When Star Trek: Voyager helped launch UPN back in January of 1995, it broke new ground for the franchise; for the first time ever, the Captain and lead character was a woman. The show also took us where no one had gone before, to the Delta Quadrant, where the crew was stranded in the very first episode. They spent seven seasons trying to get back, while they explored strange new worlds and civilizations, added to their crew, lost some along the way, and had to experience the galaxy without the power of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets behind them.
Guest stars lined up to appear in the show. Ed Begley, Jr., Jason Alexander, Virginia Madson, Michael McKean, Joel Grey, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and Kurtwood Smith all did episodes, as well as Prince Abdullah of Jordan (who’s now the King) and Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello. It was Sarah Silverman’s first TV acting job.
With the Starfleet and the Maquis crews merging into one, Voyager was as much a show about character as it was about adventure. Let’s catch up with the cast and a few of the recurring guest stars now, with Star Trek Voyager: Where Are They Now?
15. Susanna Thompson – The Borg Queen
Susanna Thompson had a history with Star Trek before she ruled the Borg on Voyager; she played two different roles on The Next Generation and one on Deep Space 9. Even after she lost the part of the Borg Queen in Star Trek: First Contact to Alice Krige, the production team remembered her, and when Krige was unavailable to do another episode of Voyager, they called Thompson to see if she was still interested. She was! But her enthusiasm waned after she discovered the challenges of the costume and make-up required, and she decided she’d never do it again. When they came calling for another episode, she agreed, though, providing that they pace her a little more, mostly to keep the contacts (which had metal in them) from hurting her eyes for too long and the costume itself from preventing normal breathing.
Since her reign over the Borg, she’s kept busy on shows like NCIS, Cold Case and Without a Trace. Most recently, she played another Queen, Moira, on Arrow. She stayed until the end of season two, when Moira was stabbed through the heart and killed.
14. Brad Dourif – Ensign Lon Suder
Long before Brad Dourif appeared as a homicidal Betazoid on Voyager, he’d made a name for himself with his first (credited) feature film, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, scoring an Oscar nomination for playing Billy Bibbit. By the time he got to Star Trek: Voyager, he’d already been in dozens of movies and TV shows, playing a huge variety of (usually freaky) roles including being the voice of Chucky in the Child’s Play movies. Lon Suder was yet another of his oddballs, a Betazoid who lacked empathy and joined the Maquis to find an outlet for his violent tendencies. When he killed one of Voyager’s crew members, he was confined to quarters for the rest of the voyage. Tuvok tried to help him control his impulses, and had much success; in the end, Suder died saving the ship and its crew.
There’s no way to list all of this amazing actor’s credits, even his more recent ones, but we’ll highlight a few for you: he played Abe in the movie Rosemont, Zoso in Once Upon a Time, Grima Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and Doc Cochran on Deadwood. He has at least six different projects in various stages of production at the moment.
13. Manu Intiraymi – Icheb
Intiraymi, who was named after two Incan Gods, is not, in fact, Incan; he’s from Santa Cruz, California. He originally auditioned for a different role on Star Trek: Voyager but lucked in when the producers decided to cast him, instead, as Icheb, the young Brunali who was assimilated by the Borg, abandoned, and then rescued by the Voyager crew. One episode turned into eleven, and took him all the way to the end of the series. Poor Icheb—when the Voyager crew returned him to his parents, his parents sent him to be assimilated all over again, planning to use him as a weapon against the Borg. Luckily he was rescued once more, and then went back with the crew to the Alpha Quadrant to attend Starfleet Academy.
After Voyager, he played Billy (a drug dealer) on multiple episodes of One Tree Hill, and then took up producing, using Kickstarter as a fundraiser to get his projects up and running. His productions frequently include actors from across various Star Trek shows. His newest project, The Circuit, is an anthology feature that will include many of his Voyager co-stars as well as other Trek alumni, and will be a collaborate work, based on fan fiction, and fan-inspired designs.
