Star Trek's massive expansion into streaming has created a plethora of new opportunities for past actors of the franchise to return or to pitch their own series. Voyager's Robert Duncan McNeil has apparently done just that, though he's proposing something wildly different that's only semi-related to Tom Paris. It turns out the actor is interested in a Captain Proton project, and I think it absolutely needs to happen.
Robert Duncan McNeil recently spoke to Trek.fm about the urge to return to Star Trek, presumably before it was publicly known he'd reprise his role as Captain Tom Paris on Season 2 of Star Trek: Lower Decks. Paris didn't mention that appearance, but it was during that chat that he did reveal an idea that would potentially bring back the Voyager crew, though as part of a Captain Proton adventure:
Yeah, I did pitch to them. I've had this idea for a number of years about doing a Captain Proton, on the Holodeck only. Get our cast back together, do like a serialized-like the old Flash Gordon's- do like short little stories that add up to a bigger story. And I thought about trying to produce it as a podcast, or in COVID I thought it would be fun to do an old radio drama with Captain Proton. But get our actors back together and actually talk to Kurtzman's company and those guys about producing either a podcast version of Captain Proton or a web series, or Short Treks kind of version with just Captain Proton.
As much as I'm all in on the radio drama idea, it does feel like the easiest sell would be a Short Treks episode with Robert Duncan McNeil as Tom Paris playing Captain Proton in the Holodeck, with a handful of other Star Trek: Voyager cast members in on the action. One would think Star Trek could rope in Jeri Ryan and Kate Mulgrew given their current affiliations with modern Star Trek as well as other Voyager cast members who aren't at the moment.
As for whether or not this idea will actually happen, that's up in the air. It's been said by Alex Kurtzman that the currently planned Section 31 spinoff won't start production until one of the presently airing or soon-to-arrive Star Trek shows has concluded. Robert Duncan McNeil didn't say much on that but stressed that he feels a Captain Proton project is a great idea for both him and the fans:
People really love that Holodeck, and I love doing that character. I just think the fans would really love the show within a show kind of idea of Captain Proton commenting on sci-fi generally and Trek sci-fi tropes and things, it's just a lot of fun.
The good news is Robert Duncan McNeil's plan for a quasi-Star Trek: Voyager reunion sounds completely doable and doesn't require a full series order to happen. A Short Treks series also sounds like something that's feasible, as does a podcast or audio drama adventure. I'm sure there are numerous Voyager fans who would appreciate something like that, especially if a full-scale revival is indeed off the table.
As mentioned, fans can catch Robert Duncan McNeil voicing Tom Paris in an upcoming Season 2 episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks. Catch the premiere on Paramount+ Thursday, August 12th, and be sure to check out our fall premiere guide for a list of all the shows set to arrive in the coming months.