The complex characters are what keep us coming back to the Star Trek franchise. We’re entertained by their backstories and personal details just as much as their exciting adventures. It’s always interesting to find out the hidden, obscure and unknown. Even the most prominent characters have their secrets. If you think you know everything about your personal favorite, there’s always something more to learn.
A few of these details were revealed in the show for viewers that were paying close attention while others are a part of the Star Trek canon but revealed through related shows that share the same universe or alternative mediums, like comic books. Here are ten dark secrets and obscure facts about the main characters of Star Trek: Voyager.
10 Captain Kathryn Janeway
We know a lot about Janeway’s backstory as part of Starfleet. The only time we get any detail about her family background, however, it usually revolves around her father, Vice Admiral Janeway. Unless you were paying close attention you would have missed any and all details about the other half of her immediate family. Her mother is Gretchen, and her sister Phoebe. Phoebe is an artist who wants nothing to do with Starfleet. Kathryn was always close to her father and followed his career choices. At first glance, there appears to be some interesting family drama here. The most agonizing thing about a hidden detail is the unrequited desire to find out more about it.
9 Seven of Nine
Star Trek: Voyager gives us extensive knowledge of Seven of Nine’s backstory. This humanizes her character as she struggles with her former identity as Borg. What’s hidden is how and why Seven of Nine was created. The character of Kes was dropped in favor of bringing in a new female role to “contrast Janeway” which could be code for someone more sexually alluring if you’re more cynical.
To put it in a more optimistic way, Seven was intended to be more like Spock in the sense that she would question the nature of humanity. When you think about it, there is a lot of Spock in that tight bodysuit. It’s great that Jeri Ryan was able to give us substance to think about and style to admire.
Characters get cut from TV shows all the time, but few have generated the controversy that of Kes’ departure. She was a fan favorite and a strong female character. Even Kate Mulgrew was against it, and viewers of the show argued that she had been overlooked and underused. If you’re on Team Kes, then you know that she appears extensively in several novels that are set in the Star Trek universe. These extensive stories, many of which are trilogies, include the crew of the USS Voyager along with the Q Continuum and the Borg. Most of her most interesting adventures take place off-screen, hidden from the majority of fans.
Neelix is the guy with nothing to hide. You know about the Caretaker, the Oocampa, and the deadly conflict with the Haakonians, but did you know about The Star Trek Cookbook? It features Neelix in the position as the guide and narrator in a collection of totally functional recipes contributed by cast members of various Star Trek shows. Ethan Phillips, who actually played Neelix, co-authored the book with science fiction writer William J. Birnes. It’s a popular collectors item for those that know about it.
6 The Doctor
The Doctor had some stunning adventures, especially considering he was the most reluctant participant in Voyager’s improvised mission to the Delta Quadrant. He was transported through an alien antenna to the USS Prometheus, wrested Voayger back from a Kazon invasion with the help of only one other crew member, and was part of a ride called Star Trek: The Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton. No really, that was a thing back in the late 1990s. The ride not only included the Doctor as a prominent figure but also included a 4-D Borg invasion.
5 Harry Kim
Like Kes, Harry Kim developed a strong fan following, and most viewers would agree that his character wasn’t used enough and was too lightly developed, especially considering his potential. There are memes all over the internet as to why Harry Kim never got promoted and a related fan theory that claims Janeway secretly hates him.
The writers might have too, since Harry was often the guy who was wounded, infected or kidnapped throughout the course of the series. If you want to learn more about Harry as he takes a more active role in Starfleet, there are some obscure non-canon novels that include promotions to Lieutenant and Commander of a Starbase.
4 B’Elanna Torres
Sometimes art imitates life. Other times, art has to make some space for reality. In season four of Star Trek: Voyager, Roxann Dawson, the actor who played Torres, became pregnant with her first child. At first, a special lab coat designed to hide the pregnancy, but eventually writers had to find other ways top integrate Torre’s condition into the plotline. In the episode “The Killing Game” when Torres’ holodeck character is carrying a Nazi officer’s child, that’s a real baby bump under that vintage dress.
3 Tom Paris
At first glance, Tom is the kind of person who doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of secrets. He’s pretty open about his rocky relationship with his Starfleet-officer dad, his run-in with the Maquis and his time in prison, which doesn’t leave a lot to the imagination. However, did you know his middle name was Eugene? And did you further know that he was given this name in honor of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry? Sometimes the most compelling details are hidden in plain sight.
The real non-secret could be that Tuvok is secretly Janeway’s actual second-in-command. Voyager’s own King of Whispers, Tuvok is an amazing covert operative for a guy who never lies. Maybe it has something to do with the issues he had in childhood with his emotional control, a detail that most viewers don’t know about. When you put together incidents from his childhood with flashbacks and other snippets of exposition from the show, his early years were turbulent. To sum up, his infatuation with a Terrelian girl got him expelled from school, he was sent to a Vulcan master to learn more control, and after an initial assignment with none other than Captain Sulu on the USS Excelsior, he left Starfleet because he couldn’t handle being around non-Vulcans. He went full Kolinahr for a while before an episode of “pon farr” compelled him to marry. A turbulent and dark beginning for Janeway’s most dedicated officer.
There’s a lot of interesting trivia that revolves around Chakotay, the most prominent being his status as the first main character in a Star Trek series with Native American ancestry. This gives him a connection with Harry Kim, one of the first Asian characters to appear on the bridge of a Starfleet vessel since Hikaru Sulu. Another and more obscure connection is the literary one. The writers of Star Trek: Voyager based Chakotay partly on the famous harpooner of Moby Dick, Queequeg. Like Queequeg, Chakotay has chosen to live outside the safety of dry land, or the Earth itself, a travel unknown realms beyond the horizon.