12. Scarlett Pomers – Naomi Wildman
“Naomi Wildman.” Imagine this in Seven of Nine’s expressionless voice, and you’ll remember the character.
Scarlett Pomers was ten years old when she first appeared as Naomi Wildman, the first child born on Voyager. Naomi was bright, fascinated by science, determined to be the Captain’s assistant should such a position ever be created, and initially harbored a deep fear of Seven of Nine that eventually turned into a lasting friendship. The two even saved the ship together.
While she was on Voyager, she was also guest starring on plenty of other shows like Diagnosis Murder, Providence, and Judging Amy. After that she landed the role of Kyra Hart on Reba, and stayed for six years. She struggled with anorexia, and in 2005, she checked into a treatment facility. A few months later she was back out, and became an ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association, and was able to return to the show.
11. Martha Hackett – Seska
Martha Hackett originally auditioned for the part of Jadzia Dax, and although she didn’t get it, she’s one of those actors that Star Trek producers kept an eye on for while. While her scenes from the finale of TNG were cut, she did play a Romulan on Deep Space 9, and then landed the role of Seska, a recurring crewmember-turned-villain on Voyager. She even hid her own race, disguising her Cardassian physiology and masquerading as a Bajoran, fooling even the Maquis she’d served with before they merged their crew with Voyager’s. Hackett’s real-life pregnancy was written into her storyline as she tormented Commander Chakotay across the Delta Quadrant. She didn’t know her character was getting killed off until the day before they shot the scene, but death couldn’t stop her; Seska returned to threaten the Voyager crew in two more episodes.
10. Jennifer Lien – Kes
Jennifer Lien played Kes, an Ocampan with a life span of nine years. Added to the Voyager crew along with her boyfriend Neelix, she found herself a job in sickbay, working with The Doctor and helping him become a more self-actualized holographic person. At the end of season three, the producers decided not to renew her contract, as they were bringing in Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine, and felt that Kes’ story had run its course. The entire cast found her departure very rattling, as they were all very close to her, and resented the intrusion of a new cast member as well as the loss of one they cared about. They toed the line in interviews, but it was clear that they were upset by the change. Her last episode that season was directed by Anson Williams, best known as Potsie on Happy Days. She returned for two more episodes a few seasons later.
After Voyager, Lien played Edward Norton’s big sister in American History X, and voiced Agent L on Men in Black: The Animated Series for just over three seasons. Since then, things haven’t gone very well for Lien. She’s been arrested three times, most recently in September of 2015 for indecent exposure.
9. Robert Beltran – Commander Chakotay
Beltran’s first breakthrough in acting came when he starred in the dark comedy Eating Raoul, and while he appeared in dozens of TV shows and some movies after that, his next major gig was on Voyager. Chakotay was the first officer, formerly the Commander of the Maquis, and was paired up romantically with almost every female cast member at one point or another, finally ending up with Seven of Nine in the series finale.
Beltran was always very vocal about what he thought were Voyager‘s shortcomings, unhappy with the long hours and what he felt was a repetitive format. But in a recent interview, despite calling the Prime Directive “a bunch of fascist crap,” he admitted that he wouldn’t trade his seven years on the show “for anything.” These days, he does the convention circuit and turns up in occasional Trek-related projects, but focuses mostly on theater and music.
8. Robert Duncan McNeill – Lieutenant Tom Paris
McNeill’s first Trek role was on The Next Generation, where he played a classmate of Wesley Crusher’s at Starfleet Academy. Voyager‘s Tom Paris had a similar backstory as a character who’d made a bad choice and then suffered the consequences. In his time on Voyager, he got promoted, demoted, promoted, turned into a lizard who mated with the Captain (who had also turned into a lizard), and then married Chief Engineer B’Elanna Torres (after he turned back into a human). Their daughter was born in the series finale.
