Neelix was a 24th century Talaxian who joined the USS Voyager when it was pulled into the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker's array in 2371. During Voyager's seven year journey through the Delta Quadrant he served as the ship's chef, morale officer, "ambassador to the Delta Quadrant" and navigator, in addition to forming close personal friendships with many crew members and becoming a valuable member of the stranded Starfleet crew. (VOY: "Caretaker")
Neelix grew up with his parents, his sisters, and his brothers on Rinax, a moon of the Talaxian homeworld, with the most temperate climate in the entire Talaxian system. Behind their house was a large forest, in which he and his sisters would go exploring every day. His favorite sister was always Alixia. (VOY: "Jetrel", "Once Upon a Time") He lived near the Rinax marshlands, where the summers were the hottest in the sector. (VOY: "Macrocosm")
For a number of years, the Haakonians were at war with the Talaxians. At some point, the Talaxian government called on Neelix to serve, but he went to Talax to avoid military duty (and anyone refusing to serve during wartime was given a death penalty) because he felt the war was wrong. While he was on Talax, the Haakonians unleashed the metreon cascade on Rinax whereby in the blink of an eye Rinax was enveloped by a deadly cloud and the planet that once had the most temperate climate in the entire system was turned into one endless, frigid night, killing more than 300,000, including his family. The day after the cascade, Talax surrendered to the Haakonian Order. (VOY: "Jetrel")
After the death of his family and the destruction of his homeworld and what was left under alien rule, Neelix left the system to move on with his life. He served on a mining colony for a while and worked for two years as an engineer's assistant aboard a Trabalian freighter where he became well-versed in warp theory. (VOY: "Blood Fever", "Threshold", "One")
Neelix also spent six years aboard a Talaxian garbage scow, a duty that familiarized him with waste management. While Neelix was aboard, the scow once ran into a theta radiation field that disabled the ship's propulsion. He and the other crew members of the scow had no choice but to remain where they were and were barely alive when they were rescued. (VOY: "Juggernaut")
Life as a merchant
At some point, Neelix befriended fellow Talaxian Wixiban. Although the two had a run-in with Ubean authorities, Neelix was able to escape thanks to Wixiban, who was unfortunately caught and forced to serve a brutal prison sentence. (VOY: "Fair Trade")
Neelix also befriended a Talaxian man named Laxeth, and while the two may have conducted some illegitimate business at one time, Laxeth had cleaned up by 2372 and was working as a communications master for a Talaxian convoy. (VOY: "Investigations")
Caretaker and USS Voyager
At some point, Neelix discovered a debris field near the Ocampa homeworld and claimed it for himself. When he was discovered there in 2371 by the crew of the Starfleet vessel Voyager, Neelix told them that he didn't mind their presence there, as long as they didn't take "his" debris. The Starfleet crew were searching for several missing officers, who Neelix suspected may have been transported by the Caretaker to a city beneath the surface of the Ocampa homeworld. Neelix offered to serve as the crew's guide and took them to the Ocampa homeworld, which was controlled by a Kazon sect led by Jabin. Water being incredibly scarce in the region, Neelix proposed to trade water from Voyager for the release of an Ocampa prisoner named Kes, who could lead the crew to the underground city. Even though the Kazon refused to trade, the crew members were able to escape with Kes, who was actually Neelix' lover. After rescuing the crewmen who were indeed underground, both Neelix and Kes joined Voyager's crew and Neelix was assigned his position as a guide to the Delta Quadrant, since the region was largely unexplored by Starfleet. (VOY: "Caretaker")
Life aboard Voyager
The first year
Aboard Voyager, Neelix served as a chef, "Special Consultant for the Delta Quadrant", and occasionally as a self-appointed "chief morale officer". Captain Kathryn Janeway gave Neelix the unofficial title of "ambassador" when he proved to have a flair for diplomacy. (VOY: "Macrocosm")
Neelix could be considered a "renaissance man" for his many duties and qualities.
- Although Neelix never officially had a uniform until much later in the series, he did wear clothing that was very specific to him. He wore very colorful suits that often incorporated one, two, or in the case of his chef outfit, all three, of the command colors from Starfleet uniforms. It is unclear to us who tailors these uniforms (although it does seem logical that he would have replicated them to his specifications, or even sewn them himself, given his various other talents), or whether or not it was customary of all Talaxians to wear this style of clothing (there have been others on screen, but we have not seen them wearing this style). He also owns a fur trenchcoat, which it seems other Talaxian traders do in fact wear. On away missions, Neelix would occasionally wear something similar to a Starfleet uniform, but all shades of red. Neelix on several occasions has donned an operations gold Starfleet uniform.
