The latest issue of the official Star Trek Magazine (#15), has a focus on the Mirror Universe. The series that spent the most time in the MU is Star Trek Deep Space Nine so the issue (on newsstands now) has two DS9 interviews to dive into the other side of the Mirror. STM has provided TrekMovie with excerpts from their interviews with show star Nana Visitor (Kira) and writer/producer Robert Hewitt Wolfe, see below.
Nana Visitor Interview – Intendant Expectations
excerpt from Star Trek Magazine #15
Nana Visitor wouldn’t change a thing. Even if she could re-imagine her life and career in an alternate universe, she wouldn’t pull the trigger on making it a reality. And, more specifically, even if she could, she’d not dare change a thing about her experiences on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
“I wouldn’t,” says Visitor who spent seven seasons on the show as Major Kira Nerys, the formidable Bajoran first officer aboard the wormhole-protecting space station DS9. “That show, that character really was one of the things that defined the rest of my life. Not just because I was part of this television show that people still follow, but because of Siddig, us having a child, and the people that I met 15 years ago that I still keep up with, that I still hear from all the time. It’s kind of like what college is for a lot of people. You form friendships that last the rest of your lives. Star Trek is the only acting experience I have had where this many friendships have formed and this many have stayed.
“I can tell you, having continued to work since Star Trek, that the years make me think even more fondly of the experience on the show,” Visitor continues. “As an actor, I always equate it to being a racehorse. I’m capable of really running and I want to run full out. DS9 was running full out in every way. And a lot of the jobs I do now, frankly, are like being at a farmer’s market and giving two-year-olds rides around the parking lot. It’s work. It’s what it is. It’s the job at hand. But it certainly doesn’t make me race the way that DS9 made me race.
“It’s interesting: when my boys find the show on TV they stop and watch it. They find it really funny and very bizarre to see Siddig and me in these situations and doing this stuff. I tend not to watch the episodes because I miss it too much. I can look at a show and look at a moment and know exactly what was said, when we filmed it, what I was feeling. The sense memory is still so strong. I think I was so present in those years, every moment I was on set, like maybe I haven’t been for a lot of my life. But it required that of me. Doing that show, playing Kira, required everything I had.”
Visitor truly considers Kira the role of a lifetime. “I can’t imagine a better character,” she enthuses. “I just cannot imagine one, and luckily I knew it at the time. Frankly, I could have gone a few more years with the character. I loved her. I loved her faults and I loved her history. The writers from DS9 occasionally hire me to do other projects, but, other than that, I just haven’t come across that kind of writing again or character development, or even the understanding that someone can have a set of morals that will guide how they are with other people. Behavior, the mythology of a character, doesn’t seem to make a difference to a lot of people now producing shows.”
Visitor actually portrayed two characters on DS9. In addition to the Kira that fans came to respect, Visitor portrayed a version known as the Intendant of Terok Nor in a number of Mirror Universe episodes. The shows transcended mere gimmickry; rather, they shed a dark light on the regular DS9 characters and provided exciting acting challenges for the lead actors and several members of the show’s extensive supporting cast. Visitor recalls that the DS9 producers blindsided her – albeit happily so – with the decision to showcase the Intendant as a volatile, sexy, hedonistic, conniving, narcissistic and possibly bisexual force with whom to be reckoned.
“We got very little advance notice of what they were going to do next,” Visitor says. “I think I just read the script and learned what I was and how it happened. It fascinated me to think of the essence of the person being the same, having the same passion, the same DNA – yet how does it flip? It’s like having a clone. Does the clone become just like that person? Well, maybe not. So, OK, there’s a real sense of purpose. Kira’s sense of purpose was one for her people and the Intendant had a huge sense of purpose as well, but it was all for herself. So those things were really interesting, and it was fascinating to make that into something so dark.
“And it was also fun to have a whole different set of rules in terms of what they wrote for me, having slaves and all the outrageousness. To me, the Intendant was close to what a drag queen would do. She was over the top, and there was a line that I loved to walk. I tried very hard not to go over that line, and I know sometimes I did go over it, but when you’re doing a TV show like that, you’re going to win some and you’re going to lose some. Mostly, you only know what you’ve done once you’ve seen the show put together. But I liked taking that chance because the risk was usually really worth it.
