Star Trek DS9 Lead Actor Tried To Play Captain Janeway At The Same Time

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

star trek deep space nine feature

Around here, we’re fond of reminding everyone that Deep Space Nine is the best Star Trek show, and Nana Visitor was a major part of the reason why. Her Kira Nerys character was a breath of fresh air in a franchise filled with stuffy Starfleet types, and watching the show was like going on our own spiritual journey alongside the powerful Bajoran. Incredibly, though, Nana Visitor wanted to portray another powerful Trek woman: specifically, she once begged Rick Berman to let her audition for the role of Captain Janeway on Deep Space Nine.

Nana Visitor Wanted To Get Lost In Space

To understand why this was such a crazy idea, you need to know a bit more about when each show was airing. Voyager’s first episode premiered in 1995, and Deep Space Nine ran until 1999. If Nana Visitor had successfully auditioned for the role of Captain Janeway, it would have required her to either somehow perform on both shows (maybe Visitor was banking on her duplicate self from the Mirror Universe being real) or to ditch her established DS9 role for something new.

Visitor Tried To Grab The Chair When Bujold Gave It Up

nana visitor Janeway

Incidentally, the DS9 veteran didn’t make an attempt to audition for this new role the first time around. The only reason that Nana Visitor thought she had a chance at playing Captain Janeway was because of some drama at Paramount. Specifically, the studio’s first choice for this new Trek character ended up walking away from the role at the worst possible time.

As many Voyager fans already know, Kate Mulgrew wasn’t the studio’s first choice to play Janeway–she was, in fact, their second choice. Paramount’s first choice was Genevieve Bujold, but it didn’t take long for this movie star to determine that starring in a sci-fi TV show wasn’t the right choice.

Bujold walked away after only a day or two on set, and after calling her back in for another audition, the studio went with Kate Mulgrew for their newest captain.

Of Course She Had The Nerve

nana visitor Janeway

However, news about Bujold walking away traveled fast, especially around the Paramount lot. Once Nana Visitor heard about this, she decided to approach Rick Berman with the wild idea of auditioning for Captain Janeway. She rhetorically asked “can you believe I had the nerve” and claimed that she “accosted Rick Berman in the street right in front of Stage 4.”

Berman Was Unconvinced

star trek bajoran

To his unspoken question of how Nana Visitor could play both Kira Nerys and Kathryn Janeway, the actor told Berman “I can do both!” She admits to not really knowing exactly what she was thinking in that moment.

As for the producer, Visitor recalls that “he practically patted me on the head, and said, ‘No, we’re gonna get a whole other actress for that.’”

The Alternate Universe In Which Kira Was Janeway

nana visitor Janeway

Obviously, everything ended up working out for the best: Nana Visitor continued to make Kira one of the richest and most complex characters in television history, and Kate Mulgrew made history of a different kind by becoming the first female lead of a Star Trek show.

However, I can’t help but imagine how wildly different Voyager could have been if Visitor was in the captain’s chair. Should any of you have a spare Bajoran Orb of Time kicking around, be sure to go back in time and let us know how this alternate reality might have played out. 

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