How would you rewrite Chakotay?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Voyager' started by Abi Smith, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. Abi Smith

    Abi Smith Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jun 27, 2018
    Inspired by the 'How do you feel about Chakotay?' thread and since many feel either lukewarm or negative towards the character, I throw down the gauntlet of rewriting Chakotay.


    PS No casting changes.

    Thank you, that is all.
    *bing bong*
  2. Sophie74656

    Sophie74656 Commodore Commodore

    Aug 10, 2016
    New Jersey
    I would have just done without the native american aspect.
  3. arch101

    arch101 Commodore Commodore

    May 3, 1999
    Quincy, MA
    ^^That’s funny, because I’d step up the Native American aspect and be more consistent with it.
    Markonian and Cutie McWhiskers like this.
  4. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

    Nov 20, 2012
    I’d do real Native American stuff and not the stereotype crap we got.

    I’d give him more action roles. I thought he was at his best in sequences like Displaced and Waking Moments. I would have put him in more situations like that. If he and Seven had more ‘Save the ship on their own’ moments their pairing would feel more natural.
  5. Ghislaine H. B. BRAEME

    Ghislaine H. B. BRAEME Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 11, 2016
    Paris (FRANCE)
    I'd say...

    1) No matter the background chosen concerrning Chakotay aka his origins (coming from an native american tribue) or his psychology (half proud warrior and/or with an unusual wisdom), they (= producers/writers), should have stuck to it from beginning to end and not change suddenly because they did not know how and what to do with it.

    (I don't think that the firing of expert in Native American culture hired by the production to advice and prepare Robert Beltan*, was the only reason of the outright abandonment).
    (* it seems that Beltran has done no research on his side to try to understand his character -> by lack of interest or sheer laziness, I don't know !)

    2) no romance or attempt to romance with the Captain Janeway* or Seven, except a deep respect and loyality (Janeway) and a real understanding & acceptance (Seven).
    For a soul-mate and not just a love interest (as seeing as Siska was killed off and Kellin, just a one night stand), Lt Marla Gilmore would have fit perfectly (a Maquis rebel leader with a Equinox's pariah).
    -> *if Janeway is married to Starfleet and Seven still in search of her humanity, Chakotay [SIZE=4]may well find love with someone smart & lovely who really love him in return.[/SIZE]

    3) no Starfleet uniform for him and his team -> You can't judge a book by its cover.
    -> if Chakotay is a Maquis rebel, that he dresses and behaves as such. At least, there will be no margin of error when it will come to his decisions.
    Brennyren, KimMH and Abi Smith like this.
  6. cosmic mouse

    cosmic mouse Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 11, 2017
    Tube 32
    I definitely would have given him more action scenes (I agree he was good in those and they seemed few overall to me) and I would have written in substantially more subtexts or subplots that developed his character more; but I would have done it without leaning on his Native American heritage as much. I didn't mind the NA eps and scenes so much, but I felt that aspect was relied on too much in an attempt to give the character more development. Instead, more episodes that gave Chak the opportunity to have meaningful interactions with the crew and/or interactions with the "alien of the week" and put him in more varying circumstances that maybe would have fleshed the character out a bit better. Unforgettable is an example, even though that wasn't one of the stronger eps for me. Keeping Seska as a recurring adversary instead of killing her off would have helped in this regard as well.
  7. Catarina

    Catarina Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 29, 2014
    Stop playing a flute every time he has an episode, perhaps? :D
    Lynx and XCV330 like this.
  8. XCV330

