Star Trek: Picard Season 3 has concluded. However, the third and final season saw the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew return one last time. Alongside Sir Patrick Stewart was Gates McFadden returning as Doctor Beverly Crusher. Trek Central’s Nicole Fendley sits down with Star Trek: Picard’s Gates McFadden to talk about her podcast adventure. Titled “Investigates” and presented by The Nacelle Company, Gates sits down with close friends and former co-stars.
Over the two series, Gates has spoken with the likes of Jonathan Frakes, Terry Matalas and many more Star Trek cast and creatives. McFadden’s podcast is available through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon and many other platforms. During our conversation Gates McFadden reflects on her podcasting journey while sharing insight on her Star Trek: Picard Season 3 return.
Why Make the Podcast
TREKCENTRAL: The first thing we should ask is the reason behind making the podcast?
GATES MCFADDEN: You know, it wasn’t something that came up in my mind, I was asked by Brian Volk-Weiss of the Nacelle Company, who I had I had done the History Channel Project; The Centre Seat, which was all about beginning of Star Trek up through enterprise. I just had a great time working with them.
Then he said to me, “I want you to do a podcast for me” and I was like, No. He asked me several times, and I said no several times. Then I just finally went, “Okay, someone’s asking you to do something, why not try something you haven’t done before, maybe it will open up a whole new world for you”. And it did. I learned how to sound it, but didn’t want to just have someone else edit my podcast. I thought, oh, no, I want to do it all. And then I started to realise how difficult it was to do a good podcast.
TREKCENTRAL: Yeah, there’s a lot more technical things going into it, other than just hitting record.
GATES MCFADDEN: Very much so and I. So I have great admiration for those who do it well, and do it all the time. I feel I’m a novice and I I’m making mistakes. And sometimes things are really, really fun and work well. And other things. They, some episodes are better than others. And I don’t blame the other person. I blame myself for not asking the best questions or going in a certain way. But it’s a it’s a learning process.
TREKECENTRAL: I did listen to your your episode with Bill Shatner, and I know you guys were talking about failure. So I think that that also applies. You have to go through some some failure for success.
GATES MCFADDEN: Yeah, I think that’s true. Things happen. And so you just have to deal with the fallout. But again, life is a learning process.
Season One of the Podcast
TREKCENTRAL: So in Season One of the podcast you, you have a lot of familiar TNG actors featured? Did you find yourself discovering new things about these cast members after so many years of friendship?
GATES MCFADDEN: Oh, absolutely. Because we were talking about things in a different way. You know, when we go out and we’re having fun and or we’re at a gathering. We’ll talk more about current events and things like that, or particular issues that are going on in our lives might be too personal for a podcast.
But when I was doing this, I thought, well, let me explore who these people are. And I learned so much just by research. With some people, I would listen to other interviews, they had done other podcasts, and I learned a tremendous amount about them. So I was very curious, because it’s interesting, to know about their family histories and where they came from, like when John de Lancie tells me that after all these years everyone thinking they were doing it all see that it really was the Clancy and was hilarious to me.
Season Two of the Podcast
TREK CENTRAL: Now you’ve started off Season Two with a really big start interviewing Bill Shatner. Can you can you give us any other names to look forward to for the rest of the season?
GATES MCFADDEN: I’ve got tremendous people. I had Tawny [Newsome] who was just a joy. Kate Mulgrew, Jack Quaid, John Billingsley, Roslyn Chao, Alexander Siddig, Anson Mount and Ed Speleers. So there’s some people that are from a lot of different shows, which is what I wanted to do, because I don’t know those people as well. It’s fun and interesting to note that I’ve met [some] at conventions and parties, and I might have worked with them on something in my life, but it’s spending more time with them. That is quite enjoyable. They cast very well in the Star Trek world. The actors are very interesting, smart.
TREKCENTRAL: Absolutely. And I think this podcast is a is a great way for all of us to get to know them. So thank you for that.
GATES MCFADDEN: Well, thank you. I’m learning as I go it’s a learning process.
Not just Cast but Crew!
TREK CENTRAL: We’re enjoying the adventure! I know you haven’t just talked with the cast, you’ve also had crew members like Michael Westmore. Do you have any other creatives like that you’d like to have on the show?
GATES MCFADDEN: I’m having our [Executive Producer], Terry Matalas from Star Trek: Picard on, we’re speaking. I would say this is a lot of fun. I was telling someone else. I’m not trying to be the Star Trek expert, because I certainly am not. There are so many podcasts that are excellent that are Star Trek podcasts, very impressive in fact. Because they actually analyse the scripts much better than an actor and you’re just dealing with your own character, you don’t see the whole picture sometimes. Then when we do so many they kind of blend into each other. So I love learning about stuff and listening to Star Trek podcasts.
