The real reason why Janeway and Chakotay never got together

Janeway and Chakotay
Janeway and Chakotay

Fans of Star Trek: Voyager have always wondered why a relationship wasn’t allowed to happen between Captain Janeway and Chakotay. Why did Kate Mulgrew’s character connect romantically with her dashing first officer? It turns out there might be a couple of reasons.

In an appearance at the Denver Pop Culture Con in 2017, she told the audience that she said “no to all of that” when it came to Janeway having sex or intimate relations with other crew.

“I said ‘I’m not going to sleep with Chakotay… not gonna happen,’” said Mulgrew. “I said that you’re just going to have to go somewhere else for it.”

Mulgrew said it was at that point that the producers of Voyager cast Jeri Ryan as the “very beautiful girl.” Mulgrew said that she had hoped to be able to portray Janeway without the love story angle.

“Hope springs eternal,” she said. “But we all need sex.”

Mulgrew also pointed out that she was the captain of a ship with over 100 crew and they were essentially lost. Hooking up with her Number One would not have been a professional look, or good for “optics” around the U.S.S. Voyager.

Fans point to the now classic Season 2 episode, “Resolutions,” when Janeway and Chakotay seemed to be destined to share the rest of their lives together on an empty planet. Chakotay sprung into action on their new home. And he even made Janeway her own tub. Who wouldn’t like that?

Janeway and Chakotay in the now-classic episode, “Resolutions.” Courtesy of Paramount
Janeway and Chakotay in the now-classic episode, “Resolutions.” Courtesy of Paramount

Robert Beltran (Chakotay) has joked since that Janeway was so uninterested in him while they were stranded, that she left him for a monkey on the episode.

This has not stopped fans from creating their own theories and non-canon stories about Janeway and Chakotay, even though Chakotay was in a relationship with Seven of Nine (Ryan) for the later seasons of Voyager. The “JC” (Janeway and Chakotay) relationship seems to have found new life 25 years after everything fizzled on the show.

But recently, thanks to a conversation between a Trek fan and Mulgrew from a GalaxyCon online chat (which was later posted on Twitter), we now got a different reason why the Janeway and Chakotay romantic team-up never happened.

In this chat, Mulgrew says that while they never kissed, they did come very close.

Mulgrew and Jemma share a Janeway and Chakotay laugh.
Mulgrew and Jema share a Janeway and Chakotay laugh.

“We never actually had the kiss,” said Mulgrew. “Because if we had, Jema, we never would have stopped! And that would have been a problem.”

It’s unclear if Mulgrew was joking, it’s interesting that she even acknowledges the possibilities that were not explored on Voyager between Janeway and Chakotay. Perhaps Beltran will lend his voice to an episode or two of the upcoming animated Star Trek: Prodigy series, for which Mulgrew will star in (for two seasons).