Read the full interview in issue #15 of Star Trek Magazine.
Nana Visitor as Major Kira and Intendant Kira
Interview with Robert Hewitt Wolfe – Sex, Death and Consequences
excerpt from Star Trek Magazine #15
Former Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe on the reasoning behind the return to the Mirror Universe in the first three DS9 stories set through the looking glass.
The return to the Mirror Universe came about as an idea tossed out at a story meeting among the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writing staff, writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe reveals. “I remember discussing the idea of what would have happened after Kirk set Spock up to take down the Empire (in the original series story “Mirror, Mirror”). Big, nasty empires are usually big and nasty for a reason, or they create a lot of enemies and then they justify themselves continuing to be big and nasty because they have so many enemies. The idea that you could just magically stop an empire from being nasty and then nothing bad would happen was a little naïve. That was one of the themes of Deep Space Nine: you can’t just fly to a planet and give everybody a speech, then fly away and expect it all to be okay. If there was a naïvete about the original series, and sometimes TNG, that was it. One of the things that DS9 was really committed to was showing consequences. You can’t just decide that you’re going to change the government of some place and then everything will be wonderful. We wanted to show that was true even in the Mirror Universe…
“But also it was just a fun excuse to go to a really different place and show our actors being different people,” he concedes.
Nana Visitor certainly stole the show as the Mirror Kira – the Indendant of Terok Nor. Although Wolfe doesn’t recall any specific discussions of what her outfit would look like in the meetings while the story was being broken, the script said she was wearing ‘kind of a slinky catsuit.’
“I’m sure that rubber was not Nana’s first choice,” Wolfe admits, “because I don’t think that was the most practical outfit to wear. And it drove the sound guys crazy because it sounded like garbage bags rustling together all the time. Like a lot of things, I think that a rubber catsuit is less practical in real life than one might think it would be.”
Scenes involving Kira and her Mirror double weren’t the problem one might expect. “It’s something people know how to do,” Wolfe explains. “It was much less troublesome than say, some of Odo’s morphs, which at the time were very cutting edge. Everything that Odo did was very complicated technically. Doing a twin – they knew how to do that 20 years earlier in Bewitched.”
The DS9 writers didn’t worry about the studio’s response to their decision to make the Mirror version of Kira’s character blatantly bisexual. “Maybe I was sheltered from it and this was something that Rick [Berman] dealt with exclusively, but I don’t remember a studio note in the entire five years I was on Deep Space Nine,” Wolfe says. “There were some vague, occasional things, but by and large they left us alone and let us do what we wanted.
“Nana had a great time – she just vamped the hell out of it and went nuts, but in the same kind of fun way that George Takei did in the original Mirror Universe show: he was the main evil universe guy, so he played it to the hilt. Takei was just having a ball. Nana really got to do that, and Avery got to do that, too, in the first one.”
Seeing Avery Brooks play the piratical Mirror Sisko was a revelation for the writers. “In season two, Avery was holding back still a little bit when he was playing regular Sisko,” Wolfe explains. “In later seasons, as he got more comfortable in the role, and as we got more comfortable, he was able to let it fly a little bit more. Mirror Sisko was certainly a much looser performance and he was having more fun. Seeing him do that might have even helped us be more comfortable with the idea of Avery being a little looser when playing Sisko.”
Read the full interview in issue #15 of Star Trek Magazine.
More in STM # 15 out now
The new issue of Star Trek Magazine has much more from Visitor and Wolfe and is on newsstands now. Included in the MU coverage is a full timeline of the Mirror Universe (see below). More info at Titan magazines site.
The history of the MU in STM #15
STM #15 can also be ordered directly from tfaw.com (but currently on back order).
Star Trek Magazine Movie Issues coming
Star Trek Magazine is planning on three special movie focused issues in the coming months. These issues will have exclusive new information and images from Star Trek. There will be two movie-focused issues before Star Trek is released (# 17 on sale March 24th & #18 on sale May 5th), plus an additional movie-focused issue (#19) on sale June 9th. CLICK HERE to subscribe to get all those issues and more.
