Published Nov 18, 2022
WARP FIVE: Prodigy's Rylee Alazraqui on Rok-Tahk's Scientific Quest and Murf's Metamurfosis
All in the name of science and friendship!
By Christine Dinh
SPOILER WARNING: Discussion for Star Trek: Prodigy — Season 1, Episode 14 "Crossroads" to follow!
Welcome to Warp Five, StarTrek.com's five question post-mortem with your favorite featured talent from the latest Star Trek episodes.
The latest episode of Star Trek: Prodigy, "Crossroads," the crew leaves behind Holo-Janeway and the U.S.S. Protostar safe and hidden, in order to make contact with the Federation without putting them in harm's way. However, as they attempt to secure transport to the Federation at a travel depot, they unwittingly cross paths with Barnus Frex and Vice Admiral Janeway who is hunting them.
As they try to avoid capture, with the assistance of Captain Okona, the Prodigy crew gets a surprise as Murf has finally hatched and completed his metamurfosis. Unfortunately, Murf with his new limbs accidentally launches a torpedo at the real Janeway and her quantum slipstream Dauntless-class starship. Out of options and desperate to evade Janeway, Okona suggests they head to the Neutral Zone as the Starfleet admiral cannot risk war with the Romulans.
StarTrek.com had the opportunity to speak Rylee Alazraqui, who voices the brilliant BrikarRok-Tahk, about being a Trek household, the sciences, Murf, and more!
Alazraqui comes from animation royalty; her father Carlos Alazraqui voices the titular character in Rocko's Modern Life, Mr. and Mrs. Crocker on Fairly OddParents, and most recently Vice Admiral Les Buenamigo on the third season of Star Trek: Lower Decks.
With recording schedules for animated series, Alazraqui often has a hard time recalling when she did her records, let alone keep track of her father's as "he has so much going on." That doesn't mean it'll disrupt their family traditions though; Alazraqui explained, "Normally when an episode comes out, me and my family will watch it," before jokingly adding, "I'll be like, 'Didn't I record that line three years ago?'"
"Being part of Star Trek is really, really cool," shared Alazraqui. "I like to see my hard work and everyone else's put onto the screen when we watch it at home. It's really cool to be part of this community because I had no idea what it was like four years ago, and now I actually get to experience this and watch it with my family and hear my voice on the TV. That's definitely very cool for me."
The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) last week recognized Star Trek: Prodigy with an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Animated Series for their first annual Children's & Family Emmy Awards. Responding to the news, Alazraqui stated, "It's really cool to see how the show is evolving and how much people are enjoying it. I feel very happy that people are liking it because all of us, we put a lot of time into it. And especially the animators, oh my gosh, the animation is beautiful.""Every single person's hard work on the show, it all paid off," concluded Alazraqui. "It's so wonderful how people are enjoying it as much as we enjoy the process of it. It's wonderful to know that our hard work is paying off."
With their Starfleet dreams deferred due to the Living Construct, how is that affecting the Prodigy team?
The discovery of the Living Construct aboard the Protostar and its devastating impact on Starfleet has been rough for the young crew as it delays the light at the end of very long tunnel for them. What does it mean for Rok-Tahk and their scientifically-inclined ambitions?
"Rok-Tahk is very prestigious and she's bringing this into perspective," noted Alazraqui. "She's like the girl in school who gets good grades, wants to be good in everything she does, wants to be the best in everything she does, wants to make people happy, and wants to be liked. Out of the whole crew, Rok-Tahk is one of the biggest people who really, really, really wants to get into Starfleet. Everyone on that crew's goal is to make their way to Starfleet. But Rok is the one who's jumping up and down going, 'Let's go, let's go.'"
"Rok is smart; she's nerdy in her own little special way," she continued. "Her being into Starfleet is a whole other thing for her to explore. And it's something new for her and her love for science. She's going to get to learn more about that. As her crew makes their way to the beginning of it all, this is where she start to learn about all her science stuff now. And she get to finally be what she wants to be."
