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.
Keep up with news about the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com
Glad he turned it down as I don’t want them together in any timeline lol.
It’s less that I don’t want them together but I’m glad he turned it down because that version of Chakotay doesn’t sound fun or cool at all. Maybe I think like this because I’m Jewish but meh I wouldn’t want to play a fascist version of my character either if I was him.
Very true. I’m also Jewish and wouldn’t want to either.
Well, I’m Jewish, and if the idea behind the part as written was to make a salient point about fascism, I most certainly would do it.
That’s kinda difficult. Because would people understand it the way it was intended. Look at the Empire from Star Wars. There are people convinced that they were right and are actually the good guys.
I agree with Michael Hall in principle, but in the case of Star Wars that’s a good point. I remember seeing an article a few months back that said something like ‘Andor shows Star Wars taking fascism seriously,’ or words to that effect.
Really, I thought, I don’t know how serious they are beyond that particular series. I mean, if they pulled all stormtrooper toys from shelves and encouraged fans to stop dressing as them, that would be serious. Disney and Lucasfilm will never do that, of course, but still.
Yeah Disney and Lucasfilm would never do that. I think that it needs to stop being up to the interpretation of the audience. They need to stop giving them looks that are cool or that could sell toys. Just flat out say that it’s bad, no beating around the bush.
I never buy mirror universe merchandise, or watch those episodes. I will skip them and have no context of what’s happening in the next episode if I need to. I’m not interested, I’m not touching them. Ever.
Sorry for replying to myself but some media I recommend that does exactly this for the most part:
They’re musicals but you can find them for free on YouTube. That’s team Starkid’s The Guy Who Didn’t Like Musicals (TGWDLM for short) and its sequel Black Friday.
The primary message of them is anti-capitalism but there is an underlying message in them that fascism is bad no matter what (both), that it can be easy to fall into if you don’t know what it is (TGWDLM but both in places), and that there is no grey area when it comes to it (Black Friday especially.)
Because shopping on Black Friday is right up there with the Holocaust. Gotcha.
This is a textbook example why the electorate trusts the professional left so implicitly.
(ObTrek: on Prime Day I bought an OLED TV for under $1K, evil capitalist that I am. It makes the darkness of PICARD so much better.)
That’s not what I or the musical said. Good job making assumptions instead of looking them up.
Starkid does some truly awesome social commentary wrapped up in the best musicals I have ever seen. They really are something else.
To be fair, that’s exactly how the prequels portrayed them. With the Jedi turning into this rigid cult like group that forbade all emotion and basically turned Jedi to the dark side rather than the dark Jedi leaving for evil reasons.
Bro. No the Jedi did not turn themselves to the dark side. That was the influence of the chancellor. The prequels did not portray them that way at all either. There was always this underlying message that Anakin was wrong to fall.
It was the whole downfall of Anakin. He wanted his mother in his life. He wanted Padame. The Jedi refused both if he was going to esentially live the life of a Monk. Sure of course Palpatine himself was evil and turned Anakin but anakin had his valid reasons. Sith like Dookou are much harder to define as good vs evil as Palpatine is.
If your goal is to prove my original point, you’re doing a darn good job of it. Way to go.
Also I’m not here to debate Star Wars with you. It was just the first example that came to mind of what I was talking about.
LOL, ok, whatever. You do you.
Anyone saying the Empire are the good guys in Star Wars are likely far-right Nazi types themselves, or merely morons.
That’s not my point. My point is that it’s so predominant within the fandom (I left it and stopped watching Star Wars stuff because of how everywhere it is) that it’s hard to tell which ones are actually fascist and which ones are just morons at risk of indoctrination because they never figured out that the Empire are fascists. And Disney/LF does nothing to discourage it.
There are always going to be people who don’t “get it,” intentionally or otherwise. I don’t know that, were I in a similar situation, I would want that to prevent me from taking a particular role.
Well good for you. I think about these things and what I can do to combat them. Fascism is going nowhere and is instead getting stronger again, and at my core, I am someone that they hate (as I’ve said in many different places on this site.) So for those reasons I could never play a role like that, regardless of context.