On one of his first official away missions, in which he prepared for a week studying dilithium geophysics, Neelix's lungs were removed by a Vidiian weapon. There was no way to replicate new lungs for Neelix since Talaxian lungs were too complex to be replicated, because they are attached to his upper spinal column, so The Doctor was forced to replace Neelix's lungs with holographic replicas. The fault of this plan was that Neelix would not be able to move, and would thus be forced to stay confined in an isotropic restraint until real replacement lungs were available. When the Vidiians who stole Neelix's lungs were found, they were able to devise a way for The Doctor to transplant one of Kes' lungs into Neelix. The procedure was a success. (VOY: "Phage")
When Commander Chakotay was comatose, he influenced Neelix to use his medicine wheel in order to plot a safe course for Voyager out of a nebula, in which aliens wished to steal the crew's neural energy. (VOY: "Cathexis")
Later that year, Neelix met Ma'Bor Jetrel, a Haakonian scientist who had developed the weapon used to destroy the majority of Neelix's people, including his family. Jetrel informed Neelix that, when he had evacuated people from his planet, he had been exposed to the biological weapon and might be dying from it. Jetrel claimed that he wanted to help cure Neelix and try to make amends, but all the scientist really wanted was to use a transporter aboard Voyager in order to reassemble the remains of the deceased Talaxians, believing that he could resurrect them. Jetrel had suffered from enormous guilt; it was he, not Neelix, who had been infected with an incurable disease. Ultimately, his experiment failed. (VOY: "Jetrel")
Neelix almost became a father in 2371. Kes was affected by alien creatures that caused her to become fertile which happens just once in an Ocampa's lifetime, and if she was going to have a baby it would be then. After the aliens were driven away, Kes decided not to have a baby, and The Doctor stated that this may have been a false alarm brought on by the aliens. Later that year, during a surprise birthday Neelix was giving for Kes, Voyager was disrupted by a spatial anomaly that seemed to change the structure of the ship. Neelix tried to find the bridge but was unsuccessful. (VOY: "Elogium", "Twisted")
The second year (2372)
Neelix also became jealous of Tom Paris, who he accused of trying to take Kes away from him. He and Paris got into a fight in the mess hall. Later, they were stranded on a hostile planet. They had to work together to save themselves. After being rescued, they returned to Voyager as friends. (VOY: "Parturition")
Also in that year, a bizarre occurrence took place. While on an away mission, Tuvok and Neelix were fused into a new being, Tuvix, due to a transporter accident. Tuvix had the combined memories and personality of both Tuvok and Neelix. Months later, against his consent, Tuvix was separated back into the original individuals of Tuvok and Neelix. (VOY: "Tuvix")
The third year (2373)
The year 2373 brought many adventures to Neelix. When Voyager discovered a planet that two Ferengi, who arrived through an unstable wormhole, were exploiting, Neelix, in disguise as the Grand Proxy, tried to stop them. The plot failed and he was almost burned at the stake with the Ferengi before Voyager beamed them out. Neelix and Kes, while visiting a Nechisti shrine, were struck by an energy bolt that rendered Kes comatose. Janeway, after performing Nechisti rituals, was able to save her. (VOY: "False Profits", "Sacred Ground")
When Tieran, a despot ruler of Ilari, transferred his mind into Kes, Neelix helped save her when he attached a synaptic stimulator on her neck that drove Tieran from her mind. He also helped Janeway fight off mutated giant viruses that attacked Voyager. (VOY: "Warlord", "Macrocosm")
While stopping at a trade station, Neelix met an old friend named Wixiban. When Wixiban asked Neelix to help him with a trade deal, things went wrong and their lives were in danger when the goods were stolen and one of the criminals was killed. Unknown to Neelix, Wixiban was dealing drugs. The rest of the gang wanted more contraband to spare their lives. Neelix told Janeway and the head of the station, and, in order to get the charges dropped against him, agreed to help trap the criminals. They were captured after a weapons battle. But Janeway, angry about Neelix's lies, gave him two weeks of hard labor. (VOY: "Fair Trade")
Neelix's next adventure brought him into conflict with Tuvok. He and Tuvok disliked each other. Tuvok was condescending to him. Together, they went on a mission to discover why the planet Nezu was being bombarded with asteroids and to rescue a group of scientists. Their shuttle crashed on the planet. They found out from one of the scientists that the bombardment had been created by an enemy of the Nezu and that there was a traitor among them. Neelix not only rescued Tuvok, but discovered who the traitor was. He fixed the carriage that was tethered to an orbital space station so they could escape. After this, Tuvok had a new-found respect for Neelix. (VOY: "Rise")
