In the Next Generation episode "The First Duty" Robert Duncan McNeill plays a character called Nick Lacarno, who as part of Flight Squad caused an accident which resulted in the death of another cadet. He was dishonorably discharged for lying and trying to cover it up.

McNeill then went on to play Tom Paris in Star Trek: Voyager with a very similar background, but with some very small differences — like Tom was an actual Starfleet officer, whereas Nick was only a Cadet. So was Tom Paris' character based on Nick Locarno?

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    It seems odd that Locarno is considered irredeemable but Paris is not. They both got people killed and chose to lie about it. It seems that they had quite similar moral conundrums, except that Locarno went to prison rather than let his whole team get expelled. The only reasonable explanation listed here is the royalties that would have to be paid.
    – user54313
    Oct 13, 2015 at 19:39
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    Agreed number 1 (commenter). He had shown some character. Crusher: "They should have expelled all of us." Picard: "They very nearly did. Mr Locarno made an impassioned plea for the rest of you. He said he used his influence as squadron leader to convince you to attempt the Kolvoord maneuver and then to cover up the truth. He asked to take full responsibility." Crusher: "He did exactly what he said he would. He protected the team." Mar 6, 2016 at 12:00
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    My mental canon is that Tom wanted to prove himself without his family name due to his father being an admiral so he went by the name Locarno at the academy. Feb 23, 2017 at 20:16
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    @AlonzoMuncy: And he eventually became a StarFleet officer after being dishonorably discharged... how?
    – Ellesedil
    Feb 23, 2017 at 20:57
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    @AlonzoMuncy: So, you're saying that a Cadet that was thrown out of StarFleet Academy would be given a field commission of lieutenant? Poor Harry Kim.
    – Ellesedil
    Feb 23, 2017 at 21:24

2 Answers 2


It is likely that it was originally intended to be Locarno on Voyager, but that once they considered the financial aspect of it, Locarno likely became the prototype for Robert Duncan McNeill's Tom Paris, rather than a direct feed. There has not been a definitive answer on the exact intent, but from the Memory Alpha page:


Locarno was the inspiration for Star Trek: Voyager's Tom Paris. In interviews, the producers of Voyager claimed Locarno's actions made him irredeemable, and therefore a new character was required.

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    Because we all know that Star Trek is all about characters who are irredeemable...
    – Jeff
    Mar 8, 2012 at 20:03
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    Not to go off on a tangent, but I had no idea that royalties were owed to screenwriters if a one-time character from their work was reused. Very interesting if true. Mar 9, 2012 at 16:56
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    Seems silly to me but I guess that's what unions are for. Mar 9, 2012 at 20:05
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    Cue @tangooversway to talk about his Star Trek writing experiences. Jul 14, 2012 at 6:03
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    Even if the royalties are low, they still need to be paid and there could be other contractual responsibilities which might require lawyers. I think it would have been cool to have a character that was in TNG even briefly, but studios might not see the point in having this complication when they could just create a new character.
    – liquidki
    Feb 4, 2017 at 16:35

While watching “The First Duty” of ST: tNG via Amazon Prime, I noted an X-Ray box opened at 19:14 on the left portion of the video. It was labeled General Trivia and stated “Nick Locarno was supposed to be on Voyager instead (of Tom Paris), but various legal issues, like having to pay royalties to the writers of The First Duty for every single episode of Voyager that Locarno would appear in made the idea unworkable, so they turned him into a different character. Tom Paris’ background and personality were based in part on Locarno.”

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    This seems to just be a paraphrase of the Memory Alpha article cited above.
    – Valorum
    Jan 31, 2018 at 23:05
  • What's an X-Ray box and why would it randomly open (on its own?!) next to videos? Feb 1, 2018 at 15:05
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    Amazon owns IMDB so Amazon Prime Video has a feature called X-Ray that when you pause or open it etc it shows you interesting facts about the show and the names of the actors in the current scene (it's quite useful when you can't remember where someone is from)
    – shim
    Feb 2, 2018 at 19:13

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