Interview By Ensigns Avery Kaplan and Rebecca Oliver Kaplan
When Rok-Tahk the Brikar (Rylee Alazraqui) was first introduced on Star Trek: Prodigy, her immense size and durability led many (including her crewmates) to assume that she would play the role of “security officer” for the Protostar. However, after the events of season 1 episode 8, “Time Amok,” it became clear that Rok was destined to become a scientist.
In the latter half of Prodigy’s first season, Rok’s road to becoming a scientist continues to unfold. The Beat got the chance to catch up with Alazraqui over Zoom to learn more about what it’s like to record lines for an animated series whilst enrolled in school, to ask about Rok’s relationship with Murf (Dee Bradley Baker), and to inquire about the complications associated with spouting Treknobabble!
NOTE: This article contains spoilers for Prodigy season 1 episode 13, “All the World’s a Stage,” available for streaming beginning today, November 10th, 2022, on Paramount+. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
COMICS BEAT: When you are recording for Prodigy, what does the recording schedule look like for you?
RYLEE ALAZRAQUI: I normally record on Wednesdays. It used to be really often; actually it used to be every single Wednesday. But now it’s turning into: Wednesday, take three weeks off, and then another Wednesday.
It’s definitely easier for me because it doesn’t interfere with school. They make it so my recording sessions are after school, which is good because it doesn’t hurt anyone else’s schedule, because I don’t record with any other of the cast.
So that’s one thing that is pretty helpful. It sucks a lot, I really would prefer to record with them. It’s more helpful because the other cast has other stuff to do, and they don’t have school every day like I do. So I think that if I did do it, it would interfere with my school.
Nowadays, I go to school, then I go into Nickelodeon. Some of the crew is online. I think that’s easier because I get to do my school, and then I have it after, so that’s easier for me and everyone else.
THE BEAT: When you share scenes with Murf, do you know what Baker’s sounds will be like beforehand, or is it a surprise to you too?
ALAZRAQUI: I don’t really know. [Voice Director] Brook Chalmers, who helps me with delivering my lines – if it’s a hard line I have to do, reacting to someone else, he’ll read me in.
But that doesn’t really happen [with Murf], so I just kind of say my line, getting the vibe. I don’t get to feed off of anyone else. Which is pretty complicated! But at the end it turns out well. I get the directions, and I say it – it can be the weirdest thing to say, it can be like “popcorn,” but I’ll say it confused – and I don’t know why I’m saying it confused, but that’s the directions I’m given.
And once I watch the episode, I know why I said “popcorn” confused!
THE BEAT: Has your dad, voice actor Carlos Alazraqui (Star Trek: Lower Decks; Rocko’s Modern Life), offered you any advice?
ALAZRAQUI: I don’t record at home anymore, I actually go into Nick and I record there. Normally, my mom takes me, and the studio teacher is there. My mom sits outside, and I really focus on how to deliver the line off of Brook and [series creators] Kevin and Dan Hageman.
They give me the directions on how to say it, and they coach me on how to be Rok. My dad has said a few things about helping me out with the character, but we don’t really talk about that – it’s normally with Brook, Kevin, and Dan, because they are the ones who really, really guided me on how to be Rok-Tahk. On the first day, they helped me discover who she was, and how I had to say my lines and really relate to her.
So I definitely think that Brook, Kevin, Dan, [director] Ben Hibon; they really have been there to guide me to how I need to be like Rok, and coached me through it.
THE BEAT: Do you like it, or is he like a stage dad?
ALAZRAQUI: It’s good, but he just can be tiring sometimes, because he said completely different things that someone else would say. No, he gives me good advice, but I don’t really think we talk about Rok that often. I kind of go off of everyone else working with me at Nick.
But my dad, he actually helps me more with the auditions where I have to do an accent. That’s where we really relate, too, because he can do all these weird accents that I can’t do. But definitely, we relate more to that than being a character.
Who coached me the most were those people I said – Kevin, Dan, Ben, Brook, all those people.
THE BEAT: What has it been like learning to say all of the complex scientific words that Rok-Tahk has to say during the second half of the first season of Prodigy?
ALAZRAQUI: Completely confusing! I’ll go in, I’ll be all ready, and then the first line will be this big, huge paragraph. They’ll be like, “Okay Rylee, you’re doing a pick-up, here it is,” and it’s all these words I’ve never seen before in my whole entire life! I’m just like… I don’t want to do this!
At the end you see the episode, and realize it turned out much better than the experience of it was. Me going in and seeing that, I’m like, “Oh god, here it goes, this is going to be a little while, guys.” I’ll say it, I’ll have no idea what I’m saying – I’ll just say it. Then seeing the episode, I understand because I’ll know what it means at the end.
But going in and saying all these things, I’m not familiar with any single word I say. I just go for it, and hope that the episode turns out well, which it always does. But definitely, the recording process of it is tiring!
THE BEAT: What’s it like for Rok to be Murf’s caretaker in “All the World’s a Stage”?
ALAZRAQUI: Rok has a very, very close relationship with Murf. I think that Rok brought them into the Protostar, and the crew said, “What are you doing?” And she kind of was just like, “Oh, it’s Murf! I like this! I want it to be my pet.” And then they bonded over time, and Murf bonded with the rest of the crew. They’ve just kind of accepted him – there was no “he has to leave.”
Murf and Rok’s relationship is really, really close. And as we saw, he is changing into something. Rok is getting excited, yet curious.
As we saw in the episode as well, she didn’t want to go with the away team to explore because she just wanted to stay with Murf, and that shows how close they are to each other. She wants to be with Murf, she wants to see why he’s feeling so sick.
As she saw that he was changing, I think that was pretty scary for her. She doesn’t want Murf to be this whole other thing. As soon as she saw that he was stuck to the wall, some glob thing, she was very curious to see what would happen with him.
Be sure you also catch up with The Beat’s New York Comic Con 2022 roundtables with Brett Gray (Captain Dal R’El) & Ella Purnell (Gwyn) and Kate Mulgrew (Hologram Janeway/Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway) if you haven’t already!
New episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy are available for streaming on Paramount+ on Thursdays.