While visiting the Mari, Neelix became interested in a Mari woman named Talli. He intended to ask her out and wore an overpowering cologne made of musk. Unfortunately, Talli was killed by another Mari infected with violent thoughts. (VOY: "Random Thoughts")
He participated in the battle against the Hirogen when the Voyager crew was being used for a training game in the Hirogen holodeck hunts on Voyager. He first was a resistance fighter who was killed by the Nazi Hirogen. Later, as a Klingon, he rallied the holographic Klingon army to attack the Hirogen. (VOY: "The Killing Game")
In 2374, Neelix was killed in a shuttle accident. Seven of Nine brought him back to life by using her nanoprobes. Although his life was saved, Neelix began to question his very existence and his religious beliefs. When a Talaxian dies, they believe they go to the afterlife in the Great Forest. There they are reunited with their relatives and guided to the afterlife. Neelix experienced none of this. He had a vision quest under the guidance of Chakotay, and met his sister Alixia, who told him the afterlife is a lie and his life is worthless. When he had awakened, he decided to kill himself. Chakotay talked him out of it, explaining that visions can mean many things and that his friends on Voyager needed him. (VOY: "Mortal Coil")
Last year on Voyager
In his last year on Voyager, he helped find The Doctor, who had been kidnapped and sold by an alien named Gar. He put spices in Gar's food that were incompatible with his physiology, and told him only The Doctor could cure him. This persuaded Gar to give them the location of The Doctor. Neelix, however, had only given him an upset stomach.
He took pity on prisoners that were aboard a prison transport that was damaged in space. The prisoners were housed in a cargo bay made into a prison on Voyager. One of the prisoners, Joleg, told Neelix he was sentenced to die just because he was in the vicinity of a murder and that his race was discriminated against by the Nyrians whose prison ship he was on. But Joleg was only manipulating Neelix. When the time was right, he tried to escape and tried to kill the guards.
Neelix helped free most of the crew from the Quarren workforce. They had been captured and brainwashed into believing that they were willing to work for the Quarren. (VOY: "Critical Care", "Repentance", "Workforce", "Workforce, Part II")
Neelix was part of an away team that was held captive by a race whose world was contaminated by an old Earth probe. During the captivity, he helped Paris deliver and save a newborn's life. After he was rescued, he asked Janeway to help the people. Voyager was able to help stop the radiation poisoning and the planet began to regenerate itself. (VOY: "Friendship One")
In 2378, Voyager discovered a group of Talaxians living inside an asteroid located in the Delta Quadrant. Neelix helped them defend themselves against a group of miners that wanted them to leave the ore-rich asteroid. It was also at this time that Captain Janeway offered him a chance to serve as Starfleet's permanent ambassador in the Delta Quadrant. He accepted the position and soon left the starship to live with the other Talaxians inside the asteroid. Neelix stayed with Dexa, a widow, and her son, Brax. He kept the combadge he was issued as a souvenir of his time on Voyager. (VOY: "Homestead")
However, Neelix also continued to keep in contact with the crew of Voyager. Following his departure, he suggested to Seven of Nine that a picnic might be a suitable option for her third date with Commander Chakotay. Later, Neelix also played a game of kadis-kot with her. During the game, Seven of Nine thanked Neelix for his earlier suggestion. The Talaxian informed Seven of Nine that he was considering making a marriage proposal to Dexa. Their game came to an abrupt end when Seven detected large levels of neutrino emissions on long range sensors and Seven told Neelix that she would contact him at the usual time during the following day. (VOY: "Endgame")
- It is never revealed if she replied. The game of kadis-kot that they play is the last appearance of Neelix.
Neelix's knowledge of the Kazon proved invaluable during Voyager's deals with the various Kazon sects.
He took part in contacting Kazon sects and set in motion the plan to form alliances with them. He would also meet Mabus, the leader of the Trabe, who had ruled the Kazon before they rebelled. Voyager would form an alliance with them, which persuaded the Kazon to attend the proposed peace conference. Neelix, alerted by one of his contacts, informed Janeway that the conference might be sabotaged.
After the failure of the peace conference, Neelix helped discover who on Voyager was betraying them to Maje Culluh. It was discovered that it was crewman Michael Jonas. Neelix found him in engineering trying to sabotage the engines, stopped him, and in the ensuing fight, Jonas was killed.
