Star Trek’s Ronny Cox Shares How Captain Jellico Memes Encouraged Him To Reprise The Next Generation Role For Prodigy

Ronny Cox and Admiral Jellico in Star Trek: Prodigy
(Image credit: Paramount+)

Star Trek: Prodigy stunned fans originally when it revealed that it brought Kate Mulgrew back to the franchise as Kathryn Janeway, and slowly but surely, more Trek stars have popped in to lend their talents to the surprisingly deep animated series. This includes cult-favorite characters like actor Billy Campbell, who recently reprised his role as Okona and actor Ronny Cox as Admiral Jellico. Cox returned to voice Jellico 30 years after playing the character on The Next Generation, and according to his conversation with CinemaBlend, memes played a factor in that. 

I had a chance to speak to Ronny Cox, and just as many were intrigued by Kate Mulgrew’s reasons for returning to Star Trek decades later, I wondered what Cox's motivations to return were. Unlike Mulgrew, Cox’s Edward Jellico was only featured in the classic The Next Generation’s two-parter “Chain Of Command” before reprising the role for Prodigy. Cox has done a lot throughout his career, so I asked what encouraged him to return to Trek and help create more stories for Jellico:

I enjoyed playing Jellico… People either love him or hate him from [his time] back in TNG. And either they think he’s the best captain ever or the worst guy around because of his style and the things he did…Through the years with all the memes of Jellico and the comic books, it became such an iconic character that when they approached me about reprising it was just intriguing so I said, ‘Sure. Let’s do this.’

Star Trek fans have heard before that their passion can make things happen, and Ronny Cox just proved it again. The heated debate The Next Generation fans have had over the years about whether or not Captain Jellico was a good captain or the absolute worst played a role in his return, which is kind of hilarious. 

The actor also mentioned memes made about Captain Jellico being a factor in his return to Star Trek: Prodigy, which should be a delight for Trek fans like @STDeltaShift, who has made quite a few popular Jellico memes on the web. It turns out Ronny Cox is aware of the sheer number of Jellico memes out there and apparently is very much in on the bad joke/pun format, given his response when I confirmed the memes played a role in his return: 

Yeah, that’s sort of right in my wheelhouse of humor anyway. I said to somebody else earlier that I like PUNishing people.

Thus far, Ronny Cox’s Admiral Jellico has only appeared via viewscreen in Star Trek: Prodigy, but he’s been around enough to be a thorn in Vice Admiral Janeway’s side. In the November 24 episode, called “Masquerade,” Jellico refused to allow Janeway’s quest to retrieve the Protostar to jeopardize Starfleet’s negotiations with the Romulans and told her to destroy the ship if the Romulans took it. 

Fans can make their own decision if Jellico was being a good admiral by making the by-the-book decision there, and I’m hoping Prodigy will give its viewers more content to draw some definitive conclusions about Cox’s character in the coming episodes. 

Star Trek: Prodigy is rocketing along in the back half of Season 1, and the stakes are higher than ever. Viewers watching with their Paramount+ subscriptions recently learned that the Trill ensign Asencia was actually a Vau N’Akat operative sent back in time to help retrieve the Protostar. With her working alongside The Diviner, there’s a chance that they could eventually be successful in their plot to destroy Starfleet. 

Catch new episodes of Star Trek: Prodigy on Thursdays on Paramount+. With so many new Trek shows on the horizon, it’s high time for anyone who is behind to catch up this holiday season and get in on the fun of seeing classic actors back in the franchise once more.

Mick Joest
Content Producer

Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.