Combining Voyager characters

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by WarpTenLizard, Oct 12, 2021.

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Which member of VOY's original cast was the most unnecessary?

  1. Captain Janeway

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Chakotay

    1 vote(s)
    9.1%
  3. Tuvok

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Tom Paris

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. B'Elanna Torres

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Harry Kim

    4 vote(s)
    36.4%
  7. EMH

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  8. Neelix

    1 vote(s)
    9.1%
  9. Kes

    5 vote(s)
    45.5%
  1. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    Planet Spaceball
    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?
     
  2. Bork359

    Bork359 Lieutenant Newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2021
    I'm rewatching Voyager and have a new respect for Neelix. He's basically this homeless space hobo that bullshits his way onto Voyager for free room and board. Janeway doesn't know any better but keeps him around because he's good for a laugh. Basically the ship's mascot.
     
  3. Paul B. Hartzog

    Paul B. Hartzog Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2021
    Location:
    USA, Eastern timezone
    > Native American translator trope

    ouch

    I don't think I'd go for a female EMH because both doctors on the USS Enterprise-D were female. Besides, Picardo, right ?
     
  4. Kor

    Kor Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2001
    Location:
    My mansion on Qo'noS
    Tuvok and Neelix, in a freak transporter accident or something. Then we get this new replacement character for the rest of the series. :shifty:

    Kor
     
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  5. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Nah, that's too farfetched, even for Voyager. It would be like them having an endless supply of shuttlecraft!

    I voted for Chakotay, because he had no votes and Harry/Kes had some, but it's actually a three-way tie. You could smush all of them into one character: a Delta Quadrant native, played by a Native American actor. Their character is originally short-lived, so he begins as a civilian. When the EMH figures out a way to alter his metabolism and slow his aging, he joins Starfleet as a crewman, kind of like when Neelix wore a uniform. Janeway field promotes him to ensign late in the series: he finishes it as an ensign, but it makes sense.
     
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  6. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    Planet Spaceball
    What's "ouch" for?
     
  7. Farscape One

    Farscape One Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2017
    Actually, TNG had 9 regulars for their first season, so VOYAGER was not the only one to do this. DS9 had 8, and went to 9 with Worf in season 4 (which ran concurrently with VOYAGER season 2) and stayed with 9 main cast members for the duration of the show. (Though you can argue they had another 10 'main cast' members, given their importance, number of appearances, growth, etc., and was still able to give them ALL great scenes and arcs. But that's another conversation altogether...)

    I don't buy the excuse that it couldn't be done. Seasons were 26 episodes each back then, with only a couple exceptions. Two focus episodes for each character, then use the remaining 8 for duos, trios, or whole ensemble episodes.

    Let's use Chakotay as an example. He was fairly well utilized in seasons 1-3. But once season 4 hit, it kind of stopped. "SCORPION" showed that he could stand up to Janeway. But Seven ended up becoming that person, while Chakotay ended up being a 'yes man'. Except for the Equinox incident, that's what he was.

    While I would never trade Seven for anything because the idea of her character was superb... and they truly struck gold and got supremely lucky in getting Jeri Ryan to be cast... it did mark the end of the writers trying to do more with him and a couple others.

    There's always going to be a few characters that are more easily written for and easier to create ideas for than the rest of a show, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. As Chakotay and Kim are the most common talked about with this in mind, compare them to, say... Rom and Nog of DS9. They both had very clear growth and development from season 1 to the series finale.

    I do fault the VOYAGER writers for not spreading the wealth of character stories more equally, but I don't give them the full blame. I know network and executive interference was a big issue for that show, and it did hurt it more than helped it.
     
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  8. Oddish

    Oddish Rear Admiral Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2020
    Given that DS9 developed 20+ characters, Voyager could have easily developed their full complement of 10.
     
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  9. WarpTenLizard

    WarpTenLizard Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    Planet Spaceball
    While I understand prioritizing certain characters over others, I do think the writers got lazy with Chakotay and Kim. Chakotay especially should've had some interesting interactions with Seven, as the most un-Borg person on the ship--not to mention the one that liberated her! And I fault not only the writers, but Robert Beltran, for antagonizing his bosses over the matter, instead of offering them ideas for his character, like Picardo did with the EMH. (I know C7 was Beltran's idea, but he could've suggested it a little bit earlier and got them the proper development that relationship deserved.)

    And Kim at the very least should have gotten a promotion. The writers deliberately kept his character an ensign against all logic, purely to punish the actor for being a boob. Screwing the story for petty behind-the-scenes crap was really low.