Mixed Emotions At The Voyager Wrap Party

By Christian
April 17, 2001 - 11:56 AM

'Bittersweet' seems to be the most apt term for the feelings of the Voyager cast and crew as their seven years together come to an end. Brannon Braga described his emotions as "a mixture of sentimentality that it's over" but also "great relief," a sentiment echoed by other members of the cast and crew as they took to the red carpet last Wednesday night.

Speaking in the latest batch of wrap party interviews released by the official Star Trek site was Rick Berman, who has guided Voyager as Executive Producer over the past seven years. Immediately asked about the series finale, Berman replied, "I'm very happy with the way it all ends. I think it's going to be a terrific episode."

One of the most oft-debated subjects in Trek fandom is the significance of Voyager's place in the franchise. "The thing that is most unique about Voyager is that there's been a woman at the helm," Berman said. "I think that makes it very unique. We have a character in Kathryn Janeway and played by Kate Mulgrew so beautifully, that has the nurturing, feminine qualities that she needs to have and at the same time she's a very strong and dedicated leader and I think that we've proved that we could do that."

Additionally, Berman, the current guiding force of the Trek franchise, talked about his perception of Trek's place in today's society, highlighting that it had become "part of the American Mythos," and that everyone knew about warp drive, Klingons and the infamous catchphrase, 'Beam me up, Scotty.' "It's a very positive, hopeful view of the future," he concluded.

Majel Barrett, widow of Gene Roddenberry and the 'First Lady of Star Trek' was also on hand to talk about her late husband's legacy. "I think he would be absolutely delighted," she said. "He created something but he knows that things have to change and he would have changed too, and I think they've gone pretty much as he would have directed it, so I think he would have been very happy at this point." When asked about her own involvement in Star Trek for thirty seven years, Barrett exclaimed, "It's a helluva job!"

One of the most prominent figures of the franchise today, Brannon Braga, spoke with enthusiasm about the end of Voyager, echoing Berman's remarks on the final episode. "It's great. It's a really good episode...very exciting," he said, adding that he was only involved with the conceptualisation of the story, and wasn't involved the writing of the actual episode.

When asked about the loyalty of the fan base, Braga paid special attention to the continuity of the fan following over the years. "One thing I've found in working on the franchise for eleven years is that people pass it on to their kids - they want to pass on Star Trek onto their kids because they thought it was cool growing up...and some of the kids probably reject it and say 'Dad, you nerd,' but some of the kids take it...and there's a new series for each new generation."

Someone who seemed very relieved about Voyager's end was Robert Beltran (Commander Chakotay). The actor appeared extremely anxious to move on to other, hopefully shorter projects. "I'm going to find the next gig," he said. "Hopefully it won't last too long, and [then I'll] take a little vacation, and maybe do a play. I really miss doing the theatre."

Regular cast members and guest stars alike were quick to comment on the on-set camaraderie. Jeri Ryan (Seven of Nine), laughing, described the cast as "psychopaths," adding that they always had "a lot of laughs." Richard Herd (Admiral Paris), who had always wanted to "do a Star Trek," commented that it was "a real wonderful experience, and it was just a very pleasant time."

Such an effusive on set atmosphere also helped make the youngest cast member, Scarlett Pomers (Naomi Wildman), feel right at home from day one. Pomers, age twelve, said that not only had she learnt quite a few science facts, but had also gained an education about the realities of television production, saying that "there's a real family atmosphere." This was particularly evident during the filming of 'Once Upon a Time,' because she "really got to know everyone, even on the first episode."

And what of the Holodoc? "I owe all of them money," quipped Robert Picardo, "I owe all of the other cast members, all eight of them, large, significant amounts of money, and frankly I'm glad to be getting away from them." Witty as always, Picardo let slip a little tidbit about whether his character would finally get a name. "How should I put this? You know how they use the word 'handle' as slang for a name? I get a little draw pull, a little tiny bit of a...I can't say anymore."

Perhaps the most interesting story of the night came from Jeri Ryan, who described her first real encounter with the Star Trek experience. "Rick Berman, the creator of the show, the day before I met with the network, actually gave me the first inkling into that. He said that I was getting on a moving freight train and I had no idea how fast it was going until I was on. And that is still the most apt metaphor I have heard for this experience, and it has been a wild ride."

The full interviews are available for download at the official site's wrap party report.

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