On Star Trek: Voyager, Captain Kathryn Janeway had her hands full trying to adhere to the tenets of Starfleet and get her crew through the Alpha Quadrant and safely home. She made mistakes along the way. Who wouldn’t in her position? But an undeveloped episode, pitched by Ron D. Moore, had the crew she was trying to protect responsible for deciding her fate when she was on trial.
Giving that kind of power to the crew, the ability to strip Janeway of her command, would have been unnerving. Though we know no one is immune to having their power questioned, having the crew decide whether or not Captain Janeway can maintain control of Voyager could have caused conflicts among them.
Who would have been on the jury, of sorts? Certainly not Commander Chakotay as he would have been the next captain of Voyager so he had too much of an invested interest even if he could remain impartial. Tuvok was one of Janeway’s closest friends, but if she had committed some type of crime, most likely, he would have been the one to investigate it, unless she came forward herself. Lt. Paris could have been on the jury, but the captain had gotten him out of prison. Would he be willing to strip her of command? And what about B’Elanna? Though she and Janeway clashed at first, they developed respect for one another as B’Elanna had been placed in command of the engineering department.
Having the crew be responsible for the command structure would have, as Moore explained, “called into question the entire structure of the show as well as the entire social fabric,” and would have brought up a lot of questions that could have led to some dramatic episodes afterwards.
If a captain of a starship can be removed from command without a mutiny, how much damage does that do to the rest of the crew? With Voyager in the Delta Quadrant and without the benefit of Starfleet Command to guide them, the crew would have had to make a difficult decision that could have had repercussions for a long time which makes me glad this particular storyline wasn’t covered.