Although being an actor is hard work, working on Star Trek: Voyager was fun for Robert Duncan McNeill.
Part of the reason that the Voyager set was fun for McNeill was the cast. “One thing that was never crystal clear from our episodes is all the fun we had as a cast between the shots,” said McNeill. “We really got along as any cast I’ve ever seen.”
McNeill is on good terms with the cast to this day, and some of them meet every now and then. “I’m still friends with a lot of the people,” he said. “All the boys from Voyager, we have a regular steak dinner. We had our most recent one a couple of months ago. We make each other laugh. That’s the biggest thing I remember.”
Playing a long-term character like Tom Paris was satisfying for McNeill. “That character started with a real chip on his shoulder and he was the rebel,” said McNeill. “One thing I remember saying early on was that we’ve got to find the surprises in the character, and I think one of them turned out to be his sense of humor. They really were able to write a nice, lighthearted sensibility to this guy who’d started as such a rebellious character.”
His character changed as time went on, which was also a good thing for McNeill. “Also, early on, they had this concept that he was a womanizer and was always falling in love with the alien of the week,” said McNeill. “I remember having a conversation and saying, ‘It’d be really nice to see him get into a relationship.’ They toyed with that for a while with Kes (Jennifer Lien), and after she left, I think they found the right match with Tom and B’Elanna and with Roxann Dawson and I. We got to explore a real, challenging long-term relationship, which I think was great. So the writers gave the character a wonderful transformation. He really changed and grew over the seven years – and he’s probably a real family guy now.”