- Q&A session at StarTrek.com -


Robert Beltran
Answers Your Questions

Question: Hello, I am a big fan, would you like to have a real tattoo like Chakotay?

Robert Beltran: Not on my forehead.

Q: Do you feel that your role on Voyager will stereotype the rest of your career? How do you feel it broadens your range?

RB: I don't think it will hurt my career, nobody watches the show. Just kidding. Seriously, I think I have enough of a range to transcend the expectations that some people have about for former Star Trek actors.

Q: Do you think the show is going in the right direction?

RB: When I find out what that direction is, I will tell you. Let me expand on that... I don't see the obvious advantage of going back to the Alpha Quadrant. We're still going to be dealing with aliens, just with different noses.

Q: Since the episode of the demon planet, which voyager crew have we been watching? Original Voyager crew or the duplicate crew?

RB: The way I understand it, is that we've all been watching duplicates, yes. But then, I don't read the scripts very often so... Just kidding. :)

Q: Is it just a rumor, or will you really be BOXING in an upcoming Voyager episode? And...do you still blow the most lines of any actor on the show?
Red Dwarf

RB: I will be boxing in an upcoming episode... Yes, I am still the one who blows the most lines.

Q: Do you find yourself ever comparing your character to Commander Riker?

RB: No, I do not. Simply because the circumstances are totally different.

Do you think that Chakotay is envious of Torres and Paris in any way?

Yes, I hate her. :)

Where are you from?

I'm from Bakersfield, California.

Do you have any movies in the works?

RB: There are always movies in the works, however, it takes longer than you sometimes expect and we have such a small window of opportunity during our hiatus, that it has to be a very good offer before I will choose it over an actual vacation.

On VOYAGER, which cast member do you get along with and which cast member do you butt heads with most of the time?

I get along with all of the members equally well. We all hate Garrett equally. ;)

In 5 single words, how would you describe Chakotay AND yourself ( I mean 5 for each!!)?

RB: Chakotay...

For me...
But loveable...

Actually, Chakotay and I have very little in common - in the unimportant areas. In the important areas such as loyalty, friendship, duty, etc... we are very similar. But he's the only gay one.

Hi Robert, will there be any further romance between Chakotay and Janeway?

It's surprising to me that Captain Janeway touches me more now that we obviously do not have a romantic relationship, but I don't believe anything romantic will ever happen.

This year.

Is it true that in the episode "waking moments" there was to be a steamy love scene with Janeway and Chakotay but Kate Mulgrew objected?

Wherever you got your information, it's wrong. That never happened. Don't believe every damn thing you read!

Q: Dear Sir! Do you answer requests for signed pics? If not how can I get a signed pic of you as you're the only crew member I haven't got a reply from, and since I live in Norway it's hard to get to any conventions. Keep up the great work! rob!

I'll meet you in Norway at the Hard Rock Cafe on Summer Solstice... But seriously... I sign autograph pictures only at conventions. Sorry. I hope you still like me. :)

How do you feel about the fans' clamor to see Janeway and Chakotay romantically involved?
Queen Arachnia

I think the fans made that obvious to the writers and to the producers and they ran with it for awhile, but then they decided that it probably would not be a good idea for us to have a romantic relationship. So relax... enjoy the Virginia Madsens and the Kate Vernons that come along and I certainly will. And we should all be happy.

Is the design for Chakotay's tattoo on his forehead your idea or make-ups?

It was a special request from Charles Manson. :) A little known Star Trek fact.

Hi Mr. Beltran, Do you have any interest in directing a Voyager episode?

Not particularly. Only because it requires a lot of time which I don't seem to have at the moment.

Will there be any more "hostile encounters" between Chakotay and Paris in the future? Or are they past disliking one another?
The Rose

I think that there is room for that, but there's also room for possibly a strong friendship. I don't know what the writers have in mind with that.

Rumors have been circulating about Kate Mulgrew wanting to leave the show in a year or so. Do you know anything about this? If she did leave, do you think that #1 the crew would be home by that time, and #2 would Chakotay take over as Captain?

I understand they're already talking to Ian McKellen to replace Kate Mulgrew in season 6. And I will be replaced by Sacheen Littlefeather. Or, the entire cast will be duplicates.

