aspire to. And that’s what we’re going to give them.

How do you feel kids are going to react to the episodes following the two-part premiere?  

I think it’s only going to get better and better. It’s one thing in the booth, I don’t see all of the animatics. I watched the entire thing today for the first time–the first two episodes. And I could see distinctly the development of it. As the characters are introduced, you’ve got to hang in. You’ve got to really pay attention. That requires a certain concentration. This is this character, this is what this character will represent. And then Janeway appears at the end, suddenly, and you know that something terrific is going to happen. And indeed it does, because she is going to help them motivate that starship into life and into its proper direction. Thrilling!

(L-R) Dee Bradley Baker, Kevin Hageman, Ben Hibon, Kate Mulgrew, Dan Hageman, Brett Gray and Rylee Alazraqui at New York Comic Con 2021 (Paramount+)


The Prodigy debut will be available to stream on Paramount+ in the United States on October 28. The series is also coming to Paramount+ in Latin America, the Nordics, and Australia, and  CTV Sci-Fi in Canada. It will debut in 2022 in parts of Europe with the launch of the Paramouint+ Sky partnership.


From Heavy:

Prodigy: A Kid’s Show Worthy of the Name ‘Star Trek’

One of the reasons that the “Star Trek” franchise is unique and stands alone from most all other science fiction and adventure stories is the focus on optimism. Gene Roddenberry’s vision of a positive future stands in stark contrast to what fans see in “The Terminator” or “Blade Runner.” Trek certainly is different from the endless war and fighting seen in “Star Wars.”

It was to this high standard that Roddenberry created the franchise’s first cartoon show — “Star Trek: The Animated Series.” Written as if it were the continuation of the show, which was canceled in 1969, TAS did not fall into the familiar Saturday morning cartoon tropes that most shows geared toward children do. In fact, TAS even won a Daytime Emmy Award for one of its episodes. 

“The Animated Series”

So this legacy for taking storytelling seriously is absolutely a focus of the creative team behind the franchise’s newest addition, “Star Trek: Prodigy.” This show is breaking new ground in quite a few ways. First, it will be the first Trek ever to be made entirely with 3D-style computer animation. Secondly, it’s the first Trek show to be geared specifically toward children. The show will air on Paramount+ first, then later it will be shown on Nickelodeon. 

The show will star a team of youngsters who find the U.S.S. Protostar, an abandoned Starfleet vessel. An emergency hologram, in the form of Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew), will guide the team through their adventures. “Prodigy” begins airing on Paramount+ next Thursday.

Heavy’s own Robin Zabeigalski got a chance to ask some questions to the show’s director and showrunners. Her questions and their answers revealed quite a bit behind what fans can expect from this new show. And for those afraid that “Prodigy” will be just for kids, the answers might change minds.

Star Trek: Prodigy | Hologram Kathryn Janeway | Paramount+Watch an exclusive clip from the new animated series Star Trek: Prodigy premiering October 28th, exclusively on Paramount+. Developed by Emmy Award-winners Kevin and Dan Hageman ("Trollhunters" and "Ninjago") the CG-animated Nickelodeon series STAR TREK: PRODIGY is the first "Star Trek" series aimed at younger audiences and will follow a motley crew of young aliens…2021-10-10T20:10:40Z

Zabeigalski asked director Ben Hibon and its co-showrunners, Dan and Kevin Hageman, how they planned to create a show that treats the audience as intelligent and intuitive. Hibon was the first to answer.

“We’re taking our time to set the stage to examine how one’s feeling in a situation prior to going into stakes, prior into going into challenges,” said Hibon. “We’re taking the time to let the kids really connect with the characters and the scenarios that we establish. And that time is very hard to get when you make a show like this. It’s really hard to spend all that … adding layers to all the personalities that you may encounter and the dynamics of the group before we start out opening up to the rest of the adventure.” 

“I hope that is what the story does well for kids,” said Hibon. “It is not telling them to go ‘we need to go really fast through it, so we don’t lose your attention.’ We want them to go with us and take the time to really understand the facets and aspects of that story.”

The Tale of the Three Brothers (HD)The Tale of the Three Brothers is a fairy tale told to wizard children. Supposedly written by Beedle the Bard, it is published as part of a series of works that collectively are called The Tales of Beedle the Bard. While most wizards view this story as one that teaches children morals (e.g. humility, wisdom,…2011-04-03T14:14:29Z

Before joining “Prodigy,” Hibon was best known for the “Tale of the Three Brothers” sequence in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part I.” The Hagemans, Dan and Kevin, are known for quite a few projects geared toward children, including the LEGO Ninjago series.

“I would say that kids like what adults like,” said co-showrunner Dan Hageman. “If you look at the books that we grew up on like Shel Silverstein or even Dr. Seuss, these are amazing pieces of work.”

