Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Why Captain Janeway Is Perfect For The New Series Prodigy

Star Trek: Prodigy is the new animated series joining the Star Trek franchise in 2021, and following the New York Comic Con 2020 announcement, fans were thrilled to learn that Kate Mulgrew has signed on to reprise her role as Captain Kathryn Janeway. Star Trek: Prodigy will follow "the adventures of a group of rebellious teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning, and salvation." Besides this basic premise and the fact that Prodigy will debut on Nickelodeon and be geared towards a younger audience, not much else is known yet about the new show, but the fact that Mulgrew will bring the iconic Captain Janeway to life again is one of the more exciting announcements.

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Mulgrew is a fan favorite, having played the franchise's first female captain in Star Trek: Voyager from 1995 to 2001. Janeway remains one of the most popular characters, and additionally one of the only captains who has yet to appear in another portion of the franchise. Captain Sisko from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Captain Archer from Star Trek: Enterprise are the other two, but Sisko's actor Avery Brooks has been retired from acting since 2004 and seems indifferent to returning, despite fan interest, while Scott Bakula who played Archer continues to be busy with other projects. Captains from previous series do seem to be making a comeback though, with Patrick Stewart reprising his own role in Star Trek: Picard. Picard also brought back Voyager fan-favorite Seven of Nine, so it seems for the franchise to add Janeway to its list of returning characters.

Besides the timing being right, Janeway is the right choice for Star Trek: Prodigy because more than any other captain, she is the captain of firsts. Star Trek: Voyageritself was a show all about firsts, with the crew the first-ever Starfleet officers to explore the Delta Quadrant, a completely uncharted region of space. Prodigy seems to have a similar premise, tying back to the quintessential Star Trek ideal of exploration and discovery. Prodigy will also be the first show in the franchise specifically geared towards a younger audience. Mulgrew herself has expressed excitement about being the first "children's captain," and with her track record as Captain Janeway so far, it's a safe bet she will take that responsibility seriously.

Additionally, Janeway's character traits and leadership style make her the best choice to join a series whose main characters are a group of rebellious teens. Throughout Voyager, Janeway showed that she was a captain who cared deeply about her crew. She was always extremely protective over them, and on more than one occasion demonstrated not only her ability to be a strong leader that everyone could look up to, but also her unwillingness to leave any of her people behind, both physically and when it came to feeling like part of the team. If Prodigy's main characters are really as rebellious as the summary suggestions, then there is no better role model to look out for and guide them than a Captain with those ideals.

Star Trek: Prodigy represents a new frontier for the Star Trek franchise, both as part of the growing cadre of animated shows, and as a series appealing specifically to children and young adults. Trying new things helps the franchise remain interesting and engaging, but Star Trek has always done a good job of remembering its roots. Bringing Captain Janeway back is the perfect way to keep that connection to classic Star Trek while also letting Kate Mulgrew guide the next generation of fans into the ever-expanding Star Trek universe.

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