Also, Star Trek Magazine #17 can be pre-ordered at tfaw.com (note the covers shown are ‘dummy covers’) and the final covers will likely have some new imagery on them .
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I just wish we’d seen some TNG mirror-universe episodes.
I clicked ‘subscribe’.
Note….if you subscribe to the magazine, you will not get the current issue. That is on news stands or you can back order via tfaw.com link above (they are currently out).
I lurve he mirror universe!
Mirror Wesley & Troi would have been very interesting. Would Data have been the same or just another Lore?
Hasn’t this issue been out for quite a while?
Kira was always such a compelling character and one of the high points of DS9, in my mind. She won me over the minute she verbally lashed that Bajoran Provisionla Government dude in the pilot… and how she could kick most guys’ asses was pretty fun to watch. I enjoyed how she grew over the years… and allowed herself to be a little more fun, a little more soft, but while never losing the fire that drove her.
Nana Visitor breathed life and truth into that character, and reading this article just confirms that she’s equally awesome.
Thanks for sharing this!
#7: I suspect mirror Data would have been whatever the people around him made him, just as “normal” Data was a conglomeration of the personalities of those he knew in his quest to understand humanity. Mirror Data would have been just as manipulative and paranoid as Commander Archer himself, and I for one would have loved to see that.
Sorry, meant #6
Love the mirror universe and extremly love Deep Space Nine, one of the most ambitious TV series ever imo. and a definite addition to the Star Trek universe (unlike Voyager). Nearly every on that show worked wonderful.
P.S.I had/have a huge crush on Major Kira. What a sexy woman
Heh, for my money, the mirror universe was an even more egregious “we’re bored so let’s change the setting” crutch than the Holodeck! Using it once in TOS was interesting; going repeatedly back to the same well was just lazy.
Interesting, I just watched all those DS9 episodes last night. They were some of my favorites, now I just have to get to the store and pick up this issue.
DS9 was my favorite of the new Treks and I loved the MIrror eps. Nana really got into her character and it was fun. Perhaps they did it too much but it wasn’t as nearly as annoying as all the holodeck stuff of TNG and DS9’s last year. They’ve got the whole universe to play in and where are they? The Holodeck. Right.
#13– are you going to end up working at the new Experience in Vegas? You’ve served me many times in the past and it would be awesome to see familiar faces again.
I’ve always considered Kira Nerys to be one of the two strongest and most convincing characters in Trek. The other is Spock.
Both derive their strength of character from deep personal faith and philosophy that they’ve explored, doubted, challenged, and understood.
I particularly like how Kira’s personal and career development has been portrayed in the novels.
#12—“…the mirror universe was an even more egregious “we’re bored so let’s change the setting” crutch than the Holodeck! Using it once in TOS was interesting; going repeatedly back to the same well was just lazy.”
That may be true to some extent. I do think DS9 went to that well a bit too often.
But, given a choice, I would take the MU over the holodeck any day of the week!
#14—“DS9 was my favorite of the new Treks ”
It was my favorite of the 24th Century Trek spinoffs for sure, and the only one which consistently holds up to repeat viewings for me. I know it isn’t as popular of an opinion, but of all the spinoff series, I like ENT the best (with emphasis on the 3rd and 4th seasons). I also think that “In A Mirror, Darkly” (I and II) were the absolute best MU episodes since “Mirror, Mirror”.
DS9 did overuse the Mirror Universe, which I think started out very well, but each successive episode was a bit worse. Regardless, the quality of DS9 was so high, I am willing to excuse some of their weaker episodes, particularly when they didn’t really have an effect on the overall continuity.
Major, then Colonel Kira is to this date my favorite Star Trek character. She was written as a complex yet sympathetic character, and one of the few people of faith on TV not portrayed as elitist or moronic. I lament the fact we likely won’t see Ms. Visitor in the role again.
Or the rubber pants…
#18– Closet — how are you?