“And I think that oftentimes, you can look at kids’ entertainment as like throwing sausage,” said Hageman. “The kids will eat it! Just give ’em some gags and give ’em some whatever it is … you give them a character to connect to, and it’ll stick to their bones for their lives. And that’s the hope.”

“What you guys will find with this show… you’re going to laugh,” added co-showrunner Kevin Hageman. “You’re going to be thrilled. There are going to be really powerful moments that will make you cry. They made me cry many times.”

“We’re challenging kids because kids should be challenged,” said Dan Hageman.


How Captain Janeway Came Back for a New Star Trek With Prodigy | IGN

The new animated series Star Trek: Prodigy features the return of Kate Mulgrew as Captain Kathryn Janeway... or more specifically, Hologram Kathryn Janeway, the guiding force aboard the show's starship, the USS Protostar. But how exactly did Mulgrew wind up coming back to the Star Trek world to reprise her most famous character?

We spoke to the Star Trek: Prodigy cast about their new characters, including Mulgrew and her co-stars Brett Gray (Dal), Rylee Alazraqui (Rok-Tahk), and Ella Purnell (Gwyn), plus executive producers Kevin and Dan Hageman and director and co-executive producer Ben Hibon.

And of course the biggest question we had about Prodigy, the newest of the many Star Trek shows, was how exactly did Trek mega-producer Alex Kurtzman manage to lure Mulgrew back? And what does it mean for the world of Star Trek: Prodigy and its younger characters. After all, this isn't reqlly Captain Janeway who Mulgrew is playing, but rather a Hologram Janeway based on her Star Trek: Voyager character!

The one-hour Star Trek: Prodigy premiere hits on Thursday, Oct. 28, on Paramount+ in the U.S. Prodigy will also be available on Paramount+ in international territories including Latin America, the Nordics, and Australia.


From TrekCore:

INTERVIEW — Composer Nami Melumad on Crafting the Score to STAR TREK: PRODIGY

Soundtrack fans celebrated last week, as for the first time, there would be no wait on the arrival of Star Trek: Prodigy’s score: music from the new animated series hit streaming services on October 29, with the expectation of more on the way.

The first female composer to ever write music for a Star Trek production, Prodigy composer Nami Melumad is a long-time Star Trek fan who began her musical association with the franchise scoring 2019’s “Q & A”.

Our team got a chance to speak with the composer as her score for “Lost and Found” hit the web last week.

TREKCORE: Before we talk about your work on Prodigy — you’ve mentioned in your love of Star Trek before; how would you describe yourself as a fan?

NAMI MELUMAD: I mean, I would say I’m a Trekkie… I have a hard time not buying merch and stuff! [Laughs] I have a little Enterprise right here in front of me. My friends make fun of me because every conversation we have somehow — somehow! — becomes about Star Trek. We could be having like a three-hour dinner or something, and at some point I’ll make it all about Star Trek. It’s been very present in my life.

TREKCORE: So you’ve seen it all, then? Do you have a favorite series?

MELUMAD: Yeah, I can rank them if you want! [Laughs] I would say Voyager, then DS9 and TNG, then the Original Series. After that, Discovery or Lower Decks, I’m not sure — they’re competing for me, but I really love Lower Decks. Then Picard — I know that’s low, but I’m more of an older-Trek person.

And Enterprise… I’m not sure where that goes. I do love it, though; I love the theme song.

TREKCORE: With such a wide knowledge of the shows, who are some of your favorite characters?

MELUMAD: I love Jadzia Dax, she’s my absolute favorite; Janeway, of course, she’s not my number-one but, I mean, she’s a given.

But the Doctor and Seven from Voyager, they both had such a great thing learning about how to be human, that exploration throughout the seasons and their experimentation with that. Same with Data, too, and Hugh — and Spock, too! I love Spock. I should have mentioned him!

I was always fascinated with that. Those journeys are the most interesting to me because it’s such a different perspective on humanity; it’s a way we don’t always see or perceive ourselves. That actually ties to Prodigy, because that’s what we’re doing — we’re looking at humanity and Starfleet and the Federation through the eyes of aliens, these kids.

They don’t know what Star Trek is about, you know, and we’ll see their journey into it.

TREKCORE: Thinking about those elements, how do you take those things you’ve described and turn it into music for Star Trek: Prodigy?

MELUMAD: Well, the first stuff you hear early on isn’t going to sound very much like Star Trek — but throughout the season, we’ll get closer to the classical Trek sound, as the kids learn more about things. Some of the musical motifs are staying with the characters from the beginning, and some will develop as the story and characters evolve.

You’ll see what I mean, I don’t want to spoil it! But I feel like using character motifs are a more cohesive way to approach any score — not just for Star Trek. In animation, where there’s so much more room for music, it really drives the story forward and you can use them in a better way than in something like a 90-minute movie.

