Actress Kate Mulgrew is coming back to sci-fi—and with a character named Jane. After her iconic role as starship captain Kathryn Janeway on Star Trek: Voyager, Mulgrew will take on a new big role in Syfy's Warehouse 13 as a Regent named Jane in a four-episode arc that begins tonight.
"Warehouse 13, it was like sprinting. It was like flying. It was just fun, great fun ... What looks very common, proves to be extremely uncommon. And behind every door there are 13 other doors. It's like those Russian dolls. It was an extremely provocative puzzle to tease out and I enjoyed every minute of it," said Mulgrew.
"Suffice it to say I come as a very powerful Regent bearing an extraordinary secret, and when the secret is revealed I think that the audience will be, to say the least, quite surprised. It's both wonderful and rather frightening at the same time. And the arc is thrilling because I'm not just any Regent. I have a great power and so I think what unfolds will be very, very surprising to the audience," she said.
Mulgrew confesses that her character has a personal connection to one of the key characters on the show, but beyond that she's "sworn to secrecy on this one."
What we do know is that the Regents act as a governing board for the Warehouses, which hold mystical artifacts that tend to kill people. In tonight's episode, "The 40th Floor," a mysterious organization launches an attack on the Warehouse Regents leaving Myka, Pete and Artie to save the day, and it's a good bet we'll learn more about this season's evildoers and the Warehouse Regents.
From the Farnsworth to the artifacts, Mulgrew said she had a blast working on Warehouse 13. "I got to play with all those toys and lots of artifacts too boot. That's the other thing. I really want to say this. The beauty of it is that you're working in a warehouse and every one of these artifacts is rooted in truth. So I have to tell you, I mean I was there for four episodes. I don't know how many weeks that would be, but I was learning so muchv... And whenever I get to learn I'm at my happiest. So the artifacts were fascinating, and then there was the Farnsworth—that's their sort of tricorder, if you will — and that was fun to work with. And I'm very familiar with the green screen and the blue screen," she said. "That's always a challenge."
As for working with the cast and crew, for Mulgrew it was "a perfect souffle." However, she said she spent much of her time laughing. "Between Eddie McClintock and Saul Rubinek all I did was laugh. That's all I did was laugh. And they're outrageous. You know, McClintock has no shame, no shame at all. And even the girls (Joanne Kelly, Allison Scagliotti) are naughty. The underbelly is very, very naughty. And you're just sort of sucked into the whole thing. But when action is called, it's on point. It's just when you're not actually required to be working it can be quite silly and delightful," said Mulgrew.
While you might think that Mulgrew is inundated with sci-fi roles after her breakout role as Captain Janeway, not so. "I don't get offered these sci-fi parts. This was the first one, and I was delighted to take it because it was not only so well written, it felt different to me. And it felt light and dark. It didn't carry with it the baggage of some other sci-fi shows. It has a real delicacy to it ... It's still a very sleek and very well run machine," she said.
When it comes to her other TV project presently running, Mulgrew offers up something a little different in the Adult Swim parody, NTSF:SD:SUV::, which stands for National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle and comes from Paul Scheer. "He wanted the weight of Captain Janeway, but he wanted me to wear an eye patch and be obsessed with sex, which I think is exactly right for part."
However, the role that will forever follow her in the hearts and minds of sci-fi fans, Captain Janeway, Mulgrew admits that she did have some concerns about taking the part. "Was I nervous? I'm sure I was nervous. Only in so far as I was the first woman. I know the expectations were very high, if not, in fact, unreasonably high. I knew that there was a great deal of money riding on this. It was a seven-year franchise. I knew that they were watching me very, very, very carefully. So having said all that and embraced all that, I just said to myself, 'What the hell? I'm going for it.' And you know, it stood me in good stead that I had not been familiar with Star Trek. I didn't know anything about it, so I was literally just blown out of a cannon, and that's the way to start something of that magnitude."
As for the way Voyager ended, "with any kind of an ardent and devoted fan base, you can't please everybody. And having said that I will say that I had a very, very active and significant hand in [the finale] 'Endgame.' I liked it. I helped compose it. I helped decide what the ending should be. And I think that there was no more graceful or passionate way to say goodbye than to have the admiral die and the captain go on," said Mulgrew.
Warehouse 13 airs on Mondays at 9 p.m. on Syfy.
Are you ready for a little Captain Janeway action on Warehouse 13?