Roddenberry’s Feelings On Star Trek Female Captains Explained By Voyager Executive Producer – News Today

Roddenberry’s Feelings On Star Trek Female Captains Explained By Voyager Executive Producer

Voyager executive producer Rick Berman speculates how Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry would feel about Captain Kathryn Janeway as a female captain.

Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager and the TOS cast.

Summary

  • Star Trek: Voyager’s female captain, Kathryn Janeway, was the first woman to lead a Star Trek show, and executive producer Rick Berman believes Gene Roddenberry would have approved.
  • Gene Roddenberry had already accepted women as captains in guest roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation, indicating his support for gender equality in leadership roles.
  • The existence of Number One in the original series pilot, “The Cage,” suggests that Roddenberry wanted a female captain, and Janeway follows her template of being a respected leader without her gender being an issue.

Star Trek: Voyager executive producer Rick Berman explains that Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry wouldn’t have minded having a female captain in a leading role. Female captains had existed in Star Trek since Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, but Voyager‘s Captain Kathryn Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) was the first woman to lead a Star Trek show in the series’ history. Roddenberry passed away in October 1991, four years before Voyager premiered in 1995, so Berman and his co-executive producers Jeri Taylor and Michael Piller could only speculate on how Roddenberry would have felt about Janeway’s command.

In The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross, Berman highlights Mulgrew’s Captain Janeway as one way that Star Trek: Voyager would differ from the series that preceded it. Roddenberry’s acceptance of women as captains in guest roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which Gene consulted on, indicated that Voyager‘s next step forward for gender equality in the final frontier would have gotten the Roddenberry seal of approval. Read Berman’s quote below:

We wanted Voyager to be different, so we made it different in a couple of ways. To start with, we placed a woman in command of a starship. It’s something we felt it was time to do and it gave us a new direction. Gene Roddenberry was never averse to the idea of having female captains in guest roles, but this was something that we never did get a chance to discuss with him. Jeri Taylor, Michael Piller, and I all agreed that when we took this on, that it was the next logical step for us. I’m sure Gene would agree.

Gene Roddenberry Wanted a Female Commander in Star Trek

Number One in TOS is a Template for Captain Janeway in Voyager

The existence of Number One (Majel Barrett), the female commander in Star Trek: The Original Series‘ first pilot, “The Cage”, serves as additional proof that Gene Roddenberry might have actively encouraged having a female captain in Star Trek. Gene’s first concept included far more gender equality than what actually made it to 1960s television screens, with women comprising a full 50% of the USS Enterprise’s crew, but network notes put the kibosh on Number One in a leadership role and gender parity in the crew complement. Roddenberry relented by reducing the female crew to 30%, but retaliated by keeping Barrett in the cast as Nurse Christine Chapel.

Both Number One (Rebecca Romjin) and Nurse Chapel (Jess Bush) are finally fully realized female characters in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, modern Trek‘s continuation of “The Cage”.

Number One’s authority and competence is never in question on the basis of her gender, which provides a template for how a woman in command should be perceived in Star Trek that’s expanded by Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager. Number One and Janeway are feminine, but never sexualized, and afforded the respect they deserve as leaders and scientists without a second thought given to the fact that they’re women. Although the barrier of a woman in command wasn’t broken in TOS, that original blueprint for Star Trek indicates it’s pretty likely Gene Roddenberry would have approved of Star Trek: Voyager‘s Captain Janeway.

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