TREKCORE: With somewhat of a large cast of characters, how to you make each motif distinct for each one?

MELUMAD: Sometimes there’s an instrument that goes along with each one, to make them more identifiable. For Gwyn, for example, she has this keyboarding, kind of a bell tone sound for her. Jankom gets a trombone, more of a brassy kind of element in his motif.

For Zero, who is a nonbinary character — not male or female — I chose the piccolo, which I think can represent that, especially when you play it at a lower octave and not the super high notes; it creates kind of a natural, neutral feeling. It’s a very curious kind of theme.

TREKCORE: I really don’t think that’s ever really been done for Trek composition before!

MELUMAD: There’s the Klingon theme and the pon farr theme, but mainly any of that recurring stuff came in the movies — but for the shows, yeah, I don’t know why nobody has done this before!

TREKCORE: Speaking of things no one has ever done, it’s amazing that you’re the first woman to score music for Star Trek — for any of the productions — which is just staggering after all these decades. How does that feel?

MELUMAD: Well, I’m proud to walk boldly where no woman has gone before. I know that Star Trek has always been a diverse show, in front of the camera, but nowadays it’s shifting behind the scenes as well, into production and editing roles – and now composing too.

It took a while, and I’m very grateful that it’s happening. I have a lot of great composers to derive inspiration from, all the previous composers and the guys doing the new shows — Jeff Russo and Chris Westlake — it’s all really great material. I do hope to see more women doing this job, more female composers, both for Star Trek and in general.

But I have to say, though, this was not like a “Let’s hire a female composer!” thing. It was mainly about, “Let’s hire the right person for the gig.” I feel like a lot of women are so ready; we have to work harder to get ahead, right? They’re ready, just give them the opportunity and they’ll do it.

TREKCORE: Are there more specific challenges to composing for animation as compared to live-action?

MELUMAD: It’s very different, actually, oh my God it’s different. [Laughs] There’s much more nuance that you want to capture in your score, because there’s no real human on screen — it’s all animated characters, so you have to help bring out their liveliness.

You do that with sound, and you do it with voice acting — and you do it with music. It’s the music’s role to drive the story forward, which is a much bigger job on animation, especially when there’s no dialogue and it’s just an action sequence or whatever. You have a lot of room to do that — and also I have great showrunners in Dan and Kevin Hageman, and our director Ben Hibon. They’re so open to musical ideas, and they acknowledge the role of music in a show like this.

But it’s challenging, because it’s a lot of music; it’s basically non-stop, 22 minutes of score for every episode. And there are a lot of very quick shifts, so your musical statements have to be quick when things are changing, even within a single scene. It’s all about navigating that nuance, shaping the scene to hit the accented points — what’s the key of this scene, where’s the change in tone, that sort of thing.

TREKCORE: When it comes to changes in tone like that, how to you approach an action sequence compared to a quieter scene, as you are composing the sore?

MELUMAD: There’s this thing with dialogue that it’s always considered the queen — if a scene has no dialogue, then the music can go wild — but if it has to play under dialogue, you don’t want to distract or take away from that. The challenge would be to write something can go underneath that doesn’t take away from that dialogue, but still provides the support that scene requires, while also being colorful and rich — and one that will work as a standalone piece.

For me, a lot of the music out there sometimes doesn’t work well as a standalone composition, but I really want people to be able to listen to this music later and go, “Oh, this is from Star Trek: Prodigy,” you know? I think using those themes and character motifs really helps to achieve what I’m talking about.

With action scenes, again, you can go wild; a lot of times I’ll use variations of one of our themes – like the Protostar theme or one of the character motifs, or the main theme song from the show that Michael Giacchino brilliantly composed.

TREKCORE: Outside of the Star Trek world, were there any other composers you looked to for inspiration on for the Prodigy project?

MELUMAD: When I first started reading the episode screenplays, Kevin and Dan sent me a playlist of what they were listening to when they came up with the show’s concept and when they were writing.

There was some Hans Zimmer, some Joe Trapanese — that was actually very inspiring, because in this show there are big moments, but there are very intimate moments too, and it’s all about finding the balance, the right type of score for every scene.

It wasn’t like, “We want a Jerry Goldsmith score!” or anything like that — I don’t actually think there was any Goldsmith on the playlist — but Michael’s score from his Star Trek films was in there, some James Horner as well.

TREKCORE: It’s exciting that your Prodigy score is being released online already for streaming — does that mean you’re done for the season at this point?

MELUMAD: Not yet, actually — I can’t say much, but I can tell you we’re still recording for the episodes.