Hi there Robert! Can you possibly have the heart to tell us Trekkers when (if ever) the crew of Voyager will get home?
Agent Spooky

Dear Fellow Trekkers... Why go home? We're having so much fun here in the Delta Quadrant. Who wants to go back to stuffy old Earth where nothing great happens? Give me Kazon women!

Are you, and were you a Star Trek fan before you were cast as Chakotay? If so, which Trek is your favorite (besides Voyager)?

People get me wrong when I say that I never watched Star Trek. Actually, I never watched much science fiction in general. It just never appealled to me. Since becoming involved in the Star Trek World, I have a great respect for the writers in all the incarnations of Star Trek. But it's still hard for me to sit down and watch a science fiction show. You have to remember, I fell asleep during Star Wars..

What kind of television/movies are you into?
The Rose

Television is usually just for news, sports (and Voyager, of course.) Movies... usually I can't take sitting through the typical big studio productions... I much prefer the foreign films or the independent films.

Hey Robert! What is your all-time favorite movie?
Lt. Jessi

If I had to chose one film, very difficult, but I would have to say, off hand... The Godfather. I think the acting is terrific, the script is terrific, the direction... it's just a beautiful film.

Is it true that you owe your success to Maril Davis, Dave Rossi and Jose Munoz?
RB Productions

I owe them my life. Without them, I'd still be in therapy. Thank you.

Any truth to the rumor on the internet that you are planning to leave the show?

I'd like to know how people know this about me when I don't even know it. I have no plans to leave the show, but then of course, they can fire me any damn time they want to.

What exactly are you saying? Is Chakotay gay? I didn't think Star Trek had a gay character.

Yes, Chakotay is gay.

He's one of the happiest guys on the ship.

Do you like the X-Files? Have you ever seen it? What do you think?

RB: I've never seen it. I tried to watch the chupacabra one, but it was too ridiculous. Everyone knows Ethan Phillips was responsible for all those dead goats.

(Ethan was unavailable for comment)

Are you happy with Chakotay's development as a character? What would you personally like to see?
Captain Maley

In general, yes I'm very happy with Chakotay's development. Unfortunately, in a tv show, things develop slowly. So I have to constantly remind myself to be patient. All of us do. But the writers have come up with some fun and challenging episodes for me. As far as what I would like to see... I honestly prefer the writers to come up with storylines. That's what they're paid to do. I'm paid to just learn the lines. And say them when I can. So far, things have been working well that way.

Q: Hi Robert, I was just wondering if you think we'll ever see Kes again; maybe in a future episode?

RB: I certainly hope so. I'd like to have a deeper relationship with her. :) Actually, I miss Jennifer a lot. We all do.

Q: Hi. I have admired your work on Voyager since the begining of the series. What do you think of the spiritual side of Chakotay? Do you think that it will be developed further in the next few years?

RB: Well, let's see... He can talk to his dead father, Live in his dreams, What the hell more do you want?

Q: Are we going to see Chakotay's own Holodeck program?

RB: Yes. But I can't tell you what it is yet.

Q: Robert, What is your favorite thing about Star Trek?

RB: Honestly... it's all been very enjoyable. The fans have been great. Only people who aren't familiar with Star Trek fans put them down. We know better. And the stories and the working relationships with my fellow actors... the way the producers take care of us, makes it all a very, very enjoyable experience.

Q: I've seen you in a movie called night of the comet are you going to do any more movies?

RB: Yes, I hope to do more movies. The common misconception that fans have is that we can just choose any project that we want. The truth is, we have to work our asses off for them. And many times we don't the project that we really want. That's why you saw me in Night of the Comet. :)

Q: how do you feel, that as an ethnic individual, other people of that same race will see your character? do you wish to be an example for other minorities as well?
Shai rai

RB: Funny, I don't think of myself as an ethnic person... and unless you know an actor personally, there's really no reason for them to be a role model. If you're talking about me. If you're talking about Chakotay... I would hope that the person within is more important than his ethnicity. If people want to look to that as a role model, that's up to them.

Q: The character Chakotay is very professional and controlled, while, from previous chat transcripts, Mr. Beltran appears to be freewheeling and seat-of-the-pants (good things, in my opinion). Do you enjoy playing opposite your own inclinations? I would.

RB: Yes. Thank you for being able to distinguish the actor from his character. Some people still don't get it. And yes, I do enjoy playing characters that are removed from my own personality. It's more of a challenge.

