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INTERVIEW: Kate Mulgrew Knows the Importance of Janeway to Young ‘Star Trek’ Fans

Kate Mulgrew at New York Comic Con

Captain Janeway was an important figure in the lives of many young people back when Star Trek: Voyager came out. As someone who grew up in a Star Trek household, I always knew that Janeway was the captain who would get things done and her Bridge would do so in an organized fashion. She wanted her team to succeed and knew how to intrust them to get the work done and I loved her for it.

Janeway was an inspiration and so to have her back (in animated form) on Star Trek: Prodigy is a delight. The show is designed to be an entry point into the world of Star Trek for the younger generation and what better leader to help take us there then Janeway herself? At New York Comic Con, I got to sit down with Kate Mulgrew at the roundtable for the series and talk a bit about her journey as Janeway and how the series serves as an inspiration for the next generation.

So getting to talk with Mulgrew was a dream come true. As someone who bought my niece a painting of Janeway to hang in her room before she was even born, I knew that this show was something she’d love growing up. So I asked Mulgrew what it feels like knowing that not only being a symbol of strength as Janeway in Voyager for kids of my generation but also now being that for an entirely new group of kids who have a Star Trek show made for them.

“You can imagine how rewarding it is, right?” Mulgrew said. “I get to bring this character to kids in an animated version. But I’ll tell you the truer tell: We’re living in a very strange time. You could say this is borderline a bleak time. Just look at what is going on in Ukraine and with the recent threats and all that. To bring a character like Janeway to animated television, to small children, is nobly and elevating and it brings us back to what we always thought (or didn’t we) was important. Things like hope, promise. comradeship, fidelity, passion, science. All the noble, lofty ideas, right? That’s what Star Trek is. And that’s what Starfleet stands for.”

Mulgrew went on, talking about how she feels to be a part of that legacy. “So if I can re-inject even a modicum of that, even a centella, I’m very very gratified. Instead if this was some show about nonsense. If there’s any darkness at all in Star Trek, it’s the very real darkness of being separated from your survival, right? You’re having to really learn skills and I think that’s invaluable.”

Star Trek: Prodigy brings us the Trek we know and love mixed with a new generation of aliens and characters we get to explore and it’s a fun entry point for fans young and older and I love it (and Admiral Janeway) so much. And if all of this means more Janeway, it’s a win-win situation!

(image: Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Paramount+)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.