The Young Stars of Star Trek: Prodigy Talk Leadership, Learning, and Life Lessons

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Star Trek: Prodigy, Paramount+'s newest addition to the Trek family of shows, is not only created with a younger audience in mind but is also crewed by a cast of young people as well.

Fresh from a fun and exciting panel at New York Comic-Con, Rylee Alazraqui and Brett Gray met virtually with a roundtable of press members to discuss their characters in this whole new take on Trek.

Through the miracle of technology, co-star, Ella Purnell, was also able to join from her current filming location.

Star Trek: Prodigy Key Art

Despite their youth, this is a trio of experienced performers.

The youngest of the trio, Rylee Alazraqui, comes by voice-acting honestly as the daughter of the voice of Rocko himself, Carlos Alazraqui, and has multiple credits already under her belt.

Ella Purnell is well known for her live-action acting on TV series like Sweetbitter and Belgravia and the upcoming Yellowjackets.

Brett Gray's star broke through with his role on Netflix's On My Block.

Jamal in Charge - Tall  - On My Block Season 3 Episode 1

As Dal, the central protagonist of Star Trek: Prodigy, Gray portrays a young person with aspirations of leadership but no real sense of how to lead.

"I think that Dal just thinks the captain is the one that gets to sit in the chair and press the buttons and get the coolest room.

"I don't think he knows the responsibility of that, the poise that that comes with, and how to lead unselfishly.

"Dal is like the kid who doesn't share his toys at school and wants to sleep in the biggest bed at the sleepover. He's that kid. So he has to learn sharing is caring."

Lounging Captain Dal - Star Trek: Prodigy

In contrast, Purnell voices the extremely well-trained and educated Gwyn, the child of the villainous Diviner, destined to inherit his domains.

Taken unwillingly on this adventure with Dal and the motley crew of the Protostar starship, Gwyn is bound to be changed by her new, unexpected experiences. Purnell is thoughtful about how she will evolve.

"Gwyn does have a lot to overcome. I think the biggest thing is she has these two sides of herself that are constantly in conflict.

"It's who she was raised to be and what she has watched her entire life, groomed to be this terrifying leader who follows in The Diviner's footsteps.

"And then there's a side of her which is a kid and should be allowed to be such and is still learning and figuring out the world and who she is and all of that stuff.

Gwyn - Star Trek: Prodigy

"I think that ultimately she has to learn how to marry the two and how to step into herself and learn how to be vulnerable and be okay with that and have fun and be young and act her age.

"She's found the perfect -- well, she didn't want to be on this team, perhaps -- but she has found the perfect gang to help her do that."

Being the daughter of the well-established and instantly recognizable Carlos Alazraqui, Rylee had the insider's track on voice-acting advice. How did her father help her with the dive into voice-acting?

"Whenever I get a voice audition, my dad will always get me into the spirit, and he'll get me pumped up so that I can feel the character.

"He always tells me to be the character, feel yourself as the actual character, and I think it helps me [that] my dad would do voices for me."

Rylee Alazraqui @ NYCC - Star Trek: Prodigy

She then gives a specific example of her father's modeling of voicing characters, revealing to her co-stars a hereto unknown personal ambivalence.

"I'm personally not a Harry Potter person [Brett gasps, Ella looks stunned] No offense, no offense, but ... we started reading it, and it was confusing for me, but he'd act out the voices.

"He'd act out Hagrid, and that helped me a lot to realize what I needed to do to become a voice actor, to feel the character.

"It's pretty cool having a dad like that. I mean, the kids at school will be like, 'Oh my Gawd, your dad is Rocko?' And then this one kid, he'll always be like, 'Rocko Dad!' and it's kind of funny to hear that, but I really love my dad, and I'm really grateful for him."

Gwyn, Dal, Murf, and Rok-Tahk - Star Trek: Prodigy

Unlike all Star Trek series and films (and books) that have come before, the Federation starship, Protostar, is crewed on Star Trek: Prodigy by aliens who know nothing about Starfleet, the Federation, or, really how to fly a starship.

