Star Trek: Prodigy had a huge host of names return but one was bigger than the rest.
Star Trek: Prodigy’s latest episode, “Kobayashi” featured a whole host of surprise returns to the franchise. If you’re reading this, you either already know who returned or don’t care to find out on your own, so don’t yell at us for spoilers. Spock, Montgomery “Scotty” Scott, Odo, Uhura, and Dr. Beverly Crusher all returned to the franchise and all of whom were voiced by their original actors.
That is pretty mindblowing, as only Crusher’s actress, Gates McFadden, is healthy enough to record new dialogue. Every other actor has either passed away like in Leonard Nimoy’s case or is too unwell to do so, as in the case of Nichelle Nichols.
All that said, the biggest cameo wasn’t any of those names, but the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D. Speaking to TrekMovie.com, “Kobayashi” writer and Star Trek: Prodigy producer Aaron J. Waltke spoke about the decision to bring back the Enterprise-D.
"TrekMovie: Here’s a nerdy nitpicky question: Why set it on the Enterprise-D and not the more current Enterprise-E. Or why not the original refit, since the scenario was based on 23rd century pre-Khitomer Klingon/UFP neutral zone? Doesn’t Starfleet update the test to match current galactic politics and ships? (Obviously, Kirk took the test on a ship predating the refit Enterprise)Aaron J. Waltke: You are absolutely right, they update the Kobayashi Maru from time to time to match the era. We figured whoever was in charge of updating the program for the Federation exploratory ship fleet hadn’t gotten around to uploading the latest version yet–or perhaps Dal loaded an earlier version of the holoprogram when he was tinkering with the settings. Besides, the Enterprise-D is so beloved, we just wanted to see it again. Thankfully, it seems the fans agree with our instincts."
Star Trek: Prodigy made “Kobayashi” a love letter episode to older fans
Waltke wanted to make Prodigy’s “Kobayashi” a love letter to older fans, and it seemly worked. Many fans, old and new alike, saluted the episode, citing the emotional attachment they had with the characters involved.
Waltke however, wanted to put an episode in that really was just fun.
"TK: With this episode, what message do you have for old-school Star Trek fans? What should they take way from this?AW: That’s an interesting question. I guess on the one hand, I hope that old-school Trek fans appreciate that it’s meant as a letter of love, and to that sort of fun and adventure that not only all holodeck episodes have but that I think the best Star Trek has. And also that the world of Star Trek is a pretty wide net, and there’s room for old veterans and newbies to coexist. And I hope that they can see that we want to bridge the gap and celebrate while expanding the universe."
Waltke nailed that balance with Star Trek: Prodigy, as it both caters to new fans and doesn’t disrespect old fans. If the new Star Trek episodes are anything like what we’re getting so far with Prodigy, then the franchise may just win back some of those older fans who were turned off by the darker content that has come before.