Star Trek: Feature: 50 for 50 (Part 2)

Star Trek 50Five decades of Star Trek through the eyes of 50 actors…

As Star Trek nears the 50th anniversary of the first screening of its first episode, Nick Joy takes a personal look back at 50 of his Star Trek interviews in the second of this ten-part feature…


Chakotay 1a


Name:  Robert Beltran

Key Star Trek credentials:  ‘Chakotay’ (VOY)

Original interview: May 2001, Bournemouth

Quote… Unquote: “It was like they thought Jeri [Seven] Ryan’s arrival was the greatest thing that ever happened to Star Trek. I have nothing against Jeri Ryan personally – I love her very much as a good friend – but I think that ever since then, the writers have put a heavy emphasis on Seven of Nine and forgotten about any other relationships between the other people in the crew.”

Chakotay 2“Frankly, I don’t think that they really cared by the end. Voyager has been the ugly stepchild of the Star Trek family, and that’s the way we’ve been treated… they took it out on us by saying ‘This show’s no good. Let’s get it over with as quickly as possible so we can fix it for the next one.’”

“The show was meant to be about nine people on the ship, trying to get through some extraordinary circumstances. Frankly, I’m not sure that’s what it ended up being about.”

Ouch!:  “I realise that there are some poor souls who really think that Gene Roddenberry is up there next to God, and take it as a personal affront if I say anything negative about Star Trek. But who in their right mind would ever get offended by an actor saying something critical about a TV show?”


Paris 1Name:  Robert Duncan O’Neill

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Tom Paris’ (VOY), ‘Nicholas Locarno’ (TNG), Director (VOY, ENT)

Original interview: May 1997, Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool

Quote… Unquote: “[The producers] said something to us at the beginning of the season about changing our tone a bit, changing the gears and not getting stuck in this depressed, negative, ‘Oh, we’re lost, we’ll never get home’ feeling, and that we should be more adventurous and positive.”

“I think for a little while that they got lost with Paris because they established his character as rebellious, very much a lone wolf, and then realized that they didn’t like these qualities. They got scared that this Han Solo-like character was not going to last.”

Paris 2“Kate [Mulgrew] and I have been rather close since the beginning because our trailers are right next to each other at one end of the stage. The other cast members are at the other end of the lot – I don’t know why they split us up that way – but I’ve been with her ever since she replaced Genevieve Bujold.”

Ouch!: “I worked with Genevieve for two days, the only two days that she was with us. It would have been a different show with her as captain. It was a real mistake to cast her because she didn’t fit into Starfleet at all. There’s a real heroic quality that she was lacking.”

Hindsight is 20/20: “…We talked about some of the backstory for Tom because there has been this very clear assertion that Tom’s father was very pushy and demanding. It would be more interesting if the truth was that his father was not really demanding or pushy at all, and that only Tom perceived it his way.” [Admiral Paris would later turn up as the pushy authority figure we’d always assumed him to be.]


Morn 1Name:  Mark Allan Shepherd

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Morn’ (TNG, DS9, VOY)

Original interview: August 1997, Destination Terok Nor, London

Quote… Unquote: “Morn wasn’t actually a role when I started on the show, I was just going to be a general extra.”

“When I first saw the mask I was worried that it was so thick and immovable, and it was only later on that when I saw the first footage that I realized he was capable of a whole range of expressions.”

“Up to this point in time I couldn’t say exactly what species he is… there’s a scene in the Voyager pilot where he’s referred to as ‘…a curious character called a Morn.’ So this opens up the possibility that Morn is the species, not the individual name. But, knowing Quark, it could all be a lie.”

Morn 2On wearing the mask: “It’s great, because it affords me the ultimate freedom. I can go wherever I want, and if I don’t want to reveal that I’m a recognizable character on a major show, then I don’t have to.”

LOL: “The name Morn wasn’t a pre-thought, it was afterthought when people decided that my character reminded them of George Wendt’s character, Norm, in Cheers. It started out as a joke but then it stuck.”



