Remember Captain Nicole Janeway? No? Well, you’re not alone. Here’s everything you need to know about the original Captain Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager, who only lasted a couple of days before quitting the show.
Geneviève Bujold Was the First Captain Janeway
Geneviève Bujold was the first Captain Janeway to be filmed during the production of Voyager. While she didn’t last in the role, she did act on set with the other actors.ScreenRant notes that Bujold’s input was accepted when it came to naming her character, who was never called Kathryn Janeway. According to ScreenRant, “Captain Janeway’s original name was Elizabeth and the producers granted Bujold’s wish for her name to be changed to Nicole.”
Geneviève Bujold Quit Within Days of Starting on Set
TODAY IN #StarTrek HISTORY: September 9, 1994
Geneviève Bujold ends her short two-day run on “Star Trek: Voyager” as Captain Nicole Janeway; Kate Mulgrew is hired to replace her as series lead. pic.twitter.com/BD4bSe9896
— TrekCore.com 🖖 (@TrekCore) September 9, 2020
Canadian actress Geneviève Bujold was the first choice to play Captain Janeway. However, despite filming for a short period of time, Bujold ultimately chose to leave the show. How long she was actually on set before quitting is unclear. The tweet above references her leaving set after two days. SyFy reported Bujold was on set “for about a day and a half”, but EW’s report from 1994 claims she was on set for three days. The same report from EW cites the long days as the reason Bujold quit, noting that the show’s 18 hour days were “long even by TV standards”.
Bujold Was Nominated for an Oscar
Bujold may not have been a good fit for Star Trek: Voyager, but that doesn’t mean she lacks talent. In fact, Bujold was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Anne of the Thousand Days.
Bujold Wasn’t a Fan of the Franchise
8 September 1994: ‘Caretaker’ (which began filming on 6 September, and the pilot episode of Star Trek: Voyager) sees Geneviève Bujold’s first day of filming as Captain Nicole Janeway.#StarTrek #VOY #Caretaker #OTD #OnThisDay pic.twitter.com/zHh9MZYE1O
— Today In Star Trek History (@TodayinStarTrek) September 8, 2019
SyFy was able to track down an old interview Bujold did with the National Enquirer back in 1994, just before she started work on the series. The Enquirer’s own website does not appear to have archived this interview on its own domain.
In the interview, Bujold made a revelation that may explain her lack of enthusiasm for the project.
“I’ve never been a Trekkie,” she was quoted as saying. “In fact, although I had heard of Star Trek, I had never seen any of the shows of films before now.”
The ‘Real’ Captain Janeway Admitted Shooting Days Were Brutal
Kate Mulgrew was cast as the new Captain Janeway, and held the role until the series concluded. When Mulgrew was cast, the character’s first name changed from Nicole to Kathryn.
Mulgrew has gone on the record about how long the days could be on set when filming Voyager. She spoke candidly on the subject with William Shatner in his 2011 documentary, The Captains, revealing how hard it was to work those long hours as a single mother.
“I’m afraid I didn’t do parts of either thing very well,” Mulgrew stated in the documentary, referring to the struggle of trying to be both a great actress and being a great mother. “I didn’t reach the excellence I could have reached had I had a little more rest and a little more help, and I’ll have to live with that myself.”
That being said, Mulgrew seems more or less satisfied with her performance as Captain Janeway. Mulgew explained that while she wanted to give her all to the role, that wasn’t always possible.
“I never gave her less than I would say, 95 percent, but there were days when there was absolute exhaustion,” Mulgrew confided to Shatner. “There were days when my kids were suffering, and you know, you can’t walk off a set…There’s no way they’re gonna let you go.”
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