INTERVIEW: Brett Gray, Ella Purnell, and Rylee Alazraqui Talk About ‘Star Trek: Prodigy’ and Being Newcomers to the Star Trek Universe

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Pictured: Art for Star Trek: Prodigy . Photo Cr: Nickelodeon/Paramount+ ©2021, All Rights Reserved.

It feels like every twenty to thirty years Star Trek explodes back into the popular culture like a phoenix from the ashes, bringing with it a glut of new Star Trek shows (and films) to slake the thirst of its die-hard fans, and rope in some new ones in the process. We are currently in the midst of such a golden era, with Discovery, Picard, and Lower Decks, but also the premieres of brand new shows like Strange New Worlds and the new children’s animated show Star Trek: Prodigy. Prodigy brings with it the return of legendary Voyager captain Kathryn Janeway but also a brand new ship manned by a wily, mischievous young crew.

We had a chance to talk with the young lead voice actors Brett Gray (voice of Dal), Ella Purnell (voice of Gwyn), and Rylee Alazraqui (only ten years old! And the voice of Rok-Tahk) about their experience being plunged into the sometimes overwhelming world of Star Trek.

Nerds and Beyond: Hi, guys! This is for all of you. I was curious how familiar you were with Star Trek when you got cast. And if you watched any of the shows, or movies as preparation, which ones you enjoyed the most and why?

Brett Gray: I, unfortunately, I know, I didn’t do any sort of preparation at all. I didn’t watch anything. The only memory I have of Star Trek is like, you know, from my grandma’s house. She loves sci-fi just in general, and she would always have on at night time, Star Trek. That was what it was. And I remember there being this interesting cast of people. And they were very respectful and poised. And it was admirable to watch. Definitely, it was something that I was interested in. But I was so young, I didn’t really have a way in for myself. So it’s awesome to bring this one through because I feel like it’s the perfect thing for first time Trek people to come in and sort of start with this new group of kids and sort of learn, you know, as it goes. But yeah, I hadn’t seen any of it. I know, you know, the big characters, but nothing else. And so it was funny, I actually did my first captain’s log, and it was completely wrong. The captain’s logs were supposed to be super poised and like “Hello, today this is what happened.” And my captain’s log is like, “so let me tell you how…” (laughing) Which they ended up keeping and really liking, so I feel like not having the pressure of living up to something has also sort of come out in our performances.

Ella Purnell: Yeah, I have to agree with that actually. My stepdad always used to watch it. And I would come downstairs on like a Sunday morning and he’d be sitting watching them. And I remember he would watch the reruns, and then he went back – I couldn’t tell you which episode or even movie or show it was – but it must have been like the very first couple ones because, my teenage self would be like, “ppffft the graphics are terrible on this” (laughing) and like, you know, it’s different from what I grew up watching. And that was kind of my first experience with Star Trek. But I think we actually kind of liked the idea that none of us really have any experience with it, and haven’t married ourselves too closely to the original ones, because I think that’s what’s going to modernize it. Not that it needs modernizing, but it’s going to make it carry this to the next generation and make it more relatable and attractive for them.

Rylee Alazraqui: When I got it I didn’t know what it was. So we watched a movie, I don’t know which one, we just started watching Star Trek anything. And I didn’t really learn that much from it. Because either it was too confusing or it was inappropriate for my eyes to watch. Or like, I don’t know, there are many reasons that I was confused. And so I was focused on the marshmallows and my hot chocolate. But I think that I’m learning a lot from just doing these recording sessions and reading the script. And it’s gonna be really exciting for me to learn more. And for everyone who’s watching the show to learn about the Prodigy of Star Trek

Nerds and Beyond: Awesome. Thank you guys!

Star Trek: Prodigy premieres October 28th on Paramount+.

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By Britt
Britt is a Los Angeles based writer, burlesque performer, and life long nerd. A former drama kid turned playwright and classic ambivert, (shout out fellow ambiverts! There are dozens of us! Dozens!) her love of books, snacks, and cats makes her a Ravenclaw with Hufflepuff leanings. She is a voracious reader, writer, and unapologetic binge-watcher. Her lifelong obsessions include Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, Harry Potter, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Arrested Development, Neil Gaiman, and Frank Herbert's Dune series. Her current obsessions include: Sherlock, Black Mirror, The Great British Baking Show, RuPaul's Drag Race, and Counterpart. She will also gladly talk people's ears off about graphic novels if they let her, which they usually don't. Find Britt on Twitter @MsGeorgiaOQueef
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