Star Trek Killed Beloved Hero Because of Online Controversy?

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

star trek icheb

The third season of Star Trek: Picard got major props from the fandom for bringing back favorite characters such as Worf and Dr. Crusher. However, the show had previously brought back some legacy characters and mistreated them, with the most notable example being the extremely gruesome death of Voyager character Icheb. As his eye was being torn out, fans wondered what the character did to deserve such a gory fate, but there may be a possible answer: some Star Trek fans have a theory the character was brutally murdered onscreen due to online controversy caused by the original Icheb actor.

Icheb In Star Trek: Voyager

star trek icheb

To understand how weird all of this is, you may need a refresher on who this character is. In Star Trek: Voyager, Icheb is a former Borg drone that Captain Janeway brings aboard the ship, where the Doctor is able to remove most of the Borg parts so that he can regain his individuality and grow up as a normal (albeit utterly brilliant in fields such as astrophysics) young man. He eventually became so enamored of Starfleet that he planned to enroll in Starfleet Academy when the ship returned to the Alpha Quadrant, and Star Trek: Picard showed that he not only graduated from the academy but was now a lieutenant aboard the USS Coleman.

Icheb And Seven Of Nine

Seven of Nine had also returned with Voyager, and Icheb kept in contact with her even after she joined a vigilante group known as the Fenris Rangers. Unfortunately, this would prove to be his undoing: one of Seven’s Ranger colleagues learned about Icheb from her, but Seven had no way of knowing this woman was actually a broker in Borg technology (considered very valuable by those who wanted to exploit it for their own uses). 

Icheb’s Death

As Star Trek: Picard shows in graphic detail, Icheb was then lured into a trap where his remaining Borg components were forcibly removed, and upon his request, Seven of Nine killed the mortally wounded officer with a phaser while apologizing and calling him “my child.”

Icheb Was A Vital Part Of Voyager

star trek icheb

If you haven’t watched much Star Trek: Voyager, I can’t emphasize this enough: Icheb wasn’t some minor character but instead a major part of that show’s storylines for its final two years. He was the rare kid character that most fans actually loved (much more likable than Wesley Crusher, though that is faint praise indeed), so the fandom was understandably confused when Picard brought Icheb back with a different actor and then brutally murdered him. Nobody immediately knew why the Star Trek writers would do this, but it didn’t take long for some fans to develop a theory.

The Theory

Back on Star Trek: Voyager, Icheb was played by Manu Intiraymi, but when the character was brought back for Picard, he was played by Casey King. None of the other legacy characters were recast (other than the one-episode character Bruce Maddox), so why recast a beloved character only to graphically show his torture and death? According to the theory, it’s because Intiraymi has proven to be very controversial on social media.

Allegations Of Racism And Victim Blaming

As some Twitter-savvy Star Trek fans can tell you, the former Icheb actor is no stranger to online controversy. At one point, he angered many when he went on the platform and declared that any Latinos who supported former President Donald Trump were “the epitome of stupidity.” A few years later, he admitted that he had engaged in “systematic racism” toward a half-Mexican friend in middle school and high school–this was meant to be a post illustrating the racism permeating “small towns across the USA,” but it, combined with the previous post, was enough to make some people label him a racist.

It’s possible the “racist” label some Star Trek fans were applying to him would have been enough to seal the Icheb character’s fate, but according to the theory, the real kiss of death was multiple Twitter posts made in response to Discovery actor Anthony Rapp accusing Kevin Spacey of sexually assaulting him when he was a teenager. In these posts, Manu Intiraymi speculated that Spacey didn’t know Rapp’s “exact age” and that “not much of anything really happened.” 

This eventually descended into a Twitter meltdown where the Icheb actor insisted what Rapp alleged “isn’t assault…This is just life,” claiming he would have had sex with Spacey if he was a 14-year-old being hit on, and that the allegations and fan rage were just “witch hunt liberal p***y nonsense.”


At this point, we must note that Kevin Spacey was later acquitted in a London court after sexual assault charges were brought against him. But that happened in 2023, well after Star Trek: Picard killed Icheb’s character in the first season. Intraymi claims he doesn’t know why he didn’t get invited back for the show, but many fans think that he was essentially blacklisted by Paramount for making such insensitive comments about a fellow Star Trek actor.

Speaking of which, Discovery actor Anthony Rapp later forgave the former Icheb actor, and it’s always possible the role was recast because of age (Icheb popped up in a flashback scene where he was in his 20s, and producers may not have thought someone in his 40s could pass for that age). Between Spacey’s acquittal and Rapp’s forgiveness, it’s always possible that Intiraymi could return to the franchise. We’ll just have to keep both eyes out, something that poor Icheb could no longer do after his brutal onscreen torture. 

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