TREKCORE: You’ve mentioned that the Star Trek: Voyager theme isn’t something you are able to use in your work for the show…

MELUMAD: Yeah, we have not licensed that music or anything like that, but there are musical nods to remind the older Trekkies like me of that score. There are certain chords, harmonies, textures, and orchestration stuff to bring back that feeling, and I think a lot of fans would really enjoy that.

That said, this show is for younger audiences who aren’t familiar with any of the past Star Trek shows, or those scores, so for them that nostalgic thing doesn’t really apply. Our goal is that they will be drawn into Star Trek, and that they will start watching Voyager after this — so when you take that into consideration, you need to create something new for audiences now.

It’s all about achieving that balance. Kids don’t need the Voyager theme to fall in love with Janeway, they’ll all in love with her anyway!

TREKCORE: But you are pulling from the classic Alexander Courage theme, clearly.

MELUMAD: Oh, for sure. I am quoting Michael’s Prodigy theme too, but there are definitely callbacks to the Courage theme — it was very much a mutual effort, pushing to be able to do that. It’s only used in very limited way; I feel like you only want to use that when it’s earned, when it will be very impactful for the audience to hear it.

Plus, it needs to be when our characters have gotten to a certain spot in their journey where it feels like it should be there, tying the Prodigy story to the rest of the Star Trek universe.

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Nami Melumad’s score for Star Trek: Prodigy is streaming now on Spotify, Apple Music, and from most other digital music services.

Star Trek: Prodigy returns this Thursday on Paramount+ in the United States, Australia, Latin America, and the Nordics, as well as on CTV Sci Fi Channel in Canada.


From Collider:

Kate Mulgrew on ‘Star Trek: Prodigy,’ Voicing a Hologram Version of Captain Janeway, and What It Means Being the First Female Captain

She also talks about what she missed about playing Captain Janeway on a daily basis.

With Star Trek: Prodigy launching on Paramount+ with a one-hour episode on October 28th, I recently spoke to Kate Mulgrew about voicing a hologram version of Captain Janeway on the new animated series. Aimed at a much younger audience, Star Trek: Prodigy will follow a group of children and teenagers who try to escape the hard life of a mining colony after discovering the U.S.S Protostar. The Federation ship might be their ticket to a better life, but the ragtag team will first have to learn to act as a real crew as they’re guided by a hologram of Captain Janeway.

While some Star Trek fans might be wondering why Paramount is launching a series aimed at kids and teens, I think it’s a really smart idea. If you want an IP like Star Trek to attract new viewers and keep growing year after year, you can’t rely on the same people to tune in. You need to appeal to a new generation of fans.

Think about what Lucasfilm and Disney have been doing with all the Star Wars animated series. Not only did they give some children their first exposure to Star Wars, they sold a lot of toys and merchandise, and adults also tuned in. Star Trek: Prodigy has the chance to do the same thing for Paramount. I think if you’re a fan of Star Trek, you want kids getting excited when an adult talks about the Federation, or who their favorite captain is.

Anyway, during the interview, Kate Mulgrew talked about her favorite part about making Prodigy, what it’s been like collaborating with the writers, what she missed about playing Captain Janeway on a daily basis, if she was hesitant to return to the role after so many years, what it means being the first female Star Trek captain on a series, why she loves voice recording, and more. In addition, I jokingly pointed out when she made Star Trek: Voyager she dealt with a hologram and now she is the hologram.

The voice cast of Star Trek: Prodigy also includes Brett Gray (Dal, 17 years old and an unknown species who fancies himself a maverick and holds strong onto his unwavering hope), Ella Purnell (Gwyn, a 17-year-old Vau N’Akat who was raised on her father’s bleak mining planet and grew up dreaming to explore the stars), Angus Imrie (Zero, a Medusan: a noncorporeal, genderless, energy-based lifeform who wears a containment suit to protect others from viewing their true face), Rylee Alazraqui (Rok-Tahk, a Brikar and a shy, but unusually bright eight-year-old girl), Dee Bradley Baker (Murf, an endearing, indestructible blob with curiously good timing and an insatiable appetite for ship parts), and Jason Mantzoukas (Jankom Pog, a 16-year-old Tellarite who will always play devil’s advocate for the sake of hearing all sides).

Kevin and Dan Hageman serve as executive producers, as well as Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin, and Ben Hibon is director/co-executive producer and creative lead on Prodigy. The new children's animated series joins the impressive Trek catalog on Paramount+, including new seasons of Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard, the animated Star Trek: Lower Decks, and the upcoming spinoff Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

Watch what Kate Mulgrew had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis.

