The Star Trek Icon Who Annoyed Producers By Losing Weight

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

star trek voyager

One of the things most Star Trek fans never think about is the difficulty of maintaining weight for the actors. Those Starfleet uniforms are pretty expensive even on a Paramount budget, so there is always a low-level concern that the stars will gain weight, requiring the creation of a brand-new outfit. That’s not the case with Kate Mulgrew, however: according to the Star Trek: Voyager costuming department, their big concern was that the Captain Janeway actor would actually lose weight.

Kate Mulgrew Lost Weight Quickly

star trek captain

This information comes to us from Star Trek Monthly #9. Amid the ads for Playmates toy replicas and an expansion for the Customizable Card Game (I’m not the only one who played the heck out of this, am I?), there was an interview with Robert Blackman.

On the subject of Kate Mulgrew, this Star Trek costume designer said “we have to beg” her “not to lose weight.”

Why was this so difficult? According to him, Mulgrew “is very energetic and burns up the calories like there’s no tomorrow.”

In order to keep her in the existing costume, his goal was “to keep her at a US size 3 or 4,” which he admitted “is very difficult sometimes.”

The Costume Designers Were Stressed

In retrospect, Kate Mulgrew likely considered this a very good problem…after all, most of us would set our phasers to “kill” if it meant being able to burn calories as effortlessly as this Star Trek icon.

However, the costume designer’s point is something that we’ve never really considered before. To professionals who are so worried about actors fitting into their current costumes, an actor rapidly losing weight can be just as annoying as an actor rapidly gaining weight.

Tom And Harry Had An Opposite Problem

Unfortunately, not all of the actors on the show could burn calories as easily as the captain. Previously, Kate Mulgrew’s colleagues Robert Duncan McNeill (who played Tom Paris) and Garret Wang (who played Harry Kim) ended up annoying the Star Trek: Voyager costume department for a very different reason.

Specifically, these two gained weight thanks to enjoying the craft services table a bit too much, and they never suspected how much the show would go out of its way to shame them.

While they didn’t report any criticism from Kate Mulgrew or their other fellow actors, McNeill and Wang spilled some serious tea on The Delta Flyers, their Star Trek: Voyager recap podcast.

They claimed that dialogue was written into the episode “Demon” in which Paris accuses Kim of gaining weight and Kim accuses Paris of being out of shape to shame the actors for putting on weight in real life. 

The Writers Weren’t Nice About It

Things eventually got so bad that the costume department actually sent girdles to the two actors. This prompted Wang to start exercising non-stop in order to lose those unwanted pounds. McNeill had more trouble losing weight, later reporting that keeping it off was a constant struggle and that he was shocked that the writers went out of their way to write mean-spirited fat-shaming into an episode.

Always Goes Back To The Coffee In The Nebula

As this awful incident reveals, Kate Mulgrew’s ability to shed pounds so easily likely kept her out of the crosshairs of some very petty Star Trek writers and costume designers. In retrospect, maybe we shouldn’t be that surprised at how easily the Janeway actor kept losing weight. After all, studies show that coffee can help you lose weight, and there’s nobody in the galaxy who appreciates a good cup of caffeine quite as much as Voyager’s controversial captain.

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