Name:  Peter Weller

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘John Frederick Paxton’ (ENT), ‘Admiral Marcus’ (Star Trek Into Darkness)

Weller 1Original interview: March 2005, by phone from LA

Quote… Unquote: “I read the script and finally decided that it was time to do an episode of Star Trek and become immortalised in the show’s history. It was fun to play a xenophobe.”

“I really liked the way that Star Trek has continued to offer parallels on what’s happening in the real world. Paxton is a guy who wants to run everybody out of Dodge City unless they’re human, and this theme of racial intolerance really resonates.”

“I totally empathised with how it feels to know that your show is going off the air, but equally I couldn’t get into the swing of the melancholy because this show was all new to me. But what a great crew and a stellar bunch of actors – some of them have been working together on Star Trek for 18 years.”

Weller 2“Thank God I didn’t have to wear any rubber. Every time I see a guy in prosthetics I think of the six-and-a-half hours alone they spent on the face [as RoboCop], and then another hour-and-a-half getting in to the suit. Going from a character who was totally encased in rubber and plastic to this one, who is only tolerant of perfect humans – isn’t that ironic?”

Hindsight is 20/20: They knew at this stage that Enterprise was going off the air and not coming back, so it really was case of ‘now or never.’ It makes me indelibly the last heavy of Star Trek television… but I’m sure they’ll resurrect it in one form or another.” [(He was subsequently cast as an even bigger villain in Star Trek Into Darkness.]



Trip 1Name:  Connor Trineer

Key Star Trek credentials: ‘Charles ‘Trip’ Tucker III’ (ENT)

Original interview: February 2016, SF Ball, Southampton

Quote… Unquote: On the Enterprise finale: “I loved it for couple of reasons. One – half of the episode was about me and it was the finale, and secondly, I’m the only one who has the luxury where you don’t have to wonder what happened to them. It has almost a theatrical sense to it, the arc of a story that was told and wasn’t left dangling. That was satisfying for me – it brought a finality and conclusion to the life of this character that I had brought to the show.

“They also had to pull it out of their hat. They only had a couple of months to sort that out, which is no small task. Tell me a finale that’s actually satisfying on any TV show.”

Trip 2“[Brannon Braga] said that 9/11 really dictated what happened following that first year on the show. It changed the lay of the land for us completely. It was a direct reaction to what was happening [in the world].”

On the possibility of Trip appearing in new show Discovery: It’s impossible to know. We’re just going to have to wait and see. Especially in light of what JJ Abrams has done with the movies.”

LOL: “I don’t think that people have a lot of interest in us being more like our characters. They want to see us. I’ve never encountered this thing that you’ve said: ‘Why can’t you be a bit more like Trip?’”

Ouch!: “We could have used some better writers in the early years.”


Part 1: Leonard Nimoy, LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden Alexander Siddig, Robert O’Reilly

Part 2: Robert Beltran, Robert Duncan O’Neill, Mark Allen Shepherd, Peter Weller, Connor Trineer

Part 3: Patrick Stewart, John de Lancie, Carolyn Seymour, Casey Biggs, Brian Thompson

Part 4: Kate Mulgrew, Armin Shimerman, John Billingsley, J Paul Boehmer, John Fleck

Part 5: Jonathan Frakes, Robert Picardo, Dominic Keating, Vaughn Armstrong, Nicole deBoer

Part 6: George Takei, Colm Meaney, Jeffrey Coombs, Max Grodenchik, Chase Masterson

Part 7: Brent Spiner, Nana Visitor, Marc Alaimo, Aron Eisenberg, Roxann Dawson

Part 8: Michael Dorn, Tim Russ, Linda Park, Harry Groener, Denise Crosby

Part 9: Nichelle Nichols, Marina Sirtis, Andrew Robinson, Tony Todd, Louise Fletcher

 Part 10: Garrett Wang, Ethan Phillips, Anthony Montgomery, Eric Pierpoint, Tom Hardy

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