When Voyager was captured by Culluh and the crew was stranded on a primitive planet, Neelix helped them survive until they were able to retake the ship. (VOY: "Alliances", "Investigations", "Basics, Part I", "Basics, Part II")
He did some adult babysitting when he was in charge of showing Tomin, a Kadi ambassador, around Voyager. Tomin became a handful as he got drunk and made a pass at Seven. (VOY: "Someone to Watch Over Me")
Later he returned from another away mission with visions of a massacre he participated in. These images were implanted in him from a memorial left behind by the race that had some of its members killed. His memories were that he could not protect the children and they were massacred. He, along with some other crew members, were captured by a Borg ship that was commanded by Borg children. Eventually Voyager rescued him. The children were taken aboard Voyager since they had been severed from the hive. These same children were entertained by him when Voyager encountered an electric being and was transporting it back to its home in a nebula. He did this so they would not be scared. (VOY: "Memorial", "Collective", "The Haunting of Deck Twelve")
Alixia was Neelix's favorite sister. She and Neelix were very close, and often explored such places as the forest behind their house, the Caves of Touth and the Dunes of Talmouth. They also hunted arctic spiders together. She was killed on Rinax during the Haakonian War. (VOY: "Jetrel")
When he was struck by an energy blast and killed, only to be saved by Seven's nanoprobes, he questioned his belief in the afterlife. During a vision quest, Alixia told him that the afterlife was a lie – a place made-up because Talaxians feared death. This vision was probably just an expression of his anxiety over his beliefs. (VOY: "Mortal Coil")
While Tom Paris and Neelix originally got along only because they each knew that the other had come from a somewhat "less than legal" background, they each became bitter at each other when Neelix began believing Tom was interested in Kes. This conflict became resolved, however, when both Paris and Neelix were assigned together on an away mission, and had to depend on each other for survival. They eventually became close friends. (VOY: "Parturition")
In 2376, they were together on the Delta Flyer looking for dilithium, when they came across two "clerics". It later turned out that they had been con artists, and Paris and Neelix consoled each other, feeling that they'd lost their touch. (VOY: "Live Fast and Prosper")
Tuvok met Neelix when he was sent to the transporter room to bring him aboard for the first time in mid-2371. When correcting Neelix's assumption that the "Federations" were a single culture, Tuvok described himself as "Vulcan", and for the next seven years, Neelix often referred to him as "Mr. Vulcan". (VOY: "Caretaker")
Around stardate 49655.2, Tuvok and Neelix were temporarily merged into one lifeform by a transporter malfunction. This lifeform named himself "Tuvix". Tuvix lived aboard Voyager for a few weeks, before The Doctor managed to find a way to reverse the malfunction. (VOY: "Tuvix")
Tuvok encouraged Neelix to assist a Talaxian settlement in defending their home against miners, and reunite with his people. As a going away gift, Tuvok danced a brief step to the delight of Neelix. (VOY: "Homestead")
- The dynamics of Tuvok and Neelix resemble Neil Simon's play, The Odd Couple. The two opposite characters come together and form a relationship with comic effects.
Neelix became very fond of Naomi Wildman, becoming her godfather. He tucked her into bed every night and told her stories. He also cared for her while her mother was on away missions. When a shuttlecraft her mother was on crashed, he took care of her and tried to reassure her that her mother would be all right. He took her to the holodeck to get her mind off her mother's plight. He decided that he would become her adoptive father should her mother not return from the mission. (VOY: "Once Upon a Time")
Seven of Nine
Neelix was polite to Seven of Nine and became one of her better friends. Because of his talent for assisting in emotional and relationship issues, Seven consulted him for dating tips and ideas when she started her relationship with Chakotay.
