Did Chakotay die in a mid-season episode of Star Trek: Voyager, and return — with no explanation — several episodes later?
This question was raised at Dragon*Con 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia, in a conversation between two fans of Star Trek: Voyager and actor Robert Beltran, who portayed the character, Chakotay.
Two people at Dragon*Con clearly remembered Chakotay’s death in a mid-season episode. They recalled his baffling (but welcomed) return, about four or five episodes later. They described the episode in detail, and wanted to know why there had been no explanation for Chakotay’s return.
Robert Beltran was surprised by the question. He said his character didn’t die at that time, no episode like that was filmed, and — as far as he knew — it was never even discussed by the writers and producers.
I joined that conversation because I overheard it and immediately connected it with the Mandela Effect.
I referred to it in my article, Nelson Mandela Died in Prison? I was making a point about how we explain to ourselves our alternate memories, preferring something logical within our everyday reality.
In that article, I said:
During Dragon*Con 2010, someone insisted that he remembered a Star Trek episode that — according to one star of the show — was never filmed. The person who remembered the alternate episode wasn’t weird or wild-eyed… he was a very normal person, and only referenced the episode as part of a routine conversation.
I was there when he heard that the episode never existed. He was stunned, and quickly tried to find a logical explanation for his “faulty” memory.
Since then, the Chakotay topic has generated interesting discussions.
The following are some comments related to Chakotay, Star Trek, and a story line that — apparently — never existed in our timeline.
On 3 Mar 2012, Joe said:
I have read about that vanishing Star Trek episode before years ago on some discussion forum, but can’t remember the details. Do you have a description by chance? I swear I remember looking it up and remembering it being aired but not being able to find a description anywhere, much like the person mentioned above.
The fan was talking with Robert Beltran, and the fan said how happy he and his wife had been, when the Chakotay character was “brought back” into the story. The fan said how disappointed they’d been, when the character had been killed off.
That fan — with his wife by his side — asked Robert Beltran why there hadn’t been an explanation in the story. They said that Chakotay had just reappeared, as if he’d never died and never been out of the Star Trek series at all.
Mr. Beltran looked at the fan, confused, and said that Chakotay hadn’t been killed during the series, and so there was no “return” to explain.
Both the fan and his wife did their best to take this in stride, but I could see that they were baffled. That’s why I decided to talk with them, give them my card, and tell them that — if they had other questions — to let me know.
This was a moment when it wasn’t just one person’s memory. It was the memory of two people, who were in complete agreement about what they’d seen on the TV.
As I left them, they were still trying to figure out what it was that they actually saw, because neither of them had another explanation for something they remembered so clearly.
When these things happen, the logical assumption is, “Oh, I must have been mistaken.” However, when two people are in complete agreement, and they both experienced the event, this becomes unsettling.
On 4 July 2012, tsadowq said (in a longer comment):
Isn’t it interesting that Whoopi Goldberg’s character “Guinan” (sp?) is from a race that is aware of these alterations in the timestream? There are at least two episodes where the timeline changes, and she is the only member of the Enterprise crew who is aware of it.
On 6 May 2013, Ironic said:
Actually, in the final episode ‘Endgame’, Chakotay did die, but it was an alternate reality, if you can believe that. His wife Seven of 9 was killed and when he returned to Earth it is implied he killed himself. Janeway goes back in time and changes it so Seven and he live. How’s that for ironic??
On 27 December 2013, T said:
I also remember the “missing” Star Trek Voyager episode with Chakotay being killed, then returning a week or so later like nothing happened; this was a midseason episode, not to be confused with the series finale “Endgame”.
On 28 Dec 2013, Gurluas commented:
Being a Voyager fan I am interested in the episode where Chakotay died…Maybe in that reality they decided to replace him instead of Kes?
Here’s some of what I said in my reply:
I happened to be near Robert Beltran’s “Walk of Fame” table at Dragon*Con when the couple approached him with the question about Chakotay’s death and unexplained return. They didn’t give a whole lot of information, but I got the idea there was a lapse of about five episodes before Chakotay returned, as if nothing had happened.
Beltran replied that the show had never filmed anything like that, not even as an alternate ending to a storyline. As far as he knew, nothing along those lines had ever been written, either.
When I spoke with Beltran later, he said he’d never heard that kind of question before, so he had no insights at all…
Since that particular couple recalled Chakotay’s death — and both were absolutely certain of the episode where he died — I’m sure others do, too. It seems pretty rare for someone to have one of these celebrity-related memories, unless others have that same memory.
What really interests me is: They described episodes between Chakotay’s death and his return to the show. So, either both people (husband & wife) were in an alternate reality for at least a month (starting with the episode where Chakotay died, plus at least three or four episodes without him), or they “slid” for the episode where he was killed and… I don’t know, were there any sequential episodes where Chakotay was missing for other (scripted) reasons? (I’m wondering if they “slid” and saw the episode in which Chakotay died, and then slid back into their home universe at another, unrelated point where — in our current timestream — Chakotay wasn’t featured for a few weeks.)
That might contribute to an understanding of the duration of slides.
My recollection of Nelson Mandela’s funeral involved days. The same is true for the times I turned on the TV, saw that they were still covering Billy Graham’s death, and I turned off the TV, immediately.
So, for those particular “slides,” I was in a different reality for days or longer.
The Chakotay incident seems to involve weeks. The more information we can gather about extended events like that, the more clues we’ll have regarding the duration of some (not necessarily all) “slides.”
Chakotay may have been missing for a few episodes, but definitely not five in sequence. It would be interesting to find out when in the series this exactly happened.
Robert Beltran was an outspoken critic of where his character and the show was going.
It’s very possible that in some other reality he insulted some executive and he decided to end Chakotay’s run early. A bit similar to what happened to the Professor on Sliders.
(My thoughts, after a few conversations with Robert Beltran: He’s one of those forthright people who speaks his mind. I’ll admit I’d expected him to be “just a pretty face,” but he’s a thoughtful guy with intelligence, integrity, and humility that shine through. In most realities, I’d expect him to be honest, and outspoken when he needed to be.)
Later on 28 Dec 2013, Gurluas suggested:
Anything is possible. But I personally believe that either our memories are being overwritten by another reality, or we make short jaunts to other realities without noticing it.
I believe it is the former. As our memories for the most part, everything that defines us. If we get a few days of memory from a reality almost identical to ours, we most likely wont notice.
The problem for some when these events appear to happen in real time.
An example being, the couple who watched Star Trek Voyager, and saw Robert Beltran’s character Chakotay die, then he was gone for several episodes and back.Did they live in another reality for those episodes? Or was their memory overwritten with information where they watched those things happen?
The most common effect appears to be emotional though. Real memories seem to be rare.
Often people remembers being sad that someone dies for instance, but they do not remember concrete memories, just emotions.
I was asking some people some time ago. And I asked about Billy Graham, and someone I knew remembers being sad at his death. With further inquiry, it wasn’t the priest Billy Graham, but the wrestler. He is ALSO not dead.
I believe that some things can leak over. And it can be anything from emotions, to memories, to light (ghosts), and even to flesh and blood beings. and exotic particles.
That’s where this discussion is, as of late December 2013. I hope you’ll share your thoughts and comments, below. I’m especially interested in hearing from others who recall the “missing” Chakotay episode, and those who can use that TV show — or something similar — to put a bracket (a time frame) around a series of events that weren’t in our current timeline.