Star Trek: Picard has seen a number of actors reprise their legacy roles over three seasons, but it turns out there was one actor who chose not to come back, giving up the opportunity for a reunion with his Voyager costar Jeri Ryan.
Beltran said no to ‘Picard’
Season 3 of Picard has ramped up the level of legacy characters on the show in a big way, with more coming. In February, a fan expressed frustration on Twitter that the list of legacy stars in season 3 did not include Star Trek: Voyager’s Robert Beltran, and the actor responded by revealing he’d had an offer, but turned it down:
I was offered an episode (first 2 then1) in Picard but I simply did not like what they had written for Chakotay so I turned them down. I won’t go into detail but I have no animosity toward the Picard producers at all. ST Prodigy offers a Chakotay that I AM enthusiastic about.
Beltran is already part of the ongoing story of the animated series Star Trek: Prodigy and is expected to return in the upcoming second season as the disappearance of Captain Chakotay is investigated by Admiral Janeway and the Prodigy kids.
No Fascist Chakotay
Out of curiosity, TrekMovie turned to Picard season 3 showrunner Terry Matalas to see if there are any details behind the story that could be revealed. The executive producer confirmed that a part was offered to Beltran; however, it was not for season 3. The role the team had in mind for him was in the second episode of season 2 titled “Penance,” co-written by Matalas. In that episode, Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of La Sirena found themselves in an alternate universe where the pluralistic Federation was swapped out for the fascistic Confederation of Earth. Each Picard character found themselves taking over their alt-universe counterparts, which included Seven finding herself as the President of the Confederation.
According to Matalas, Beltran was being considered early on in the process, and he told TrekMovie, “We didn’t go too far with it.” The first draft of the script had Chakotay as the Confederation’s “First Magistrate” and husband to President Hansen, which Matalas thought was a “cool idea” based on the character’s history from Star Trek: Voyager. Terry confirms that just as in the final version, this alternate Magistrate was the main villain of the episode, which apparently didn’t sit well with the actor (as noted in his tweet). After Beltran said no, the part was rewritten, with the Magistrate role going to Jon Jon Briones, father of Picard season 1 and 2 star Isa Briones. The Magistrate character also appeared in the third episode, “Assimilation,” where he was killed off.
Seven/Chakotay began on Voyager
Pairing up Seven of Nine and Chakotay picks up on the romance between the two characters, which was introduced in the final episodes of Voyager’s seventh and final season. The two were planning their fourth date in the series finale (“Endgame”) and future Admiral Janeway revealed they did get married in what became an alternate timeline. In that future, Seven was killed on a mission in 2381 and Chakotay died in 2394. The series finale left the couple’s future open-ended; however, this storyline hasn’t been mentioned in any follow-up iteration of Star Trek, including Picard and Prodigy.
The Confederation Universe had some similarities to Trek’s familiar Mirror Universe. During the seven seasons of Voyager, the show never did an episode set in the Mirror Universe, so Beltran never had a chance to play Mirror Chakotay. However, he did once play a sort of evil version of Chakotay in the episode “Living Witness,” which featured a false narrative simulation that told the story of a conquering aggressive “Warship Voyager.”
The third and final season of Picard premiered on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., and Latin America, and on February 17 Paramount+ in Europe and elsewhere, with new episodes of the 10-episode-long season available to stream weekly. It also debuted on Friday, Feb. 17 internationally on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories. In Canada, it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.
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