Star Trek Voyager’s original Janeway actor quit for bizarre reason

Kate Mulgrew is best known as Star Trek captain Kathryn Janeway on Voyager. However, she only got the role as the original actor quit after two days.

Kate Mulgrew as Captain Janeway on Star Trek Voyager

Kate Mulgrew wasn’t the first choice to play Star Trek Voyager’s Kathryn Janeway, and the original actor dropped out for a baffling reason. Whether it’s Patrick Stewart and Picard, Avery Brooks and Sisko, or Anson Mount and Pike, the various Star Trek captains are essentially all perfectly cast.

The lead of the Star Trek series Voyager, Kate Mulgrew as Captain Janeway, is no exception. She perfecetly captured the Star Trek character‘s grit, determination, and ruthless streak (and not to mention love of coffee) while also being able to present Janeway’s softer side. However, Mulgrew was initially rejected from the role after auditioning, and was only brought in when the original actor dropped out after two days of shooting.That original actor was Genevieve Bujold. She took on the role of Janeway as the lead of the show alongside the rest of the Voyager cast, and was all ready to captain the USS Voyager as it attempted its escape from the Delta Quadrant.

At the end of second day of filming the series, Bujold had already had enough. Reports at the time, back in 1994, stated that Bujold was unwilling to commit to the show, with producer Rick Berman saying the actor found, “the rigours of episodic television” were “too demanding.”

YouTube Thumbnail

Simultaneously, it was reported that Bujold had a firm stance against giving any news interviews relating to her work, which she would have been required to do as the lead of one of the best TV series on air at the time.

It all brings into question how Bujold had been cast in the first place, and how a situation had arisen where the lead star of the show was unaware of both the shooting schedule and publicity demands of the role. The Star Trek starship Voyager encountered plenty of bizarre scenarios in the Delta Quadrant, but this situation may be more confounding than any of them.

Thankfully, it all led to Mulgrew taking on the part, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. While Admiral Janeway didn’t appear in Star Trek Picard season 3, Mulgrew has returned to Star Trek in the animated series Prodigy.

For more on Star Trek, check out our guide to the Star Trek timeline and check out our ranking of the Star Trek movies.