Interview with Bonnie Gordon – Star Trek: Prodigy‘s Computer Voice
For Star Trek: Prodigy, what was your casting process like?
When I first saw they were auditioning for an animated Star Trek project, I pulled every string I could to land an audition. As a voice-over actor and a huge Trekkie, I knew I had to at least try!
I initially auditioned for the role of Gwyn and made it through callbacks. While the executives and creative team were deciding on final casting for her, I was asked to come in and start recording scratch for Gwyn, so the animators would have something to work with… I was so excited! She is a fantastic character and I’m so honored that I got to be a small part of bringing her to life.
As I was being used for Gwyn scratch vocals, the Covid lockdown happened and everyone was recording remotely. Until they could get Kate Mulgrew into a studio, they needed someone to lay down scratch vocals for her as well. Captain Janeway is my favorite captain, and I am such an admirer and fan of Kate Mulgrew. I immediately jumped at the chance to do scratch for her as well.
The Hageman Brothers (Kevin and Dan), Brook Chalmers, Ben Hibon, and the entire sound engineering team are all so amazing to work with… As a Trekkie, I was thrilled that I was working alongside such giants in the new Trek universe!
As I worked on scratch, I was crossing my Vulcan salute fingers that the creative team was trying to find a permanent role for me on the series. When the audition came for the Ship’s Computer, I felt I had finally found my place on the ship… literally. 😉
Did you take inspiration from the many years of shipboard computer voices which have been such a legacy of Star Trek (Majel Barrett’s many years playing computer voices comes to mind, for example)?
When asked to audition for the Ship’s Computer, I was going to attempt a Majel impression at first. However, the creative team asked me for an original voice.
Majel Barrett Roddenberry is a legend in the Trek fandom, and I hope to one day leave a legacy as bright as hers!
What were the difficulties associated with adopting your character? Was it, for example, difficult to pitch your vocal acting so as to appeal to both kids and adults?
I’ve been lucky to have done AI computer type voices before, for some short films and such… so it wasn’t too difficult to make the jump. As an actor, it’s hard to not want to fully ‘act’ when reading the lines – I have to make sure I stay somewhat emotionless and automated to keep consistency throughout the series. With that being said, although I am the voice of a Computer, I try and add a little warmth to my voice when reading the lines.
The USS Protostar is a new ship, with a crew of misfit kids/teenagers. Adding a small hint of warmth and depth to the voice, I feel gives it a bit of life and makes the ship feel more like a home for them. These characters become their own kind of family as they embark as the new crew of the Protostar, and I want the ship to be their safe space.
Do you have a favourite episode you’ve done of the show’s first season?
I definitely have a favorite episode… but my lips are sealed! In the beginning of the process when I got to do scratch for Gwyn and Janeway, I was so lucky to be given the full scripts of the episodes to study. I can’t give you any details… but what I will say is that is it evident that the writers and creators have such a love and respect for Star Trek.
I know this show is targeting for kids, but honestly this is a show the whole family can watch. You don’t have to know anything about Star Trek to understand and enjoy it… but at the same time, those who are fans of Trek are going to be so happy with this series!
Kudos to the writers! It is incredible storytelling and some of the best worldbuilding I’ve read! *seals lips back up, so no secrets slip out*
What have been your favourite experiences of voice acting in Star Trek: Prodigy and being part of the show?
Obviously, I’ve loved every minute of recording and working with the creators and creative team. They all have such a positive energy and always made me feel at ease when recording on the series.
Being a part of Trek canon now is a literal dream come true. I have worked as an actor for Star Trek: The Experience in Las Vegas and on a few TTRPG Trek shows on Twitch. I never thought I could actually become an actual part of the Trek universe, let alone be a part of a show that is so revolutionary and important to ‘engage’ that ‘next generation’ of Trekkies. (See what I did there?)
Also, seeing the response on social media and the warm welcome the rest of the Star Trek fandom has given me is the absolute best. I know I keep saying how lucky and honored I feel… but I don’t think that feeling will ever go away – if anything it keeps getting amplified!
Star Trek: Prodigy will premiere with the double-length episode “Lost & Found” on October 28 on Paramount+ in the United States, on CTV Sci Fi Channel in Canada, and on October 29 on Paramount+ in Latin America, the Nordics and Australia.