Star Trek: Prodigy.

On Saturday, October 8th, 2022, in advance of the Star Trek Universe panel at New York Comic Con 2022, The Beat had the opportunity to take part in a Star Trek: Prodigy roundtable discussion with series star Kate Mulgrew (Hologram Janeway/Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway).

During the first half of the first season of Prodigy, which was created by Kevin and Dan Hageman, we were introduced to Hologram Janeway aboard the USS Protostar. Then, in the midseason finale, it was revealed that Mulgrew was also reprising her Star Trek: Voyager role, (now-)Vice Admiral Janeway. Before the Prodigy midseason premiere on October 27th, 2022, Mulgrew fielded questions over Zoom about making the first Trek series geared towards younger viewers and Janeway’s philosophies about science during her time in the Delta Quadrant!

This roundtable has been edited for clarity.

SPOTTED GIRAFFE with Strange New Pod: I have a question about playing two Janeways. You’ve done it on Voyager already, how does that compare to doing it as a voice actor? 

KATE MULGREW: Well, it can only help me, because Janeway bas been living inside of me for upwards of twenty-eight years. So she resides within me, I tap on her. But then I get to go further with Vice Admiral Janeway and Hologram Janeway and all the other incarnations that may or may not ensue. So it’s nothing but fun.

Using my voice alone allows me a certain freedom and latitude that live action did not.

DIANA KENG with TV Fanatic: I am going to ask about the relationships that Hologram Janeway has developed, as well as the ones that Vice Admiral Janeway is coming into Prodigy with. On the Protostar I feel there’s a more maternal guardian/guide, what do you feel the Vice Admiral brings to it on-board the Dauntless?

MULGREW: She brings immediacy, urgency, and sentience, which is key to sustaining the key – imaginatively – Vice Admiral Janeway and Hologram Janeway. Particularly in the minds of the young children who are watching; it’s tension. It’s dramatic tension that’s going to involve them.

RYAN T. HUSK with The Seventh Rule podcast: Putting on alien makeup or Starfleet uniform or stepping out onto a full bridge set tends to help actors get into character; voice actors don’t have that. Do you have a process before you perform as Janeway on Prodigy to get you into character?

MULGREW: Do you know what I have that supersedes all of that? I have a robust imagination, which seems to know no bounds. So once I get into that booth and put on those headsets, I let it go. I mean, there’s not even a scintilla of holding back or resistance of any kind. And within my consciousness I can go wherever I want to go, and I have all kinds of vocal dramatic moments. 

There’s a great spectrum to what I can do with my voice.

COLLIER “CJ” JENNINGS with But Why Tho?: I really like the midseason cliffhanger, where it was revealed that Vice Admiral Janeway was going after the Protostar. Can you give us a little bit about how that’s going to go down? How Vice Admiral Janeway’s relationship with the Protostar differs from Hologram Janeway’s?

MULGREW: Well, we’re talking about Star Trek, aren’t we? So how do you think it’s gonna go down? It ain’t gonna go down, it’s gonna go up. 

But before it gets up there, there are going to be any number of harrowing, dramatic, compelling, emotional moments that you’ve not yet seen at all before in Prodigy. It’s an extremely compelling run of episodes.

THE TOM C. with The Hashtag Show: Being able to portray both Vice Admiral and Hologram Janeway, do you do all the recording session for Hologram Janeway at one point and Vice Admiral at another point, or do you do it all at the same time?

MULGREW: I like to do it all at once. And what I really like to do, because they asked me this themselves – they say, “do you want to do Vice Admiral Janeway first and then we’ll do Hologram?” I say, “No, let’s just do them back to back. Let’s mix it up.”

I like to see if I can trick my head into going back and forth between characters – and I can, because I’ve established a protocol in my mind for each of them. So that’s a very good question.

DIANA MARSH from Metal Life Magazine: Voice over has its own special set of skills, and the way that you work the character. Do you take anything from voiceover and apply it to your non-voiceover roles?

MULGREW: That’s a very good question, but I would say aside from the integrity of my voice, or shall I say the variety in my voice, no. Because live action is a very, very demanding and immediate craft. 

In the voice over acting, I have a lot of space, and I use it. I love it. I mean, there’s real liberty in that recording booth with these characters. And it’s actually extremely rewarding work.

Hologram Janeway
STAR TREK: PRODIGY: Ep#109 — Kate Mulgrew as Hologram Janeway in STAR TREK: PRODIGY streaming on Paramount+ Photo: Nickelodeon/Paramount+ ©2022 VIACOM INTERNATIONAL. All Rights Reserved.

ERIC SEUTHE II with Nerd News Social: Hologram Janeway is a snapshot in the past of Vice Admiral Janeway. Looking from Hologram Janeway’s point of view at Vice Admiral Janeway, who has made different choices, who has grown as a person, what would Hologram Janeway think of the person Vice Admiral Janeway has become over all these years?

MULGREW: I think she’d be absolutely impressed and gratified and moved. Insofar as a Hologram has emotions at all… Which as we know, The Doctor (Robert Picardo) has taught us on Voyager, is very, very possible. 

I think Vice Admiral Janeway has become exactly what Hologram Janeway would espouse to her young ones on the Protostar.

DEACON with Ms. Hollywood: Twenty-one years ago, Voyager ended. What was it the process that got you back to revist that character again?

MULGREW: Well, it was a very lovely invitation from Alex Kurtzman, who as you know has now assumed the mantle of the entire Franchise. And I can’t think of anybody with a more compelling way of extending an invitation. The way he framed it, that this would be an animated series targeted to children, a demographic we have somehow managed to avoid in all of these years – and the very demographic that will love it and embrace it the most. 

How could I possibly say “no”? I said, “Absolutely, let’s go and let’s give it everything we’ve got.” And I think it’s beautifully done, and I think Dan and Kevin Hageman are geniuses.

ONICA CUPIDO with Mommy Factor: My question is about what interested you in the role in the beginning, when you first got the script? And now coming into it a few episodes later, what do you think is going to happen with your characters that’s still going to be interesting and exciting?

MULGREW: Well, as you know, Star Trek is never dull, right? The excitement is infinite, it has to be! So the fact that I get to play Vice Admiral Janeway, and Mirror Janeway (Star Trek Online), and Hologram Janeway, and god knows whatever other incarnations of Janeway they have up their sleeve, is part of the delight. 

But also, very much a part of the dramatic tension, very much a part of that. And the possibilities are infinite. So the sky’s the limit here – or I should say, space is the limit here. And that’s a great part of the joy of doing it.

AVERY KAPLAN with The Beat: In addition to continuing the story of Janeway, Prodigy also shows how Voyager’s return helped advance technology throughout Starfleet. I’m curious whether advances like this were on Janeway’s mind during Voyager’s journey back to Earth, or whether they were merely incidental to survival?

MULGREW: Always on her mind. You know that first and foremost, and always, she is an ardent scientist. 

I’ve always said, of course it was awful to get lost in the Delta Quadrant, seventy-five thousand light years from home with a hundred sixty-five complement imperiled.  But a little part of Janeway went, “Yes! This is going to be an adventure, and that’s what it’s all about.”

The first ten episodes of Prodigy season 1 are currently available for streaming on Paramount+. The season 1 midseason premiere will be released on October 27th.

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