Since Majel Barrett sadly passed in 2008, Star Trek has turned to a plethora of alternatives to create new voices to match her iconic role as generations of computers across the Trek franchise. But now as Picard pulls us more and more into the 25th century timeline, it’s leaving Barrett’s legacy behind.
Speaking on Twitter recently, showrunner Terry Matalas confirmed that Picard’s final season — which will bring us the further into an early 25th-century timeline that, aside from Discovery slingshotting far into the future, none of the other contemporary Trek shows have explored yet — will introduce not one, but two new computer voices. One will be the voice of civilian systems, and another will become the de facto Starfleet computer voice across the Federation.
There are multiple voices. One for Civilian and one for Starfleet. All will be revealed soon.
— Terry Matalas (@TerryMatalas) January 2, 2023
It makes sense we’re only really just seeing this now, within the context of Star Trek’s timeline in-universe, rather than out of it, as it’s been nearly 14 years since Barrett’s last contribution to the franchise in the 2009 Star Trek movie. Picard hasn’t spent all that much time on Starfleet ships in its first few seasons, but now will, with the Titan and the Enterprise-F playing big roles in the story. It’s not like there haven’t been other computer voices in the post-TNG movies Trek timeline, either — Jessica McKenna voices the Cerritos’ computer on Lower Decks, while Bonnie Gordon provides the Protostar’s voice on Prodigy, giving us an insight to a “current” Starfleet that uses a variety of vocal tones for its ship computers.
While fans held some hope that the nostalgia-heavy bow out for the season would’ve found some way to include Barret’s voice (oft mentioned were promises for a voice bank of Barrett’s recordings made in the wake of her death, but there’s been little advance on that in the years since), it makes sense given the diversity of computer systems we’ve seen in other Trek shows recently that there’ll be a new voice to carry on her legacy into the franchise’s new century.
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