I can only think of two main cast members who were written out of a Star Trek series. That includes Tasha Yar of ST:TNG, and Kes of Voyager who were both female.

Wesley Crusher's role in ST:TNG was reduced after his popularity fell, but he continued to make appearances on the show.

Are there any male actors who had main cast status who were written out of a Star Trek series?

  • Main Cast - I can't think of any (the two ladies you named left for entirely different reasons and had to be written out) - memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Starfleet_casualties_(24th_century)
    – Paulie_D
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 15:33
  • Doesn't answer your question, just a bit of trivia: 'Discovery' is introducing a character who was originally written for TOS Pilot: Cage, and was played by Roddenberry's wife as the "original number one" to Christopher Pike, but the test audience didn't like her and they wrote her out. comicbook.com/startrek/2018/08/03/… Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 16:31
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    Tasha Yar made an appearance in Yesterday's Enterprise after she left the series, and the actress Denise Crosby as her half Romulan daughter, that's not many appearances less that Will Wheaton as Wesley after he left the main cast.
    – Sarriesfan
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 20:31
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    Don't forget Terry Ferrell (Jadzia Dax). Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 21:27
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    There is a third female actor who was written out of a Star Trek series, Grace Lee Whitney as Yeoman Janice Rand in the first half season of TOS. Commented Aug 29, 2018 at 16:19

2 Answers 2


It’s ambiguous what counts as being “written out”, but there are a few possible examples:

Almost Everyone from The Cage

Star Trek famously switched almost the entire cast in between the original pilot episode and the main series,with only Leonard Nimoy as Spock returning as a regular. Of these, Captain Pike (Jeffrey Hunter), Dr. Phillip Boyce (John Hoyt), and José Tyler (Peter Duryea) would likely have gone on to be major characters had the show continued with this cast. Captain Pike returned for the epsiode The Menagerie, as well as the Kelvin movies and the upcoming season 2 of Discovery (played by three different actors), but the others have never reappeared outside of clips from The Cage that were reused in The Menagerie.

Deceased Characters from Star Trek Discovery

Season one of Discovery killed off several major characters.

Dr. Hugh Culber (Wilson Cruz) was murdered by Tyler/Voq in episode 10 Despite Yourself. He appeared as a hallucination in a later episode Vaulting Ambition, but remains dead as of the end of season one.

Another death came a few episodes later

Captain Gabriel Lorca (Jason Isaacs) was revealed to be a Mirror Universe double, and was killed by Georgiou in episode 13 What’s Past is Prologue. He has not reappeared in any form since this, although the Mirror Universe storyline gives an obvious hook to bring back Jason Isaacs as Prime Universe Lorca (technically a different character).

Chief O’Brien

Something of a stretch, but after Rascals, episode 7 of season six of TNG, Chief O’Brien was written out of the show, only reappearing in the past sections of the series finale. The reason for this was of course that he had taken a much bigger role on spin-off series Deep Space Nine.

Possible Future Examples From Kelvin Movies

Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in the first three Kelvin movies, tragically died in a car accident in 2016. When asked about what this means for the character, J. J. Abrams was against recasting:

I would say there's no replacing him. There's no recasting. I can't possibly imagine that, and I think Anton deserves better. ... I have thought about [how he'll be replaced], we're working on it, and it's too early to talk about it. (Source: Cinemablend)

The future movies have since been thrown into doubt after Chris Pine rejected a contract, which could potentially also mean Kirk being written out or recast if the movie does go ahead.

  • The death of Dr. Hugh Culber is exactly the example I was looking for. I forgot about him. Ironically his character was gay. He has to count as a main cast member because the doctor has always been a main character on Star Trek shows. Even if he had fewer scenes than normal for a doctor.
    – Reactgular
    Commented Aug 31, 2018 at 18:32
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    He is still a main cast member on season two and one way or another, the character will live on whether it be on an astral plane in spore network, astral projecting to Stamets, or if the character can be brought back to life in some way, but the current narrative is definitely gearing up to something. Commented Jan 30, 2019 at 20:49

If the movies count, then Leonard Nimoy (Spock) was effectively written out. However, he was then written back in.

Originally, Leonard Nimoy did not want to return for Star Trek II, due to concerns about being typecast in the role. He was enticed to return by a promise of a meaty—and permanent—death scene in the movie. However, Nimoy had a much better experience in filming Star Trek II than he had in The Motion Picture; and when word spread that Spock was going to die in Star Trek II, the negative fan reaction caused concern among studio executives.

Nimoy and Paramount were therefore both OK with tweaking the script (over the director's objections), adding the mild-meld scene with McCoy so that Spock could be brought back in a future movie. The fact that Nimoy himself was tapped to direct Star Trek III likely only sweetened the deal, and he appeared in the remaining movies as well as in TNG and the first "rebooted" movie.

(Most of the above summary is taken from the Wikipedia articles for Star Trek II and Star Trek III. These articles' primary source for this stuff appears to be From Sawdust to Stardust: The Biography of DeForest Kelley, by Terry Lee Rioux.)

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    This is more behind-the-scenes. In those terms, there's also Xon, the Spock-replacement from the unproduced Phase II. Commented Sep 1, 2018 at 15:24
  • @professor_feather Such a shame, those transporter accidents. (Though that was Sonak, who took Xon's place, so it was a double-writing-out!)
    – JAB
    Commented Sep 23, 2019 at 20:33

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