Some people are going to be morons, either way. In this increasingly hypothetical scenario, it seems like someone who’s willing to play a villain and then specifically condemn them would be useful, but ydy I guess.
Just like there are anti-diversity Star Trek fans.
I’ve seen some remarkable pro-Trump, pro-Brexit, anti-gay and some downright racist comments here over the years — and some have argued that their views are supported by Trek (I remember a Trexit-supporter arguing that there was no freedom of movement within the Federation).
Back to Star Wars. Some folks love villains – I get that. I doubt most of those folks are pro-fascism. (Also, the earlier SW movies keep it abstract). But, yeah, then you see the arguments on how the Empire keeps the trains running on time…
Right. I’m not talking about people who love villains. My biggest Trek crush is Weyoun, but I’m also super critical of the Dominion during the time of the war and before it.
I’m talking about people who bought into the bs, the people who say that the rebellion are the bad guys because they blew up the death star (the death star which was used to destroy planets.) The people who say that the Alderaanians deserved to be destroyed because they rebelled. Do I think those people are fascists? No but if they aren’t, then they’re sure walking down that path and will end up being ones if they’re not careful.
Or are they just trolling? Or is there a difference anymore?
I’m still bothered more by the MAGA Trek fans. I can’t see how you can watch a show like Trek and be against diversity and social justice. It seems to be baked into the show.
I agree though, I’m also very bothered by that.
Well, FWIW, I agree that true “anti-diversity” messages are incompatible with the society we see in Star Trek.
But the modern gloss that critical race theory, and similar academic fads, have put on diversity? Equally incompatible.
In the very first episode of TNG, we learned that the post-WWIII UN banned the practice of holding individuals accountable for the crimes of their ancestors. That principle would rule out policies like reparations for slavery.
It was also key to the (real life) post-WWII settlement in Europe. Today’s social justice warriors would not have liked the European Coal and Steel Community, surely arguing that “it was built on the back of slave labor” or what not. Indeed, even in the 1950s a joint European Defence Community proved a bridge too far for France and Germany.
Versailles-style reparations led to grievance in Germany and paved the way for a second war. There is every reason to think they would produce similar outcomes today, whether in places like Ukraine or Turkey or domestically in the US.
Or take “infinite diversity in infinite combinations.” That’s the antithesis of idiotic stances such as shaming white guys in Portland for opening a taqueria on “cultural appropriation” grounds.
And if you know Beltran’s twitter history this exactly might be the reason why he didn’t take it. The role might hit to hard to his public persona.
To be fair, it can be hard for victims of violence/hate to turn around and portray that violence and hate themselves. Brock Peters famously was uncomfortable with his racist dialogue in Star Trek VI, as someone who’d endured the Jim Crow era.
Did it make a salient point about fascism, though?
What was it saying?
It just seemed much like Discovery/DS9 Mirror Universe fascism, where everyone is just cartoonishly evil.
Andor’s doing a good job at showing how fascism can creep in and how bureaucratic it can be — even with folks within who may believe they’re doing the right thing.
I kind of wish he had taken it since it was an alternate reality. It would have been interesting to see how Seven would have responded to ending up with that version of Chakotay. Maybe Robert wasn’t clear that it was an alternate version of the character for some reason.
One of the worst characters in the star trek universe. Oooocoochiemoyaaaaaa.
It’s particulary galling because he’s a composite Hollywood Indian (seven years and we still don’t know what tribe he’s enrolled with, or even whether he’s from North America or Central America), with a Maori tattoo, portrayed by a non-Native actor. This severely degraded the credibility of VOY.
Unlike Sean Connery and Tom Hanks, this one doesn’t get filed under “missed Trek opportunities.”
I know that he was Human, but wasn’t he supposed to be from one of the Planets colonized by Indians that were given to the Cardassians?
If so that could explain the amalgam.
Well, Robert Beltran is a Mexican-American…
You know who else was a Mexican actor playing some that wasn’t a Mexican?
It’s a problem, and it’s just as much the fault of the franchise and who casted for it as much as the actors.
Surely you are not equating “Hispanic” with “Native American.” Read up on the Pueblo Revolt and Juan de Oñate at Acoma.
Kiwi here. Just FYI, Chakotay does not have a Māori tattoo. (The rest I agree with.)
