One of the more obscure storylines from Star Trek: Voyager is closer than ever before to getting the revival treatment at Paramount+. Those who tuned into Star Trek: Voyager during its run between 1995 and 2001 may remember a short-lived side story in which Lt. Tom Paris enacted a holodeck novel called Captain Proton. Similar to the way Captain Jean-Luc Picard would act out 1920s gangster stories in the style of Dixon Hill novels, Paris would enter the holodeck and go on the adventures of Captain Proton in a 1930s B-movie style, black-and-white science fiction series.
Now, Star Trek: Voyager actor Robert Duncan McNeill is making it clear that he’s hoping to reprise the character and the storyline in the ever-growing Star Trek ecosystem that’s currently happening at Paramount. Speaking on the Primitive Culture podcast, McNeill explained that he’s been toying with a Captain Proton revival for years.
His initial idea was to get the cast of Star Trek: Voyager back together for a series of short one-offs that tell a bigger story. However, when the coronavirus pandemic hit, he found himself considering reviving Captain Proton as a podcast in the style of an old radio drama, also with the much more reasonable goal of getting the cast back together as voice actors. He even revealed that he’s been talking to Star Trek world helmer Alex Kurtzman’s company about the idea.
While that doesn’t seem like much on its own, Trekmovie.com reports that McNeill is very much still on Kurtzman’s radar. He revealed in a recent interview that he was asked to reprise his Star Trek: Voyager role in the Star Trek: The Next Generation spinoff, Picard. Although prior obligations prevented that from happening, he recently revealed that he will cameo as Paris in the franchise’s animated comedy Star Trek: Lower Decks. So, with offers to appear in the series coming from both fans and Paramount and his passion clearly set on reprising Captain Proton, it’s not unreasonable to think that something could be kicked into development fairly quickly for fairly little effort. After all, the whole appeal of Captain Proton and its cheap 1930s sci-fi appeal is that it’s… well, cheap.
While bringing back Short Treks or creating a standalone series may be out of the question, McNeill’s idea for a podcast is very much doable. In 2020 ViacomCBS began working with iHeartMedia to expand its podcast offerings. Meanwhile, McNeill has found success in that arena thanks to his Star Trek: Voyager and Captain Proton co-star Garrett Wang’s podcast Delta Flyers in which they’re currently watching the series from start to finish.
If McNeill and Wang are able to make good on their bid to get Captain Proton back onto TV screens, one vital Star Trek: Voyager cast member says she’d be willing to join them. In a separate interview with Trekmovie.com, Captain Janeway herself, Kate Mulgrew, called her appearance as the antagonist Queen Arachnia the “greatest fun” she had in her seven-year run in the Star Trek franchise, which is saying something considering all the fun things she got to do as the captain of her very own starship. “I never say never, and never say die,” The Star Trek Voyager actress said of the possibility of adding her star power to the Captain Proton push.