Neelix and the Ocampan named Kes had a romantic relationship before and during their early years aboard Voyager. Neelix met her while she was being held captive by the Kazon-Ogla. The two fell in love, and Neelix rescued her with the aid of the Voyager crew and the two asked to stay on the ship. (VOY: "Caretaker")
In 2373, Neelix and Kes ended their romance after her possession by Tieran. While possessed by him, she broke up with Neelix, telling him that she'd like to spend some time apart from him. (VOY: "Warlord")
Kes' telepathic powers had progressed to the point that she could not stay on Voyager. Her transformation and changing cellular flux was causing malfunctions on the ship. He would see her again in 2376 when an aged Kes returned to seek vengeance on Voyager. She believed that she was kidnapped by Voyager, and she wanted to capture her past self by betraying Voyager to the Vidiians. Her anger was defused by seeing how happy she was on Voyager. After a brief reunion with Neelix, she returned to her people. (VOY: "Fury")
In 2377 Neelix was briefly involved with Ch'Rega, a Klingon woman who served under Kohlar and whom Neelix described as "a fine specimen of Klingon womanhood." Ch'Rega was transported onto Voyager and initially pursued Harry Kim. When Neelix found Kim hiding from her, he decided to take her off of Kim's hands. He staged an elaborate scene in her presence in which he threw Kim against a bulkhead for supposedly taking more than two servings of gagh. The Klingon quickly transferred her affections to the Talaxian. Tuvok, who was sharing his quarters with Neelix at the time, later discovered that Neelix and Ch'rega's liaison had left the room in a shamble. Ch'Rega and the other Klingons from her ship settled on a new planet soon after. (VOY: "Prophecy")
Dexa was a Talaxian woman who, along with 500 other Talaxians, took refuge on an asteroid that they turned into their home. She had a son named Brax, and was widowed. Neelix was nursed back to health after he crashed on the asteroid in a shuttle. He helped her and the other Talaxians defend themselves against a group of miners who attempted to drive them off the asteroid. Neelix, having fallen in love with Dexa, elected to stay behind with her while Voyager continued towards Earth. (VOY: "Homestead") A few weeks later, Neelix told Seven of Nine he was thinking of asking Dexa to marry him. (VOY: "Endgame")
Neelix has been holographically duplicated on a number of occasions.
- Recreations of crew members from Voyager and the Jupiter Station Holoprogramming Center were seen by The Doctor during a holographic malfunction in 2371. This simulation, or daydream, included Neelix fighting a Kazon with a frying pan. (VOY: "Projections")
- Tuvok created a holoprogram in 2372 to deal with violent feelings he absorbed during a mind meld with Lon Suder. This program was nothing more than a holographic copy of Neelix that would annoy Tuvok until he killed him. (VOY: "Meld")
- The entire crew of Voyager was recreated by Tuvok from his Insurrection Alpha program, including Neelix. (VOY: "Worst Case Scenario")
- In 2374 Chakotay created a holographic simulation of a shuttle accident where Neelix was struck by an energy discharge and died. (VOY: "Mortal Coil")
- The Kyrian Museum of Heritage in the 31st century used the program The Voyager Encounter to detail their encounter with the warship Voyager, as an aid to a history lesson. (VOY: "Living Witness")
- In 2374, The Doctor created a program to help Seven of Nine improve her social skills. (VOY: "One")
- In 2378, Seven recreated the crew of Voyager to perfect her social skills, including Neelix. (VOY: "Human Error")
- Ensign Harry Kim and Seven of Nine projected The Doctor's daydreams into the holodeck aboard Voyager in order to better understand what was malfunctioning. In this daydream, Neelix attended The Doctor's award ceremony (VOY: "Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy")
- Loses his family on Rinax after all of the moon's inhabitants are killed by the metreon cascade. (VOY: "Jetrel")
- Meets and falls in love with Kes. The two are separated in some incident involving the Kazon-Ogla.
- Assists the USS Voyager in finding several lost crewmen, and is reunited with his lover, Kes. The two of them ask to remain on Voyager. (VOY: "Caretaker")
- Samantha Wildman asks Neelix to be god-father of her daughter, Naomi.
- Neelix dies in an accident aboard a shuttle, but is brought back using Borg nanoprobe technology. He seriously reconsiders his religion, and his views of the afterlife. He almost attempts suicide, but is stopped by Chakotay with the help of Naomi and Samantha Wildman. (VOY: "Mortal Coil")
- Decides to stay on the Talaxian colony with Dexa and Brax, leaves Voyager, and is named "Federation Ambassador to the Delta Quadrant". (VOY: "Homestead")
"I wonder what a Vulcan nightmare would be like."
"Alone, exiled on a planet, where the only form of communication is laughter."
Neelix was one of the last characters to be developed for Star Trek: Voyager. The guide aspect of Neelix was developed from Kes initially being referred to with the description, "She might function as a scout/gang expert," at a point when the Kazon were commonly referred to as being gangs. By the end of September 1993, Neelix was present in the series' first draft writers' bible, albeit named Felux. His job description was referred to therein as "Gofer/Guide". (A Vision of the Future - Star Trek: Voyager, pp. 189 & 208) According to VOY Season 2 DVD's text commentary for "The 37's", another early production name for Neelix was Felox.
Neelix was played by Star Trek veteran actor Ethan Phillips. According to Star Trek makeup artist Michael Westmore, Neelix's spotted, warthog-like design was based on a combination of various animals from the Disney film The Lion King.