Kate Mulgrew

How the series is aimed at a younger generation.
How when she made Star Trek: Voyager she dealt with a hologram and now she is the hologram.
What has been her favorite part about making Prodigy?
Why she loves doing the voice recording.
Since she played the character for so many years, what has it been like collaborating with the writers and directors on the dialogue?
What does it mean to her being the first female Star Trek captain on a series?
Was she hesitant to play Captain Janeway again when they offered her this role?
What does she miss about playing Captain Janeway on a daily basis?
Here's the official synopsis for Star Trek: Prodigy:

The CG-animated series STAR TREK: PRODIGY is the first “Star Trek” series aimed at younger audiences and will follow a motley crew of young aliens who must figure out how to work together while navigating a greater galaxy, in search for a better future. These six young outcasts know nothing about the ship they have commandeered – a first in the history of the Star Trek franchise – but over the course of their adventures together, they will each be introduced to Starfleet and the ideals it represents.


Bonnie Gordon Speaks the Protostar’s Truth on STAR TREK: PRODIGY

After an action-packed fifth episode of Star Trek: Prodigy, the series will return for five more episodes this year. Before the mid-season break, the young crew engaged the U.S.S. Protostar’s protostar engine to escape Gwyn’s father and the Murder Planet. In episode six, they’ll have to figure out where they are.

Recently, I had a chance to chat with actress Bonnie Gordon, who portrays the Protostar’s computer voice. Over Zoom, we discussed Gordon’s magical singing experiences that led to her role on Star Trek: Prodigy, how she developed an original voice for the U.S.S. Protostar’s computer, her new album Con Artist and more!

Rebecca Kaplan: I noticed you’ve worked at The Magic Castle for 13 years. What’s it like?

Bonnie Gordon: I started working there in December 2008. The Magic Castle, it’s a private magicians club in Hollywood, California. I feel like it’s stepping back into old Hollywood when you go inside. It still looks relatively the same as it did back in the ’60s when it opened. It’s amazing. 

Once, when I was Mrs. Claus, I opened an event by singing a few songs. So, my Mrs. Claus is very much like Carol Channing. I call her Carol Claus.

Before this event, I do my impersonation of Channing as my Mrs. Claus. I got up as Mrs. Claus, did a couple of songs and it was in front of Channing herself, who was the show’s headliner! Then, afterward, Channing came up to me, and she was like, “What was that? Who is that?”

That was cool. I could technically tell people I’ve opened for Channing. It’s not quite the same because it was like — I did a few songs, and then she did her show, but I could say I opened for Channing as a Carol Channing Mrs. Claus.

RK: For those who don’t know about your parody nerd music, I listened to a Library Bards song “Stan Lee” this morning. Do you have a favorite comic book character?

BG: Oh, good question. I’m a fan of the Rat Queens comics. I got introduced to those when I was on The Quest. The comic creator watched The Quest and was like, “Oh my gosh, she looks just like Violet,” who’s like the redheaded dwarf with a sword. I was like, “Yay.”

With our second album with Library Bards, we have a few songs that highlight comic books and Stan Lee and Marvel. That’s because the year we were making the album, we were hired to sing for Stan Lee’s 95th birthday party. The “Stan Lee” song was written for his birthday. Then, when he passed away, we decided to put it on the album as a tribute to him.

RK: Did you look to Majel Barrett Roddenberry or any other Star Trek computer voice performers for inspiration when preparing for Prodigy?

BG: With Prodigy, I was hired to do scratch vocals for Gwyn (Ella Purnell) and Hologram Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). When the animators are working on a project, it always helps to have a voice that they can animate to that’s delivering the performance until people like Purnell and Mulgrew can record their lines.

But, as I was recording, the Hageman brothers were trying to find a permanent role for me. So, when the opportunity presented itself to audition for the ship’s computer, I was like, “Oh, this is something I can do.”

When I was searching for inspiration, I listened to Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who’s the computer of all of Star Trek. I would listen to her delivery. Initially, I thought they would want me to impersonate Roddenberry. Then, they told me that they wanted an original computer for Prodigy.

In the beginning, I was trying to figure out a place where I could have personality in my voice. We had to pull that back a little bit because obviously, I’m a computer. I sounded almost like a flight attendant on an SNL parody sketch.

I love that I get to be a part of such an incredible franchise. I’m so grateful Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman and the creative team took a big chance on me and wanted to keep me permanently. It meant the world that they found a role for me on the show.

When you’re a ship computer, you become a part of Starfleet. I feel like I’m taking over a legacy by being the ship’s computer. I want to do it justice because, as a Trekkie myself, I want to make sure the Star Trek fans are content with my voice and happy with the performance.

Plus, I love Star Trek so much. I hope that people see… If they are sad it’s not Roddenberry or another voice they’re connecting with more, I want them to see through my social media and interactions that I’m a huge Star Trek fan.

I hope people know when I do the computer voice; I’m doing it from a place of love.

RK: Did any non-Star Trek computers inspire you? 

