As a "Voyager" fan, I like all ten of our regular characters as they are, because that's what we're used to. But reading reading about how the writers struggled with creating the cast got me thinking. One main problem from the start was that 9 regulars at once was more than any previous "Star Trek" had had up to that point, and the large cast put a strain on the writers. This led me to questioning why they didn't just combine the traits they wanted into fewer characters. They wanted this show to habe the first female captain of a "Star Trek" show, and the first Native American regular; why not a Native American woman as the captain? They wanted an exotic alien guide for the crew, bit also wanted to up the female count; why not just make said alien guide a female? Of course I know the real reason; 90s TV, and stereotypes. They probably thought they took a risk with a non-white captain and now a female captain; both in one, in 1995? Oh the world just isn't ready! More importantly, they HAD to habe their magical 90s Indian stereotype. And female characters in mainstream 90s TV could be strong, but not too quirky or weird, so Neelix had to be a man. But suppose the writers had been willing to take more risks. How might the main cast of this new Star Trek series look if we combined some characters, to make the main cast more manageable? Just as an experiment, here are a few ideas: - Harry Kim/Chakotay: Make the innocent dweeb Ensign, who represents the purity of future-Earth, be Native American. If they really want the wise Indian stereotype, this can add another dimension to the ensign, making him a n00b in Starfleet, but in other ways have a wisdom behind his years. (Jim Chee from Tony Hillerman's books comes to mind.) Plus, hell...communications officer...Native American translator trope....there ya go! - Chakotay/Janeway: Alternatively, just put your first-woman-captain and first-Native-American-reg into the protagonist. Torn between her love and loyalty for her Earth-bound culture, and her drive to boldly explore space. Her heritage would make her especially wary of not letting "exploration" veer into conquest. - Neelix/Kes: when lost, Voyager fubds a friend in an eccentric alien woman, seemingly working as a lowly trader. But she has a secret. Her people cast her out for daring to rebel against the Caretaker, and experiment with her powers. She fled her homework to explore the galaxy. She's eager to be Voyager's guide, and gain an opportunity to explore. As a self-sufficient runaway, she's also a self-taught chef, and moonlights as the ship's chef. Female EMH: I wouldn't replace Robert Picardo for ANYTHING, but if we're not at the casting process yet...and we want to up the female count, and don't want our EMH to be too simmilar to Data from TNG, this seems like an easy fix. Chakotay/Tuvok: You want a magical, made up space religion, better to use an alien than a real culture. You want the first Vulcan regular since Spock, but don't want to copy Spock too much, give this new Vulcan a polar opposite backstory. Chakovok is a Vulcan who has abandoned logic to defend his home colony from the Cardassians. Once on Voyager, he realizes he must rein in his tenoer if he's to help Janeway keep this crew together, and begins attempting to re-teach logic and discipline to himself, much to his friend B'Elanna's chargrin. Other ideas?