Perhaps it's only with the benefit of hindsight, but to me it seems that it would have been narratively natural to conclude Star Trek: Voyager with, say, a six-episode epilogue exploring the crew's return to friends and family, potential friction as Starfleet engineers start getting their grubby hands all over the interesting alien technology, possible back-and-forth Borg drama to close off the show's main storylines, and politics over the ship's future, possibly with a final nostalgia shot of her continuing service as part of the fleet in the Alpha Quadrant.

As we know, that didn't happen: the show instead ended abruptly with Voyager dropping out of a transwarp conduit near Earth, and a final shot of her being escorted by a few Starfleet ships, this widely being decried as an anti-climax.

Out of universe, has the production team ever given any evidence or inkling as to why it was decided to end the show in this manner? Was it deliberate? Or was it more accidental, perhaps shortcut-taking in the writers' room due to general fatigue or some other internal problems?

I realise that the premise of this question kind of assumes a particular subjective view on what the "best" ending might have looked like but, as I say, it does seem objectively natural to me to a degree, and I'm hardly the first to voice this view!

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    A six part epilogue where we follow the crew through the difficulties they had returning to normal Starfleet procedures sounds awful. LOTR ending awful
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 18:30
  • 2
    @Valorum While I agree with that, I think the OP means they would like some closure. If well done, which is quite rare as you mention, some would find it interesting as well.
    – Hans Olo
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 18:33
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    @Rebel-Scum - I can only imagine what 7 years of incomplete paperwork looks like. That's what Janeway's first three months back looked like. Her sitting at a desk typing and signing.
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 18:43
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    The premise of the show was "A Starfleet vessel lost on the other side of the galaxy." Once that's taken away, you lose half the viewers. Or they just wanted to leave something for the books. Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 19:30
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    The series needed a big finish, after which, everything else would be anti-climactic; the big finish was their arrival "home". They did do some set up (sprinkled through various episodes) about what could/would happen to various characters after they made it home, but to actually show it, anti-climactic. They did tie up a loose end with Neelix pretty close to the final episode. The Doctor's holonovel did in a way suggest his post-Delta Quadrant future. Ending the story in such an open way perhaps left the door open for other series built around other characters' subsequent exploits.
    – Anthony X
    Commented Nov 17, 2019 at 22:20

1 Answer 1


Before attempting to answer, let me admit that the question seems to me to have indeed a high degree of subjectivity (e.g., it is not clear why specifically a six-episode epilogue is discussed as a possible alternative choice), something that you already seem to recognize ("this question kind of assumes a particular subjective view"). Nevertheless, I will try to shed some light in the decisions that led to the finale, quoting from the oral histories included in the relevant chapter of the 2016 book by Mark A. Altman & Edward Gross, The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years - From The Next Generation to J. J. Abrams.

To start with, and although Voyager admittedly had a highly episodic (as opposed to serialized) structure, it seems that this characteristic was somewhat relaxed for the last season; here is executive producer Kenneth Biller, shining also some light into why such an episodic structure had been the choice until then in the first place:

Rick Berman and the studio basically said to me, "Okay, this is the last season and whoever's watching the show in the seventh season are people who are already invested in the show and characters." They allowed me to take a more serialized approach in the final season. So we did storylines [...] And the quest to get home got played out in a more serialized way than it had been in previous seasons. The lack of serialization before wasn't really driven by the creative desires of the writers or the cast, but driven by the economic realities or at least the perceived economic realities of the long-term health of the show and the ability to show it in repeats and to foreign viewers.

[...] as I said, I wanted to make that last season as serialized as I possibly could, even within the framework of the stand-alone episodes.

Given the existing pre-occupation with the episodic structure, the "more serialized approach" mentioned here by Biller arguably did not go as far as a six-episode arc (after returning home or otherwise), neither it was supposed to. In fact, it already seemed rather too-little-too-late; here is actor Robert Beltran (Chakotay), commenting on "the Chakotay/Seven of Nine thing that came up":

So they just kind of threw us together and it seemed to me that if they had been thinking instead of one episode after the other, but thinking in the long run, what great stuff they could have written preparing for that.

According to the oral histories preserved in the book, everybody seems to agree that a lot of things and ideas were considered for the finale, including killing Janeway and/or Seven of Nine; but (and here you have to take my word for it, as I obviously cannot quote the whole chapter), there is not the slightest indication that something in the lines of let's bring them back before the show's end, proceed to show how well or not they manage to adapt, and then finish there was ever considered.

In fact, the most direct (although still not explicit) testimony that something like that could not have happened even as a thought, comes from Rick Berman himself, and, rather unsurprisingly, it has to do with the very essence of Voyager:

It was a great idea to go in the direction we did with the show, but at the same time there's something about venturing outward and trying to get back home that are diametrically different from one another. Star Trek by and large is a show about exploration, and exploration is going forth, it's not trying to find your way home.

... let alone what you do after you are back home, we can arguably hear him saying, although not explicitly...

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