Very happy he turned the role down.
Ran in to Robert Beltran at the DMV in Burbank once. He was in line behind me. I always liked that he was outspoken about how the character was handled during the Voyager run. I think he was right.
Eh? I think that would have been an interesting place to stick his character and kind of cool to see. (Though I think Jon Jon Briones did a better job than he would have done.)
Yeah, i’m not a huge fan of the character, but that’s a clever way of having him pop up. Wouldn’t add much, but wouldn’t take anything away, either.
I agree that that was a cool idea. Jon Briones was perfectly fine, but arbitrary. How interesting would it have been to see alternate timeline fascist Chakotay get vaporized. Very weird/in universe and leaves us wondering about the real character. I’m bummed that he’s not a bigger nerd and didn’t go for it. However, from what I’ve read, Star Trek was not the happiest of experiences for him and I’m happy for him that he wasn’t hungry enough for money to do something that didn’t sit well with him.
It would have been interesting to see Seven cut him down. Would be extremely emotional for her. Also, Briones, probably due to height primarily, didn’t seem a match to Seven.
Would’ve loved to see Chakotay but glad he turned this down. I want to see the original version. I’m happy he’s going to be in Prodigy next season again. The season sounds like it will be trying to get him back from the 25th century so can’t wait.
Love Voyager. Definitely was underused. Chakotay is cool
I hated this storyline. Good for Beltran.
He made the right call. Glad he turned it down.
He didn’t miss a thing, and neither did the audience…
All I have to say here is that Beltran was VERY wise to bail out of that train wreck of an episode.
Speaking of Living Witness. I always thought it would be cool if Discovery did an Episode where we saw the version of the Doctor from that EP that finally returned to the Federation.
I don’t blame him, although it would have been great to see. Perhaps if he had played a larger redemptive roll in season 2 it would have been an amazing opportunity to resurrect him. But Beltran is hard to like since he seems chronically miserable.
I disagree. He may be a curmudgeon but that is with reason. Think about it. Voyager became the Seven of Nine show, similar to introducing Urkel to Family Matters. His character was discarded seasons before the end of the show, and he became essentially a filler character with some tremendously lackluster episodes where he was the A Storyline. Pair this with one of TELEVISIONS worse endings of all time. I completely understand why he is pissy about Voyager and Chakotay. It was a complete cluster by the end of that show.
I kind of wish that had happened — but I respect the guy for turning it down because it didn’t work for him. I’d enjoy seeing him pop up someplace else in live action eventually.
Thank God, like who wants to see that?
So it’s perfectly ok to be nasty as long as its towards an actor who played a character you didn’t like. Sad.
Glad he turned down the season 2 idea but even happier that he wasn’t offered season 3. I’m sure we all know he will be ok at the end of Prodigy but it’s too soon to make that a certainty.
Fair play to him, whilst some characters took on a massive paycheck he turned it down on principle.
the 7/chakotay thing was a joke anyway, badly handled in the finale
His decision makes sense. After the backlash of Icheb in season 1, I assume this would have caused an even bigger controversy. Also, Chakotay/Seven was the worst romance on all of Star Trek (which is saying a lot, because Star Trek isn’t really good at romances), so we better try and forget about that unneccessary last minute addition to Voyager’s story.
Good for Beltran! The writing for S2 of Picard was shockingly bad and that resulted in a second season that one could compare to the Enterprise finale, These are the Yoyages or to the movies Star Trek V or X. In other words, disasterously terrible.
Fortunately for us fans, he did jump onto the Prodigy train and maybe he will reappear in some future live action role, should a Picard spinoff get greenlit.
Yeah, glad he contributed substantially to Prodigy even if he didn’t take on this role.
I’m glad he said no. He’s just not a strong actor.
I’m not sure it’s necessary to pick on him as an actor…
No one here is picking on him.
Let me rephrase: I don’t think it’s necessary to criticize his acting.
….in your opinion.
I am glad Robert Beltran didn’t accept that role on STP, as President Hansen’s Spouse. It was a lack luster story arch anyways, and would not have promoted the character of Chakotay in a good light.
