Because lore is now dead, and that ED lore was mainly via text to begin with. The leaks in beta builds might indicate more of these characters getting visuals.
Well the bobble-heads for them were seen in silhouette back in the day - they just never made it to the store.The other question and one of my personal wants is to convert the Powerplay leader portraits into 3D avatars (with themed clothes). The advantage then would be you could monetize it (Mahon slacks 500 Arx! Archon pirate coat 600 Arx!) and that avatars can be happy / sad / angry / pleased at your powers performance for that cycle.
Looking at that list, the first "important" character I recognize was Admiral O'Brian... who was "important" about 200 years ago, when the war criminal led Federation troops to seize the world Emerald, which the Empire had previously terraformed. I'm not sure why a character mentioned only in two places: A Frontier: Elite II gazetteer, and a tourist beacon in Elite: Dangerous, would rate a portrait... especially when there would be no way of viewing it, short of a history book from Emerald.
You made me think that they should hire a 2D artist which job is to only design stuffs for Galnet news, new characters artwork, etc. The game is so static right now...I don't think the 2D artistry that created the power play portraits comes cheap, I can understand why more were not commissioned.
Potentially the same mechanic that creates faction contacts could be used, maybe with a different set of clothing for news articles?
I quite like some of the clothes & accessories the faction contacts have. I'd like to see some of those made available to players in the shop