Recasting Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 2022 is no easy task. Audiences are enjoying golden resurgence for the Star Trek properties, with four series currently airing and more on the way, but it is possible that this rebirth may never have happened without the cutting-edge brilliance of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. While Gene Roddenberry, Star Trek’s visionary creator, always focused on pushing the boundaries on social issues, his ideal future was constricting when it came to interpersonal conflict. Famously, Roddenberry viewed Starfleet as a peaceful unit, and his vision did not allow for infighting within the crew or complicated relationships that could undermine the peace of his creation. This makes any attempt at a successful recast a potentially fraught process.
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When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine debuted nearly thirty years ago, it introduced tumult and discord into Roddenberry’s utopia. By centering the drama around the space station Deep Space Nine, the show was able to introduce main characters who were not beholden to Starfleet’s harmonious rules of engagement, allowing for an element of drama that was lacking in Star Trek: The Original Series and Star Trek: The Next Generation. Starfleet mingled with Bajoran military and religious leaders, Klingon warriors, former Cardassian occupiers, and Ferengi merchants, at the edge of uncharted space with pervasive unknown threats. DS9 also changed the format from prior Star Treks, serializing larger story arcs over a larger scale than prior series had done.
And while Star Trek: Deep Space Nine may not have maintained the audience numbers that TNG did, it is arguable that Deep Space Nine has far more to do with the current crop of series than its predecessors. Shows like Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard have sharpened their edges and serialized their story arcs far more than restoring the status quo of TOS and TNG. Even Star Trek: Lower Decks and Star Trek: Prodigy have utilized the sense of Starfleet conflict and dramedy that Deep Space Nine first introduced. Viewers who have been long-time fans of the Star Trek franchise often “dream-cast” their favorite series, which the Kelvin timeline films allowed on a grand scale. With all this in mind, here’s what recasting Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 2022 could look like.
Sterling K. Brown as Benjamin Sisko
Commander (then Captain) Benjamin Sisko was brilliantly portrayed by Avery Brooks throughout Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s seven-season run, delicately balancing the commanding officer with the recently widowed father – both roles that the character took seriously. Brooks brought a subtlety to his portrayal of Sisko that can only be matched by another actor of extreme talent: Sterling K. Brown. It was critical for Deep Space Nine to have an African-American leader, and several storylines, including the incredible episode, “Far Beyond the Stars” bring that identity into sharp focus for viewers. Just as Brown has done in his work on This is Us, Brooks deftly embraced the role of a fictional character while carrying within his portrayal a historic awareness. Benjamin Sisko served as the heart and conscience of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Sterling K. Brown has proven his ability to play both the jovial dad and a speaker of hard truths in the same role as Randall Pearson.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Kira Nerys
Kira Nerys served as Sisko’s First Officer throughout Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and the Bajoran major (later to become commander, then captain) proved to be one of the most complicated of Star Trek characters to date. Unlike much of the Star Trek universe, Bajor is a religious society, and Nerys’s faith, along with her history as a guerilla fighter and terrorist against the Cardassian occupation, makes her a very different sort of character than most of her Star Trek predecessors. Portrayed by Nana Visitor, Nerys is intelligent and kind-hearted, but can also be hot-headed and stubborn. The character of Nerys serves as a departure from previous female Star Trek main characters, who were often seen as “helper” characters. But Nerys is complex and often morally gray, which would be an excellent role for the talented Mary Elizabeth Winstead, who has appeared in films like Kate and 10 Cloverfield Lane. Winstead has earned the right to be called an action star, but still has the range to play the complex Kira. She is also capable of the femininity and wit that Visitor brought to the role of Kira Nerys, and would serve as an excellent First Officer.
