Star Trek: Why TOS Fired Janice Rand In Season 1 – News Today

Star Trek: Why TOS Fired Janice Rand In Season 1

Star Trek: The Original Series’ Yeoman Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney) was set to become an integral character but was written off after season 1.

Star trek TOS Janice rand fired

Summary

  • Yeoman Janice Rand was initially intended to be a major character in Star Trek: The Original Series but was written off the show after season 1.
  • The decision to remove Rand from the show was influenced by the network’s desire for Captain Kirk to not be tied to one love interest and financial reasons.
  • Actress Grace Lee Whitney, who played Rand, later revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a studio executive on the set of Star Trek, which she believes played a role in her departure from the show.

Yeoman Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney) was initially part of Star Trek: The Original Series but was written off the show after season 1. Star Trek – now dubbed Star Trek: The Original Series – premiered in 1966 and ran for 3 seasons on NBC before being canceled. Many characters from Star Trek: The Original Series, especially Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Doctor Leonard “Bones” McCoy (DeForest Kelley), have become iconic parts of both Star Trek and television history. However, many fans may not know that the character of Yeoman Janice Rand was also supposed to be a major Star Trek character.

Yeoman Rand appeared in 8 episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series season 1. Rand was Captain Kirk’s personal Yeoman, and there was also a fair amount of unresolved romantic tension between the two, although they were never portrayed as having anything other than a professional relationship. In the initial concept and marketing for TOS, Rand was supposed to be a major character and function as an important advisor and confidant to the Captain as well as being Kirk’s love interest. Janice’s appearances and dialogue were consistently cut down during the production process, however, essentially relegating her to the role of a side character throughout TOS season 1.

star-trek-the-original-series-kirk-and-cast

Related

Star Trek: The Original Series Cast & Character Guide

Star Trek: The Original Series features some of the most iconic characters in all of science fiction with the crew of the original USS Enterprise.

Why Grace Lee Whitney’s Yeoman Janice Rand Left Star Trek In Season 1

Rand disappeared after only 8 Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

During production of Star Trek: The Original Series season 1, Grace Lee Whitney was informed that Yeoman Janice Rand was being written off the show at the request of the network. The official story was that Rand’s presence was getting in the way of the producers’ desire for Captain Kirk not to be tied to one love interest. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry also once stated that Whitney’s firing was purely financial, as the show was over budget and needed to make cuts.

Whitney herself later agreed that the higher-up’s interest in Kirk’s promiscuous reputation likely had something to do with her being let go, but also made it clear that she thought the decision was made for another, much darker reason. Only a few days before her firing, Whitney was sexually assaulted by a studio executive on the Star Trek set. Whitney discussed the incident in her autobiography years later and, although she deliberately did not mention the executive by name, stated that she had a hard time believing the assault wasn’t at least in some way related to her exit from Star Trek.

A few different Yeoman characters appeared after Grace Lee Whitney was let go from Star Trek, but none recurred like Janice Rand.

Leaving Star Trek: The Original Series was one of the greatest disappointments of Whitney’s life, and of course, the assault she suffered was an extremely traumatic experience. While the executive who assaulted her was never identified or prosecuted, Whitney’s bravery in discussing the experience in her book cannot be overstated. Gene Roddenberry later apologized for giving in to pressure from the network to let Whitney go, even going so far as to say that writing Janice Rand off “was the dumbest mistake” he had ever made. Many of Whitney’s castmates were equally shocked and unhappy with her departure, including Leonard Nimoy, who Whitney said was a great acting mentor and friend to her during her time on the show.

Grace Lee Whitney’s Janice Rand Returned To Star Trek

The Star Trek movies and Star Trek: Voyager showed what happened to Janice Rand

Commander Janice Rand Voyager

Luckily, Janice Rand was given a chance at redemption years later through her appearances in the Star Trek films. Although Grace Lee Whitney’s roles were little more than cameos, Janice Rand returned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture as Chief Petty Officer and Transporter Chief of the refitted USS Enterprise when Admiral Kirk took command. Rand was back in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as a communications officer at Starfleet headquarters, and she attended the court-martial hearing of her former USS Enterprise crew mates. In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Commander Janice Rand was now communications officer aboard the USS Excelsior commanded by Captain Hikaru Sulu (George Takei).

Grace Lee Whitney got her biggest Star Trek role since Star Trek: The Original Series when Commander Janice Rand was featured as a guest character, along with George Takei’s Captain Sulu, in the Star Trek: Voyager season 3 episode “Flashback,” which showed the unseen events aboard the USS Excelsior during Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. In addition, Grace Lee Whitney is regarded as a beloved actress among Star Trek fans, attending numerous Star Trek conventions and even participating in some Star Trek fan projects before her death in 2015. Although Yeoman Janice Rand never got the chance to realize her full potential on Star Trek: The Original Series, the character will always be remembered as an integral part of Star Trek history.

Will Janice Rand Appear In Star Trek: Strange New Worlds?

A young Janice Rand could board Captain Pike’s Starship Enterprise

Kirk Uhura Strange New Worlds season 2

As more and more Star Trek: The Original Series characters are being reintroduced on Star Trek: Strange New Worldsit’s possible Janice Rand could also appear played by a younger actorStrange New Worlds season 2 brought in Lt. James T. Kirk (Paul Wesley) and Lt. Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (Martin Quinn) to join Lt. Spock (Ethan Peck), Ensign Nyota Uhura (Celia Rose Gooding), and Nurse Christine Chapel (Jess Bush) on the USS Enterprise during Captain Christopher Pike’s (Anson Mount) command. During Strange New Worlds‘ timeframe, circa 2259-2260, Rand may still be a teenager, possibly enrolled in Starfleet Academy.

A young Janice Rand could be a Cadet recruited to the Starship Enterprise on her first outer space tour like Cadet Uhura was in Strange New Worlds season 1. Or Rand could be serving on the USS Farragut, where Lt. Kirk is the First Officer, and that could lay the foundation for how Janice joins Star Trek: The Original Series as Kirk’s yeoman. Star Trek has never canonically revealed Janice Rand’s backstory, and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds could correct that error.

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