“I also think that “In A Mirror, Darkly” (I and II) were the absolute best MU episodes since “Mirror, Mirror”.”
Yes, totally agree.
DS9 is the only new Trek in which I’m considering purchasing the entire DVD collection. I’d like to watch it again from the beginning. I always thought it had the strongest cast overall.
And I still have to see the 2 seasons of ENT I missed.
#19—“Major, then Colonel Kira is to this date my favorite Star Trek character.”
Wow. Strong statement! I can’t agree with that, but I find the following assessment accurate (at least as applied to Star Trek):
“She was written as a complex yet sympathetic character, and one of the few people of faith on TV not portrayed as elitist or moronic.”
I like the character alot as well. In fact, I think DS9 did a far better job of making its characters more interesting and even scarred than its immediate predecessor did.
I thought they went to the MU well too much, and had a couple too many Ferengi-centric episodes, but overall–it was a more than decent show. At least it felt like they were in a “frontier” environment, rather than aboard the USS Hilton.
2 – closest we got to a Mirror TNG was Yesterdays Enterprise
ive always thought Insurrection wouldve been a good opportunity for the mirror universe – Geordies oh so convenient time tunnel at the end of First Contact accidently sending them into the mirror universe for Trek IX (similar to the Defiant in Mirror Darkly) …and having to do battle with their dopplegangers on board the Ent D (why should they be up to the same version Enterprise as the normal universe?)
Would loved to have seen the MR done on the big screen – the Enterprise ‘In a Mirror Darkly’ eps were better than Treks IX and X put together
I was a little disappointed in this edition… I was expecting some articles on In a Mirror darkly and Mirror Mirror. Even though I love DS(.. both of the major articles in there were about nana visitor and the DS9 mirror universe. I did, however, like the timeline the included which had all the mirror universe mentions.. including the comics and the novels.
#20—I’m good. Thanks.
“DS9 is the only new Trek in which I’m considering purchasing the entire DVD collection.”
Ironically, the only DS9 I have on dvd is in the MU Collective Set!
“I’d like to watch it again from the beginning.”
I’ll admit that I have a couple of times on Spike (TiVo of course). Nowadays, if I see that episode was recorded, I am a little more selective as to whether I’ll watch it or delete it.
“And I still have to see the 2 seasons of ENT I missed.”
I encourage you to do so. It actually felt like a prequel to TOS (by the 4th season), rather than a prequel to TNG. The 3rd season has some very poignant writing. Manny Coto, in my opinion, is not overrated at all in his belated contribution to the series.
Watch “Similitude”, “Twilight”, “Terra Prime”…Those are fantastic!
btw – regarding the movie issues of ST magazine – anyone know if there will there be a seperate stand alone movie special (like Titan did for the TNG films and Starlog did for movies II – VI) or will it be just issues 17-19
ENT was just getting very good when it was cancelled, i suppose everyone missed deep snore nine and captain hepburn: lost in space and their hackneyed writing, so the masses flocked to the ridiculous stargate series for familiar comfort.
the new movie should have been about the birth of the federation, thanks to john archer and his crew.
instead of the galaxyquest sequel this abrams movie is turning out to be.
Someone donated the entire DS9 dvd set to our local library. I’ve been going through them consecutively, which is alot of fun. Definitely too many Ferengi eps, tho. I am finding it to be fascinating. I lost track of it after season 4 in its original run, seeing them here or there when time allowed. I caught the final episode by accident, at 2am one night while home from college. It’s certainly a stronger ST series…certainly a strong TV series in general. I’m very happy to be rediscovering it!
I too thought that Insurrection, if it was going to be such a double-dopperganger story, should have just taken it all the way and made it a Mirror universe invasion movie. It could have soared instead of sinking.
And by Insurrection I meant “Nemesis.”
“ive always thought Insurrection wouldve been a good opportunity for the mirror universe – Geordies oh so convenient time tunnel at the end of First Contact accidently sending them into the mirror universe for Trek IX (similar to the Defiant in Mirror Darkly) …and having to do battle with their dopplegangers on board the Ent D (why should they be up to the same version Enterprise as the normal universe?) ”
That would have been a WAYYY cooler movie than Insurrection.