7 of 9 is with Raffy , that’s the way the show was headed with or without Chakotay. A unknown Spouse for President Hansen works much better than bringing on Chakotay, just to have Hansen Dear Jane letter him…
Chakotay deserves much better than that…
And 7 n Raffy are an item now so STP story moves on.
We’d have gotten closure on how that relationship ended from Seven’s own lips. That’s really the only benefit besides getting to see Beltran again. After so many years though, having an actor come back just to be a thinly-written evil twin propping up a supporting character… Good on him for turning it down on principle.
As much as I don’t care for either Chakotay or Beltran, I’m pleased Beltran made the right decision here. It would have made Season 2 slightly worse than it already is.
Seven and Raffi were an item for all of 10 minutes. They held hands for two seconds in season one, then spent all of season two bickering awkwardly like people who didn’t like each other, then were already broken up by the time season three began. Their romance was basically a non-starter, a momentary blip soon forgotten. And that’s a good thing since the actors and the characters had no onscreen couple chemistry whatsoever. They were even less interesting and less long-lived than Seven and Chakotay,
It just seemed like the romance happened because the writers didn’t know what else to do with the characters.
Well, something of their relationship will happen, since Seven and Raffie will cross paths when Worf and Picard do.
Ha! I knew it!!
As in, I already had my suspicions, that the Magistrate could just as well have been Alternate Chakotay!
(Of course, that’s easy to claim now, when the cat is out of the back, so I suppose you just have to take my word for it…)
I’m just picturing the scene in my head where they’re on La Sirena…
Seven: We’re on a classified mission.
Chakotay: OH really? What’s my name?
Chakotay: Well that checks out. Good luck on your mission.
Yeah, that was pretty much the only point in the plot where using Chakotay wouldn’t have worked.
(So, it was probably written in after Robert Beltran already turned down the role.)
That was a smart move.
Honestly that would have been such fun for an alternate universe! Definitely not for the original tho. Seven is better with Raffi imo. Kinda sad Beltran didn’t see the bigger picture on that one…
Chakotay is one of my favorite characters, so I rather see him in a better role then in a evil mirror verse role. Thank god he turned it down.
I am from Bakersfield. I believe Robert is as well. I acted in high school and college. Saw the impact Hollywood had on a few friends that acted there. Mr. Beltran is a fabulous actor. I hope his pursuits are always a good fit.
I thought the first episode story line of a rebellious crew on a trapped federation ship had great potential. That’s what sold the series and the character of Chakotay.
But once the show was greenlit, that all fell out the starships window. It’s not Beltrans fault the writing for the show was weak, and tossed this storyline and his character to the solar winds.
Nor was it Beltrans fault he was chosen to play an American Indian. He is an actor. What they do is act, they assume the character of someone they are not. Should Daniel Day Lewis be condemned because he wasn’t a deformed freak, yet played one in The Elephant Man? Should we boycott The Wizard of OZ because Dorthy was not played by an actual Oakie?
I would like to watch a return to his character in live action Star Trek. Maybe if they did this correctly, he’d play it this time around. Good for him for turning down this terribly ephisode in a bad season of Picard.
Regular Chakotay is a must, not an alternate version. Great choice in turning down.
I wonder if Chakotay is exclusive to Prodigy like Janeway.
Is Janeway exclusive to Prodigy?
According to Kate Mulgrew, she is.
The best thing I saw in Picard season 3 is Seven as captain. A spinoff series with her as captain, and Janeway as some sort of mentor, would be great to see. I’m sure there is also much more to explore between Seven’s human self and her connection to the Borg. She is a standout character in the whole of Star Trek and surely deserves her own show.
Good to see that he turned it down. As I recall, Nimoy turned down Generations as well.
Given the nonsense he had to put up with for seven years, I don’t blame him one bit for turning down another chance to look stupid.
I think he made the right call on this one.
Considering this is the last outing for most of these legacy characters, I can understand why he wouldn’t want Chakotay to have come back and died as a fascist. Even the alternative future in the Voyager finale where Chakotay is a gravestone is better than that.
Sure he did
“Hey, you are one of the most poorly written characters in all of Star Trek! Want to appear in one of the most poorly written tv seasons in all of Star Trek?”
Why didn’t he say yes??