The fraternity of actors who sat in the big center seat is small and prestigious. This club includes names like Sir Patrick Stewart, who left the world of the Royal Shakespeare Company to lead missions aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise-D. The same goes for veteran actors Avery Brooks and Scott Bakula, who were part of memorable television roles before joining “Star Trek.”
Newer captains include Chris Pine, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Anson Mount. The one thing they all have in common is that they are the centerpiece of a franchise film or show, and through their actions, the audience gets a feel of what it could be like in space or on a strange new world.
Two beloved members of this tiny fraternity have run into each other a few times in the past. And while they did not appear together in any “Star Trek” movies or series, they have worked together on a few special projects. They are Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew).
‘The Captains’ Documentary
Shatner’s 2011 documentary, “The Captains,” featured interviews with all of the Trek captains to that point. He interviewed Stewart, Brooks, Pine, Bakula, and Ms. Mulgrew. During this interview, Mulgrew told Shatner that he was “mad as a hatter” but that he was a “true original.”
According to David Zappone, producer of “The Captains,” the documentary went long, and they were able to create mini-documentaries for each of the stars with Shatner. Those are known as “The Captains Close Up.”
“It was tough in the 90-minute film because it was really supposed to be about Bill,” Zappone told Trek Report in November of 2020. “I think we really achieved what I wanted to achieve within the half-hour show.”
Age and Sex and Shatner and Mulgrew
During their time together for the extra 30-minute “Close Up” sequence, Shatner and Mulgrew discussed the sexual aspects of aging gracefully.
“I have noted this in men of your stripe… of your ego size and your strength,” said Mulgrew on the documentary. “And your ego strikes me as being singularly intact, or very, very healthy.”
“Why would you say that?” Shatner asked.
“And right next to that is your libido… which is also very healthy,” said Mulgrew. “What you get from your work just goes right in; sort of a little box feeding….”
“But of course,” Shatner agreed. “Absolutely. So that, as age comes upon you, the hormonal drives are lessened and then finally extinguished. And as the fire of life begins to be banked, your erotic energy begins to disappear.”
“The fire that you bring to things you do goes away — and that hasn’t happened to me yet,” said Shatner.
Bill, Kate and ‘We Want Worf’
Later, when she was being interviewed at a convention with Dan Deevy for the #WeWantWorf campaign, Mulgrew pulled Shatner into an interview unexpectedly. They spoke for just a few minutes, and they reflected on their time together for “The Captains.”
“She’s funny, she’s so bright, and talented beyond measure,” Shatner said of Mulgrew in 2016.
Shatner in Space — But Not Kate
In their most recent meeting, Mulgrew said that she saw Shatner at the New York Comic Con, where they spoke for just a brief moment.
According to an interview in the New York Post, Mulgrew reported that Shatner was “‘absolutely terrified” but that he was “up to it.” Shatner proved that he was ‘up for it,’ as after that encounter, just a few days later, he became the oldest person to ever fly into space with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin.
“You know, there’s a lot to be said for his legacy, his relevance, and his captaincy,” Mulgrew told the Post. “God bless him for it. I admire him. I thought he showed real guts.”
The Post also reported that a space trip for Mulgrew is not something she’s interested in for now.
“I see the moon. I see the constellations. I understand the magnitude of it,” she told the Post. “It’s like God — space is infinite. So I’m sort of actually comfortable being dazzled by that on a daily basis.”
She did say that she’d reconsider going up on a Shatner-style rocket trip if there was a worthy cause, like with a child at the request of the Make-A-Wish foundation.
However, Mulgrew will return to the franchise, for “Star Trek: Prodigy.” She will be an animated version of her iconic character, Janeway. The show begins airing on Paramount+ on October 28.