Star Trek: Why the Original Janeway Left 'Voyager'

Today, Kate Mulgrew is legendary to Star Trek fans for playing Captain Katherine Janeway, the first female lead in a Star Trek series, on Star Trek: Voyager. However, Mulgrew was not the first choice to play the captain of the USS Voyager. French-Canadian actress Geneviève Bujold was originally cast in the role but left the role after two episodes.

Garrett Wang, another Star Trek: Voyager star, is now one of the hosts of The Alpha Quadrant. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine star Nana Visitor was a guest on the podcast and mentioned that she had heard Bujold was fired from Voyager. Wang decided to set the record straight by stating that Bujold wasn’t fired, but quit.

“We would shoot, and she’d just run off of the set, she wouldn’t even socialize,” Wang revealed. “So I stopped her, I kind of blocked her path, I asked her, ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ And she stopped, and she kinda gave me the once over, and she felt like, ‘Hm, I guess I can share with this guy.’ And it was Genviève Bujold, the French-Canadian actress, so she looks at me and she says, ‘I feel as if I cannot trust anyone.” I said, ‘What do you mean by that?’ She said, ‘Well, I come in, and I want Janeway to be Captain first, woman second. I don’t want hairstyle, I don’t want a lot of makeup, but I come to work, and they give me hair, they do my make-up, and they lie to me.’

“So she quit the second day, and she realized that the shooting schedule would be crazy, and she had two very young children at home, maybe ages three and five, and she thought, ‘I’m never going to see these kids grow up, I’m not gonna be around. The shooting schedule is nutty, they didn’t do the things they promised me in the beginning,’ and thank god she quit before we aired one episode, right?”

Wang went on to say that, after the difficult time the network had had finding an actress it liked for the role the first time around, there was a rumor that they would recast Janeway as a man. Then, in order to keep the gender ratio the same, they’d fire one of the male actors and replace them with a woman. Whether the rumor was true or not, it never came to be because they found Kate Mulgrew.

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Interestingly enough, Mulgrew had similar feelings about what Janeway’s priorities should be, and that led to something of a feud with one of her Star Trek: Voyager co-stars.

Did Star Trek fans luck out with this turn of events? Let us know what you think in the comments!