Over the many years that they worked together, Kate Mulgrew’s co-stars on Star Trek: Voyager developed very good impressions of her as Captain Janeway. But who does the best impression of all? While one former co-star is infamous for his impeccable impression, there’s a lesser-known impressionist among the Voyager crew, too. Here’s what we know about the high-quality impressions of Star Trek‘s most iconic female captain.
Garrett Wang Does a Good Captain Janeway Impression
As you can see in the convention video above, Garrett Wang does a fairly good impression of Captain Kathryn Janeway, the captain of Voyager. Star Trek actors doing impressions of other Star Trek actors is a time-honored tradition among cast members. In our roundup of great Picard impressions, we noted that multiple Trek actors have “done a Picard” over the years, and that Janeway herself does an in-universe homage to Picard’s unique cadence in the Voyager episode Scorpion. In fact, in that very episode, Chakotay confirms that there are Voyager crew members who do impressions of their own captain. As Chakotay notes, “Ensign Hickman in Astrophysics does a passable Janeway.”
It appears, in the case of Wang’s impression of Mulgrew, that the impressions are well-meant and done with a lot of love. Kate Mulgrew joked in an interview with TrekMovie.com that Ensign Kim had gotten a lot of mileage out of that one impression.
“Garrett Wang has been dining out on an impersonation of Janeway for years,” she told the outlet, but went on to state she would consider appearing on Wang’s podcast, if she got to pick the episode they’d be dissecting that week.
Garrett Wang Felt His Impressions Could Have Been Used More on ‘Voyager’
Wang gave an interview to TrekMovie.com where he talked about storylines or acting challenges he wished he could have pursued during the years he worked on Star Trek: Voyager. In the interview, he revealed that he wanted to use his skill at impressions more often on screen, but was never given the chance by the show’s writing staff.
“Listen guys, my strength is my impersonations, my ability to do accents and presentations,” Wang recalled saying to the show’s writers. “Let us have a B-storyline where the crew has a ship-wide talent show. And Ensign Kim gets up and does his impersonation as The Doctor, of Janeway, of whoever.”
Wang went on to state that he felt like he was getting “salt in the wound” over the years when he saw other Voyager actors getting chances to show off their skills as impressionists, while he was not given the same chance.
“What was so frustrating was that through the seven years, there’s a few times that actors on Voyager got to basically impersonate other characters,” Wang recounted. “Specifically, when the doctor is in Seven of Nine’s body, you remember that? And Seven of Nine has to basically impersonate The Doctor. And then the other time was when Barclay from TNG was in the mess hall. And he ends up doing his impersonation of Janeway. Now, both of these scenes: Guess who they had in that scene right next to the actor doing their impersonation? Yours truly. So it was almost like they said, ‘Not only are we not going to let you have what you ask for, we’re gonna rub salt in your wound and make you watch other people do their substandard, not-as-good impersonation of that person,’ and it was killing me.”
Wang has also spoken out against the actions of producer Rick Berman during the infamous set fire during Voyager’s fifth season.
Another ‘Voyager’ Star Also Does a Killer Janeway
Among Voyager fans, Wang’s impression of Captain Janeway is legendary. But according to the master of impressions himself, there is another Voyager cast member who does an even better impression of Kate Mulgrew’s signature flinty tones. In an interview with TrekMovie.com, Wang revealed that actress Nancy Hower, who played Samantha Wildman on the show, does a Janeway impression that is “spot-on, cannot-tell-the-difference-between-her-voice-and-the-impersonator” good.
Wang recounted a time when Hower pranked him, using the Kate Mulgrew impression they both eventually came to master. As Wang tells it,
“Nancy and I became friends when she was filming the show. And one day she left a message on my voicemail in Kate’s voice…She was complaining about something to me. And I’m listening to this going, ‘Oh my god, what did I just do? Oh my god!’ I’m listening, and I can’t even recall the incident that Kate’s talking about, what is she talking about? And at the very end, Nancy stops the voice. She goes, ‘It’s Nancy. Just kidding. Bye.’ And she hangs up. And I was like, ‘Oh, you! I’ll get you, you rascally rabbit.’ And that was the best Janeway I ever heard.”
After her Voyager years, Hower went on to create and write the Hulu original series Quick Draw. A former Broadway star, she works regularly as a TV director. She has been discussed as a future guest for the Delta Flyers podcast, where it is likely fans would get to hear her have a “Janeway-off” with Garrett Wang. Given Mulgrew’s past comments that she would consider appearing on the podcast, too, perhaps fans can still hold out hope for an episode featuring two Janeway impressionists alongside the real Captain Janeway.