BG: It’s funny because… It’s not even that I was listening to computer voices. It’s just with technology today, A.I.-sounding voices and automated messages surround us. You pick up the phone and hear, “Thank you for calling Verizon.” It was picking up on those things around us and making the voice my own.

When it comes to ships’ voices, there’s a lot of video games that have A.I. computer voices. There’s a lot of sci-fi fandoms that have some ship voice. There are so many different ships and entities of ships and voices that I didn’t want to go overboard and oversaturate myself like, “Oh, I could do it this way. I could do it that way. I could do it this way.”

I have ADD brain. Then with acting, especially, over-preparation can kick you in the butt. I feel like many good performances come from spontaneity and going with your gut instincts. With the ship computer voice, I don’t overthink things too much.

As a Trekkie, let me do a computer-sounding voice but also from a place of respect. When they told me they wanted it to be different from Roddenberry, I tried to make the computer a part of myself basically – and an original.

RK: Do you have a favorite Trek show or Trek character? 

BG: I will say Star Trek: Prodigy is rising the ranks of being one of my favorites of all time. I think Next Generation is my favorite series because it was my introduction to it, so it holds a special place in my heart. I started working at Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas, interactive Star Trek.

RK: You did? I went! 

BG: I was one of the actors there. I started watching Star Trek for research to prepare better for the job. At first, I couldn’t improv with many guests because I didn’t know the franchise well enough. The only answer I could give was, “I can’t tell you that because of the Prime Directive.” So yeah, I started with Next Generation. Later in life, I became a hardcore fan, where I went back and re-watched everything in order. 

Data is one of my favorite characters, but Janeway is my favorite captain. Before I became a part of Prodigy, she was just a badass. I do love Spock. I feel like Spock and Data and the Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager are three of my favorite characters.

I think it just shows that I’m attracted to emotionally unavailable men. Holograms, Vulcans and androids, line them up for me.

RK: Why is Prodigy becoming one of your favorites of all time?

BG: With Prodigy, it’s so good, and it is Trek. It has a lot of action, which gets the kids interested. It’s colorful. The art is stunning, and the artists have gone above and beyond to create a bright, vibrant world of space and discovery. The storytelling is so good and has so much heart. For me, it’s seeing how the characters grow and getting to know their backstory and the things they have gone through.

Yes, it’s a kid show. But really, it’s a family show. I love that I’m a part of a project getting kids interested in Star Trek. They’re watching Star Trek: Prodigy, getting to know the characters and the terminology. How exciting to be a part of a show that is the gateway to the next generation, no pun intended, of them discovering Star Trek.

RK: You introduce so much technology into the Star Trek universe. How exciting is that?

BG: It is! I feel like that’s why they needed someone to be the voice of the ship computer and not use archived files of past lines. I got a couple of people asking me why they went with me and why they chose me instead of using archived files of Roddenberry’s voice, which they have in her estate. A lot of that is because there’s new technology to introduce and explain, and exposition.

They don’t have any of those terms recorded from her. It’s one of the reasons why I think I got lucky; they needed a different voice because there’s so much exposition that the computer gives and so much new technology the computer explains, like the vehicle replicator and the Protostar containment field. 

RK: Did you get to meet any of your co-stars in person?

BG: Sadly, no. The recording of this show started right during the COVID-19 lockdown. I think I was one of the few people who got into the studio to record before the March 2020 lockdown. At the beginning of March, I recorded a few episodes of Gwyn; I think episode one and two. 

Then, COVID-19 changed the whole process, and it does put a damper on things when all the interactions you have with the cast and crew are via Zoom. But throughout the pandemic, recording was a glimmer of positive energy and hope. I’d get to see the Hageman Brothers.

I’d get to see Brooke, the voiceover director. I’d get to see Ben, the director. Yes, it’d be through Zoom, and half the time, they’d be on muted, blank screens, but I knew they were there. 

Whenever I got the email asking me if I was available for a particular day, I’d say, “Yes. Let’s go.” I didn’t care if I just had to say, “Acknowledge,” and then leave. I just wanted to do it.

RK: Was it sometimes literally just that?

BG: Pretty much, yes. They give me as much to do as possible in one session, but sometimes it’s just a few lines. That goes for everybody. Sometimes a session is just a few pickups. People think it’s exciting, and sometimes I’ll have to sign on and go, “Red alert, red alert,” and “Thanks, you guys.”

RK: Do you ever record at the same time as the other actors?

BG: Not in Prodigy, no. I haven’t met any of the other cast, which is a shame because I’m a fan of all of them. I interact with a lot of them on Twitter and social media, so that’s fun.

RK: I enjoyed some of the ship’s interactions with Hologram Janeway.

