Kate Mulgrew Wanted To Kill Captain Janeway

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Kate Mulgrew captain janeway star trek

While Star Trek: Voyager had a solid finale episode (something I can’t say about Star Trek: Enterprise), many fans were surprised by some of the storytelling decisions, including bringing in a time-traveling Admiral Janeway who then had to sacrifice herself to defeat the Borg.

Some thought this was a bit disrespectful, though it was arguably in line with the Deep Space Nine finale where Sisko’s attempt to sacrifice his own life was only prevented (kind of) by the Prophets. However, it was Kate Mulgrew who wanted to kill Captain Janeway, and the series finale was the result of writers trying to make her wish come true.

An Odd Request

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In retrospect, this request feels a bit weird: as I touched on before, Avery Brooks’ Captain Sisko has a kinda-sorta death in the Deep Space Nine finale, but that didn’t happen at the direct request of the actor.

Why, then, did Kate Mulgrew want to see Captain Janeway pay the ultimate price? Interestingly, it was part of her desire to end the series on the highest possible note and to give the fans (at least, some of the fans) what they wanted in a series finale.

A Poignant Ending

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Even before Kate Mulgrew knew what the finale would entail for Captain Janeway, she thought that it should be a “poignant ending” that is unprecedented, bold, and rather stunning.”

She wasn’t quite sure what that would look like, but she was both inspired and emboldened by fans who thought it would be fitting for Janeway to go down with the ship. Once she discovered this, Mulgrew felt “That’s the truest to the entire story, and that’s the way it should be.”

Kate Mulgrew Wanted Janeway To Thread A Needle

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Understandably, Kate Mulgrew held plenty of sway over the Star Trek: Voyager writers, particularly when it came to all things Janeway.

She ended up passing her fan-inspired request to those writers but with a slight caveat: “I think Janeway has to go down with the ship,” she said, “but not at the full cost of her being.”

She realized she was asking the writers to thread a very delicate needle but was adamant that “we had to figure out how to do that.”

An Alternate Ending

The Voyager writers were happy to honor Kate Mulgrew’s request, but they originally had a very different idea for Janeway’s sacrifice.

In an early version of the story, Janeway would surrender the ship to the Borg for assimilation, but it was all part of a secretive ploy to install a kind of reverse assimilation virus into the Collective.

This would have allowed the crew to use a Borg transwarp conduit to get back home quicker, and the results of that virus were going to free Seven of Nine entirely from the Borg.

Meeting Kate Mulgrew’s Request

It was a really cool idea (parts of which were adapted for the earlier Voyager two-parter episode “Unimatrix Zero”), and it was meant to include a show-stopping shot of an entire Borg fleet approaching Earth before Voyager burst out from one of the vessels, causing all of the enemy ships to explode.

Instead, we got the “Endgame” ep you know and love, one that retained the Borg battle but had a bitter Janeway travel from the future to save the past. 

Conveniently, this allowed the writers to fully meet Kate Mulgrew’s request for Captain Janeway by having the older version sacrifice herself to save everyone and still having “our” Janeway make it back home.

Kate Mulgrew In Star Trek

star trek kate mulgrew

Since Kate Mulgrew’s Captain Janeway returned to the Alpha Quadrant, she has popped up in Star Trek: Nemesis and Star Trek: Prodigy. However, I can’t get over the fact that if the Voyager writers had honored her request in a slightly different way, this legendary captain would have been killed.

Fortunately, whether it’s coffee in that nebula or just keeping fans happy, Mulgrew has now embraced the many reasons to keep Janeway alive. 

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