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The search for Captain Janeway and crew gains a special recruit in Star Trek: Voyager’s sixth season episode, Pathfinder. Marina Sirtis previews the return of Deanna Troi. By David Bassom

Selected from Starburst #256

Marina Sirtis is bringing Star Trek: Voyager back to the Alpha Quadrant. In the upcoming sixth season episode, Pathfinder, Voyager’s focus returns to Earth, where Sirtis’ famous Next Generation alter ego, Counsellor Deanna Troi, rushes to the aid of her former crewmate, Lieutenant Reginald Barclay (Dwight Schultz). It’s a mission of mercy which is not only destined to have serious repercussions for the Starship Voyager’s future, but one which promises to make Pathfinder an unforgettable hour of Star Trek.

Can Pathfinder help Barclay and Troi lead Voyager home?Pathfinder is about Barclay’s obsession with contacting Voyager,” Sirtis tells Starburst. “He has this theory of how he can contact the ship, but no one really believes it. And because of the way that he is, he kind of goes a little wacky. So he calls Counsellor Troi on the Enterprise and she comes down to Earth to help."

It's Sirtis’s first appearance as Deanna Troi outside of the Next Generation universe. Having completed the Starship Enterprise’s small-screen adventures in March 1994, the British-born actress vowed to restrict her portrayal of Troi to the Star Trek film franchise. But in the wake of Insurrection’s release last December, Sirtis experienced a change of heart that ultimately led to Troi’s Voyager début.

“After I finished on Next Gen, I was reluctant to continue with Troi,” she explains. “I wanted to put some distance between myself and Star Trek because, to be honest, I felt that I risked being typecast. But I’ve seen since then that it really isn’t the case. It doesn’t typecast you. The fans of Star Trek are the fans of Star Trek, and that’s it. It doesn’t really bleed into the rest of the entertainment business.

“So when [Voyager’s producers] called and asked if I would be interested in doing an episode, I said yes. They then gave me a story outline and I felt very excited about it, especially whey they said that Dwight was going to be in it.”

“It was wonderful to be the kind and nurturing Troi again, rather than the wacky, zany Troi we’ve seen in the last two movies,” reveals Sirtis. “Some of the scenes on Voyager are a throwback to [The Next Generation] stuff, with that touchy-feely kind of Troi.

“There’s one scene in particular which is very emotional and has Troi at her most ‘Troi-est’. When we were rehearsing it, I actually realized how much I missed playing those scenes where Troi was the emotional touchstone of the crew; the person they went to in times of trouble. Those scenes were always very rewarding to play, as a person let alone as an actress. And the one we did on Voyager was really moving.”

Nun better: Marina Sirtis in Earth: Final Conflict Star Trek images © Paramount. Earth: Final Conflict © Alliance. Feature © Visual Imagination 1999. Not for reproduction
For more from this interview – as Marina talks more about Voyager, and appearing as a nun in Earth: Final Conflict – get Starburst 256
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