Why were Na'Toth and Keffer in all the Season 2 credits?
The opening credits for each episode of Babylon 5 Season 2 (which you can see in this video) include the actors for the following characters:
- Captain John Sheridan
- Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova
- Security Chief Michael Garibaldi
- Dr Stephen Franklin
- Talia Winters
- Warren Keffer
These are almost all main characters: the four humans on the command staff, the station's telepath, the three Ambassadors (not counting Kosh, who hardly ever shows up and you never see his face anyway) and their assistants, and ... Warren Keffer. When I saw him in the credits, I assumed he was going to be a new main character for Season 2, but we only see him in a few episodes and he only plays a major part in one or two. For that matter, the same could be said for Na'Toth: we see a lot of Vir and Lennier, but she just fades out of the picture after a few episodes near the start.
Why are such minor characters as Keffer and Na'Toth included in the credits?
Was it a contract thing? Were their actors some famous people who demanded a lot in exchange for appearing on the show? Or was it JMS's decision, for some reason as yet unclear?
If the answer involves spoilers from seasons 3-5, please mark them as such.
It seems he was 'forced' on JMS who chose to write him down/out.
Lieutenant Warren Keffer was played by actor Robert Rusler during Babylon 5's second season. Despite being credited throughout the entire season, Rusler appeared only in a total of six episodes. Apart from a mention in the third season's premiere, Matters of Honor, and appearances in several Comic Books, the character of Keffer was never used again. According to J. Michael Straczynski's commentary for the episode The Fall of Night on the Babylon 5 Season 2 DVD, the network wanted a hot shot pilot for the show and forced him to write in Keffer. As such, Straczynski never intended Keffer to survive.
Apparently, it was intended that her role be much larger but, from the source below, the actress worked her way out of it with her performance.
According to J. Michael Straczynski*, Mary Kay Adams was very strong in her auditions, however when it came to filming she made a choice to play Na'Toth very quiet so as not to push against Andreas Katsulas's performance, which unfortunately pushed the character into the background and after only two appearances in Season 2 the character was quietly dropped.
* JMS Quote
The only time it hasn't worked out as well as I'd've liked was when we cast Mary Kay Adams, who was very strong in the auditions, and then made an actor's choice to play the character very quiet, to not push against Andreas...but you fade into the woodwork if you do that. So it's not a question of technique there, but of choice. She was right in the audition, but her choice later wasn't what we'd initially hoped for.
Both of these actors would be series regulars and would fall under this comment in this question regarding credits
Another key distinction to make is between series regulars and recurring guest stars. A series regular will still appear in the opening credits, and be given credit for the episode, even if they don't actually appear in the episode.
So the roles for these actors were intended to be much larger (and hence they were given series regular status and contracts would have been signed to give them the necessary credits before filming) but for a variety of reasons their roles ended up being smaller and so their services were not required in the subsequent seasons.