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Kate Mulgrew Revisits Janeway On Star Trek: Prodigy - Exclusive Interview

"Star Trek: Voyager" just wouldn't have been the same without Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) at the helm. Her competency and ability to overcome obstacles made her a formidable opponent to anyone who got in the Voyager's way, but she also knew how to be there for her crew. That's not even getting into her incredible intellect, allowing her to find solutions to problems that would pass others by.

Fans who have missed Janeway since the days of "Voyager" are in luck — the character made a glorious return in the animated "Star Trek: Prodigy." The show follows a group of young aliens who commandeer a Starfleet vehicle, and to guide them along their new journey, they have a hologram of Janeway herself. Throughout Season 1, she teaches them how to come together as a team and trust in themselves for the good of the galaxy.

Kate Mulgrew returns as Janeway for "Prodigy" Season 1, Part 2. Looper spoke exclusively with Mulgrew to talk about her return to the "Star Trek" universe as well as what it's like to play two versions of the same character.

Playing two types of Janeways

What can you tease about both iterations of Janeway, both the hologram and the real version, that we come to know in the second half of Season 1?

It's difficult to tease anything, except to say that you're going to see both of them enhanced in the second part, both of them under duress, in distress, and yet never more in command. This is particularly true of Vice Admiral Janeway, who's going to be calling some shots that are very, very dangerous and very, very scary, and yet underneath them, motivating them is a need to complete this mission for a very special reason. It has to do with someone for whom Vice Admiral Janeway cares a great deal.

In the second half of Season 1, you take on the dual role of both Janeways. Did you prepare differently or do anything differently with your voice to play both of these characters, even though they're kind of the same person?

Well, they're not the same person at all. Vice Admiral Janeway is sentient — insofar as an animated character can be sentient — and hologram Janeway is a hologram. I had to distinguish between them by using every possible trick I could bring to my vocal change, and I had fun doing it. You have to be on your toes, because often they're in the same scene or they're very quickly staggered.

I defined and established what I thought I'd do with Vice Admiral Janeway, but I've had hologram Janeway from the beginning. There's a certain level to her tone that is even, without losing its command. At the same time, she can run up and down a little barometer. She can go from very low to very high and within this distance. But Vice Admiral Janeway has a much, much broader spectrum of emotion that she can cover with her voice and authority and command.

Seeing Star Trek: Prodigy cross over

With so many different "Star Trek" shows happening right now, which one would you like to see "Prodigy" cross over with the most?

Shouldn't it be "Lower Decks"? Or should it be "Star Trek: Discovery?" I want to cross over with Anson Mount — that's all I can tell you.

Do you have any other projects coming up you would like to talk about?

I did a lot of stuff during the pandemic, and I'm writing my third book right now, and it feels like it's been a very, very busy time. I'm not actively acting in anything in this moment, and that's just fine. I did "The Man Who Fell to Earth" with Alex Kurtzman in London last year; I feel like it was last year ... I'm getting a lot of Alex Kurtzman in my life, and I don't mind one bit because he seems to be a wunderkind, a little bit of a genius, as are the Hageman brothers. It's really a delight and a great, great pleasure to work with these gentlemen at this stage of my life.

New episodes of "Star Trek: Prodigy" are available to stream on Paramount+ on Thursdays.

This interview was edited for clarity.