Captain Kathryn Janeway isn’t the only legacy Star Trek character that will be making an appearance in the new show Star Trek: Prodigy. The animated series, which is a joint venture between CBS All Access and Nickelodeon, will follow the adventures of a group of troubled teens who find an old, beat-up Starfleet vessel. After getting the vessel off the ground, the ragtag crew will find a captain in Janeway, who will guide their exploration of space and themselves.
Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Janeway for seven seasons on Star Trek: Voyager announced that she would be reprising the role in Prodigy at New York ComicCon last October. This week, another Star Trek veteran announced that they’ll be making an appearance on the show as well.
The Outrageous Okona
Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) will probably recognize Okona as the titular character from the second season episode, “The Outrageous Okona.” In that episode, the crew of the Enterprise encountered a charismatic and mischievous freighter captain named Okona. They came to his assistance when his ship broke down and invited him onto the Enterprise while repairs were underway.
Soon after Okona’s arrival, the leaders of two different planets contacted Enterprise and demanded that they hand over Okona so he could be held accountable for the various infractions he’d committed while on their planets. He was accused of a litany of violations from theft to impregnating the daughter of a dignitary and then abandoning her.
Though Okona was responsible for quite a bit of mayhem, the crew helped him to prove that not all the accusations against him were valid.
Okona was portrayed by Billy Campbell, a popular television actor best-known for his roles in The Rocketeer, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The 4400, and The Killing. By the time he appeared on TNG, Campbell was already a television star because of his major recurring roles in Dynasty and Crime Story.
In an appearance on the Comic Book Central podcast over the weekend, Campbell revealed that his wild TNG character would be returning to the Star Trek universe. Cambell told the host that he was a lifelong Star Trek fan. He loved The Original Series and The Next Generation but insisted that he wasn’t as hardcore as real Trekkies. However, the opportunity to be a part of the Star Trek universe “thrilled” him.
Campbell then revealed that he was delighted to have the opportunity to be part of the Star Trek universe again. He explained that he’d just finalized all the paperwork for his appearance on Prodigy.
“They’re bringing back some characters from the Star Trek universe… legacy characters, yes,” Campbell explained. “So, my guy is coming back… and it’s hilarious! I wish I could remember more about the script!”
He said that the older version of his character will be both “roguish” and “disgusting,” which seems like the right combination based on his appearance in TNG. Campbell went on to say that one of the women in the main cast becomes totally infatuated with Okona, which creates tension with one of the men in the main cast.
Campbell admitted that one of the reasons he’s so excited about coming back to the Star Trek universe as Okona is that he’s still, to this day, embarrassed by his portrayal of the character in the original TNG episode. He said that the dialogue was “so bad” that he was “uncomfortable” playing the character. Campbell said that at the time he wasn’t a good enough actor to make up for the bad writing, so the character came off poorly.
It was so bad, that he wished he hadn’t done it. However, he sees his Prodigy appearance as a way to redeem himself and the character within the Star Trek universe.
Campbell revealed that he hasn’t recorded his part yet. So, it sounds like production on the show is still ongoing. Prodigy is set to release this year, however, no date has been set yet.