Alazraqui reflected on Rok-Tahk's mindset despite the Starfleet setback, "It really shows that no matter what age you are or what you look like or what your reputation in the past was, you can always be something that you want to be."
"Rok, she was known for a fighter," added Alazraqui. "She was known for this tough girl. But she wanted to be this scientist so she was like, 'I don't want that. I'm going to break free from that. That's not what I want to be.'"
Alazraqui saw the same bright fuel for hope as well as recognizable doubt/fear in her few crewmembers. "With Dal, he was pretty underestimated and he wasn't being treated how he should have been treated," said the actress. "He wasn't being listened to. And once he got onto the Protostar, he told everyone that he doesn't know who he is. He has been curious his whole life and he hasn't been treated well. It's really important for everyone to discover who they truly are. Prodigy just really shows that you can be who you want to be and you don't have to listen to the others around you."
On the message Alazraqui gleaned from the series, she revealed, "Just stay with the people who are close to you and just be yourself. Break free from all that bad stuff around you, get together with the good people and really, really, really use your specialties to help complete missions. If you stay with stuff the that you don't actually like, it's not going to work out. So if you say, 'Hey, I want to do this instead, and you put your skills to work, it can be so much better for everyone else.'"
Reflecting on Rok-Tahk's journey over the course of the season, from Tars Lamora to her newfound family aboard the Protostar, Alazraqui shared, "Rok-Tahk came from a place that she did not want to be in, and Rok grew up having these expectations of being tough and fighting and she didn't want that. She wanted to break free from that. And once she did, she really, really found a connection to everyone else surrounding her. And she let them know that that's not what she wanted. And everyone really respected that for Rok. Having this love for science has really brought her closer to her surroundings and Dal and Gwyn and Jankom and Zero and everyone, her whole crew. And she's gotten closer with them, really opening up to them."
"If she never opened up, and she just continued to be security and that bodyguard and she continued to fight, they wouldn't understand her true self. And now they're really getting to know her and her being surrounded by the people that she is surrounded by, it's really good for her. They're the ones who accept Rok for who she is. They're not the ones who are pressuring her to keep doing something that she doesn't want to do. They understand Rok and they're there for Rok, and she really appreciates that. It's really awesome for Rok-Tahk to be into that type of environment and have those people around her."
One of Rok-Tahk's closest relationship with the Prodigy crew is with Murf. In "All the World's a Stage," she had to make the tough call to leave a sick Murf to help her friends in a predicament on a planet's surface. In doing so, Rok-Tahk was able to cure Dal of an ailment that he and the Enderprizians had come across.
"Rok's work was really, really helpful because she got all those calculations right for the antidote needed for Dal," shared Alazraqui. "All that work was really, really nice for Rok too, to get that break from fighting and security to finally do something where she could use her science side. It was also really brave of her to do that when Murf was sick as well. She was really trying to look after Murf when they needed her. It was really, really awesome for Rok to finally use her skills to come up with something."
Despite that current circumstances and those that followed in "Crossroads" as they were fleeing the real Janeway's clutches, Alazraqui noted, "Under all that pressure, Rok still did it very calmly and she came up with something with her science skills, then went back to Murf and saw that he's changing. Rok and Murf have very close together. After seeing Murf change into something else, Rok is going to have to accept that he's going to become more independent by himself now. It's like a parent-child relationship with them. It's a parent watching their child grow up; Rok's watching Murf grow up."
"He's changing and she has to accept it," added Alazraqui. "She's curious to see what he's going to be. She's not worried. She's not, 'Oh, I don't want this to happen.' She's more, 'What's going on? Wait. I want to see. I want to learn.' As the episodes go by, what Murf changes into, she's going to develop a whole new love for that type of Murf. I'm not going to spoil anything, but as you see what he is going to change into, we're going to love him and Rok is going to continue to adore him and learn how to deal with this new type of Murf."