Mark Strong as Odo
Odo, a shapeshifting Changeling, played by the late veteran actor, René Auberjonois, served as security chief of Deep Space Nine under both the Cardassians and Starfleet, interacting with both the crew of the space station and the criminal element that inevitably attempted to operate there. Initially portrayed as a curmudgeonly, stand-offish character, Auberjonois infused the misunderstood alien with humanity as he discovered his roots in the Gamma Quadrant with the Changelings, his people’s authoritarian goals, and his slow-burn romance with Major Kira. British actor Mark Strong, famous for his turn as Merlin in the Kingsman films as well as 1917 and Cruella, could provide an amazing portrayal of the complicated Odo, especially given his trademark straight man style. With the advances in special effects and makeup, the appearance of the Changeling may be different than the original, but Strong could provide a sense of continuity even in an updated series.
Tatiana Maslany as Jadzia Dax
Jadzia Dax, the joined Trill that served as Deep Space Nine’s science officer, was eight characters wrapped up in one body thanks to her symbiont’s long lifespan and the seven prior hosts that had joined with it. She took on some of each of the prior hosts’ personality traits and memories, gaining a love of Klingon cuisine and fighting style, as well as a connection to Benjamin Sisko through his friendship with her symbiont’s prior host, Curzon Dax. Because of her connection to the symbiont and its prior hosts, Jadzia has experiences as both a mother and father, a wife and a husband. She is a complex character who embodies many personalities in one, merged whole. Because of these complexities, the perfect actress to portray the role in an updated version of DS9 can only be Tatiana Maslany, who played 17 different clones in Orphan Black, all with different personalities, appearances, and experiences. Maslany has proven that she can be brutal in clone Helena, an assassin trained to kill those that are like her. She was compassionate as clone Cosima, and hilarious as soccer mom clone Allison. If anyone (besides the amazing Terry Farrell, who originated the role of Jadzia Dax) can pull off the complex and endearing character, it is Maslany.
Dev Patel as Dr. Julian Bashir
Dr. Julian Bashir, the chief medical officer on Deep Space Nine, was originally played by Alexander Siddig, later known for his role as Doran Martell in Game of Thrones. The genetically-altered medical doctor was incredibly intelligent, but also had a playful side that came out in his holodeck obsession with spy adventures and his banter-filled friendships with Dax, Garak, and Miles O’Brien. Viewers would be pleasantly nostalgic given a recast by the ever-evolving Dev Patel, who most recently appeared as Gawain in The Green Knight. Patel has proven his ability to be both serious and playful throughout his career, including star turns in films like Chappie and television series like The Newsroom and Modern Love, and his British accent is just what the character needs to achieve perfect Julianisms.
Matt Berry as Quark
Though the Ferengi barkeeper, Quark, wasn’t a member of Starfleet, the economically-minded character, brilliantly played by Armin Shimerman, embodied everything that made Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fresh and new. Always scheming to make a profit, Quark balanced his Ferengi cultural identity with the immigrant’s tale, exploring the personal conflict that comes from being of one culture while living in another. But while his character arc had moments of seriousness, he was also a paragon of comedic relief, zinging his customers with one-liners, playing cat-and-mouse with security chief Odo, and providing levity on the space station with his trademark gambling, holosuite debauchery, and all the drinks one could want. And there is no actor more suited to take over the role than comedy royalty Matt Berry, who has mastered the art of playing ridiculous characters who take themselves far too seriously. From vampire/topiary artist Laszlo Cravensworth on the series What We Do In The Shadows to guest roles in Community and Portlandia, to Berry’s wide array of voice work in Disenchantment and The Book of Boba Fett, Berry has proven he’s perfect to play the role of the cranky, quirky Quark.
Joe Lo Truglio as Rom
One of the most unique parts of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was the show’s ability to delve into a variety of family dynamics, due to the varied inhabitants of the space station. And no family dynamics were quite as entertaining as that of the Ferengi that ran the station’s bar, Quark, along with his brother Rom, and Rom’s young son, Nog. Rom, played by Max Grodénchik, was often shown as the opposite of his brother, including breaking traditional Ferengi ideals when he felt necessary. Interested in engineering and doing his best to raise a son on his own, Rom frequently chose the path of least resistance when it came to his brother, who could be overbearing, and seemed to think Rom was less masculine than him. But when it came time to make decisions that he felt were important, Rom listened to his own conscience, often discarding the societal norms of the Ferengi culture and ignoring Quark’s orders. It is this subtle-beta manipulation that brings comedic actor Joe Lo Truglio of Brooklyn Nine-Nine fame to mind as an exceptional recasting of the character. In his role as the romantically-challenged Charles Boyle, Lo Truglio mastered the art of emasculating himself, while maintaining a reputation for great detective work, being a wonderful father and friend, and truly caring about his coworkers, and viewers would be handsomely rewarded with interactions between Lo Truglio and a Matt Berry-portrayed Quark.
