Okay, Trekkies. The very, very last of my Star Trek recasts . . . I (finally) give you the new USS: Voyager crew.
Bear in mind: while I’ll explain my reasoning below, you may want to take another quick glance at the 10 Ways to Remake and Fix Star Trek Voyager . . . otherwise you’re going to be very surprised when you see who I cast for Neelix.
Captain Kathryn Janeway
“Mr. Kim . . . at ease, before you sprain something.”
I watched the first half of the first season of American Horror Story before I just kind of gave up on it. (Too bad considering how WTF that ending was . . . yeah, I got spoiled. Oh well.) One of the main things keeping me going, though — far longer than I normally would have — was Connie Britton’s performance as Vivien, the dry, irritable, no-nonsense mother who’s thrust into this massively horrific scenario. Britton has just absolutely wonderful reactions and makes Vivien extremely real. She’s the kind of strong female character I’d like to see more of — women who can be badass without skin-tight pants and a giant gun.
And I thought . . . this is exactly what I want Janeway to be. I mean, she can have the gun. I’m all about Janeway with a giant ass gun. But I also like her being a feminine, even maternal character. I love her moments of irritability and pissed off mama bear attitude. I want her to seem like a real woman with a very large responsibility on her shoulders, and I think Connie Britton would excel at that.
“I don’t care what kind of story it is, as long as I’m not the bad guy this time.”
I tried — I tried really fucking hard — to come up with a Native American actor in the right age group for Chakotay, but I just didn’t like anyone. So I’m casting Esai Morales instead, who I first saw in La Bamba (RICCCCHHHHIE!) but really liked for his role as Major Beck in Jericho. (And if you didn’t watch it — which you likely didn’t, based off of ratings — Jericho was ALL about being on your own and making hard choices to survive. So, it’s not such a leap to Voyager, actually.)
Chakotay is the second in command (not to mention the captain of his own Maquis ship), so it’d be nice if he, you know, seemed like a commander with actual authority. Morales can do authority, and I think he and Britton would be able to play off each other nicely. I suspect his Chakotay would be quiet but charismatic, which works for me.
And while I suppose we could switch the character’s ethnicity to fit the actor’s, I would actually prefer Chakotay to stay Native American. I want to see a Native American character who isn’t such a walking, talking stereotype, godammit.
Lt. Commander Tuvok
“I have no desire for fun.”
I mostly enjoyed Tim Russ as Tuvok, but I kind of love Giancarlo Esposito — and I haven’t even watched Breaking Bad yet. (I’ve seen a few clips of him in it, though, and can I just say? Awesome.)
Esposito is one of those surprise powerhouse actors who seems to transform from role to role, and he can do a lot with a little — which is required, if you’re going to play a Vulcan. I expect his eyebrow twitches will come with seven different layers of nuance. And as good as he would be, all restrained and calm and logical, Esposito will really shine in those episodes where Tuvok’s emotional control snaps for whatever reason — watch that shit get crazy-awesome fast.
Lt. B’Elanna Torres
“If you even think of joining in on this ’embrace your heritage’ nonsense, I swear, I’ll rip out your tongue and wear it as a belt. “
B’Elanna is another role where I’m playing fast and loose with the character’s ethnicity, but I’m considerably less bothered by it here because I’m not sure it ever actually comes into play, not once in seven seasons. It was, at least, easier to come up with some possible Latina nominees, but I wasn’t crazy about any of them. Whereas I thought of Tracie Thoms and was like, “Yes. That’s B’Elanna.”
I have adored Tracie Thoms since I watched Death Proof for the first time. (I’m well aware that Death Proof is not everyone’s idea of a good time, but she’s hilarious in it and totally badass, which works for me here.) I have total confidence that she could portray B’Elanna’s continuous anger management issues without descending into petulance. Maybe B’Elanna could even sing something — um, probably against her will — considering that Trek loves to have people sing or play musical instruments, and Thoms has a great voice.
Lt. Tom Paris
“And, um . . . use grandiose language. He likes to be called ‘Sire’, and it helps to say things like: ‘The clever fiendishness of your evil plan is brilliant!'”
I didn’t think Tom Paris would be all that hard to cast, but man — it took forever to settle on him. There are probably 86 different ways to play Paris, but a lot of actors we came up with had the wrong sort of energy to them, and others just didn’t quite match up for us with Tracie Thoms. (You can’t really predict chemistry, of course, but you can at least try.)
We settled on Scott Speedman, who I am currently enjoying quite a bit on Last Resort. (And we’ll see how long I get to enjoy it, if ratings keep getting lower. Godammit.) Paris is a redemptive character, and I like the idea of watching Speedman going from selfish-angry-bitter-smirkiness to someone with responsibilities, someone who does things for other people, not just himself. (He can still retain a bit of the smirk, though. I like a good looking man with a smirk.)