Loved the first two DS9 Mirror episodes. After that, it became excessive (much like the Ferengi/Klingon episodes) but it was still better than most any Voyager episode. It was a minor flaw in an otherwise solid and amazing show.
And I guess I’m in the minority, but I found the ENT Mirror episodes tedious. I suppose the lack of interest in the characters didn’t help, but Scott Bakula’s ham in those made William Shatner look downright reserved in comparison! I loved Quantum Leap, and he was great in the otherwise ridiculous ‘Lord of Illusions’, but he never fit in Star Trek, for me.
@6 – “Mirror Wesley & Troi would have been very interesting. Would Data have been the same or just another Lore?”
i think the way to handle data in the mirror universe is to have him be exactly the same as in the regular universe. an android wanting desperately to attain some humanity, except that the humanity that surrounds him is truly evil.
when he encounters humans from the “regular” universe, he’d learn that there is more to humanity than evil and be eager to learn more. in this way the mirror data would be similar to the mirror spock, in that he’d ultimately “switch sides”.
unfortunately we never got to see a true mirror-tng episode. alas.
Yes Screaming Satellite, and “Living Witness” was the closest Voyager came to the MU.
I would have loved the new film to include the Mirror Universe,,,
While the Romulans and Federation haggle over the peace treaty the Mirror Borg invade to resupply our multiverse with fresh Borg replacments.
It takes a massive “Collective” effort and possibly the advanced weapons from Janeways Voyager to defeat them or push them back…
That would have been the direction I would have gone.,,
The entire DS9 series is really worth owning. The eps lend themselves to repeat viewings than any other series since TOS.
Nana and the DS9 crew cared. About the characters, about the writing, and about each other. All the actors always speak passionately about these issues.
I can’t imagine any incarnation of Trek ever topping the show.
The MU? Hey, they made it work!
31 – Bakula gave off a serious Shatner vibe in certain scenes of Mirror Darkly – that speech he gave to the crew in the green Kirk shirt sounded very Shatnerian plus the way he went ‘RAISE THEM!’ in the 2nd part evoked Khan
Yay. No where NEAR first… (sarcasm).
As much as I loved DS9, they ruined the Mirror Universe. It just seemed American soap opera-y. Oh look, an EVIL Worf.. or evil Quark….
Mirror, Mirror was a great episode though,
Also, Trek Magazine has gone downhill ever since it was Americanised. I’ve bought every copy going back to 1994 when it was first launched in the UK. Now it covers both UK & US audience, it appears a lot more dumbed down and does that stupid thing StarLog used to do where the interview would be continued 3 or 4 pages after in full. Why?
Grr. Rant over.
Great interview. Good luck Nana, always.
I think the main reason I prefer the Holodeck to the MU is that it’s deliberate. Things are the way they are in the Holodeck either by design or by the failure of that design – we’re generally not asked to buy into a series of elaborate coincidences that smack of magic.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge Dark Shadows fan. I just like my Dark Shadows in my Dark Shadows and my Star Trek in my Star Trek.
I hate how the Kira’s look like they’re looking past each other. Actors and Directors need to realize that if you’re looking at somebody a foot away from you, your eyes are cross eyed. Hold your finger up in front of your face, then move it away but don’t adjust your eyes, and you’re cross eyed.
They get this wrong all the time on TV and in movies and they look like they’re looking at the wall!
#26—“…instead of the galaxyquest sequel this abrams movie is turning out to be.”
Is Abrams making a Galaxyquest sequel? I haven’t heard that.
I think what Abrams is doing looks pretty entertaining, and definitely not in a Galaxyquest kind of way.
But I agree that ENT was cancelled just when it had hit its stride. Too bad they ruined the end of it by making the finale a bad TNG trip to the holodeck…and with ‘fat-Riker’ too. I didn’t need to see that.
