Season four of Star Trek: Voyager offered some of the best episodes of the series.
With episodes like Day of Honor, Year of Hell, and The Killing Game, just to name a few, season four of Star Trek: Voyager delivered some of the finest episodes of the series. The final episode of the season, Hope and Fear, though, wasn’t a cliffhanger, and while entertaining, it didn’t have the power behind it like earlier episodes had. Things would have been different if the pitch from the series previous showrunner, Michael Piller, had been accepted.
In Piller’s proposal, as shown by Trek Docs, the series season four finale, entitled “Be Careful What You Wish For,” brought back Q to send the Voyager senior staff, which included Captain Janeway, Commander Chakotay, Ensign Kim, Lt. Paris, Seven of Nine, and Lt. Torres, home, but with caveats, just like everything Q did. After one week at home, the crew members would have to decide whether they wanted to remain at home or return to Voyager. But Piller pitched this as a lottery, writing that of the seven that were sent back, three would stay on Earth possibly.
This, of course, is a game to Q, and everyone who was sent back has to return to a certain place at a certain time, or they would be left behind. And Piller ended his pitch with: “In the end, they all make it and decide to return to Voyager. Or do they? Is there any value in some of the characters actually staying at home?”
How different would Star Trek: Voyager have been without three of its main characters?
While Piller wrote that Starfleet could assign officers to replace those who stayed behind on Earth, it wouldn’t have been that easy. On top of that, fans would have lost three of their favorite characters. Can you imagine what that would have done to ratings? This could have been one of those situations that either worked really well or failed fantastically.
There could always have been a way to retrieve those characters at the beginning of the fourth season, but to end with a cliffhanger like this would have been really risky. Piller’s proposal meant that some of the senior crew wouldn’t have returned to Voyager at all. That would not have gone over well, especially since fans have their favorites. There is simply no way we could have chosen three members we’d be okay with losing, and we can’t imagine the producers would have had an easy time of it, either. Perhaps this is why Piller’s pitch didn’t go anywhere.