Q: As everyone always asks Kate about her hair, I thought I'd ask about yours. Have you dyed it? And if you have was it your idea?

RB: I got caught in the plasma manifold and so, consequently, I'm the only human ever that has gone from slightly grey to dark hair. There's an upcoming episode that will explain everything. Actually, I can't remember how my hair became this color. And it's all right with me, except that sometimes it just looks like they stuck an anvil on my head.

Q: Dear Sir, My name is adeel and heres my question. How does it feel like when you watch your self on the series and say to your self how real does all this look. I mean when i watch the series you see a ship that made of special effects.

RB: The sets themselves that we walk around in are very real. But usually, when the Captain says, "On Screen" we're looking at our script person. Or absolutely nothing. Or possibly a piece of tape. Or... One of Ethan's freckles. But you guys see the whole thing. We don't until Sunday's rerun. 'Cause we're usually working on Wednesday.

Q: Where were you born?

RB: I was born in Bakersfield California.

Q: Who is your fav cast member?

RB: First of all, even if I had a favorite, I wouldn't offend all the others by naming him or her. Surely you can understand that. I have to work with these people...

Q: what, if any, tribe are your markings based on?

RB: Actually it's based on a Maori tribal design.

Q: Do you have any plans to visit Australia at any time?

RB: Yes, I would love to come to Australia, it just hasn't worked out in my schedule yet. But I will be there the first real opportunity I get.

Q: What was your first thought on finding out you would be in a Star Trek show? What did your family think?

RB: Yes, I would love to come to Australia, it just hasn't worked out in my schedule yet. But I will be there the first real opportunity I get.

Q: Do you have any plans to visit Australia at any time?

RB: My first reaction was, "Oh no, it's the one thing I never thought of, so I'll probably get it." My family was always very happy to see me working, period.

Q: Hello!! How do they get your tattoo to look the same every week? Not even Dax is as precise!

RB: Actually, I'm amazed that people don't see all the variations and little mistakes that happen with the tattoo. It's just a very welll designed tattoo that follows the wrinkles and contours of my face that makes the little mistakes visually imperceptible.

Q: Would you do another Star Trek series if they ask you to? I've heard a rumor that after DS/9 finishes its last season they might be coming out with another series. Do you know anything about that?

RB: I would be open to another one. If it was the right role. And no prosthetics. But I don't know anything about another Star Trek series.

Q: what is chakotay's first name in the voyager series?

RB: Fred.

Q: How did you get the role of Chakotay?

RB: Basically, the process goes like this: Agent calls. Asks if there's interest. Sends over the script. It's read. The decision to go forward is then made. You meet the producers. Read for them. And they make up their minds. That was the process I went through.

Q: Think back, a few years ago. When you found out you would be serving under a female captain, what was your reaction? I'm not calling you a sexist pig, I'm just curious.

RB: I was looking forward to working with the female captain, who was at the time, Genevieve Bujold. That's why I made the decision to audition for the role. Besides the fact that I thought it was a good role. So you mustn't assume men are sexist pigs, but thank you for your curiousity.

Q: Hi, Robert, I really admire your work. Have you ever performed on Broadway, and would you consider doing so in the future?

I have not performed on Broadway. I would consider, of course, doing something on Broadway. But you can bet your life it won't be Titanic, Part 2 or any other such ridiculous stuff that's on Broadway these days. Lion King, indeed! :)

Q: Do you have a pet?

RB: I had my cat Smoky that I really, really liked, and was just getting to know, when he was eaten by a coyote. Or else he didn't like me and ran away.

Q: who has the most irritating habits on set?

RB: Tim. By far. Ask any of us. But don't ask us why.

Q: How do you feel about your character's involvement with spirit guides and spiritual scenes?

RB: I think within the context of a science fiction show, it can be fascinating. But to carry that into real life, you have to be comfortable with that kind of spirituality... it's totally up to the individual. But I can see how that can be attractive to some people.

Robert, thank you very much for joining us here tonight

RB: I want to thank everybody for logging in. I hope my sense of humor doesn't offend anybody... I do take my job seriously, but not too seriously. I hope everyone understands that. And I can honestly say I had a good time, and appreciate the questions and the interest. I hope to see you all someday at a convention on on the street somewhere, or another chat.

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