Robert Duncan McNeill is best-known to Star Trek followers for the character he performed in Star Trek: Voyager, Lieutenant Tom Paris. Nevertheless, true Trek followers know that Paris wasn’t McNeill’s first function within the Trek universe.
A number of years earlier than Voyager began, McNeill appeared in a single episode of Star Trek: The Subsequent Technology (TNG). Although his character on TNG had a unique identify and a barely completely different backstory from Paris, some consider they’re really the identical character. Right here’s why it form of is sensible.
Nick Locarno’s Story
Within the fifth season episode, “The First Responsibility,” McNeill portrayed Nick Locarno, a classmate of Wesley Crusher’s at Starfleet Academy. Throughout their commencement week, Locarno led Crusher and another cadets on a apply flight round Saturn, which turned tragic when one among their classmates died.
Because the investigation into the incident progressed, it turned clear that the cadets weren’t telling the reality about what occurred. After a really stern lecture from Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Crusher determined to inform the reality. Their good friend had died as a result of they have been performing a banned maneuver, not due to his personal error as they’d insisted.
Because the chief of the squad, Locarno was held chargeable for the incident. Earlier than he was expelled, he admitted that he’d compelled his squadmates to lie, and begged that they not be expelled. Although his profession in Starfleet was over, he needed to verify theirs weren’t.
Tom Paris’s Backstory
Paris was the son of Owen Paris, a Starfleet Admiral. His father put numerous stress on him, and their relationship was very strained. Although he adopted his father into Starfleet, Paris’s profession ended early and in shame, as revealed within the first episode of Voyager, “Caretaker.”
Throughout one among his early missions, Paris’s error on the helm led to the loss of life of three fellow Starfleet officers. He lined up his duty for the incident to keep away from the implications. Ultimately, he got here clear and was kicked out of Starfleet.
Quickly after, Paris joined the Maquis. He was captured throughout a mission and despatched to a penal colony in New Zealand. Captain Kathryn Janeway visited him on the rehabilitation facility and provided him a path again to Starfleet if he was prepared to work towards the Maquis. He accepted and ended up on Voyager.
How Locarno and Paris Might be the Similar Particular person
After all, eager Trek followers observed that Paris’s backstory and Locarno’s have been practically equivalent. Since they have been performed by the identical actor, many followers questioned why the producers didn’t simply convey Locarno again for Voyager.
In Star Trek lore, it’s by no means made explicitly clear that they’re not the identical individual. So, one fan got here up with a idea that defined how Locarno could possibly be Paris. This fan proposed that Paris was all the time overwhelmed with residing in his father’s shadow and residing as much as his expectations. So, to keep away from all the bags that got here with being a Paris, he enrolled in Starfleet beneath a pseudonym and begged his father to play alongside.
When Paris, identified to all his mates and classmates as Locarno, was expelled from Starfleet, he disappeared for a bit whereas the scenario settled. After all, with an admiral for a father, numerous strings could possibly be pulled. So, Paris ultimately re-enrolled within the Academy beneath his personal identify. He then graduated and went on to the Starfleet profession described in Voyager.
Nevertheless, within the new e book Star Trek Voyager: A Celebration, Voyager’s producers revealed that the choice to make Paris and Locarno separate characters was very deliberate. Within the preliminary character notes for Paris, they referred to the character as Locarno. They thought Locarno had the form of edgy really feel they have been searching for in Voyager they usually needed to convey that to the present. Nevertheless, among the producers thought that Locarno was too tainted within the minds of Star Trek followers. So, they took parts of Locarno and put them into Paris’ character.
In addition they constructed Paris on a barely completely different premise. At his core, Locarno wasn’t a very good man. He was charismatic and simply gained folks over, however he was manipulative and dishonest. Paris was the other, a very good man attempting to be dangerous. So, all of his bravado and dangerous conduct was a entrance. The showrunners felt that this elementary distinction made Paris redeemable, which made him work as a central character for Voyager. Paris’s story was all the time a salvation arc, which materialized in a really satisfying approach because the character grew over the seven-season run of the present.
Once they put out the casting name for Paris, McNeill confirmed up for the audition as a result of he’d heard they have been searching for somebody like him for the character. The truth is, the audition name had learn: “a Robert Duncan McNeill kind.” So, he gave it a shot. The producers cherished him for Paris as a lot as they’d cherished him as Locarno, so he gained the function.
So, although the fan idea that Locarno and Paris are the identical individual is sensible, it doesn’t monitor with Trek canon.
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