When auditioning for the part of the holographic doctor, Robert Picardo was asked to say the line "Somebody forgot to turn off my program". He did so, then ad-libbed "I'm a doctor, not a light bulb" and got the part.
According to Garrett Wang, he and executive producer Rick Berman did not get along. Wang wanted his character, Harry Kim, to be promoted from his lowly rank of Ensign but Berman refused. Berman also refused to let Wang direct episodes; the first actor in the "Star Trek" franchise to have his request to direct turned down. Wang was going to be fired after the third season. But after Wang was featured in People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People, the producers decided to keep him and fire Jennifer Lien instead.
Chakotay was the first Native American character to be featured regularly on a Star Trek series. B'Elanna Torres was Star Trek's first regular character of Hispanic or Latino heritage, and Tuvok was the first full blooded Vulcan featured as a main character.
According to Garrett Wang, the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) that he saw was Star Trek: The Next Generation: Code of Honor (1987) which is widely considered one of the worst episodes of that series. Every time Wang tried to give the series another chance, it was a rerun of "Code of Honor". Because Wang was not a fan of that series, he feels that he was more relaxed during his audition for this series. After he was cast, the producers gave him episodes of "TNG" to prepare for his role. The first episode they gave him was "Code of Honor".
The character of Ensign Samantha Wildman was named after a little girl who died tragically in an accident. The girl's organs were donated to save the life of the wife of episode writer Jimmy Diggs. The real Samantha loved animals, so Ensign Wildman was cast as the head of Voyager's xenobiology department.
All five Star Trek series have featured at least one character who is the first of their species in Starfleet. In this one there are two: the holographic Doctor (EMH), and Icheb (Brunali/Borg). Neelix (Talaxian), Kes (Ocampan) and Seven of Nine (Human/Borg) also served specific functions on the ship, but were never formally inducted.
Like its predecessors, the series used a large filming model of the starship where the show takes place. It wasn't until the last few seasons that a computer generated (CGI) starship replaced the 6-foot model. Nevertheless, the "USS Voyager" seen in the opening credits (which date back to late-1994), is totally CGI.
In some early episodes, Neelix is seen training with Tuvok in ship's security. The writers' original intent was for Neelix to get a Starfleet commission and join Tuvok's security staff full-time, but this was eventually dropped (although in the possible future of Star Trek: Voyager: Year of Hell: Part 1 (1997)/Star Trek: Voyager: Year of Hell: Part 2 (1997), Neelix does become a Starfleet security officer).
There is at least one reference to each of the other three Star Trek series that had been made (Star Trek: Enterprise (2001) had not yet been developed) throughout the run of the series. There are several references to Captain James T. Kirk, and Dr. Leonard McCoy of Star Trek (1966): The Original Series. There are at least three references to the Starfleet conflict with the Borg at Wolf 359 as well as several references to Captain Jean-Luc Picard, all from Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). There is also a reference to the Dominion in Star Trek: Voyager: Message in a Bottle (1998) which ties into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993). Even though "Enterprise" (2001) was made later, Ensign Kim once mentioned the colonization of Mars in 2103; this colony was the setting of Star Trek: Enterprise: Terra Prime (2005).
The series helped launch, and served as something of a flagship program for the United Paramount Network. This was not the first attempt at such as around 1977 Paramount announced plans to launch a new television network with a sequel-series to Star Trek (1966) as its flagship show. The original Paramount Network never materialized, but the proposed Star Trek series laid the groundwork for the Star Trek movies and Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987).
Robert Duncan McNeill who plays Thomas Eugene Paris in this series, also appeared in Star Trek: The Next Generation: The First Duty (1992) as Nicholas Locarno. The character of Paris was written to be Locarno, but various legal issues, like having to pay royalties to the writers of "The First Duty" for every single episode of Voyager Locarno would appear in made the idea unworkable, so they turned him into a different character. Tom Paris' background and personality were based in part on Locarno, making him the same character in almost everything but name.
Star Trek: Voyager (1995) was the first official program to air on the United Paramount Network (UPN) during its inaugural season in 1995. Of all the programs that were part of UPN's inaugural season lineup (including Pig Sty (1995), Platypus Man (1995), Marker (1995), Nowhere Man (1995), and Legend (1995)), Voyager was the only show to last more than one season. 'Legend' starred John de Lancie who played the popular character Q. Upon the wrap of Voyager, UPN almost immediately began to air the next Star Trek spin-off series: Star Trek: Enterprise (2001).
The Doctor's name was originally going to be "Dr. Zimmerman" (after longtime Star Trek production designer Herman F. Zimmerman), but this was dropped. Several early episodes, however, identify the character as Zimmerman in the closed captions. It was later established that Zimmerman was the name of The Doctor's programmer, and the character appeared in episodes of 'Star Trek:Voyager (1995)' and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993). The real last name of actress Jeri Ryan also happens to be Zimmerman.
Before the premiere, it was announced that the male Native American character (Chakotay) would have a wolf as a "spirit guide" and would be seen frequently during the series, however, the wolf never appeared. (Though we did see Captain Janeway's and learned comedically that B'Elanna Torres tried to kill hers.)
The number 47 pops up many times on computer screens, serial numbers, dates and so on, in most Trek universe series. This tradition was started by writer/co-producer Joe Menosky and was soon picked up by the rest of the production team. Menosky said that he choose that particular number because when he was a graduate student at Pomona College, the professor of mathematics, Donald Bentley proved as a joke that all numbers are equal to 47.
U.S.S. Voyager is equipped with bio-neural gel packs, designed to increase processing speed and better organize processed information, that supplement the ship's isolinear optical chips. The ship had 47 spare gel packs and could not replicate additional packs. These packs needed to be maintained because temperature variances could literally make the gel packs become sick.
As part of its kickoff UPN distributed microwave popcorn packets with special card inserts describing the nascent network and Voyager. This prompted some to quip that it was the "United Popcorn Network".
The intended name for the EMH Doctor, Zimmerman, was said to be named after Star Trek Production Designer Herman F. Zimmerman. It was also pointed out that the German word Zimmermann literally translates as Man of the Room (literally Roomman), which the EMH essentially was, as he was always confined to one room in the first few episodes. In German idiom, Zimmermann means a carpenter, who is a maker of rooms.
Alexander Enberg portrayed the recurring character Vorik, a Vulcan engineer. Enberg had previously played a similar character, Taurik, also a Vulcan engineer, on the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Lower Decks". Voyager executive producer Jeri Taylor, who is also Enberg's mother, suggested that the two characters are twins. Star Trek expanded universe material has embraced this concept and presented the characters as brothers.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The introduction of Seven of Nine is sometimes credited with saving the series from possible cancellation after its first few seasons, as the sexy character sparked a revival of publicity in the show. In reality however, her arrival did little to increase ratings aside from the first few episodes in which she appeared, afterwards the show's ratings continued to drop below the levels of the previous season.
Captain Janeway is the only character from this series whose fate we learn of after the series ended. Janeway was promoted to Rear Admiral sometime before Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), as she makes a cameo appearance in that movie.
This is the only Star Trek series whose title sequence remained unchanged throughout its run, aside from one casting change (the replacement of "Jennifer Lien as Kes" with "Jeri Ryan as Seven of Nine"), and the changing of Roxann Dawson's name from the original Roxann Biggs-Dawson. The characters' ranks were also dropped from their names later during the series run.
In the opening credits of the first episode Star Trek: Voyager: Caretaker (1995), the character name Tuvok is not identified with a rank, in order not to give away his identity as a Starfleet officer working undercover within the Maquis. In later seasons, rank designations were removed from the character names, except for Janeway.