Content and Programming
Copyright 2000 Fox News Network, Inc
April 20, 2000, Thursday

Back of the Book:
The Future of 'Star Trek'
with Robert Duncan McNeill

Host: Alan Keyes


ROXANN DAWSON: Don't try to tell me this was an accident.

ROBERT DUNCAN MCNEILL: What else could it have been?

DAWSON: How about pilot error?

MCNEILL: Are you saying that this was my fault?

DAWSON: What's gotten into you? You've been stealing components, Tom. I found the power cells.

MCNEILL: A few spare parts? You're overreacting.


MCNEILL: Where are you going?

DAWSON: To talk to the captain.


DAWSON: There is something wrong with you.

MCNEILL: Listen to me! Stay out of this!

DAWSON: Or what? You'll sic Alice (ph) on me again?

ALAN KEYES: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight, warping us into the 24th century.

"Star Trek: Voyager," the fourth series in the wildly successful franchise has just completed it's sixth year and is preparing to shoot its like myself throughout the galaxy? I think it's the first time in ages we've actually faced the prospect of life with no new "Star Trek" series. I don't know. What's the answer?

Joining me from Los Angeles is Robert Duncan McNeill who's known to some of you who watch, I'm sure, as Lieutenant Tom Paris and who has served aboard the "Federation Starship Voyager" since its maiden flight.

Welcome to THE O'REILLY FACTOR. How are you?

ROBERT DUNCAN MCNEILL: Great. Great. Great to be here.

KEYES: Well, what is your answer to this question? I mean, this is really a void -- a prospective void in the life of a lot of us. What's going to happen after this final season?

MCNEILL: It really -- it's kind of scary. I mean, we -- I can't believe, first of all, that it's going to be seven years for us coming up. I mean, it seems like just yesterday that we started the pilot for our show, and I remember LeVar Burton, who everybody knows from going back to "Roots" and "The Next Generation" cast -- he was in that cast, and he said to me -- when we were shooting the pilot, he said, "Treasure every minute. You won't believe how fast this is going to go by," and that's really how it's felt.

KEYES: Well, have you been subjected to some of the phenomena that identification with not only the characters but the "Star Trek" universe. How do you feel about that?

MCNEILL: Yeah. You know what -- you know what's amazing, is I -- I think coming into it, I expected -- you know, everybody has this idea of what the classic sort of Trekker fan is, you know, this sort of -- I don't not the most flattering idea people have of -- of "Star Trek" fans, and I've been amazed at -- I mean, look, here I am talking to you who's running for president of the United States, and you're a "Star Trek" fan. So, I mean, it's amazing how many people at every level of our society are passionate and really feel a personal connection to "Star Trek."

KEYES: Well, having had to work it from the inside out, get inside a character, understand the motivations in the universe, what do you think is ....

MCNEILL: I don't -- I really -- I don't know. I think there is something -- I was saying to someone recently there's something that's very regal about "Star Trek," you know, the -- the whole world that it -- that it embodies -- there's something very noble. There's -- there's a moral base to it. I think people love to watch every week and feel like they've not only been entertained but they have been reminded of a moral lesson, you know.

KEYES: I think that -- there's a lot of truth to that. I think it's very optimistic to look into the future and believe that we'll still be fighting for the kind of moral values that -- that people believe are terribly important, even in the 24th century. But, of course, the immediate question is -- is there going to be a new iteration to fight for those values after "Voyager"? Do you think that this goes on, and what's there for you after "Star Trek: Voyager" is done?

MCNEILL: Well, let's see. The -- as far as another "Star Trek" show -- you know, this is the fourth show that was -- there was the original cast back in the '60s, then there was a long break with some movies, and then "The Next Generation" cast came on, and they were hugely, wildly successful, and then they had "Deep Space Nine" and now us, "Voyager," the fourth show.

So -- there's a lot of rumors. You know, there was rumors there was going to be the "Star Trek 90210" cast. There was -- there was rumors there was going to be the "All Borg Star Trek Show." All sorts of rumors. But -- but...

KEYES: Well, would you -- would you be part -- if there's something else, an ongoing movie or whatever, would you still want to be part of something like that?

MCNEILL: One -- one thing we've talked about -- I mean, I -- the cast -- our cast and I've heard in -- around the studio is there's -- everyone has this wonderful idea that there could be...

KEYES: Robert -- Robert, we're going to have to go.

MCNEILL: Oh, no.

KEYES: I'll talk to you about that later. Thanks for being on.

MCNEILL: Thank you for having me.

KEYES: That's it for us tonight. As always, we thank you for watching. I'm Alan Keyes in for the vacationing Bill O'Reilly. Hope to see you again soon.

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