Why was Jennifer Lien fired?

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Jul 3, 2015
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#41
I think Jennifer Lien would have made a better regular crew member than some alien. I think she is an excellent actress. Neelix has got to be the most annoying character since JarJar Binks. I like Harry Wang's character. I wish they would have gotten rid of Neelix instead. Once they left his section of space, he really wasn't that useful anymore.
 
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Sep 15, 2015
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#42
Without starting a flame war here---For those saying that all contracts but Janway were up after season3 do not know what they are talking about. All original actors signed 7 year deals--after year three is was given a 2 year renewel which open the window for contract talks and new rates were agreed upon. However someone made the decision to add 7 of 9 and when they started plotting out plots for each character--Lien Character would have nothing. She had turned into a throw away character and the actress was released from her contract
 
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#43
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petulant

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#45
I remember hearing jennifer lien was leaving Voyager long before she did and watching early season 3 episodes when they were first aired and guessing if those episodes would be her last, i think a decision was made to not renew her contract about a year before it was up and they just played with viewers expectations before getting rid of her,
i had heard recently they was also considering getting rid of Garrett Wang until he was on the list of most beautiful people but i think they always really wanted to drop kes because the writers couldn't make her work in a way that pleased the producers,
it's a shame because Tuvok and Neelix had good relationships with Kes that they didn't with Seven, i would choose Kes over Seven
 

Ander

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#46
For what it's worth, the main reason Jeri Ryan got on Voyager was that she was in a relationship with one of the show's creators. That's the way things often work in Hollywood.
 
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May 3, 2017
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#47
I've been very much wanting to weigh in on the whole Kes issue ever since news of her departure was confirmed.....and here I am at last! I should have done this years and years ago when my old website called "The Vidiians' Star Trek: Voyager Page" (which I had up on the old GeoCities before yahoo! took over) was still up and running, but at the time, my site was mainly about giving reviews of each episode in the best possible light and staying away from the gossip and everything else associated with the off-screen Hollywood/Paramount politics. I've been a trekkie since a former high school friend got me hooked onto TNG back in 1993, and have been a fan of the Voyager series since its inception way back in 1995, STILL watching old episodes for the sake of nostalgia (wishing, perhaps, that re-watching old episodes would somehow magically transform the series into everything that I wished it could've been from the get-go). Even with all of the trek movies that have come out since Voyager has gone off the air (already a WHOPPING 16 years ago!), my trekkie mind continually stays wrapped up in Voyager, and it's the reason why within the past year, my Internet surfing has kept me coming to discussion forums just like this in order to re-connect with other trekkies and see what other people's opinions are.

I've had nearly the exact same thoughts as a lot of the previous posters here:

Firstly, I did feel that, although I liked Kes very much all the way up until the end, Kes's character was weak, underdeveloped and doomed right from the beginning. That wasn't Jennifer Lien's fault at all; I totally put the blame on the writers and the producers 100%, because they are the ones responsible for creating the stories that eventually make it to the TV screen. I believe they were indeed trying to do the Counselor Troi thing, but not necessarily for sex appeal; instead, a character who had special powers and could often be counted on as a plot device to use in tense situations involving alien mental takeovers and such. Every trek series, it seems, needs to have at least one or two characters who are 'immune' to the effects of neural energy-sucking lifeforms or other bizarre spatial phenomena.

Having Kes as the Doctor's assistant was a wasted role; any other science officer, like Ensign Wildman, would've done quite nicely, and then Wildman herself could've had a bigger role on the series than just little Naomi's often-nowhere-to-be-seen mommy. But then that, of course, would've meant a different role for Kes. And that role, as I've often envisioned, could've been that of a naive young alien girl, curious about a universe that she's never gotten to see while never being allowed to leave her homeworld of Ocampa, wanting to be an explorer, just like all of the Voyager crewmembers. She would assume that 'Starfleet training' role that Neelix somewhat had in the early part of the series and that Icheb eventually had at the tail end of the series; she would, in fact, have that constant curiosity about Earth that Neelix had. She would, say three seasons in, have completed her Starfleet training, having gone on REAL away missions and made major contributions to the ship, eventually achieving the rank of cadet. Her character would play well off of Ensign Kim, as he is a recent academy graduate and could help instruct Kes on how to be the best in her class. I would even go as far as to have the pair get romantically involved. Besides her Starfleet training and romance with Ensign Kim, her multi-dimensional character would further consist of her suffering a lot from the ill effects from her powers being undisciplined and unknown, which is where the nurturing of Tuvok would come into play. There would be more dangerous experiments to prolong her lifespan (along the lines of that in "Before And After"), more unexpected abilities (as seen in "The Gift") and more risky developmental sessions where she's wanting to exercise the limits of her powers (as seen in "Cold Fire"). Remember, this is a young girl who is looking at the universe around her for the first time and is excited and curious and enthusiastic about everything around her. Her personality, then, should've been a mixture of Neelix's enthusiasm seen in the first couple of seasons, her carefree spirit exploring new romantic possibilities (as seen in "Darkling") and a mixture of how she behaved in "Warlord" (strong, unpredictable, but sweet all at the same time).

