Robert Beltran wasn’t happy with his character
As Star Trek: Voyager entered its fourth season and Jeri Ryan took a prominent place aboard the ship as the former Borg drone Seven of Nine, stories for other characters became smaller. For a while, while getting Seven acclimated to the ship, many story lines focused on her and her reintroduction to humanity. That left little room for further development of the characters who’d been with the series from the beginning, a fact that Robert Beltran didn’t appreciate.
According to What Culture, the actor, who portrayed Commander Chakotay, decided that he no longer wanted to be with the series. To that end, he intended to get the producers to remove him from Voyager with a simple plan. Just keep asking for more and more money each season until they deemed him not worth the price he was asking. That didn’t happen.
Paramount kept Robert Beltran aboard the ship
Fortunately, Paramount had the deep pockets it needed to meet Beltran’s demands and keep him as part of the series until the very end. Though his role was diminished on Voyager, Chakotay was a solid character that Captain Janeway and the other crew members needed. In fact, he was instrumental in breaking through B’Elanna Torres’ wall of grief in the season five episode “Extreme Risk.” In addition, the seventh season episode “Shattered,” in which Chakotay has to guide Captain Janeway through a time-separated ship in order to realign Voyager to her time, proved to be one of the best time travel episodes of Star Trek.
So though Robert Beltran wasn’t entirely happy with his role while he was filming Voyager, there were episodes and scenes that made his character necessary. Losing him during the run of the series would have been difficult, adding a burden of grief to the crew who’d already lost so much. And Voyager would not have been the same without the calm and rational Commander Chakotay.