Mekaela thinks Paris should have a pet lizard as an homage to the worst episode in Trek. I . . . think this is kind of awesome and am currently preoccupied with what we should name it.
Ensign Harry Kim
“Why does everyone say “relax” when they’re about to do something terrible?”
I’ve had a love-hate relationship with The Walking Dead (although this season has been so much better so far), but I’ve always liked Steven Yeun as Glenn, and I think he’d be great at playing a young, fresh-faced ensign who’s life goes to hell on his very first assignment. Like Paris, I really want to see Harry Kim develop and change over the course of the show — particularly after the events of “Deadlock” — and I think Yeun would be up for the challenge. He’s a very expressive actor and seems like a natural fit in the part.
“For your information, I don’t appreciate being deactivated in the middle of a sentence. It brings back . . . unpleasant memories.”
Robert Picardo as the Doctor is one of the best things about the original Voyager, and it’s less because of the character — who I normally wouldn’t care that much about — and more because Picardo’s performance is awesome. Alas, he cannot be in my remake, so I am casting Timothy Omundson instead, who might seem like an odd choice for Psych fans, but he’s a character actor who can turn from goofy to serious on a dime and is also pretty well versed in playing characters who are both superior and irritable. It also helps that he doesn’t seem to jeer at genre, if his past career choices are any indication. (Seaquest DSV, Xena: Warrior Princess, Warehouse 13, Starship Troopers, various Star Wars video games, a short and very bleak Voltron fan film, etc.)
Also, while I’m not sure Omundson is well-versed in fucking opera, he does (like everyone in Psych) seem to enjoy singing. I’m not actually sure how good he is at it, given the givens, but that could be amusing too.
“I want complication in my life.”
Okay, so this is the “dream” part of “dream casting.” I do try and be realistic when I come up with these people, to an extent, but only to an extent. I know Mia Wasikowska would never show up in a Trek TV show, but I also know she can’t sell a movie on her name alone yet, which means I don’t feel so bad about casting her. I mean, it’s not quite like trying to cast Angelina Jolie as Janeway or something.
Anyway. Kes is supposed to be all naive and innocent and sweet, which makes for a pretty boring character. Wasikowska is a very talented young actress, however, and could easily infuse her with a bit more life. You know, she could be idealistic without being a wide-eyed, blinking doe of a woman. Kes has left behind her people and almost everything she’s ever known for a chance to explore the universe. I really want to see that adventurous side.
I also want to see her age and mature over the seasons, from young child to old woman. If acted well (and, preferably, with really good makeup), Kes could be an extremely interesting character to watch.
“Whatever you need is what I have to offer. You need a guide — I’m your guide. You need supplies — I know where to procure them. I have friends among races you don’t even know exist. You need a cook? Oh, you haven’t lived until you’ve tasted my Angla’bosque!”
So, in MY remake — Neelix is not some silly, cartoonish, ridiculously perky alien. Neelix is a scavenger and a barterer and does basically whatever he needs to in order to survive. I don’t see him as a big fighter, but I do see him as a bit of a scrappy pirate — and also something of a romantic, as he manipulates the Voyager crew in order to get their help rescuing Kes.
Jason Dohring — best known as Logan Echolls on Veronica Mars — could be that scrappy pirate. He would be a darker character — because I don’t think Dohring knows how to not bring intensity — but he could also be quite charming. Hell, if he was done right, new Neelix could easily be one of the most liked characters in Trek instead of one of the most universally despised. How cool would that be?
Seven of Nine
“I was not traumatized. I was raised by the Borg.”
I didn’t actually think casting Seven would be all that hard — beautiful, blonde actresses are a dime a dozen in Hollywood — but I struggled with this for a long time until I thought of Georgina Haig, who you probably don’t know unless you’re Australian and/or watch Fringe.
Seven needs to be a logical, detached, ruthless badass who slowly relearns her humanity, and after watching Haig play Etta — a double agent in a dystopian future — I’m pretty sure she could do it. She’s got a decent look for it, too, and she’s about the right age for the mother/daughter dynamic that Seven and Janeway have together.
Seven will not end up with Esai Morales, however. Or, if she does, they will spend more than ten seconds building up to it. For Christ’s sake.
And finally . . .
“I did it for you. I did it for this crew.”
Because Anne Dudek, who has starred or guest starred in numerous TV shows (including the role of Amber — or Cutthroat Bitch — on House), knows a little something about how to play a nuanced villain, and I would like to see a more sympathetic version of the officer who betrays the captain in order to get herself — and possibly the rest of the crew — home. Seska is an “ends justify the means” kind of person. There’s a way to explore that in an interesting fashion without making her a secret Cardassian black hat who suddenly pops up pregnant and lies about her baby daddy.
. . . and . . . well, I guess that’s it. I have come to the the end of my Trek casting.
Crap. Now I have to come up with something new to remake.