With that being said, I would not have had Kes be romantically involved in Neelix in the series.....or to even have known him at all prior to coming onboard Voyager. Neelix and Kes would have been encountered in two distinct different periods of the show's pilot. Neelix's role, instead, would be more of an aged, well-traveled jack-of-all-trades and nomadic explorer (someone along the lines of TNG's Guinan) who had just about seen and done everything. Therefore, not only would he know just as much about Federation technology as the Voyager crew knows itself, since Talaxian technology would be superior (this would make him a key asset in times of crises where technical know-how is pertinent), his role of a guide (which he held on to up until the third-season 'Nekrit Expanse' episode, "Fair Trade") would be even greater than Seven's assimilated knowledge of the different sectors of space. He had seen and done just about everything until he meets the Caretaker while encountering Voyager, a starship and a crew from the opposite side of the galaxy trying to reach a planet he's never seen called Earth. His Talaxian race were displaced by the Haaokian's metreon cascade (perhaps the story works in a similar fashion to how the Borg destroyed a lot of Guinan's El-Aurian race) and have all become nomadic explorers ever since. Maybe Neelix doesn't even like Kes at first; maybe his years of wisdom and exploring space and meeting all sorts of different alien races has led him to judge the Ocampa as being nothing but troublemakers, and there would be constant conflict between the two of them.

Interesting how in my analysis of Kes here, I've inadvertently created a fix for anyone wanting to give Neelix and Ensign Kim the axe as well :) In summary, it all comes to the writers and the producers. If they had done a better job on their parts, we would've seen these three characters excel and truly wow us, and there would not have been a need to bring along Jeri Ryan as Seven-of-Nine whom, looking back at the big picture now, I truly do feel was brought in to boost the show's ratings with her sex appeal. I didn't know very much about Hollywood and television politics back then (and I still don't, really), but knowing now that TV is all about money and the ratings and about what producers feel the fans want to see, I can see why this was done. Jeri Ryan arriving to boost the show's ratings with her sex appeal and Kes NOT being kept on (even with all of the rumors and speculation and such) because there would be too many main cast members (and thus, cost the producers more money than their original budget) are the only two reasons that make any concrete sense to me now. Yep--money and sex (is this why the two often go so well together?), and that's my final answer :)

I didn't intend to write a novel here, but this is coming from a guy who did use to publish episode reviews on a trek website. I just needed a journalistic outlet in which to express myself in detail :)
 
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Nov 15, 2017
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#49
There is a huge difference between being fired and not having your contract renewed. Draco Weyr is partially right.

Paramount couldn't afford to take the cast to another member and originally Garrett was going to be sacrificed for the introduction of Jeri Ryan. Until he was named Most Beautiful Actor in 1997 thus the producers had a rethink. The decision to let Jennifer go was made very quickly (thus completely shattering her story arch for Year Of Hell)

Kes' final full series regular role in The Gift was written at the last minute (and yes the scene between Lien and Mulgrew in Kes quarters was real emotion by both actresses. Lien didn't want to leave and Mulgrew wanted her to stay) before the episode was made (but after the decision to not renew Lien's contract) it prompted the cast to confront producers and beg for her to stay on. But were hit with a no.

I do not believe in the story Ryan was brought in to sex up the show. I do believe Paramount were wrong in their decision in not wanting to spend money on expanding the cast to one more however. Kes' storyline arch was really interrupted and although Fury was a good final episode for her. It really never touched back to her story from the end of The Gift. The Fury didn't even really close her arch either.

Lien never have a problem with the producers nor the studio and they producers or studio didn't have a problem with Lien. It was a simple case of budget over reason. She gladly returned for The Fury when she was asked. Too many internet rumours.

When she was asked back for the Fury she had been out of the spotlight for a number of years thus gaining weight but it was never a problem in my eyes.

Letting Lien go was probably the biggest mistake Voyager did. That along with Kim not getting promoted (Garrett kinda shot himself in the foot with that being too outspoken and too brash when it came to speaking out about his character in public) and Beltran not being given a much bigger role (I think after his role on L&C he deserved a much bigger character development) and not into a rushed and forced Seven of Nine romance that most fans were/are against.

It kinda lost a little spark after The Gift. Kes was really developing into her own and I think Year of Hell would of been her biggest achievement (Instead Ryan got stuck with rehashed refocused material) Kes story development in Series 3 was fantastic and was a real shame that she never got to live up to the full cast status.

I actually thought the last few series a number of cast members. Torres/Kim/Naomi/Chakotay/Paris/Tuvok had their roles dramatically reduced to fit in Janeway/Seven/Doctor story archs. Even if the last couple of series were awesome.

It would of been nice to see Lien last the full 7 Series but unfortunately that never happened. I believe many fans were upset and annoyed Jen was dropped. It's the reason why she is the point of many fanfics online.

But, yes Jen was sorely missed when she was let go but, she wasn't fired just her contract was not renewed after the end of series 3. Episodes 1 and 2 of series 4 were pay by appearance as far as I am aware.

I always wanted them to do a movie and would of loved Lien to be in that but alas that never happened. The cast wanted it as well. I think it's the reason why Tim Russ continued and went on to be pet project with Renegades.

Anyways that's my two pence. I loved the cast reunion earlier this year. Again though It's a shame Jennifer wasn't apart of it.

(for those who haven't seen it

Part 1 -

Part 2 -
)
 
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Joined
Jan 30, 2018
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#50
For what it's worth, the main reason Jeri Ryan got on Voyager was that she was in a relationship with one of the show's creators. That's the way things often work in Hollywood.
If I'm not mistaken Majel Baret (sp?) was married to Gene Roddenberry and I thought she was absolutely delightful as Troi's mother. ST: TNG is my personal favorite of all the trek incarnations (not sure on star trek, discovery as I don't have internet). But Voyager has its own strengths that I appreciate. I haven't seem them in so long its like they're new to me now. Now that they're on BBC america (for the short free trial I have of that channel), I'm recording all of them. I was quite surprised to see how Lein has changed. I hope she has since found a way out of whatever led her to that arrest. I always liked her character.
 

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