Star Trek"s Robert Duncan McNeill Reveals Original Villain Plan For His TNG Character

  • Robert Duncan McNeill reveals original plan for Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4 villain, Nicholas Locarno. Plan changed due to the difficulty of sustaining the storyline over multiple episodes.
  • McNeill returned to voice Locarno, who was introduced in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Locarno's plan to take revenge on the Federation was foiled by Lieutenant Mariner and USS Cerritos.
  • Showrunner Mike McMahan contacted McNeill about the idea for the storyline a year ago. Originally, the plan included a mysterious anti-Starfleet concept with a mystery voice that would turn out to be Locarno, but the number of episodes for the storyline was reduced.
Robert Duncan McNeill reveals the original plan for Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4's villain, Nicholas Locarno. McNeill returned to voice Locarno, who was introduced in the Star Trek: The Next Generation season 5 episode, "The First Duty." The disgraced ex-Starfleet Cadet was revealed to be the culprit attacking non-Federation ships throughout Lower Decks season 4, but Locarno's plan to take revenge on the United Federation of Planets was foiled by Lieutenant Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome) and the USS Cerritos.
Appearing on The Shuttlepod Show, Robert Duncan McNeill told hosts Connor Trinneer, Erica LaRose, and Mark Cartier how Star Trek: Lower Decks showrunner Mike McMahan got McNeill to return in season 4, and how there was originally a different idea for Nick Locarno's villainous turn and why the plan changed. Check out his quote and the video of The Shuttlepod Show below.
Nick Locarno. He’s a planet now, by the way. I can talk about it now. I had to keep my lips shut for a year, but I can talk about it… It was a blast. It was a blast. Mike [McMahan], the creator and showrunner of Lower Decks, he called me a year ago. Maybe even more, I can’t remember… Actually, he didn’t even call me. He messaged me and he said, “I don’t know if you’re interested. I’ve got this idea.” He didn’t even tell me what it was. “I’ve got this idea for Lower Decks.” And I’d already done [it]... I did Lower Decks the first season or second season as Tom Paris. Season 2, did a Tom Paris plate thing, which was hilarious. Loved that bit.
So he called me and was like, “I’ve got this idea but I don’t wanna do it unless you really agree to do this. I don’t wanna do it unless you’re interested. Call me.” So I called him and he sort of pitched out this thing. We’re gonna have some sort of dark side… He pitched out this whole idea of some kind of anti-Starfleet, mysterious thing, and then it would be revealed that it’s Nick Locarno… In his pitch, I think it would have been more episodes, and they were gonna tease in my voice as a sort of mystery voice, and so that the audience might initially think, “Oh, Tom Paris has gone bad.” And then when you finally see him, it’s Nick Locarno and not Tom Paris. But I think that they shrunk the number of episodes. ‘Cause I think that’s a hard one to sustain, to make it last six or eight or whatever the original idea was, to really string it out for a long time.


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