Move over, Picard: it’s Janeway’s turn.
In a surprising end-of-panel addition to his allotted hour during the first day of the 2020 NYCC Metaverse, Star Trek majordomo Alex Kurtzman, reporting from what looked like a guest bedroom, reflected back to the 2018 Star Trek Las Vegas convention. That was where Patrick Stewart gave heart attacks to fans with the stunning announcement that he’d be returning to the franchise with Star Trek: Picard. Though it all had to be done virtually, Kate Mulgrew appeared to do something similar.
Captain Janeway (though maybe Admiral Janeway?) is back. At least in animated form.
Mulgrew will star (Kurtzman’s term) in the forthcoming Nickelodeon cartoon series, Star Trek: Prodigy, created and run by Kevin and Dan Hageman of Trollhunters and Ninjago. The show, previously announced at the 2020 San Diego Comic-Con@Home, concerns a group of kids who stumble upon a derelict starship and race around the galaxy having adventures. Unknown until today is that a grown-up will join them.
And not just any grown-up. Kathryn Janeway helmed the ship (and series) Voyager for seven long years (more if you count the temporal mischief in the Year of Hell) overcoming odds no other Starfleet officer ever faced. She united survivors of a Federation starship and a rebellious Maquis raider 75,000 light years from home, and did so constantly balancing the safety of her crew with the north star of her ethics. (This worked out well for the Ocampans, less so for Tuvix.) She is, truly, one of the greatest leaders in all of fiction.
“Captain Janeway was held to a different standard than her predecessors,” Kurtzman said. “She was asked to embody an inhuman level of perfection in order to be accepted as ‘good enough’ by the doubters, but showed them all what it means to be truly outstanding. We can think of no better captain to inspire the next generation of dreamers on Nickelodeon, than she.”
But Mulgrew admitted that when Alex Kurtzman approached her to appear in the Hagemans’ new show, her initial reaction was that she had already “invested every scintilla of my being in Captain Janeway.” But the idea of doing it via voice-over brought “long dormant longings to restore.”
She added, “I was the first female captain, and now I will be the first children’s captain. What on earth could be better than that?”
Recording has already begun (and, strangely, Mulgrew noted that newer scripts are “getting better”) though a specific launch date other than “2021” has yet to be announced.
See the full chat between Mulgrew, Kurtzman, and the Hagemans below.