It has been fifteen years since Star Trek: Voyager: Caretaker first aired and the USS Voyager, commanded by Captain Janeway, was stranded in the Delta Quadrant. Kate Mulgrew, who played Janeway for the seven year run, talks about her time on the show and her thoughts about Star Trek: Voyager and its legacy.
Star Trek: Voyager was important for one big reason according to Mulgrew. “Probably, without putting to fine a point on it, [the lasting legacy of Voyager is] the first female captain,” she said. “That was a bold and I think very wise decision, by the powers that be at Paramount and UPN. It will be remembered that way. It will be remembered as an intrepid ship, an interesting crew, a very innovative creation of The Doctor, and what that meant with technology and embracing humanity and vice-versa. Janeway’s grasp of loneliness and aloneness. The distinction between the two. Her love for her crew and the transcendent nature of that love, which I am not sure had been seen before.”
Because of this important first, more women and girls were attracted to Star Trek. “We are a society and a culture that lives by example and perseveres by example and so if they see a woman in the captain’s seat, they are drawn to follow that journey,” said Mulgrew. “I know that I affected a great many burgeoning young scientists, great girls from all walks of science were drawn to Janeway and her journey. That is perhaps the most gratifying aspect of that decade of my life, that I know that I influenced and impacted so many young lives. And endorsed so many middle-aged women that I think probably otherwise felt, not persona non grata, but society didn’t take them as seriously as their male counterparts. So it is just another leg up on the ladder.”
Mulgrew wouldn’t mind a part in the new Star Trek movies, if the call came. “I would be [interested],” she said. “I would hate to think I have said the final and definitive goodbye to Kathryn Janeway. That was almost a decade of my life. I raised my children during that. I lost a lot and gained a lot. I got married and divorced. It was huge in every single way and formed the rest of my life. You then don’t want to say goodbye to that character. You want to hold that character as long as possible, through everything.”