BG: When we recorded that scene, when Hologram Janeway goes, “Not even from a former captain,” instead of saying, “Negative,” I think in the recording, I gave a pause, and I went, “No.” And they all started laughing because obviously, the computer wouldn’t say that, but it was funny. Like, sorry lady, go away. I improv’d that in the booth. It was silly.

Also, the part where Gwyn’s like, “Please tell me there are more escape pods on board.” And the ship’s like, [in an emotionless voice, inappropriate for the situation], “There are no more escape pods on board.” Just little moments adding a bit of humor to the computer, like the computer’s completely oblivious. It’s like, “Sorry, no go. Whoopsy doodle. Whoops. No more escape pods. Have a nice day.”

RK: What’s your dream voice acting role?

BG: With voiceover, I would love to be a villain. Especially if she’s regal but gives off like, “Oh no, of course, I’m nice”-vibe. Then you can feel the evil seething off her teeth. It’s always fun to play bad.

I would love to be on a sitcom and be a seedy character or a quirky, weird character when live-acting. If you look at Buffy, I want to be the Willow. If you look at Firefly, I’d like to be the Kaylee. I always want to be that quirky, weird one that’s a little off but still lovable and fun. Those are my dream roles when it comes to live-acting.

RK: Can you tell me about the “Con Artist” Kickstarter campaign? [For more information, click here.]

BG: First of all, I am overwhelmed with how well it did. I can do so much more than I originally thought. Initially, I was going to keep it simple, just myself and a piano. Then, within two hours, I hit the initial goal and was like, “Well, okay.”

My dream was actually to have a full-live jazz band. As soon as I realized how fantastic everyone was being by supporting the project, I went, “There’s so much more I can do now.”

I immediately got a drummer and bass player, and I’m going to have guitar on a few tracks… And this is something that no one knows yet; I think we’re even adding violin. 

It’s an album to showcase my songwriting skills and the versatility of my voice, but I’m staying true to myself. I have a song about ADHD and a song about imposter syndrome in the industry. 

I’m delighted with a song called “Con Artist.” Every lyric has a double meaning: it could mean a crime or art. You think I’m singing the whole piece about a criminal that I’m in love with, like Bonnie and Clyde, but really, I’m in love with an artist at Artist Alley at Comic-Con.

I’m doing a few covers as well. I’m doing “Why Don’t You Do Right,” Jessica Rabbit’s song from Who Framed Roger Rabbit. That movie’s just incredible, by the way. I am on the asexual spectrum, and Jessica Rabbit is an asexual icon. Believe it or not.

RK: I didn’t know she was asexual.

BG: It’s not proven, but the whole like, “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way.” It was no fault of her own. Just because you’re asexual doesn’t mean you don’t want to be sexy. I love dressing up sexy and flirting, and being coy. She’s in love. She’s married to Roger Rabbit. They always say, “What do you see in a guy like that?” She’s like, “He makes me laugh.” It’s nothing about physical attraction or sexual attraction. It’s all about personality. 

RK: Is there anything else you want to add?

BG: I know many nerds read this, especially women, which, yes, geek girls! I feel like we’re finally getting a voice in the nerd community regarding representation and people respecting us in the space. I want to say, don’t be afraid to wave your nerd flag high. Don’t be scared to geek out fully.

I’m glad we’re finally making ourselves known and becoming part of the nerd community in such a way that it’s thriving now. However, I know it’s challenging to find that place. Look at Wonder Woman and many of these excellent comic book writers who are women creating such incredible stories, but they still get trolls and gatekeepers because they’re women.

I’m thrilled to be a voice representing what the nerd community should strive to be. Also, women don’t put each other down. We got to lift each other. It’s not a competition. Let’s all geek out together in love and harmony.  

Girls are nerdier than ever, and I love it. Many young ladies are interested in Star Trek, Star Wars, science and fantasy. It’s not about unicorns and rainbows. It’s about battling the orcs, and I love that. I always felt like such an outcast growing up when it came to my nerd interests. I’m glad there’s a space for it now and that I can make a living being a professional nerd.

I feel like women must keep standing their ground and forcing themselves into creative processes because we need to make sure that it’s not only women but the LGBTQIA+ and trans communities. We all need to make sure we’re represented.

Thanks for the chat, Bonnie! Follow her on Instagram (@bonniebellg) and Twitter (@BonnieBellG). Star Trek: Prodigy returns for the back half of Season One on Thursday, January 6, only on Paramount Plus. 


From Nerdist:


Star Trek‘s science consultant Dr. Erin Macdonald is an astrophysicist and science educator. She recently shared behind the scenes insights on multiple science and science fiction crossover panels at San Diego Comic-Con 2022. She also chatted with Nerdist about her role on the five current Star Trek shows, her sci-fi credentials, and why Captain Janeway is her favorite captain.

Nerdist: What is a science advisor and how do each of the shows use you? 

