The reason why Kes was forced to leave Voyager
And why actress Jennifer Lien was fired
There have been a lot of questions and rumors about why Kes was written off the story and why Jennifer Lien (who plays the character Kes) was fired. I have sorted out the information available and this seems to be the true, sad story.
It started with one producer who wanted a new character, most of all a "sexy" character in the story to get the ratings up. So a new character was to be introduced, Seven Of Nine. Then obviously one had to go. But who?
Apparently the first choice was Harry Kim. But when a poll in a stupid magazine showed him among the top 50 they decided to keep him and fire Jennifer Lien instead.
There is still some questions about who was responsible for the brutal firing of Jennifer Lien and why they did it. Maybe they just choose the most shy and friendly person of the cast because they knew that she wouldn't start to argue about it?
So Kes was deleted and actress Jennifer Lien fired. What a way to treat a talented actress who have contributed so much to the show! According to reports, Kate Mulgrew (Janeway) and the other actors were very upset by the way their good friend and colleague was treated. But the narrow-minded producers had made their decision and so it would be.
According to what Ethan Phillips (Neelix) said at a convention, Jennifer Lien didn't know that she was going to be fired until they gave her the script for the episode "The Gift". The people in charge of the Star Trek Empire do have a nice way to treat their actors, don't they?
And then Kes was gone and instead the new character Seven Of Nine became the main character while Janeway and the others have become more and less second-hand characters or moving images in the background. What a sad end to such a promising show! And the story in "The Gift" was indeed very thin, bad and not convincing at all. It seems like it was written in a hurry, just to get rid of Kes as soon as possible.
When the producers wrote off Kes and fired Jennifer Lien they wrote off one of the most interesting characters in Star Trek (and indeed fired one of the best actors). Kes was not only very beautiful, she was also a fascinating character. Despite the fact that the character Kes was an alien from another planet, she had a lot of humanity in her. A warm, friendly, intelligent character who tried to learn as much as possible and always tried to be friendly and helpful. In that way she was a contrast to the other more "action-minded" characters in the story. But Kes wasn't a frail, scared little girl. She had courage, a strong will and strong unusual mental powers which she used more than once to save the ship and it's crew. In fact, some of the best Voyager stories, like "Persistence Of Vision", "Warlord" and "Cold Fire" had Kes as the main character. With better writers and producers she could have developed into an even more interesting character.
When Kes was deleted and Jennifer Lien fired it was the end of Star Trek and the spirit of the show.
There is also a lot of questions concerning why Kes was written off and why Jennifer Lien was so brutally fired. First, why do we have to read and hear all the silly explanations and lies from the producers like "The character Kes wasn’t working. We couldn’t develop it and we couldn’t write any good stories about it". Nonsense! If someone wasn’t working then it was the producers and the writers. Do they have so few ideas and so little imagination? In fact, Kes was one of the most interesting characters in the whole Star Trek history and with better writers she could have turned into something great. Episodes like "Cold Fire" "Persistence Of Vision", "Before And After", "Warlord" and "Time And Again" shows clearly what an interesting character Kes was and could have been. Instead they turned her into just an assistant to the Doctor before finally dropping her. What a waste! And if the producers and writers found the Ocampa nine-year life-span so obstructive, as they sometimes declare, they could easily have changed that by letting Kes for example, meet a friendly alien who gives her a life-span of, let’s say 200 years if necessary. Or something like that. But they didn’t have neither the will, nor the skill to figure out such a change. And those silly explanations are only made to hide the real truth. Jennifer Lien was fired because someone wanted a "sexy" character in and one of the original cast had to go.
Personally I think that if they really had to add a new character, then all the other main characters should have remained in the series. No one should have been kicked out!
In the 6th season of Voyager, "Kes" did return. But it was a return that we could have been without. It was in an episode called "Fury" but unfortunately it was a terrible episode that totally humiliated the character Kes. The "Kes" who showed up in "Fury" was a very tragic character who had very little resemblance to the Kes that we all liked. One can wonder if it was the real Kes who was in that episode or maybe Suspiria or some being from a mirror universe. It would have been better if the script for "Fury" had been thrown it a trash can the day it was written together with the lousy writer who wrote it.
My guess is that "Fury" was the answer from the producers to the many fans who have participated in the letter campaign to bring back Kes as a permanent member of the crew. The answer was a slap in our faces, like: "You wanted your little favorite back. Now eat this, you losers!" The nice people in charge apparently never had any intention to bring back Kes. And when they wrote her off they really humiliated the character. Not even Wesley Crusher was written off in such a disgusting way, despite the fact that many fans hated him. They kept Wesley Crusher in the story up to the last season of The Next Generation and when he left, he did it with dignity and there was (and still is) a chance that he can come back to Enterprise one day. But for Kes there would be no chance to return. (Or can it be a Kes return in coming Star Trek movies, let us all hope for that.)
An alternative Kes come-back story which effectively wipes out the damage to the character made by crap episodes like "The Gift" and "Fury" can be found here.
We hate to bring up this subject but there have been some rumors about drug abuse and that Jennifer Lien was fired for that reason. Now, according to reliable sources, which means persons who have met Jennifer Lien and worked together with her, all those rumors are nothing but LIES! According to these persons she is a healthy, friendly and intelligent girl. Even Rick Berman himself has strongly denied that there should have been any drug abuse involved. So who is spreading those lies, and why? Jennifer Lien was NOT fired for drug abuse!
Jennifer Lien became the innocent victim when the people in charge wanted to "sex up" the show, a bad decision that ruined the once so good Voyager.
The way the excellent actress Jennifer Lien and her character Kes was treated by the people in charge of the Star Trek Empire is nothing but a shame and disgust for Paramount and Star Trek!
"It is difficult to imagine this journey without you."
Tuvok in "Resolutions"
"Come back Kes. This will be a lonlier ship without you"
The Doctor in the book "The Black Shore"