Jennifer Lien’s Kes was a key member of the Star Trek: Voyager crew however was written out in season 4. Here’s why Lien (and Kes) left the sequence.
The character of Kes Star Trek: Voyager, portrayed by actress Jennifer Lien left the sequence after season 3, regardless that she was a central and fascinating character. Premiering in 1995, Star Trek: Voyager hoped to usher in a brand new era of followers after Jean-Luc Picard’s time on the small display screen got here to an finish. In a novel twist, Captain Janeway’s Starfleet vessel finds itself misplaced within the Delta Quadrant, and the Voyager crew aren’t in search of new worlds and new civilizations, however a method residence. Among Star Trek: Voyager‘s important forged was Jennifer Lien as Kes. A member of the Ocampa species, Kes possessed telepathic skills and was romantically concerned with Neelix initially, earlier than breaking off the entanglement in season 3. In an extra alien quirk, Kes was tragically destined for a lifespan of solely 9 years.
As a younger however prodigiously proficient member of the Voyager crew, Kes shared sure traits with Wil Wheaton’s Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and though followers did not react with fairly the identical disdain as they did for poor Wes, Kes definitely wasn’t the most well-liked of Star Trek: Voyager‘s crew. Jennifer Lien’s exit got here in season 4’s “The Gift,” after Kes’ psychic skills started spiraling uncontrolled following an encounter with Species 8472. Threatening the very crewmates she had come to like, the Ocampa decides to depart Voyager, evaporating into pure power and leaving Kes’ destiny considerably ambiguous.
She might not have been a fan favourite, however Kes’ Star Trek: Voyager exit wasn’t with out controversy, as each viewers and fellow forged members had praised Lien’s means as an actress, if not essentially the event of Kes as a personality. There are two important causes Kes was written out of Star Trek: Voyager. Firstly, the writers acknowledged they’d dropped the ball with the character. Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor (Star Trek: Voyager showrunners) have admitted in interviews that the Neelix/Kes romance angle was ill-judged and, regardless of Lien’s greatest efforts, Voyager had reached a inventive lifeless finish with Kes and her distinctive biology.
Simultaneously, Star Trek: Voyager had designs to introduce a brand new important crew member – a feminine Borg-in-recovery by the title Seven of Nine. With Lien’s place in Star Trek: Voyager already below scrutiny and budgets not accommodating a brand new character with out sacrificing one other, the choice was taken to interchange Jennifer Lien’s Kes with Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine. Another title within the firing line between Star Trek: Voyager seasons 3 and 4 was Garrett Wang, who performed Harry Kim. In a quirk of destiny, Wang was voted one in every of People journal’s “50 Most Beautiful People In The World,” and this publicity spared him the chop in lieu of Lien.
Given how apologetically writers and producers have spoken about Kes’ Star Trek: Voyager departure over time, it is no shock that the character was quickly invited again for season 6’s “Fury” episode. In this time-twisting story, an older Kes assaults Voyager for abandoning her, then travels again in time to forestall her youthful self from ever becoming a member of its crew. When the older Kes is killed previously, her timeline is modified, giving Janeway, Tuvok, and Neelix a chance to peacefully ship Kes residence to be along with her personal variety. Though not fairly recompense for her character’s mishandling, “Fury” did supply Kes, and Jennifer Lien as an actress, a measure of redemption. Although Lien would seem as Davina in American History X and Agent L in Men in Black: The Animated Series, she give up appearing quickly after leaving Star Trek: Voyager, and pursued a wholly completely different profession away from the leisure trade.
Writing Kes out of Star Trek: Voyager was very a lot a double-edged sword. On one hand, the character had huge potential that went unrealized because of poor inventive route; on the opposite, producers have been justified in judging Kes to be one in every of their much less profitable creations, whereas Seven of Nine proved an impressed addition. The former Borg made an enormous impression not simply in Voyager, however Star Trek as a complete, and most lately returned in Star Trek: Picard. In a really perfect situation, Star Trek: Voyager would’ve been capable of retain Kes whereas nonetheless introducing Seven of Nine, however then the packed-out forged would possibly’ve hampered each.
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