In 1993, Star Trek began a bold experiment: a series set on a fixed location. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was an unusual, experimental and gloriously successful contribution to the Star Trek universe. Here are some facts that you might not know about the show.
1. Brandon Tartikoff originally conceived of Deep Space Nine as The Rifleman in space. The station would be a wild, semi-lawless place on the frontier.
2. Captain Kirk had a reputation for seducing--then leaving--beautiful alien women. He could do that because he was in a starship. But the characters on DS9 were largely stationary. This necessitated a different type of storytelling. Michael Piller explained:
It’s like the difference between a one-night stand and a marriage. On Deep Space Nine, whatever you decided has consequences the following week. So it’s about taking responsibility for your decisions, the consequences of your acts.
3. Avery Brooks (Benjamin Sisko) wanted to shave his head, but directors were concerned that he would look too much like Hawk, a character he played in the 1980s series Spenser: for Hire. It was only after Brooks was identified more with Sisko than Hawk that he was allowed to shave his head.
4. During the series, Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) bore the child of Miles and Keiko O’Brien. This was written into the series to cover for Nana Visitor’s own pregnancy. The father was Alexander Siddig (Julian Bashir), who married Visitor the next year.
5. The original plan wasn’t to have Major Kira on the show, but Ensign Ro from The Next Generation. Ro would be in recurring conflict with Sisko, just as she was with Picard and Riker. Michelle Forbes, who played Ro, turned down the role because she didn’t want to take the seven-year commitment.
6. The Next Generation ended as Deep Space Nine was beginning its third season. Producers perceived that many TNG fans had stopped watching DS9, so they brought Michael Dorn’s character Worf in during the fourth season to draw them back.
7. Casting directors initially considered Alexander Siddig for the role of Sisko, not Dr. Bashir.
8. The episode “Blood Oath” saw the return of three Klingon characters from the original series--played by the original actors. The three characters, joined by Jadziah Dax, hunt down a mysterious man who killed their firstborn sons.
From left to right: Kor (John Colicos), Koloth (William Campbell) and Kang (Michael Ansara).
9. Bill Mumy of Babylon 5 and Lost in Space guest starred in the episode “The Siege of AR-558.”
10. The lounge singer character of Vic Fontaine started with producer Ira Behr’s idea to bring Frank Sinatra Jr. on the show as a Vegas lounge singer. Sinatra is a Trekkie and was interested in appearing on DS9, but only as an alien--not as a singer. So producers recruited James Darren, who had played William Shatner’s sidekick on T.J. Hooker. Darren, a professional Vegas lounge singer and companion of the Rat Pack, understood the role immediately.
11. Morn was a barfly that hung out at Quark's bar. His name is an anagram of George Wendt's Norm from Cheers. During the series, writers developed a running gag: other characters would describe Morn as insufferably talkative even though he never uttered a word on screen.
12. The season 5 episode "Trials and Tribble-ations" was among the most complex, expensive and popular episodes of the series. To mark the 30th anniversary of Star Trek, writers sent DS9 characters back into the 1967 episode "The Trouble with Tribbles." Directors didn’t have any of the original props, costumes or even design schematics from the orginal series episode. They had to remake everything from what they saw on video.
13. Behr has a long-running fascination with the Battle of the Alamo, so he worked in references to it into the seventh season. In the above screenshot from "The Changing Face of Evil," O'Brien and Bashir are using a model of the old mission to plot their defense of it in a holodeck simulation.
Behr's references gradually became more overt in the hope of suggesting to viewers that the defenders of Deep Space Nine would be, like the Texans, overrun and massacred by their enemies.
Images: CBS, ABC, Warner Bros., NBC.
Erdmann, Terry and Paula M. Block. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion. New York: Pocket Books, 2000.
Shuster, Hal. The Trekker's Guide to Deep Space Nine. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1997. Print.
Van Hise, James. Trek, Deep Space Nine: The Unauthorized Story. Las Vegas, NV: Pioneer, 1993.