Kate Mulgrew is coming back to Star Trek after nearly two decades away. The former lead for Star Trek: Voyager, Mulgrew’s run as Captain Kathryn Janeway ended in the early 2000s and she hasn’t returned to her role as Janeway since Star Trek: Nemesis, where she had a minor cameo. Now, in 2021, she’ll return to voice Janeway in Star Trek: Prodigy, the new animated series coming to Paramount+ and Nickelodeon.
It’s unclear if she had been asked back previously, but when Patrick Stewart took up the seat once again for Star Trek: Picard, everyone was talking about who they’d like to see next return to the series. One of the more popular suggestions was Mulgrew as Janeway.
So why not? Mulgrew went into detail with CBR as to just that reason.
"She’s (Janeway) always present in my life. Not a day goes by where I don’t have some reminder or request about Janeway or something to do with the future of Janeway. And when [executive producer] Alex Kurtzman approached me — when I was doing Mr. Mercedes, that’s when he called me — I was curious about it; slightly bewildered about it being an animated series, I didn’t quite understand it. It was explained to me in detail and I thought to myself ‘Wow, this will be terrific to bring this to young people who may be watching this with their mothers who watched me as Captain Janeway in live-action and it will bring the entire family into the orbit of Star Trek and this is something that I very much want to do.’"
It’s a long way of saying that she wanted to introduce her character, show, and legacy to a new generation of Star Trek fans. Which isn’t a bad reason at all. Sure, most fans will just discover the series through reruns, Pluto TV, or Paramount+, where all the episodes air, but sometimes you need to get people hyped to go back to the older content.
Janeway’s legacy as a character has definitely changed since the show Voyager first took its inaugural trip to the Delta Quadrant. Not a decade ago, many felt Voyager was among the weaker options in the Star Trek canon, but in recent years many people have softened on Voyager and started to develop a new appreciation for the series.
Hopefully, yet another generation of fans will use Janeway’s appearances on Prodigy as a way to get more people into her original show; Voyager.