How Harrison Ford Changed Star Trek

By Nathan Kamal | 2 months ago

Harrison Ford

When you think of Star Trek, there is one name you definitely do not think: Harrison Ford. Star Wars? Definitely. Indiana Jones? Of Course. Ender’s Game? Maybe, but you must be a completist. But Star Trek and the star of Blade Runner are not often associated, even though he has been involved in a great many other franchises in the course of his long career. However, Star Trek and Harrison Ford have finally met, though in a somewhat roundabout what. One of the franchise’s newest installments, the animated series Star Trek: Prodigy is currently in production on the second season, and they have revealed that one of Harrison Ford’s best roles was a prime inspiration. In an interview with SyFy Wire, Series creators/showrunners Kevin and Dan Hageman said this: 

We love the movie The Fugitive. And when you look at that movie, you love Harrison Ford. He’s unjustifiably screwed over and he’s on the run. And you want him to clear his name. And then you love Tommy Lee Jones, who is just trying to do his job, right? He’s not a bad guy, you love seeing both stories and the characters and what’s going to happen when their stories catch up to each other. And so we wanted that dynamic with Janeway and our kids.

So it turns out, this upcoming season is basically the Star Trek riff on The Fugitive. The 1993 smash hit film followed Dr. Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford, who begins the film with a magnificent beard), who is accused of murdering his wife and goes on the run to find the one-armed man who actually killed her. He is pursued by Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard (Tommy Lee Jones), who, unlike in many other cat and mouse investigation films, is as sympathetic in his quest as Kimble himself. We have some pretty strong opinions about the quality of this movie. Anyway, Star Trek: Prodigy finished its first season with its motley crew of adolescent aliens on board the formerly abandoned USS Protostar, on the run from Starfleet Admiral Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew). You may remember Janeway as the no-nonsense (well, sometimes nonsense) commanding officer of Star Trek: Voyager. This is she: 

kate mulgrew

It is actually something of a twist in Star Trek: Prodigy for Janeway to show up in the animated flesh. For the first season, Janeway actually was present in a sense. The main cast of Prodigy (which includes, among others, an indestructible blob, a non-corporeal being that can drive others to madness by exposing its true self, and Jason Mantzoukas) have been counseled by a holographic version of Janeway aboard the (former) Starfleet vessel they have commandeered, so for her to show up as the real deal and in an antagonistic role is quite the turn. Of course, it does seem like the crew of the USS Protostar are the Harrison Ford/Dr. Richard Kimble analogs here, and Janeway is the Deputy U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard, so it is likely that she will eventually come to realize they are not the bad guys here (or did not kill their wife, as it were). 

Star Trek: Prodigy is just one of the many, many Star Trek shows that have sprung up recently in the Paramount+ explosion of shows. Along with Prodigy, the franchise is currently boasting Discovery, Picard (which is soon to end), Lower Decks, and the upcoming Strange New Worlds. The critically acclaimed Prodigy is the first Star Trek series to directly appeal to a younger audience, and it’s fascinating to see them work the greater continuity of the franchise into the show. Plus, of course, Harrison Ford in his work as Dr. Richard Kimble.