McNeill Reflects on 'Voyager'By Lisa
May 13, 2002 - 7:37 PM
Almost a year after the end of Voyager, Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris) spoke about the way his character changed throughout the series.
"On the upside, I thought it was great that it seemed that every year he really changed dramatically," McNeill told his fan club. "It wasn't like he was the same character that just kept playing the same kind of themes -- he really changed. He started out as a guy in prison and he ended up a real leader and a husband and a father. That really surprised me -- I never would have expected that."
"But initially, when I came on the show, I thought that he was going to be the edgy rebel-without-a-cause guy, all the time. And that kind of never worked the way I imagined it."
If the actor had been a producer on the show, what would he have changed? "I always thought that, when our series got started, it seemed like all the characters were very flawed people, they weren't perfect people, at least in concept," McNeill explained. "I would have liked to see them struggle a bit more. They all seemed to become very regal and perfect very quickly.
"Kind of like the quality they have in the new series, in Enterprise - I would have liked to have seen that infect our show a little more, because we were -- from the get-go, we were encouraged to kind of carry the torch of this noble franchise, and be perfect superheroes."
The actor turned director took the opportunity to clear up a rather obscure rumour about the show. "I think that before Kate [Mulgrew] or I were ever cast, in their early drafts, their early discussions, Paris and Janeway were the ones who were possibly going to get hooked up," he laughed. "But then I think that once they got into casting, I don't think it made as much sense when Kate and I were cast. Not that in reality we're that far apart age-wise, but I think we played the characters from very different kinds of generations."
McNeill shared some of his own observations about Star Trek fandom. "It seems that over the seven years that I've seen other fan groups come and go, like X-Files conventions, or Xena, or Babylon 5 conventions would come and go, but it seems to me that the Star Trek fans are like no other. That's for sure - they don't come and go, you can see the same people at the cons. "I love it when people come through the line and say, 'Here's a picture of you holding our baby in the first season, and now look, she's seven years old.' It's just amazing to me, that this becomes an ongoing part of people's lives, the stories keep continuing, and the franchise keeps continuing and it's really unlike anything else. There's a real community."
More from Robert Duncan McNeill, including his directing work, the relationship between Paris and Torres and more can be found in the full interview here at Random Flight.