Star Trek: 10 Hidden Details About The Voyager Costumes You Didn't Notice
Originally, Star Trek: Voyager, about the Federation starship trapped in the Delta Quadrant on a 75 year mission to get home wasn't going to be made. Star Trek: The Next Generation had just ended in the mid '90s, and that crew was primed for appearing in the franchise series of films. But Paramount and the powers that be wanted another Star Trek series on the air, and since Deep Space Nine featured a stationary space station, Voyager was developed as the next starship drama.
Voyager stood apart from the other Star Trek series for a number of reasons; it had a female captain, a motley crew that weren't all Starfleet officers, and an entirely different reason to be traveling among the stars. It also separated itself by the unique nature of its costumes, which included Seven of Nine's infamous silver catsuit, Neelix's laborious prosthetics, and Janeway's infamous bun. Below you'll find ten hidden details about the Voyager costumes you didn't notice.
10 COSTUMES WERE MADE WEEK TO WEEK
One of the biggest challenges that costume designer Robert Blackman and his crew faced during Voyager's run was coming up with all the necessary costumes as the episodes were written. Season to season, episodes would still be being developed and Blackman's department would have to scramble to come up with designs in time.
Depending on the concept for the episode, the costumes could require anything. Being a Star Trek series, each episode could involve holodeck programs, time travel, or simply the crew encountering a new planet and race of inhabitants. Blackman tried to keep the costumes rich with detail while cutting corners that would conflict with scheduling.
9 JERI RYAN WORE A SPECIAL CUSTOM CORSET
After Seven of Nine is de-Borged, she spends the rest of Voyager wearing a figure-hugging silver catsuit that leaves nothing to the imagination. Jeri Ryan probably thought going from a Borg latex outfit that cut off the blood flow to her carotid artery was a blessing, until she saw the special custom corset the silver catsuit required.
The corset was custom designed to fit Ryan's dimensions and pulled so tightly on her internal organs that she often complained of pains in her stomach and ribcage. She couldn't sit or move very well, which added to the austere personality of her Borg character, but was miserable to act in.
8 CAPTAIN JANEWAY'S HAIRDO COST A FORTUNE
Captain Janeway didn't always have the Gibson-girl bun she has today. For a time the producers allowed Kate Mulgrew to wear her hair down and swept back, but the stage lighting had the unfortunate effect of making it appear see-through. This meant all her scenes had to be reshot.
The pilot for the series, "Caretaker", was already costing 23 million, and with the reshoots, several more. All so that Captain Janeway would look like she had a solid mass of hair on her head, which they ended up just using hair extensions to create. She even wore wigs in some episodes.
7 NEELIX WAS BASED ON A VARIETY OF ANIMALS
Every Star Trek series introduces the first of a species or organism. The Emergency Hologram Doctor was introduced in Voyager, and so was Neelix, the ship's morale officer and cook. Actor Ethan Phillips had to arrive on set at 3am every day of shooting to be transformed for over two hours in the makeup chair.
Neelix's exotic look is the amalgamation of a variety of animals makeup artists found in the pages of National Geographic. He has spots like a leopard, hair like a lion styled like a zebra, a primate-type nose, and red eyes like a lemur.
6 FEMALE CAST MEMBERS WORE THE "STAR TREK BRA"
Marina Sirtis, the actress that played Deanna Troi, the Enterprise ship's counselor on Star Trek: The Next Generation, often stated how excited she was when she received her own Starfleet. The bodysuit she'd worn for much of the series had a low neckline, and forced her to wear a padded bra to emphasize her decolletage.
Producers on Voyager wanted to replicate the success of that particular "upgrade" in the garments of its female stars. Roxann Dawson and Jeri Ryan therefore wore the "industrial strength Starfleet regulation bra", which added inches to their bust. It's said Kate Mulgrew refused to wear one.
5 FEMALE CAST MEMBERS WORE HIGH HEELED BOOTS WITH STIRRUPS
In order for the crew of Voyager to look professional and streamlined in their Starfleet uniforms, the cut of the costume was very important. The men and women of Starfleet are held to the same exacting standards, and so are their uniforms.
To that end, the female cast members wore heeled boots to reach similar heights to the men, especially since Roxann Dawson and Kate Mulgrew were petite in stature. Stirrups sewn into the inside of the slacks helped keep the clean, straight, professional vertical line that was important to the officer silhouette.
4 SEVEN OF NINE'S OUTFIT WAS MADE FROM A LIVE CAST
For Seven of Nine's Borg costume, Allan Apone and his crew at Makeup and Effects Labratories had a unique challenge. Unlike other Borg, Seven of Nine needed to be both intimidating and attractive. Her face needed to be given life and texture instead of a matte grey wash, and her bodysuit needed to adhere to her feminine contours.
The bodysuit was made from a live cast of her entire body, and then sculpted with the synthetic rubber neoprene, and finally "sealed" with black silicone calking, to which LEDs were routed throughout which lit up on a toggle. It was an impressive costume that was incredibly difficult for Jeri Ryan to wear.
3 OFF DUTY CLOTHING WAS MEANT TO REFLECT PERSONALITY
Costume designer Robert Blackman will tell you that of all the costumes designed for Voyager, the hardest to do were the clothes the crew wore when not in uniform. Unlike a guest star appearance or the new alien of the week who could be dressed in something outrageous, their outfits needed to reflect their personalities over time.
One of his favorite challenges was dressing Captain Janeway off duty. In her uniform, with its straight pant-legs and wide shoulders, she could appear very masculine. Her off duty clothing was meant to evoke a slight sensuality and femininity, to remind viewers she was still a human with the same impulses as anyone else on board.
2 NEELIX'S COSTUME HAD A SPECIAL HIDDEN POCKET
One of the great indignities of Starfleet uniforms is their lack of pockets. They don't even have utility belts - where exactly are they supposed to put their phaser, communicator, tricorder, and anything else they might need in a day's shift?
Luckily, Neelix didn't have to wear a standard regulation uniform, and therefore a special pocket could be built into his costume for placing things he needed to keep on hand between takes, such as the "dentures" we wore to give him his distinct pointed teeth.
1 ROXANN DAWSON'S PREGNANCY HAD TO BE HIDDEN
Actress Roxann Dawson, who played Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, became pregnant during the fourth season, just as the character was beginning to explore her feelings for Tom Paris. This necessitated several strategies to hide her growing belly.
Besides being shot from the chest up for most of her episodes, parts of her costume had to be let out, and the pants fitted with a soft elastic waistband. The pregnancy was actually written into a few episodes, but when B'Elanna Torres became pregnant herself, Dawson wore a prosthetic belly.