During his time on the show he took up directing, and it’s there where his career is focused these days. After Voyager, he got behind the camera on shows like One Tree Hill, Dead Like Me, The O.C., and more. Since his days as a director and executive producer on Chuck, he’s directed episodes of White Collar, Supernatural, The Mentalist, Warehouse 13, and Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. He’s still directing, but last year voiced Tom Paris once more in the Star Trek Online game.
7. Tim Russ – Lieutenant Commander Tuvok
Tim Russ is another actor who had a handful of different roles on Star Trek before landing a job as a series regular. He was a mercenary on TNG (who gets killed), a Klingon on Deep Space 9, and a Lieutenant in the movie Star Trek: Generations before becoming the mostly unflappable Vulcan Chief of Security, Tuvok, on Voyager.
After that, he was on Samantha Who? for two seasons and played principal Ted Franklin on iCarly for seven. He continues to participate in Trek-related projects, from providing his voice for the game Star Trek Online to appearing in and directing Star Trek Renegades, a fan film series co-starring other Star Trek vets Walter Koenig, Terry Farrell, Robert Picardo, and Manu Intiraymi, and funded by Kickstarter and Indiegogo. He’s also part of Intiraymi’s fan-based anthology series The Circuit. His latest directorial effort, a movie called Junkie, comes out at the end of this year, and he’s recorded a number of albums too.
6. Ethan Phillips – Neelix
What show hasn’t Ethan Phillips been on? Even before Voyager, Phillips already a had a huge list of TV and movie credits to his name, including a stint as Ferengi in The Next Generation episode “Menage a Troi.” His first major TV role was on the show Benson alongside future Deep Space 9 star Rene Auberjonois.
Phillips played Neelix for seven seasons, with his storyline wrapping up shortly before the series finale. A Talaxian who was initially drawn to joining Voyager thanks to its abundant supply of water, he became a vital member of the crew and a trusted advisor. At the end of the series, he settled down with a group of Talaxians living inside an asteroid, and bid farewell to his Alpha Quadrant friends.
He hasn’t slowed down since Voyager, with some of his most recent appearances being on Veep, The Good Wife, and Girls, where he plays Keith, the boyfriend of Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham)’s father.
5. Garrett Wang – Ensign Harry Kim
Garrett Wang was only 25 when he boarded Voyager, to play Ensign Harry Kim, who never got promoted during the seven-year journey despite saving the ship, and occasionally even taking command. During the break between the third and fourth season, producers considered releasing him from his contract, as they were looking to bring Jeri Ryan on board and needed to drop a character. When People Magazine named him one of its 50 Most Beautiful People, they decided to drop Kes (Jennifer Lien) instead, whose story had backed them into a corner anyway, so Harry ended up making it all the way back to the Alpha Quadrant with the rest of the crew.
Wang has appeared in several movies over the years, and also has a blink-and-you-miss it moment in Rage Against the Machine’s music video for “Sleep Now in the Fire,” directed by Michael Moore. By 2005, though, Wang stopped going to auditions completely. Between the takeover of reality television and the influx of film actors heading to TV for richer parts, he felt that it wasn’t a landscape he wanted to compete in anymore, and was already feeling jaded about the industry. He occasionally turns up in some of the unofficial Star Trek productions, is a staple on the convention circuit, and since 2010, has been the director of the “Star Trek Track” at Dragon Con.
4. Roxann Dawson – Chief Engineer B’Elanna Torres
When Roxann Dawson started shooting Star Trek: Voyager, she was still a newlywed, with a decent acting resume behind her but no big breakthroughs yet. For seven years, she played half-Klingon half-Human B’Elanna Torres, a Starfleet Academy dropout who fought with the Maquis, then earned Captain Janeway’s trust to become her Chief Engineer. By the end of the show, she was also married to Tom Paris, and gave birth to their child just as the crew finally reached the Alpha Quadrant.
