Posted in: Paramount+, Star Trek, streaming, TV | Tagged: Chase Masterson, Dawnn Lewis, Jeffrey Combs, Max Grodénchik, Robert Duncan McNeill, star trek, star trek: Lower Decks, Tawny Newsome
Star Trek series vets Chase Masterson, Max Grodenchik, Jeffrey Combs & Robert Duncan McNeill on expanding their legacies on “Lower Decks.”
Paramount’s Lower Decks prides itself as a love letter to the Star Trek franchise while providing opportunities to revisit past canon in a way other such shows would never dare dream. Star Trek on Paramount+ released a featurette called Star Trek Favorites Return, covering franchise veterans like Chase Masterson, Max Grodenchik, Jeffrey Combs, and Robert Duncan McNeill, spoke about their characters, the legacies they built, and how Lower Decks expanded upon it. “I think it’s really exciting the way Mike McMahan weaves previous Star Trek characters into our episodes,” Dawnn Lewis, who plays Captain Carol Freeman, said, “It just feels like little presents that we get to, like, wrap up, and give to the fans,” added star Tawny Newsome, who plays her daughter in Lt. Beckett Mariner, added.
Masterson and Grodenchik, who played Leeta and Rom, respectively, on Deep Space Nine, reprised their roles in the sixth episode, “Parth Ferengi’s Heart Place.” “Being part of the legacy of Star Trek has been the greatest joy. I’ve always loved this role,” Masterson said, describing how far along Leeta’s gone since her days on DS9. “I was originally up for the role of a Bajoran dabo girl, which was the role of Mardah, and then I heard that they wrote the role of Leeta for me. She’s got this heart of gold, but she’s fun and no pushover. Just the fact that Leeta is with Rom and stands by Nog with all he has gone through. For Leeta to become the mother of a boy who went off to war is so ‘not a dabo girl.’ And I think it’s the most Star Trek message: that we are so much more than we seem. I’m the former dabo girl running the show, and what is better than that?” “I can’t believe where the show has taken us. I love it,” Grodenchik added.
Combs began his Star Trek legacy on DS9 playing a variety of characters, including Brunt and Weyoun, continuing his chameleon-like ways on Voyager and Enterprise before lending his voice as the sentient killer AI, AGIMUS on Lower Decks. “I saw the premiere of the original ‘Star Trek’ when I was a young teenager, and it had a verve about it,” he said. “A kind of energy leaning forward into the material from the actors, and it’s contagious, and I’ve tried to bring that kind of spirit and tone to every character that I’ve done in the Star Trek universe. ‘Oh, he’s that guy?! Wait a minute, he’s that guy over there too? I never knew that.’ That’s the best for me. When people don’t know that I’m Shran, Weyoun, Brunt, and Agimus.”
McNeill, who played Lt. Tom Paris on Voyager, recalls his several fan interactions if his original Next Generation character-turned-Lower Decks villain Nick Locarno was related. “You know, a lot of people thought Tom Paris was Nick Locarno. You know, they still think that,” he said. “As I understand it, the producers, they loved that episode, and they talked about bringing Nick Locarno onto ‘Deep Space Nine.’ They decided not to. It didn’t quite fit. And so I think the studios decided for ‘Voyager’ that, ‘Hey, let’s bring back sort of Nick Locarno but let’s call him a new name.’ Fans would ask me, like, ‘Oh, are you playing a version of Nick Locarno?’ And my answer was, ‘Absolutely not.’ Tom Paris would have never been the big bad in this episode. It’s not possible.” For more, you can check out the video below.
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