Mine is really about finding about the person and finding out about their background where they come from who they are in different ways. See where we are we go on a conversation, there are people would want to speak for hours, and there are other people. It’s just the vibe of the day, it’s going to be a shorter conversation. I wish they were all in person. I do think when you have face to face, podcasts, and I’m telling you this as we’re not face-to-face.
But it does make a difference because you get a vibe from somebody you feel them in the room with you, and I find that connection is such a vital wonderful connection in our world that I miss that and I know that, that if we were in the same room, we’d have uh, it would be a different vibe. And so that’s also something to look at. You know, there’s a part of us that I may be home or I may be in my pajamas, but I’m talking to you can’t see me and you know, there’s a different sense of something. But again, that’s, that’s the world we live in.
Trek stars past
TREK CENTRAL: Of the Star Trek family that’s not with us anymore. Who would you most have wanted to do a podcast like this with? What an interesting question?
GATES MCFADDEN: Wow what an interesting question. Well, I would say, Gene Roddenberry. Yeah, I would say Gene would be the first person I’d like to talk to about many things now. I’d love to find out more about him. There’s been so much written about his life, but it would have been an interesting conversation just for us to even discuss how, how he feels women have changed, you know, does he feel women have changed? You know, obviously, it’s quite different from the original. And so that would be something he might not agree with some of the things he might. Who knows. So that would be interesting.
TREK CENTRAL: That’s a good choice. Okay. Perfect. I don’t think I would have chosen Majel Barrett. I think she’s so interesting.
GATES MCFADDEN: She is interesting. I only knew her on a superficial level, I would say she’s certainly a generous, generous person. Full of life. I learned so much about her. There’s several writers that I would love to go back and talk to like Dorothy Fontana, different people, that would be really interesting. But alas, I know. They’re not on my podcast.
Star Trek: Picard
TREKCENTRAL: So you’ve talked previously in interviews about making sure this is a story of where Crusher was used well. Was there any aspect of her story that you had a guiding hand in?
GATES MCFADDEN: Well, yeah, I mean, we talked about a lot of it, I knew she was going to think the idea was that she had a child with Picard. I was very concerned that it didn’t just be “This woman just was so selfish, she didn’t tell him about the child”. I wanted it to be a really good reason. And I believe that there is but not all of it, it’s revealed. So I think she’s someone who goes by her instincts. And I think there was a very powerful instinct about protecting a child.
I also know that there’s some lines that got edited out of the scene that I thought were more in favour of Crusher. But again, there needs to be a balance the show is called Picard, its not called Crusher. I think that is the key to everything. Yeah, it’s not Gates McFadden. It’s not what I would do in a situation like that. I mean, this is an imaginary situation with Crusher and Picard, there is no spaceship up in the universe that we’re flying around on, doing planetary Doctors Without Borders.
You know, it’s it’s an imaginary world, but there is much to be learned by watching a show like Picard Season Three. So thrilled to be part of it. I really, really am. I had a great time doing it. And all I can do is hope that people will be open to looking at different sides of something. I don’t think you ever should tell people which way is right or which way is wrong. It’s really about people looking at sides of an issue being open to two different possibilities, you know, not being quite so judgmental.
It’s a hard thing to do, it’s a hard thing not to be judgmental.
Most fun guest?
TREKCENTRAL: Of all the guests you’ve had so far. Have you had a favourite or the most fun to talk with?
GATES MCFADDEN: Well, I would say the most fun is a much better word. I mean, there are times that I just laughed and laughed. You know, I mean, I love times where it just flows. I don’t think there’s only one. That’s the only one. I loved working on the Tawny episode because it just was like, so easy. On the other hand, there were things that came out with other people like, at the very end of the Brent Spiner episode, that was one of the best laughs I’ve had in ages.
And, and also John De Lancie made me laugh. I love learning new things about people. And I have learned a lot about different folks. And even talking with Michael Westmore, I knew a lot of the stories but just to hear them again and hear details. I love I love hearing about people’s childhood, their family. Like I was very close to my family. So I like learning about were they close to their family were they not. Things that make life seem difficult. All of those things
TREKCENTRAL: Well, I think that comes across well with how you host it. So amazing job.
GATES MCFADDEN: Well, thank you very much. I did the best I can. It’s a learning curve.
I just feel you have to allow yourself things that you don’t do well, and you have to say well, okay, so I see that that did this. And now I’m gonna learn from that. That’s that’s basically the way I see it. Yeah, good lord. I’ve made my life and I’ve also done some great things and have to be kind to people and try to just have to keep going forward trying to connect. That’s, that’s what I hope to do with podcast.
I’ve been to I’ve just finished working on Rosalind Chao’s, editing hers and she is so lovely. Amazingly lovely. And it was on a zoom so the sound is not quite so good. I like to do it in person when I can. It’s such a difference. Yeah, I’m on the phone. Such a hypocrite. Well,
This interview has been edited for clarity.