Star Trek: Voyager Cast Disagree On Crucial Episode Decision

By Douglas Helm | Published

Many great sci-fi stories make you think, offering morally gray situations that don’t always have a clear and correct answer. One of the great moral dilemmas from the always thought-provoking Star Trek was in the episode “Tuvix” of Star Trek: Voyager. The moral dilemma in this episode is so significant that even the cast of Voyager is debating the decision almost 28 years later during a panel at the Trek Talks 3 fundraising event.

The Cast Discusses The Controversial Episode 28 Years Later

If you haven’t seen the episode “Tuvix” from Star Trek: Voyager, it centers on the titular character, played by Tom Wright, who became a person after the characters Tuvok (Tim Russ) and Neelix (Ethan Philips) accidentally combined in a transporter accident.

In the episode, Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) decides to bring Neelix and Tuvok back by separating them, which essentially means Tuvix dies. The panel at Trek Talk 3 included cast members Ethan Philips, Tim Russ, Tom Wright, Garret Wang (Harry Kim), Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris), and Voyager writer Lisa Klink as they debated and gave their stance on Janeway’s decision.

Tim Russ Agrees With Janeway’s Decision

“Tuvix” is one of Star Trek: Voyager’s most complex and controversial episodes, so these are tricky waters to navigate, but it’s exciting hearing what the cast thought about it. Tim Russ, who played Tuvok, felt like Janeway was in the right, saying, “he [Tuvix] cannot reproduce as a species… I believe that point is made [in the episode], there is no other of his kind… He’s an anomaly, whereas the crewpeople that he has replaced already have a family, we have lives.”

Ethan Phillips Remains Torn

Meanwhile, Ethan Phillips, who plays Neelix, wasn’t sure what the right answer was, saying, “By executing Tuvix, she’s not making up for a murder or anything like that,” adding, “He has almost like it’s a right to live because of this accident… I wouldn’t know where to begin to decide.

Robert Duncan McNeill Thinks The Captain Made The Wrong Decision

Garrett Wang wanted a happy ending for all the characters, saying he wished there was a way for Tuvok and Neelix to come back while Tuvix also still existed. Robert Duncan McNeill took a similar stance, saying that since Star Trek: Voyager has “made-up science,” there could have been a way for the writers to bring him back.

He also added that he didn’t like seeing Janeway make the decision, saying, “I watched it again today and watching Janeway have to make this decision and the way she has to do it in such a kind of cold manner, I felt like it kind of hurt her character—I’ll be honest—a little bit.”

Why The Writers Wanted Janeway To Make The Call

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While an easy solution wouldn’t have been very interesting, McNeill did make the better suggestion of having Tuvix decide to sacrifice himself rather than having Janeway make the decision. However, writer Lisa Klink added that avenue was considered but ultimately decided to have Janeway make the call, saying, “we realized that we wanted to put Janeway in a really difficult position.”

“It’s much more dramatically interesting if she has to make that really, really difficult call than if he did heroically sacrifice himself…  You want to torture your characters as much as possible,” added Klink. Of course, Klink is definitely right on this one, as Star Trek: Voyager and the other Star Trek shows wouldn’t be nearly as thought-provoking if there was just an easy way out of every dilemma.

Tuvix Agree’s With The Decision

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Even Tom Wright, Tuvix himself, agreed that Captain Janeway made the right call. He explained that he would have loved to continue to play the character “for forever and ever” on Star Trek: Voyager, but gave his stance saying, “I saw that he had to go.”

“There wasn’t enough justification for losing two entities for the sake of one,” Wright added. Ultimately, the beautiful thing about this episode is that everyone will inevitably have their own take on what is right or wrong about the decision.

The Star Trek franchise is one that frequently asks the hard questions, and it’s a testament to the writing and the performances that people are still talking about this episode nearly three decades later.

Stream The Tuvix Episode On Paramount+

If you want to see the full discussion about the “Tuvix” episode and other discussions about Star Trek: Voyager from the cast and writers, make sure to check out the Trek Talks panel. The Trek Talks event is for a good cause, too, the Hollywood Food Coalition. If you want to rewatch the episode beforehand, you can stream it over on Paramount+.Source: Trek Talks

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