Kate Mulgrew represented a giant leap for Star Trek when she took command of the USS Voyager in 1995. As the first woman to play a lead captain in the franchise, she knew what she represented.
“Without question, playing the first female captain came with huge responsibility,” she told RadioTimes.com. (Read the full interview here.) “Not just to further these extraordinary ideas, given wings by Gene Roddenberry, but to do so with an intention and intelligence that would extend itself, in particular, to the women in my audience.”
Speaking about the 50 year legacy of the Moon landing for her documentary The Space Race, now available on Audible, she noted that many women had entered the sciences after watching Voyager. She paid tribute to Gene Roddenberry, creator of the franchise, for his inclusive vision of the future.
“Watching Catherine Janeway captain a starship empowered them in a way that nothing else could at that time. We’re talking about the 90’s in Hollywood. What they put on television is a harbinger of things to come.”
“You are talking about a visionary, and his name was Gene Roddenberry. He foresaw what others could not see.”
Nevertheless, we have not reached utopia yet. Mulgrew says she was not surprised by certain misogynist reactions to Star Trek Discovery, the newest, female-led series.
“Did you watch the original series? It was extremely misogynist. That’s what it was for years and Picard followed that to a certain extent. Roddenberry himself was that way. We are simply going to have to change this sensibility, this ideology, and we are, but it’s like moving granite. It takes a long time. We are not a society that has endorsed females as equals to males on television.”
Nevertheless, Mulgrew did not rule out a return to the franchise in Picard, which stars Patrick Stewart and picks up the story after the events of Voyager, when Janeway had been promoted to Admiral.
“I might go back and talk to them, passionately, about the way, the truth and the light.”
The Space Race is available now on Audible. Read the full interview with Kate Mulgrew here