How Kate Mulgrew’s Two Janeways Are Different On Star Trek: Prodigy

With the release of the second half of Star Trek: Prodigy’s first season, franchise star Kate Mulgrew shared about the expansion of her role as Vice Admiral Janeway in the series. After solely featuring the hologram version of Janeway’s character, Mulgrew will be taking on a dual role, as her human version emerges on a mission of her own. The series marks Mulgrew’s return in the role, the latest since her brief cameo in the 2002 film Star Trek: Nemesis.

Star Trek: Prodigy follows a group of young aliens who find and take control of the USS Protostar, an abandoned Starfleet ship. They escape prison colony Tars Lamora and journey towards the Alpha Quadrant. A collaboration between Paramount+ and Nickelodeon, the series broke ground on two fronts, as the first Star Trek series to target a younger audience and the first to wholly use 3D animation. Season 2 of Prodigy is currently in production.

In an interview with Variety, Kate Mulgrew explained how she portrayed the two versions of her Star Trek: Prodigy character differently. Mulgrew’s Janeway sets off in upcoming episodes in search of her old friend Chakotay, the former captain of the USS Protostar. She talked about the character’s storyline, describing Janeway’s arc as an « emotional mission » and a « mission of love. » Check out her full quote below:

« There has to be subtlety. There has to be nuance and there has to be differentiation, some distinction between the characters, or you’re going to lose the sensibility. Vice Admiral Janeway is alive. She’s real. She’s in command. And it’s real time. So you’re going to see a much greater show of temperament from Vice Admiral Janeway. She’s going to be excited. She’s going to be upset. She’s going to be disappointed. She’s going to be moved. She’s going to be all of those things. So there will be an urgency and a dimension and a texture to everything she says and does. Hologram Janeway, on the other hand, has a shorter barometer. By necessity, she’s there to guide. She’s there to mentor. She’s there to direct them to safety. »

Animation Offers The Opportunity For More Star Trek Legacy Characters To Return

The first female captain to serve as the central character of a Star Trek television series, Mulgrew’s reprisal of the role was welcomed by fans of the franchise. Mulgrew will be joined by Robert Beltran, her co-star from Star Trek: Voyager, which ran from 1995-2001. Star Trek: Prodigy directly follows the events of its predecessor, taking place five years after the USS Voyager returns to Earth. This leaves ample opportunity for other Star Trek characters to return — Ronny Cox’s Edward Jellico was also recently announced to make an appearance. This is made possible largely by the use of animation, which is key in bridging the twenty-one-year gap as a sequel to the Voyager series.

Despite its long legacy dating back to 1965, the Star Trek franchise has managed to stay relevant with the expansion of its universe. In addition to Prodigy, the franchise has four other series under its belt currently on air: Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks, and most recently, Strange New Worlds. Its experimentation in live-action and animation formats has proved crucial to its evolution. With Star Trek: Prodigy’s inclusive mix of new, younger characters and legacy veterans like Mulgrew’s Janeway, the series manages to appeal to a diverse set of viewers of all ages, showing further promise for the franchise’s future.

Source: Variety