    XCV330 Rear Admiral Premium Member

    Sep 24, 2017
    jippers on a beach somewhere
    I would have made him more of a possible threat at all times to Janeway. Keep him Maquis instead of the compliant fellow he mostly turned into and give a reason for politics on board the ship being a balancing act for Janeway instead of a forgotten plot point after the first few episodes. This guy could have been way cooler. If you didnt know anything about his origin and only started watching Voyager a season or two in, you would have thought he was just some guy in a uniform, nothing all that interesting except for his "what your people call corn our people call Maize" McMysticism the writers felt obliged to tack on to him sometimes.
    maneth and Abi Smith like this.
  9. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Oct 13, 2013
    California, USA
    I would've done my homework as far as Native Americans go, and informed Chakotay in a more accurate and realistic way than VOYAGER did. I would've never allowed him to carry a torch for Janeway, especially for as long as he did. I don't know what audience that was meant for, but it did not improve the character one bit. Have him hit on her once, maybe twice ... but never thrice! And definitely have him get with Kellin. I just thought she was so sweet, and so beautiful ... the perfect choice. And uhm ... definitely wouldn't have killed off Seska. Her relationship with Chakotay was always, at the very least, interesting. She vexed him like no one else ... gotta keep that. And, most important of all, I would've given him more meaty episodes, definitely put him in the thick of things and get to see him in dynamic situations. Not every show, but when it was time for a Chakotay show, to really deliver for fans of him, by presenting him as more than just solid and reliable.
  10. Lynx

    Lynx Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 27, 2001
    Lynx Empire
    I wouldn't have changed him that much.
    I would have given him a real Native American background, let's say Mayan or Aztec and stuck with that. As a writer, I would have studied that culture I had chosen and in that way have given him an authentic background with authentic customs and such, no "Rubber Tree People" rubbish.
    I would have written the character more like he was in seasons 1-3, in later seasons he was just a moving image in the background while a necomer with superpowers (Seven) and a hologram (The Doctor) took over the place under the spotlight where the First Officer should have been.
    I would also have given him more episodes, if he was supposed to be the equivalent of Riker on Voyager, then I should have made him that
    KimMH likes this.
  11. Refuge

    Refuge Vice Admiral Admiral

    Oct 16, 2016
    A better place
    I wouldn't have changed a lot either. He could've been used in some more humorous scenes because he was a natural. I think too if the writers were serious in having us exchange his relationship with Janeway for someone else, as they were hoping for with Seven, there should've been more development there.
  12. Riker'sMailbox

    Riker'sMailbox Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Feb 14, 2018
    I would have foregone the Native American heritage, made him butt heads more with Janeway professionally and given him more action scenes.

    I liked his potential with Janeway as a romantic partner much more so than with Seven, so I would have liked to have seen more of a Picard/ Crusher flirtation throughout the series, but neither forgetting their duties or their loyalties. I think that the two of them having an attraction to each other while she is loyal to Starfleet and he is loyal to the Maquis, all the while needing each other to get home could have produced some needed interpersonal drama.
  13. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 14, 2016
    Chakotay would have been a part of a actual native American tribe, the Cherokee today are about a hundred thousand strong and many Americans have some Cherokee ancestry.

    Would have cast a "full blooded" Native American, if possible from the tribe chosen for Chakotay. Although acting ability would have been of first importance (yes that would be changing the actor).

    No rubber band tree people.

    Make Chakotay's tattoo more organic and flowing, and less perfect and precise.

    Chakotay and Seven would have started their romantic relationship one season after Seven joined Voyager. Start with a working/professional co-worker thing, then talking over meals, then friendly, then friends, then flirting and interested, then (after one season) romance and sex.

    Chakotay and the Marquis never become part of Starfleet, nor wear Starfleet uniforms. Chakotay rejects Janeway's insistence on this. They would crew aboard her ship with Janeway as the undisputed captain, but as either foreign military allies, or as "civilian contractors." When Janeway states she can't have two crews, Chakotay reminds her that this is exactly what she's going to have if she wants their help.
    cosmic mouse likes this.
  14. Ghislaine H. B. BRAEME

