While Star Trek: Voyager recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, the sci-fi series could have had a very different look, according to Bryan Fuller.
Fuller penned 81 episodes for Voyager, including the fourth season episode “Year of Hell.” The two-parter, considered a highlight of the series, takes a dip into time travel, as a ship capable of temporal destruction from the menacing Krenim wreaks havoc on the titular vessel. After months of intense battle, Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) sacrifices herself by destroying the time ship, resetting the timeline in the process. But according to Fuller, this theme was initially pitched to stretch beyond two episodes.
“The Year of Hell’ and the behind-the-scenes drama not only to craft episode but that season, was fascinating because we wanted ‘Year of Hell’ to last the entire season,” Fuller said when talking about his time with Voyager on the Inglorious Treksperts podcast. “We wanted to see Voyager get its ass kicked every episode and through that season was going to be marbled the story of Annorax and the time ship that was changing things. So, we would go back to it every once in a while to remind the audience that is the larger story.”
Fuller went on to explain some of his wishes for the originally-envisioned season, including episodes where Janeway and Voyager weren’t seen at all. According to Fuller, these episodes would serve to give the viewer an insight into the people who were on the escape pods “trying to find a new source of power or safety.”
Ultimately the idea was rejected by Voyager co-creator and executive producer Rick Berman. “I remember [showrunner Brannon Baga] going over to Rick’s office with all of this enthusiasm,” said Fuller, “and coming back broken and his head hanging low and having to break it to the writing staff. We all felt like we were doing it, we are making great Star Trek. For him to come back and say we can’t and we can only do two episodes as opposed to twenty-two, it was heartbreaking.”
Though Star Trek would eventually make the pivot back to serialized storytelling with recent series Discovery and Picard, Fuller’s story shows that the possibility existed long before then.
KEEP READING: Star Trek: When The Rock Fought Seven of Nine
Voyager writer and producer Bryan Fuller reveals that the time-traveling dramatic “Year of Hell” episode was meant to be a long-term story arc.