Season three of Short Treks should feature Captain Proton for all the episodes.
Robert Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang were part of the main cast for Star Trek: Voyager as Tom Paris and Harry Kim respectively. They’ve been doing a new podcast series called The Delta Flyers where they review past Voyager episodes and sometimes have former co-stars on with them to have conversations about the series and just share fun little anecdotes about their time on the show.
One of those conversations on this week’s show was about Kim and Paris’ holodeck program called Captain Proton. Captain Proton was a spoof of classic 1940 and 1950 science fiction serials. It’s become a fun piece of the series for the fans and cast, most notably for McNeill.
McNeill has talked about doing a Captain Proton series before, wanting to bring back the cast of Voyager to provide the supporting characters. Like Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Kathryn Janeway in the mainline series, took a turn on the Captain Proton holodeck program as Queen Arachnia.
On the most recent episode of the Delta Flyers, McNeill spoke about wanting to do it still, this time to Robert Beltran (VOY: Commander Chakotay)
"It’s exciting to hear how you and your filmmaker friend were able to create some content on your own, it’s exciting. It reminds me… I’ve always had this idea of doing a kind of segmented story with our cast from Voyager doing a Captain Proton-only miniseries. Like serialized little eight or ten-minute chunks that add up… Do a dozen of them and we got an hour-and-a-half movie, but you can only see it in eight or ten minutes. We shoot it in black and white. It’s only in the holodeck with Captain Proton.It could be fun. And do it with the same tongue-in-cheek kind of fun that that holodeck program had. I’ve always wanted to do that. I love seeing what you are doing. That’s exciting to see a similar approach on that project. So maybe we will get something going someday."
The timing of this is ironic, as Star Trek producer Alex Kurtzman just spoke about wanting to do Star Trek: Short Treks in black and white.
"We have talked about doing them in black and white. But you have to do that for a reason. You can’t just do it to do it. There has to be a story reason to do it that way. Obviously there has been stuff in black and white in Trek before. But I don’t know man. I would love to keep experimenting and seeing how far we can push it. And I am incredibly grateful for the nomination, because I think it has emboldened everybody to keep going."
Captain Proton’s serial idea is the perfect thing to do for an entire season of Short Trek. While it may seem like a one-note idea and maybe not what Kurtzman wants to do, the thing with a Captain Proton series is that you can do all of the experiments with the series. Musicals, claymation, go nuts. It’s a tongue-in-cheek take on the classic and campy science fiction films from a bygone era. That’s the perfect base for exploring and testing new ideas. Since Short Treks is usually only five episodes, and McNeill has talked about doing a Captain Proton series in several short installments, it’s the perfect marriage.
On top of the ideas, you can bring back past actors in brand new roles and maybe even drop subtle hints that it’s all one big holo-novel. Bring back Tim Russ as a villain but have him only deliver the most over the top lines in his mono-tone Vulcan delivery, making people think that Paris has convinced Tuvok (Russ’s Voyager character) to do a role that he clearly isn’t interested in.
It’d be sheer brilliance. It would appeal to new fans and to old. It’s the perfect hook for Short Treks, which usually gets forgotten about to the casual fans. So this would be something to potentially hook them.