    Ghislaine H. B. BRAEME Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 11, 2016
    Paris (FRANCE)
    Sorry but Chakotay would have had great difficulty in imposing anything to Janeway according to his position : no ship anymore, a limited crew / means which exposed him (and his crew) too much to the enemy (and to Janeway, even if she was on the right side and who, if Voyager had not been attacked, would eventually get her hands on the Maquis rebels). So no, he wasn't in position to impose her his rules of conduct. He had too much to lose here and he know it so as a good tactician he was, he choosed the least risky situation for him and his crew and it was eventually the right move to adopt because at least, the Maquis got better living conditions, enough to eat, the protection of a powerful & weaponed vessel and a strong friendship with a woman, who could have be more. In short, the collaboration between Starfleet & Maquis such we saw in the series, was the best he could have hoped and even better than what he could have obtained.

    I always thought that Janeway has been was too soft and conciliatory with Chakotay. She was still in a strong position, even after to have lost some of her people and she should have let Chakotay know that, when he began to impose his wills. In short, she could say: "here's the deal I offer you: take or leave it but I remind you that you are all on MY vessel!".
    I know that it is maybe a little brutal but at less, it was reality of the situation (when someone is a position of strength and had to include someone with a strong personality, who tries early to impose himself/herself.
    -> collaboration doesn't mean that it is futile to remind who's the boss.
  15. LJones41

    LJones41 Commodore Commodore

    Sep 21, 2015
    I'm from Long Beach, CA.
    I don't think so. Whenever he crossed the line - and it was really in "Manuevers" and "Scorpions" - she stomped on him hard.
  16. Ghislaine H. B. BRAEME

    Ghislaine H. B. BRAEME Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 11, 2016
    Paris (FRANCE)
    Also what I said on last Friday, I'd have changed the actor and choose one with maybe more personality and who is really involved in his role at the point to say that no other guy could have performed Chakotay.
    -> I got it with Mulgrew/Janeway, with Picardo/The Doctor, with Russ/Tuvok, with Ryan/Seven. I didin't get it with Beltran/Chakotay!
    Sophie74656 likes this.
  17. Ghislaine H. B. BRAEME

    Ghislaine H. B. BRAEME Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Feb 11, 2016
    Paris (FRANCE)
    Yes, with a slap on the hand! What a what a terrible punishment! :whistle:
  18. Prax

    Prax Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jan 1, 2017
    Middle West
    Who would win in a battle of wits between Janeway and Chakotay? Who is smarter?
  19. SpyOne

    SpyOne Captain Captain

    Mar 2, 2010
    I believe it was Jeri Taylor who said that the problem with writing for Chakotay was that Tuvok was basically the same character.
    So I guess you need to rewrite Tuvok a bit, too. Distance them.

    Make Chakotay more emotionally overt, less reserved.
    Dialing up his heritage is easy to get wrong, so instead dial it down: Chakotay's father had rejected their people's traditions and now Chakotay has whistful memories of lessons his grandfather tried to impart when Dad wasn't around. Chakotay regrets how little he knows about his ancestors' traditions.
    Which lets you ditch the mysticism and leave that for Tuvok.

    Emphasize Chakotay as a man of honor. As discussed in the other thread, Chakotay could probably lead a mutiny and successfully take control of the ship, but he won't, and he's the only one the others could unite behind.

    Pick something Chakotay is good at.
    Tuvok does tactics, Torres does repairs, Paris is the pilot, but what is the task where you go Chakotay's the guy? I wanna say his thing is being a leader, but that kinda cuts into Janeway's turf.
    (I have an interesting idea for a show where the XO is clearly more suited to Command than the Captain and is basically running the ship but insists that the Captain has final say. But that couldn't be Voyager if for no other reason than people would take it as a comment on women in command.)
    cosmic mouse and grendelsbayne like this.
  20. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    A type 13 planet in its final stage
    Who remembers Bearclaw from the 1980's DC comics' Trek series? That's how I'd do Chakotay.

    The guy we actually got was the nicest terrorist i ever met.
    Cutie McWhiskers likes this.