Best known as Tom Paris in Star Trek: Voyager, Robert Duncan McNeill has managed to parlay his acting career into an impressive portfolio of directing roles. In a recent interview with StarTrek.com, McNeill admitted that though he has actively pursued a chance to direct an episode of the newest Star Trek series Star Trek: Discovery, he feels that the chance will be unlikely, for a worthy reason:
“I wanted to direct Discovery. I met with their producing director. I didn’t know the show that well, but I met with him on their last hiatus to talk about season two. I also produce now. So, I hire a lot of directors. The last few years, there’s been a seismic shift in terms of the priorities toward female and diverse directors. That reality now has meant that what used to be normal, which was a lot of white guys, to be quite honest, has changed. Some shows are mostly women directing. I think Jessica Jones, last year, had all female directors. Handmaid’s Tale. A woman may direct the next Star Trek movie. Most importantly, it’s a wonderful thing that’s happening. I’m proud that on other shows I’ve produced — The Gifted, The Arrangement, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce — I’ve brought in female directors. But, to answer your question, Discovery does a limited number of episodes and a priority there is to get female and diverse directors, so there are fewer opportunities for people like me, which is a great thing. But, yeah, if the opportunity arose to direct Discovery and I fit what they needed and it fit my schedule, I’d love to do it.”
Though it would be a great asset to have another experienced Star Trek director helming an episode in season two of Star Trek: Discovery, we need to applaud the push by the producers and the network to embrace more diversity and inclusiveness both in front of and behind the camera.
TrekMovie.com recently ran an article detailing this interview, and expanded on the diverse cast of directors that Star Trek: Discovery has drawn in to work on the series. It also details a few suggestions for more diverse directors, including McNeill’s former castmate, Roxann Dawson.
It is heartening to know that Star Trek is still aspiring to attain the ideals that has graced our screens for over fifty years!