Fans of Star Trek “bad boys” will enjoy issue #30 of the Official Star Trek Magazine, due out November 30.
From the beginning days of Star Trek, not everyone in Starfleet was a stickler for the rules and sometimes this worked out well, as in the case of many of Captain James T. Kirk’s actions, but for others, breaking the rules was problematic for the “bad boy” as was the case for Tom Paris prior to his assignment to the USS Voyager.
Actor Robert Duncan McNeill spoke about the two characters he played, Tom Paris and Nick Locarno, and the difference between the two “bad boys.” “Fundamentally there’s a huge difference between the two of them,” he said. “Nick Locarno was somebody who appeared to be a really good guy to the Starfleet teachers, faculty and staff, but deep down was a rotten guy. I think Tom Paris was the complete opposite of that. He appeared to be a little rotten on the outside, but was really a good guy underneath it all. Initially, Voyager’s creators might have conceived the character to be very much like Nick Locarno, but it became clear to me quite early on that he had to be very different.
“Nick Locarno was someone who was there for one story and to serve a very brief purpose,” said McNeill. “But for Tom Paris to last, as well as be relevant, he had to be a real hero and a character who, underneath all his warts, faults and weaknesses, was someone that viewers would want to come back to every week. That’s why I felt it was necessary to bring a sense of humor to Paris. To me, Star Trek was its most successful whenever it had a bit of irony and tongue-in-cheek quality along with a sense of fun and adventure. So I tried to bring the spirit of that into everything I did, even if it wasn’t scripted.”
Being so far from home gave Tom Paris a second chance, although his path wasn’t easy at first. “What was really important for our show was that this mismatched group of people came together with their strengths and became a team,” said McNeill. “That was a challenge, though, with Tom Paris, because he was initially meant to be a lone wolf. So I looked for opportunities to showcase his value as a team player.”
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