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Shohreh Aghdashloo as Kai Winn
Religious leader, Kai Winn Adami, spent much of her time on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in conflict with the main characters, but the character herself had her people’s best interest at heart, even if her actions were suspect. Originally played by Louise Fletcher, who famously played Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, she was harsh when she needed to be, with a cold, calculating manner. No other actress comes to mind for the role more than Shohreh Aghdashloo who is fresh off her portrayal of UN Secretary General Chrisjen Avasarala on The Expanse. The politically minded, f-bomb-dropping Avasarala stole every scene that she was in, just as Fletcher’s Winn did, and viewers would be warmly rewarded to see the Iranian-American Aghdashloo take on the role of the antagonistic Kai Winn.
Peter Stormare as Gul Dukat
Another thing that Star Trek: Deep Space Nine did exceptionally well was the development of its morally gray antagonists. This is especially true of Cardassian Gul Dukat, played by Marc Alaimo, who was the commander of the space station under Cardassian occupation. His history with Kira’s family and terrorist cell, his hatred of Elim Garak, and his eventual possession by the Pah-wraiths led to a deep understanding of the character who began the series as a typical, two-dimensional Star Trek villain. The perfect person to be recast as this deeply flawed character is Swedish actor Peter Stormare, who has gained fame playing the Slavic “Black God” Czernobog in American Gods as well as playing roles in the films Fargo and The Big Lebowski.
Cillian Murphy as Garak
No character in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was shrouded by as much mystery as Cardassian exile, Elim Garak. Working as a tailor, the always-in-the-know Garak was played by Andrew Robinson. Developing an unlikely friendship with Dr. Bashir, Garak relaxed but never seemed to let his guard down. The character constantly offered an element of surprise throughout the series. Allegedly a spy and assassin, Garak was sharply observant, witty, and cunning, while shadowed with the implication that he was capable of great violence, not unlike Cillian Murphy’s Tommy Shelby on Peaky Blinders. Also like Tommy, Garak fell in love with tragic results, leaving a harder, more damaged man behind. Viewers could expect clever banter, subtle brutality, and blade-sharp timing from Murphy, were he to be recast in this role.
Domnhall Gleeson as Chief Miles O’Brien
Originating on TNG before joining DS9, the character of Miles O’Brien is both long-suffering and well-loved. And while it’s difficult to imagine the chief engineer being played by anyone other than Colm Meaney, his dedication, ingenuity, and self-deprecating sense of humor are a must. That is why another Irish actor, Domnhall Gleeson, is a good fit for the role. Prone to playing slightly confused characters with a twisted sense of humor, Gleeson is known for his roles in Harry Potter and Star Wars, but it is his lesser-known roles, like that of Tim in About Time that prove he’s right for the role of O’Brien. And now that Lower Decks has given O’Brien the respect he deserves, perhaps a recast O’Brien could even get a promotion.
Ali Wong as Keiko O’Brien
A final consideration is Keiko O’Brien – botanist, school teacher, mother, long-suffering wife, and extremely understanding life partner to Chief Mile’s O’Brien. Originally played by Rosalind Chao, the character also originated on The Next Generation before moving to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Given the newer, sharper feel that Star Trek has introduced into its newer shows, comedian Ali Wong would be a stunning addition to the cast and an excellent counterbalance to Miles’ sense of humor. Known for her stand-up comedy, as well as starring in Always Be My Maybe, Wong could prove to be the same sort of bright spot in the recast as Tig Notaro has been on Discovery.
Next: Recasting Star Trek: The Next Generation In 2022
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