Star Trek Monthly (#20)
October 1996
Eye Of The Hurricane
Interview by Lou Anders

 "I think we have a uniformly gifted company of actors, but we have yet to find our theme," says Kate Mulgrew (Captain Kathryn Janeway), speaking rather frankly about the strengths and weaknesses of Star Trek: Voyager. "I would say the exploration of science will be the winning ticket here. There should be a level of unpredictability and mystery and suspense. We need to take it one step further and make space so delicious, so provocative, so interesting to people who don't even regard themselves as interested in space, to make it a bit like we all felt when the first astronauts walked on the moon."

 Mulgrew says that Star Trek: Voyager's third season is an important one. "I feel that it's a watershed year, I'll tell you that. I think changes are necessary this year, and this year we must see them."
 For her own part, Mulgrew plans to take her character to hitherto unseen levels. "I want to take some real risks with her. I mean that as an actress, not as a character. I want to take her much, much deeper. I want to find a level of composure in this captain that will be a big surprise. Composure and, I would say, deadly courage, out of which will come her ability to act quickly and astutely under circumstances that would make grown men cry.

 "She has to be the eye of the hurricane: and around me I would like to see, for lack of a better word, the passion of my colleagues brought to the fore. We have a superb actress in Roxann Dawson, for instance. She's half-Klingon. I really want to see that Klingon. I want to see that Klingon. Let's see the Maquis in Chakotay. What would happen if he countermanded my orders for some reason? Let's see it. These dynamics must now be exposed to the audience. The audience deserves them, and they need them now. These dynamics will act as the yeast."

 The captain is the most important role on a Star Trek series. It also seems to be the role for which the writers have the hardest time finding a voice. In both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it wasn't until the third season that they really started letting the captain off the bridge. "I'd like to see much more physical bravery," says Mulgrew. " She's an active verb, Janeway. She's not sedentary in any way. Her control notwithstanding on the bridge, which is imperative to the success of the ship, her instinct is to go with the away team, to be the first to confront the alien species, to be the first in the melee.”

 “I see her at a fast clip, this woman. She moves quickly. She laughs a lot, which we haven't seen. I want to see more of that laughter, and I want to see more of her interior life, which we haven't seen. Her love of Opera. Her relationship with the Doctor should be explored. Her relationship with Chakotay, who of them all is the one she would lean on most. This is not the Janeway show. This is not the Doctor show. This is a show about nine people. We must care about them all equally. In order to care about them, we have to know who they are. The only way to know who they are is to see them in their relationships with other people."

 Mulgrew contends, and she believes that the entire creative team at Star Trek agrees, that in order to bring out the potential of all these relationships the crew needs to face adversity together on a hitherto unseen level. "The stakes have to be raised. We need now to encounter enemies of such ferocity, enemies who in fact are quite lethal and frightening. Enemies that you would watch and say, 'Oh, boy, how are they going to get out of this one?' I don't think the Kazon hit the bill. I think that they [the writers] are really going to try to find a species or two who will knock us out. I don't think we've really seen an alien leader of such insidiousness that it would make Janeway herself really pale. We need to see that. And the laughter among the crew. The human frailty among the crew. That’s what draws an audience. Isn’t somebody going to fall in love? Isn’t somebody going to fall down?

 “Somebody should slip on the banana peel. Somebody should cry. Somebody should laugh. Somebody should dance. I mean, all that has to happen.”