How will Gwyn, Dal, Rok-Tahk, and the rest of their crew figure out their roles and responsibilities?

Purnell answers first, tying it to her belief that experiential learning is one of the best ways for young people to figure life out.

"I love this question because this is the way it should be. Maybe not on a spaceship. Kids should be allowed to explore what they're drawn to and explore what they're attracted to and what they're good at.

"[They should] find their skills and their talents that way and cultivate that in a safe, nurturing experimental environment. Not that living on a spaceship is safe in any way. It's probably actually quite traumatizing, but we won't get into that.

Into the Unknown - Star Trek: Prodigy

"I think that in finding the roles that they're good at, and in finding the things that they like and are drawn to, they find parts of themselves, and they figure that out for themselves.

"It is their own education system that isn't structured in the way ours is, and I think that it works better.

Alazraqui adds to that with her own perspective.

"I think they were put in a position, and they're learning from it, and they like it. I know that Dal was already captain because he was the one who found the ship even though I found it too."

Brett Gray @ NYCC - Star Trek: Prodigy

Gray interjects, "He is also quite charismatic and convincing."

Alazraqui continues (with a fun eyeroll), "Yes, and then I think that Rok-Tahk is security because she is a huge rock monster, and of course, she's going to be security. What else would she be?

"But I think that the characters learn to like what they are, and they're going to learn more from what they are and what position they are."

Gray concludes with some deep thoughts about Dal.

"Y'know, Dal's challenge is interesting because Dal doesn't feel he has any talents. He doesn't have brute size. He doesn't have combat training or anything like that. All he really has is his voice and his ideas.

Dal - Star Trek: Prodigy

"His journey is mostly internal about what it is to become a leader. He doesn't really know who he is or what his species is. He's never had to put trust in others before, and he's never had to ask for help or think things through.

"It's really a maturation process for Dal, and he learns the most about other people by learning from people like Gwynn in those awesome tender moments we get to have about his view into what her world was like and watching Rok develop into this incredible young boulder creature she becomes.

"Dal really gets to learn what it is to just be. And to be confident in being."

How did the cast members find their characters with voice-acting being such a different discipline from live-action performance?

Alazraqui looked to her lines to find her connection to Rok-Tahk. "Rok is an animal lover so as soon as I saw some lines like, with Murf, 'Oh, he's so cute!' I knew exactly who she was.

Captain Rylee - Star Trek: Prodigy

"She's this huge rock monster who, as soon as she starts fighting someone, she'll go, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry' And soon as I see pet-lover lines, I know exactly who she is, and I'm like, 'Oh yeah, that's Rok.' I know who to play."

Gray, on the other hand, had a real-life persona to base Dal on. "I think my character description in the email for the audition was, 'Ryan Reynolds.'

"And so I thought about that, just sort of this whimsical person who is just way too confident for what they actually are doing."

Purnell's approach was two-pronged with Gwyn's internal conflict. "Again, Gwynn has these two sides. She has the side where she's a little gentler and more vulnerable, and she asks Dal, 'Tell me what it's like outside. Tell me what it's like out there in the real world.'

"And then [there's] the rougher, the tougher, side, where she's bossing people about and being a bad-ass."

Prodigy sky - Star Trek: Prodigy

Star Trek: Prodigy premieres October 28 with an hour-long episode streaming on Paramount+. Be prepared to be blown away by the cinematic artistry as well as the fabulously talented voice cast.

Check back here for our review, where we'll be looking for your initial responses to this visually stunning, family-friendly, yet thrillingly adventurous series.

Diana Keng is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Star Trek: Prodigy Quotes

Drednok: Prisoner Dal Ar-El. What species are you?
Dal: Wow. Getting personal, borderline inappropriate.

Sorry, didn't quite catch that. You'll have to... chirp... a little slower.

Dal