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Voyager Almost Killed Harry Kim In Season 4 (Why It Didn’t)

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Star Trek: Voyager almost got rid of Harry Kim in season 4, but a surge in Garrett Wang’s popularity helped him keep his spot on the show.

Star Trek: Voyager almost killed off Harry Kim at the beginning of season 4 before a surge in Garrett Wang’s popularity changed the producers’ minds. Star Trek: Voyager was the 4th series in the Star Trek franchise, and ran from 1995 to 2001 for a total of seven seasons. The show followed Captain Kathryn Janeway and the crew of the USS Voyager during their time in the Delta Quadrant, where they were unwittingly transported to in the pilot episode. After being stranded, the crew’s mission became returning home, although along the way they explored a region of space that had previously never been seen in Star Trek.

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Played by actor Garrett Wang, Harry Kim was part of Voyager’s main cast — and was the first Asian main character on a Star Trek show since Sulu from Star Trek: The Original Series. Despite becoming a fan-favorite character, Harry often got the short end of the stick in terms of storylines. Harry Kim was famously never promoted past Ensign and was given numerous storylines that saw him injured, incapacitated, or even on several occasions killed and resurrected. It is perhaps not surprising then that, at the beginning of season 4, Harry was in danger of being written off Star Trek: Voyager permanently.

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Related: Star Trek: All 4 Times Harry Kim Died (& How)

Voyager’s ratings were slipping considerably during season 3, which set the producers scrambling to turn the decline around. They achieved this by introducing the character of Seven of Nine in season 4. Originally brought on to add more sex appeal to the show, Seven’s characterization and storylines were mostly what ended up earning her appreciation from the fans, but her inclusion in the main cast did have the desired effect of helping Voyager’s flagging ratings. Because of budgetary concerns, however, one of the show’s established main characters needed to be written off to make room for Seven. This ended up being Jennifer Lien’s Kes, but what fans may not know is that Harry Kim was at one time the top contender to get the ax.

Garrett Wang as Harry Kim and Kate Mulgrew as Janeway in Star Trek Voyager

It is not clear how Voyager would have dealt with Harry’s departure, but given his past storylines, it’s likely he would have been killed off. In fact, Voyager came close to doing this in the season 3 finale, when Harry was infected by a deadly virus from Species 8472. However, during the hiatus between seasons 3 and 4, Garrett Wang was included in People Magazine on their list of “50 Most Beautiful People in the World.” While it has never been confirmed, Wang and others have speculated that this was the main reason why Star Trek: Voyager’s producers ultimately decided to take him off the chopping block and write Kes off instead. Wang’s write-up in People contributed to a boost in his popularity, and this likely made the producers see that he could continue to help the show rather than hurt it.

Wang has also speculated that the fact that he played well with a specific demographic (likely Asian-Americans and young people) was an important factor in keeping him on, but acknowledged that the magazine was definitely a big contributor. Whatever the real reason, keeping Harry Kim on Star Trek: Voyager for the remainder of its seven seasons turned out to be the right choice. It is hard to imagine Voyager without Harry, and although some fans and cast members were unhappy about Jennifer Lien’s departure, Kes’s exit from Star Trek: Voyager allowed several characters to flourish in subsequent seasons. This included Harry, who had some of his best episodes from season 4 onward and continued to be a valuable member of Voyager’s crew right up until the finale.

More: Star Trek: Voyager’s Original Ending Killed A Major Character

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