Stаr Trek’s Robert Dunсаn MсNeill Hilаriously Explаins Gettinɡ Cаst As Voyаɡer’s Tom Pаris

Robert Duncan McNeill recounts the funny story of how he was cast as Star Trek: Voyager’s Lt. Tom Paris after he played Nick Locarno on TNG.

Tom Paris and the Star Trek: Voyager cast.


  • Robert Duncan McNeill, who played Nicholas Locarno in “The First Duty” episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, was cast as Tom Paris in Star Trek: Voyager because the producers wanted someone like him.
  • Despite their identical appearances, McNeill sees Tom Paris and Nick Locarno as polar opposites, with Paris going through a redemption arc in Voyager while Locarno was shown to be “rotten on the inside” in Star Trek: Lower Decks.
  • McNeill’s roles as Tom Paris and Nicholas Locarno are different but he reprised both characters in Star Trek: Lower Decks, showcasing his versatility.

Robert Duncan McNeill recounts the hilarious story of how he was cast as Star Trek: Voyager‘s Lieutenant Tom Paris after he played Nicholas Locarno years earlier on Star Trek: The Next Generation. McNeill’s turn as Locarno in the TNG season 5 episode, “The First Duty,” was very well-received. There was even an early idea for Nick Locarno to join the cast of Voyager before the character was reconceived as Tom Paris. Yet Star Trek: Voyager’s producers still wanted “a Robert Duncan McNeill type” for the role.

Appearing on The Shuttlepod Show, Robert Duncan McNeill recounted to hosts Connor Trinneer, Erica LaRose, and Mark Cartier how he found out about the Tom Paris role in Star Trek: Voyager, and how the producers were looking for someone just like McNeill. Check out his quote and watch the video of The Shuttlepod Show below:

I get a call. My agent says, “Hey, remember that Star Trek episode you did a few years ago?” He goes, “They’re making a new show called Voyager and they literally put out a casting notice saying “a Robbie Duncan McNeill type.” They put my name. Kinda like the character on TNG. Like, my name was in [it]. And I’m like, “I’m right here! That’s me!” And so [my agent says], “I think you should… you can do this.”

The Differences Between Star Trek: Voyager’s Tom Paris & TNG’s Nick Locarno

Robert Duncan McNeill says they are polar opposites.

Of course, Robert Duncan McNeill was cast as Lieutenant Tom Paris, and he starred in all 7 seasons of Star Trek: Voyager. McNeill could never have anticipated that, 30 years later, he would reprise both Tom Paris and Nicholas Locarno on Star Trek: Lower Decks. McNeill played Paris in the Lower Decks season 2 episode, “We’ll Always Have Tom Paris,” and he voiced Locarno as the main villain of Lower Decks season 4. Yet, despite their identical faces, McNeill’s two roles are very different.

Star Trek: Lower Decks brilliantly joked about Lt. Tom Paris and Nick Locarno looking identical, with Lt. Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) saying, “I just don’t see it.”

As Robert Duncan McNeill told The Shuttlepod Show, he sees Tom Paris and Nick Locarno as “polar opposites.” Paris went on a redemption arc in Star Trek: Voyager that proved despite his troubled past, Tom changed and showed he was a good guy all along. However, Nick Locarno started off as the ideal Starfleet Academy Cadet with a bright future, but he was “rotten on the inside,” and proved it by threatening the galaxy in Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4. Today, it’s inconceivable that anyone but Robert Duncan McNeill could play Lt. Tom Paris on Star Trek: Voyager.

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