Robert Beltran wanted a more optimistic Chakotay, so he turned down Picard

Star Trek: Prodigy. Image Courtesy Nickelodeon, CBS Television Studios
Star Trek: Prodigy. Image Courtesy Nickelodeon, CBS Television Studios /

Star Trek: Picard wanted to get Robert Beltran to reprise Chakotay alongside Star Trek: Prodigy.

Robert Beltran is most known to Star Trek fans for his portrayal of Chakotay, the second-in-command of the U.S.S. Voyager in the Star Trek: Voyager series. Beltran had a great run on the show, making Chakotay a fan-favorite for his spirituality, his even-keel approach, and his affinity for his captain, Kathryn Janeway.

Beltran wasn’t too keen on how Voyager went at the time and for the longest while it didn’t appear that he’d return to the franchise. That said, Beltran would in fact return for Star Trek’s second animated series of the Nu Trek era, entitled Prodigy. He would voice a still fairly young Chakotay, who ends up getting lost in the Delta Quadrant.

His disappearance and subsequent search are the catalysts for most of the show, and his involvement will surely grow in season two. Yet, his return may have predated Prodigy by a bit, as the folks at Picard wanted to bring Chakotay in for their second season.

When a fan brought up how “wrong” it was that Picard ignored Beltran’s character of Chakotay, Beltran pointed out that he turned them down. goes and explores further into this statement and reveals that Chakotay was going to be used in the alternate timeline that we saw in the first few episodes of the second season. He would e married to Seven of Nine and serve as the First Magistrate 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."

Beltran was not happy with the negative portrayal of his character, apparently and so he opted to say no to the role.

Robert Beltran made the right call to avoid Star Trek: Picard

Beltran made the right call to not appear on Picard. Picard’s portrayal of legacy characters in the Trek franchise has been slammed numerous times and to see Beltran return as a villainous Chakotay, a version of the character no one wanted to see, would’ve just further cemented the show’s reputation of tearing down iconic characters.

Instead, Beltran gets to return as a more optimistic, well-liked, and fan-accurate version of Prodigy. A role that will surely bring fans far more joy than the perpetual grim-dark Picard ever could have.

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