40 – i guess if it had continued with Manny Coto for seasons 5-7 wed have had alot more TOS links – perhaps even that elusive Shatner appearence…
maybe the final ep wouldve been Archer and maybe Tpol at the launch of the NCC 1701 with Pike and Spock cameos (Cage Hunter and Nimoy via Trial & Tribulation style CGI)…it mustve at least been thought of as on the computer screen showing Archers record in Mirror Darkly it states that the 100 year old Archer was at the launch (but died next day)
then again if Enterprise hadnt been cancelled = probably no $150m TOS movie starring Nimoy …so every cloud eh…
I’m going to say it- as much as I adore Classic Trek, DS9 is a better show. More than that, I contend that it was Ron Moore’s trial run for the type of continuous drama he would later bring to BSG.
In the Trek realm, I think DS9 had a bad reputation for years because the show pretty much requires you to watch it in order and until completion. Really DS9 and Babylon 5 pioneered the type of continuity driven storytelling DVD boxed sets have allowed to become common (Lost, BSG, Buffy, etc). It is my favorite show, and I simply ask anyone who may want to give it another chance to set aside the time to watch all of them. Yes, the first season drags a bit as the writers come to the realization they can write more contiguously, but starting at the end of the first season with “Duet” on, it’s fantastic.
I wonder if Vistor has read or would read any of the DS9 books — I fee like the the DS9 relaunch has really done justice to her portrayal of Kira, and of course you can’t read those books without imagining how she’s behave, talk, etc as Kira — especially with her becoming ‘attained’ and becoming the commander of the station…
But if she’s too emotional about even watching the old episodes, maybe not. Still, I wonder if she’s even curious.
hmm…its nice to read an interview with a DS9 castmember. Doesn’t happen very often these days. While the TNG crew are still getting together and telling everyone how much they get on, you don’t hear the same usually from the DS9 castmembers.
Does anyone know who got along and who didn’t? I’m get the feeling there’s a TOS-crew like situation where not everyone liked everyone else…
With all due respect man…. Bakula’s performance in the Darkly episodes had me rolling on the floor laughing!
He was trying SO HARD, forcing every word out, tensing his neck thinking it made him look mean and threatening.
I was in a room full of people who couldn’t stop laughing.
Bakula just doesn’t have it in him and no offense to him. There are only certain actors who can be nice guys and yet still possess a truly believable undercurrent of danger or anger lurking beneath. In lamens terms ” I like this guy, but something tells me I wouldn’t want to mess with him” Actors like Sean Connery as Bond, Harrison Ford, Christian Bale, and hopefully Chris Pine.
Bakula with his scrawny body, giant nose and forehead and his Mr Nice guy (Quantum Leap) demeanor was utterly laughable as a bad guy.
I’m not attacking him personally I’m sure he’s a nice guy, in fact I can pretty much guarantee it.
Comparing Bakula to Shatner is like comparing Mark Hamil to Harrison Ford, now which guy would you want to have your back during a fight?
Bakula reminds me a bit of Stephen Collins (Star Trek TMP-7th Heaven)a nice guy through and through, but couldn’t play a bad guy to save his life.
Might I say that the only thing I like more than reading that Trek was a memorable experience for an actor is reading that, standing above all others, Trek was the most memorable experience an actor has had. It only goes to confirm what I’ve known about Trek all along: It’s a franchise — a universe — like no other.
I would love to work there if the opportunity is there I will give it a shot. I just went down to the sight they are going to build to check it out and they havent even broke ground yet. I hope it still happens until then Im doing a fun podcast and hanging out at Spacequest which is the sci-fi themed casino at the Hilton.
I miss DS9. What a wonderful show.
Nana Visitor was brilliant as Kira. A real standout across all 5 series (with plenty of ringers who always delivered the good, as well).
Roxanne Dawson is right up there, too.
#47–I hope it happens for all our sakes. Not good to hear that ground isn’t even broken though. Given the tough economic times — my mom lives in Henderson so I hear how bad it is now even in Vegas! I’m still coming to the Hilton in August for the con so maybe I’ll see ya at Spacequest. Gotta drink somewhere! Which reminds me…
“….rather than aboard the USS Hilton.”