21

I remember reading in an interview, that the producers of Star Trek Voyager were planning to remove Garrett Wang (Harry Kim) from the show but after he was voted one of the "50 Most Handsome Men" they were forced to change their decision and instead decided to remove Jennifer Lien (Kes).

Removing / replacing characters doesn't happen too often in Star Trek franchise.

Are there any sources or interviews that explains why she was removed?

  • 6
    Q: Why did they have to remove anyone? A: $$$$ – Plutor Jan 13 '15 at 17:44
  • 5
    Better question: why did they keep Kes as long as they did? – RedCaio Sep 4 '16 at 8:18
  • @RedCaio No, not in this context. Read through my question to see, that it originated from the idea of removing Garret Wang, so this case is only partially connected to Kes and actually Plutor's Q&A above is the best to describe my intentions, when writing this question. – trejder Sep 4 '16 at 14:06
  • 1
    Had to get rid of her to make it the Seven of Nine show. – Nu'Daq Apr 24 at 19:50
25

There's a lot of detail on Jennifer Lien's Memory-Alpha page. It boils down to a couple reasons.

  1. Money. You have to pay cast actors. This discussion cites numbers on the order of $20,000 and up per actor episode, so that's half a million dollars for a 26-episode season.

  2. The character wasn't particularly interesting. Jeri Taylor is quoted on that page as saying:

"It was a mutual feeling [....] [Jennifer Lien] just felt her character wasn't going anywhere, so it was a very amicable and mutual decision."

And Robert Beltran (Chakotay):

"[But] they weren't doing much with her anyway. Except for the Kes-driven episodes, she was pretty much a glorified extra, as we all become when we're not intrinsically involved in the episode.

  • 3
    And with the Ocampan natural lifespan of about 9 years, and Kes already being 2 when she joined Voyager... – Izkata Jan 14 '15 at 1:45
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    She maybe would have lived to make it to Earth, and the Star Trek writers would be able to solve that with a handwave and some technobabble injection that doubles her lifespan. Thanks, doc! – Plutor Jan 14 '15 at 13:36
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    “Money. You have to pay cast actors. This discussion cites numbers on the order of $20,000 and up per actor episode, so that's half a million dollars for a 26-episode season.” Sure, but they replaced Kes with Seven of Nine, and I assume they had to pay Jeri Ryan a similar amount. – Paul D. Waite Sep 4 '16 at 17:21
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    @PaulD.Waite: Paying both of them costs twice as much as paying one of them. – Plutor Sep 6 '16 at 0:59
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    @O.R.Mapper - Jeri Taylor was one of the Voyager creators (along with Berman and Piller) and was a producer for the first four seasons. She is not the same person as Jeri Ryan. – Plutor Sep 21 '16 at 12:37
5

Star Trek Voyager explained early on that the life span of her character's race was very short. So then the decision was made to either have her character die, or evolve. Either way, the character would leave the show. Essentially, she was supposed to be Voyager's "Tasha Yar". It is not uncommon for a character to be removed. At least one character has been removed in every single Star Trek series.

  • 1
    Who was removed from TOS? – WhiteHotLoveTiger Jan 8 '16 at 17:35
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    @WhiteHotLoveTiger: Ensign Ricky. And Ensign Ricky II. And... – Jeff Jan 21 '16 at 5:14
  • Sure, plently of red shirts were killed on a regular basis, but the other series had main characters get killed: Tasha Yar, Jadzia Dax, Kes. I wouldn't consider a red shirt to be a, "character [that] has been removed." – WhiteHotLoveTiger Jan 21 '16 at 12:56
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    TOS: Janice Rand didn't make it past Season 1, and was only in about half of the first season to begin with @WhiteHotLoveTiger – NKCampbell Sep 19 '16 at 19:34
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    @NKCampbell ...and yet Grace Lee Whitney showed up in several of the movies and even Voyager - although not always in a speaking or named role, reprising her TOS character more than once. – Anthony X Sep 27 '16 at 23:43
2

From what I've read on reddit and the Star Trek wiki, she was removed due to a budget deficit and to improve ratings.

I also want to put forward my own opinion that by keeping her around, using her as communication device with species 8472 to establish a conflict between them and the Borg with voyager in the middle. Kes would serve as an intermediary between the two dimensions while expanding her character by creating a struggle between her love of peace and community and the destructive, isolationist forces in her own being being brought out by her contact with Species 8472.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kes_(Star_Trek)

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