Dr. Erin Macdonald: Everyone uses me very differently. When I come on as a science advisor to any show or film, my first task is to figure out where on the spectrum of science to fiction the science fiction wants to land. All these Star Trek shows have a different answer to that. Discovery‘s way more on the science side. They’re like, “We want to be scientists doing science.” I’m involved from the development of the plots for the season, all the way through post production and getting the graphics right. Getting equations written, getting these star maps laid out, and what the planets look like. It’s a lot of fun.

And then Lower Decks is like, “We’re animated, we can get away with a lot more and we’re just going to have weird energy creatures.” So it’s really just calibrating what level of science they want to get into. My notes for Lower Decks are hardly anything. Might be tweaking a word here and there, “falling” instead of “getting sucked” into a black hole. Those sorts of little nuances, just minor dialogue changes. 90% of what I do is checking that level of stuff. It’s making sure what comes out of their mouths sounds right.

On Strange New Worlds, where they take the hypospray to disguise themselves, removing a lot of science explanation. That becomes more like word salad. And then just slightly tweaking things, like not to say “evolve” because that happens over generations. But “metamorphosis” or using some words like that instead.

Screenshot of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds of Nurse Chapel giving Captain Pike a hypospray

They can use me as much or as little as they want. With Prodigy, my role is really different. Even though I’m still doing the science consulting for them, a lot of my role is more like STEM education. Because they want to engage kids, they have characters that are relatable for kids who might want to become scientists. A lot of what I do is more focused on science education than it is on the science itself.

When someone says they’re a science advisor for a show it’s always worth digging a little more into that because it can be so many different things. For me, with Star Trek, I’m really lucky that I’m so embedded in the writer’s rooms. And the showrunners know me. I’m so flattered by the level of respect that the actors give me. They just think what I do is so cool and really champion my stuff. Anson Mount is a big champion of science exploration and astronomy. As is Bob Picardo, who is the doctor on Voyager. And Tim Russ, who played Tuvok on Voyager. He’s so passionate about space and science. And so they’re great advocates for me.

How do you see your role in the feedback loop between real-life technology and what we see on-screen?

I love the cyclical relationship of science and science fiction. It’s so fascinating. I am humbled remembering when The Original Series aired, we hadn’t even landed on the moon. That’s huge to realize the context of when that show came out. Trying to shoulder the legacy of Star Trek is a lot. That’s the stuff that keeps me up at night.

But in terms of technology and how that impacts our real world technology, a lot of that is the production design side of things, the ones creating what the tricorders look like and the hypospray and all of that. And then because it’s been around for so long, our society has started to fold in all of those technologies. We had flip phones, we now have video screen conferencing that was shown in 1966. The one I love is the first edition Kindle is exactly the size and shape of the data pads in The Next Generation. And that’s not a mistake. A lot of people who go into engineering and invention and technologies are inspired by Star Trek, so they circle back to pay homage to that.

The other thing is replicators. We have a lot of research going into synthetic food. Things like finding that protein that simulates red meat that has led to the Impossible burgers. We have all of that research and then, in conjunction with that, we have all this research into 3D printing. And so I think someone out there who’s in those fields is going to be like, “I want to build a replicator.” I think we can do it now.

What about holodecks?

Being able to have the AR walls where you can just project these scenes…both Discovery and Strange New Worlds use that technology on their sets. I haven’t been lucky enough to go up there, although people I know who have been to set are like, “It’s freaking amazing!” You walk in there, the engineering room in Strange New Worlds, that big expansive thing where you see all the coils and everything, that’s all on an AR wall. It’s not added in post. I think when that impacts the storytelling is you’re able to create literally strange new worlds. You can create these vast landscapes. We just did not have the technology to do that 20 years ago.

Who’s your favorite Star Trek character of all time?

I think my favorite character is Garak, the tailor from Deep Space Nine. I loved Deep Space Nine. And the cool thing is Garak was always kind of a mystery. You never quite knew what his origins were, if he was a spy. The actor, Andrew Robinson, while he was on set he was writing what Garak was doing during the episodes when they weren’t showing him. And he really fleshed out Garak’s backstory. He actually turned it into a novel called A Stitch in Time.

 My favorite captain is Janeway. Honestly, she helped me so much in graduate school. I really saw her as a mentor. Every time I wanted to quit, I would watch Voyager. And I was just like, “Got to do it for the captain. Got to make her proud.” I actually dedicated my PhD thesis to her. When I was told about Prodigy, I got to go to Nickelodeon studios and meet the showrunners. They broke the news to me that Captain Janeway was coming back, that they needed help writing lines for Captain Janeway. Prodigy is just so special to me because of that.


Originally published: October 22, 2021.

H/T: We Got This Covered, Anime Superhero Forum /@RoyalRubble.

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