By the time the show wrapped production, Dawson had had two children, and started a burgeoning career as a director, which is her main career these days, although she still acts occasionally.She only directed two episodes of Voyager, but her impressive credits now include 10 episodes of Enterprise, plus Lost, Cold Case, Crossing Jordan, Heroes, The Closer, The Mentalist, The Good Wife, Treme, Under the Dome, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Mercy Street and Rosewood, among umpteen others. She’s also been a producer on Scandal, Crossing Jordan, and Cold Case. She says that it’s only recently that her kids, who are in their teens, started to watch Star Trek with her.
3. Robert Picardo – The Doctor
Robert Picardo initially went to Yale as a pre-med major, before switching to Drama, so maybe it makes sense that he played the Emergency Medical Hologram on Voyager for seven seasons, in additional to playing a doctor on both The Golden Girls and China Beach. But Picardo initially auditioned for the part of Neelix, then was brought back later to try out for The Doctor. His ad-lib, “I’m a doctor, not a night light,” is what won him the part.
Picardo already had a thriving career before Voyager, having appeared in various TV shows, movies, and cartoons with credits too numerous to list. A few fun ones: he was the voice of Johnny Cab in Total Recall, a police officer on Alice, and Coach Cutlip on The Wonder Years.
Since Voyager, he’s kept up the pace, including multiple episodes of The Lyon’s Den, Justice League (voice), Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, and The Mentalist, and even played a leprechaun in an episode of Supernatural. But working on Voyager inspired his current fascination with science. He’s now a board member of The Planetary Society, founded by Carl Sagan, and as a result has worked with Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, shared a stage or two with NASA astronauts, and hosts a monthly newsletter video called The Planetary Post.
2. Jeri Ryan – Seven of Nine
It was Jeri Ryan’s appearance in the short-lived series Dark Skies that got her the attention of the sci-fi community and ultimately, the role of Seven of Nine at the beginning of Voyager‘s fourth season. It was a tough job, fitting in with a team that had already established strong connections, especially since so many of the episodes focused on this new, rich character of a human assimilated into the Borg, and now freed from The Collective. Things also got both smoother AND more complicated when she started dating writer/producer Brannon Braga. But Seven became an integral part of the crew, and eventually, so did Ryan, as the character got richer and started to forge strong relationships with the rest of the crew. She saved the ship multiple times, and developed a strong friendship with the only child on Voyager, Naomi Wildman.
Since then, she’s had no shortage of acting roles, as both a series regular on shows like Boston Public and Body of Proof, guest starred on Warehouse 13, The O.C., Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Leverage, among a great many others. Currently, she’s one of the stars of the Amazon original series Bosch.
She’s married to French chef Christophe Émé and they co-owned a restaurant together for five years. These days, in addition to her acting career, she calls herself an “actress, wife, mom, foodie, and gardener. Not necessarily in that order.”
1. Kate Mulgrew – Captain Kathryn Janeway
The original Captain of the starship Voyager was played by actress Geneviève Bujold, who found the shooting schedule so grueling that she quit just two days after they started filming. Mulgrew stepped in and had to hit the ground running, since they’d already filmed all the scenes they could without her. At a recent convention, she said that the one “do-over” she’d like to have is the scene where she told the crew they were stranded in the Delta Quadrant; she wants to do that scene again without 15 studio execs watching and wringing their hands. She also mentioned the excessive attention paid to her hair, and she finally put a stop to it, insisting, “They’re either going to buy me as the Captain or they’re not.”
Last year, Mulgrew published a bestselling memoir, “Born With Teeth,” which revealed that she was once raped at knifepoint, that she gave up a child for adoption and eventually found her again, and what it was like being a leading character on a hit soap opera at only 20 years old. With a long and successful career in theater and TV, Mulgrew is still going strong. These days, she stars as Red, the Russian prison inmate, in the Netflix original hit Orange is the New Black, and was nominated for an Emmy for it in 2014. The show has been renewed for at least three more seasons, with season five already in the works.