Star Trek: Lower Decks showrunner Mike McMahan explains why Tom Paris and Nick Locarno are very different despite their identical faces.
- Tom Paris and Nick Locarno may look alike since they were played by the same actor, but they are completely different characters with different storylines.
- Tom Paris underwent a redemption arc in Star Trek: Voyager, while Nick Locarno turned into a villain in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4.
- The use of both characters in the animated comedy emphasizes their contrasting roles and showcases their distinct characteristics.
Star Trek: Lower Decks creator and showrunner Mike McMahan explains the differences between Robert Duncan McNeill’s two Star Trek characters, Nicholas Locarno and Lieutenant Tom Paris of Star Trek: Voyager. Locarno, a disgraced ex-Starfleet Cadet, was revealed as the big bad of Lower Decks season 4. Paris was the helmsman of the USS Voyager as Captain Kathryn Janeway’s (Kate Mulgrew) starship made its 7-year journey to Earth from the Delta Quadrant, and Tom also appeared in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 2.
In an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, Mike McMahan was asked about how Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4’s finale cleverly joked about Tom Paris and Nick Locarno’s resemblance. McMahan talks about his perspective on Paris and Locarno and why Nick turned into a villain. Read his quote below:
They’re super different. Super different guys. Totally different. No resemblance… Calling it out too was helpful to me because Locarno is kind of our con, you know? He’s an episodic character who we bring back decades later for a bigger cinematic heel turn… But we have Tom Paris. From a storytelling and structural point of view, he’s got the redemption arc. So we’ve seen a redemption arc for a Starfleet character like that, amazingly played by the same actor, by Robbie, who’s super fun to work with. And since we had seen that, since Tom Paris gives us that, I felt okay seeing what if Locarno didn’t learn the same lessons and giving you a different story that plays with a similar opening.
How Tom Paris & Nick Locarno Were Featured On Star Trek: Lower Decks
Paris and Locarno are totally different guys used in totally different ways.
Both of Robert Duncan McNeill’s Star Trek characters have appeared on Star Trek: Lower Decks, but their roles in the animated comedy denote the stark differences between Lt. Tom Paris and Nick Locarno. Yes, they have identical faces because they were played by the same actor – despite Lt. Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) hilariously “not seeing it” – but Paris came into the Star Trek: Lower Decks season 2 episode “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris” as a hero who Boimler flipped for. Bradward couldn’t wait for Tom to sign his Tom Paris collector’s plate, although Paris mistook a disheveled Boimler to be a Kazon and attacked him.
An early idea to use Nicholas Locarno in Star Trek: Voyager was scrapped in favor of creating a new character played by Robert Duncan McNeill, Lt. Tom Paris.
Nick Locarno didn’t get the redemption arc Tom Paris did on Star Trek: Voyager. Instead, 13 years after he was kicked out of Starfleet Academy for covering up the death of his Nova Squadron teammate, Joshua Albert, Locarno wanted revenge on Starfleet. Nick talked a big game about liberating other Lower Deckers from their superiors and standing up to Starfleet, but in the end, Locarno was just another madman who planned to use a doomsday device to get what he wanted. Besides their resemblance, Star Trek: Lower Decks shows Nicholas Locarno and Tom Paris aren’t alike at all.