Ira Steven Behr Reveals How He Really Wanted ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ To End + More DS9 At STLV 2018

With 2018 as the 25th anniversary of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, there was a lot of attention given to the show at Star Trek Las Vegas. We already covered the panel for the forthcoming What We Left Behind documentary, but after going over our remaining material from the show, there are some more highlights and interesting comments from the cast and crew of DS9, including the surprising way the showrunner wanted the show to end, how one of the stars was reluctant to join and what some other actors wanted to do with their characters, but never had the chance.

Behr pitched dream ending for DS9

The final panel of Star Trek Las Vegas was dedicated to one of the more interesting episodes of Deep Space Nine, Far Beyond The Stars.” The sixth season episode was framed as a vision given to Benjamin Sisko by the Wormhole Alien Prophets, where he was a 1950s science fiction writer named Benny Russell, who comes up with a story about an African American commander of a futuristic space station. At the panel DS9 showrunner, Ira Steven Behr said he was attracted to the story pitch from writer Marc Scott Zicree because of how it dealt directly with racism, as well as how it was “about the dreamer and the dream and who is dreaming and what they are dreaming about.”

“Far Beyond the Stars” panel, with writer Marc Scott Zicree, showrunner Ira Steven Behr, and actors Cirroc Loften, Aron Eisenberg, Marc Alaimo, Jeffery Combs, Armin Shimerman, Terry Farrell, Nana Visitor, Rene Auberjonois, and J.G. Hertzler

Behr was so drawn to this story within a story that he wanted to use it again for the series finale, telling the Vegas crowd of his radical idea on how to end the series:

I did pitch to Rick Berman that the final episode would end up with Benny Russell on Stage 17 at Paramount, wandering around the soundstages, realizing that this whole construct, this whole series, that we had done for seven years, was just in Benny’s head. That is how I wanted to end the series. And Rick said “Does this mean The Original Series was in Benny’s head? Does this mean Voyager was in Benny’s head?” I said “Hey man, I don’t care who is dreaming those shows, I only care about Deep Space Nine and yes, Benny Russell is dreaming Deep Space Nine.” He didn’t go for it.

Avery Brooks as Benny Russell in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Lofton’s love for Brooks is real

On that same panel when asked about the bond shown on screen between Benjamin Sisko and his son Jake Sisko, actor Cirroc Loften talked about how real it is:

That is just a real thing that we have, just like [Nog actor] Aron [Eisenberg] and I have a real thing. What we do is real and how we feel is real. To be able to translate it onto film, is the magic of it. So the relationship with Avery [Brooks] is a natural real love that I have, a real bond that I share.

Cirroc Lofton with Aron Eisenberg at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018

de Boer talks trans connection with Ezri, Behr regrets not exploring

During another DS9 group panel, moderated by Ira Steven Behr, actress Nicole de Boer, who joined the series in the seventh season as Ezri Dax, talked about how she learned while on the show how the character connected with a particular segment of fans, saying:

When I first played Ezri, as a Trill, it hadn’t quite occurred to me I was playing the whole idea of the social anxiety and discomfort of being this new person, and how that affects the relationships you’re going through. Fans start to send you all this lovely fan mail and you realize how much you’ve helped people. They say “Ezri Dax helped me through some very hard times, because she was wanting to be accepted, it was very awkward for her.” And then as more time got on, I was learning about how Ezri Dax meant a lot to people who identify as non-binary or trans and then it hit me “of course that makes so much sense.” Ezri Dax continues to inform me and I continue to learn from her from hearing from fans how much she’s meant to them.

Behr jumped in on that discussion, revealing a regret he has about this issue:

It’s interesting that Nikki said that, one of things we’ve been talking about while we’ve been doing the [DS9 documentary] is that we could have handled that issue, we did a wonderful episode “Rejoined”, we could have done more. We certainly had the characters and the opportunity. The ‘90s were a different time, I guess. That’s definitely one of the things I regret.

Nicole de Boer with Ira Steven Behr at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018

Meaney wasn’t sure about DS9

During another panel at STLV, actor Colm Meaney spoke about how he was initially reluctant to make the jump from his recurring role as Miles O’Brien on Star Trek: The Next Generation:

I went to Deep Space Nine kind of reluctantly, I had been recurring on Next Generation, I wasn’t a series regular, and I kinda didn’t want to give up the freedom I had on Next Generation, I could go and do whatever other projects I wanted to do without having to ask permission. But Rick Berman persuaded me, and said that any film I really wanted to do, he’d release me. He was true to his word for seven years.

Colm Meaney at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018

Hatae beat room full of twins to become Molly

On the same panel with Colm Meaney was actress Hana Hatae, who had nothing but great memories about her time on DS9 playing the young Molly O’Brien, starting when she was only four years old, but saying “it was such a good experience, everyone treated me like a like a little princess.” And apparently she must have really nailed her audition, as she explained how she beat out all the twin competition:

I don’t remember, my mom told me that we walked into the audition area, it was full of all twins. And she thought there’s no way you’re getting this. When you’re young they prefer twins because there’s only a certain amount of time that you’re allowed on set to work. So, I went into the audition room by myself. I don’t remember a single thing [about the audition], but my mom told me that when I walked out everyone was just laughing hysterically. I don’t think I even got a callback, it was just like “hey she’s got the role.”

Hana Hatae at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018

Masterson wanted Leeta to have an edge, Darren wanted Vic to hook up

During the DS9 group panel, moderated Ira Steven Behr, got the actors to talk about what they wished the writers had done with their characters. Chase Masterson thought there was more potential in her Dabo girl Leeta, saying:

I would have loved for Leeta have more obvious guts and more edge. Something where she came in to save the day, because you wouldn’t have expected that of Leeta.

Chase Masterson at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018

As for James Darren, the Vic Fontaine actor was hoping for some love:

What I wanted, was a little love interest of some kind. Anything. Just a little fling. That character Vic, was pretty hip, he’d been around the block a few times, he knew all the guys, he knew Sammy, and Frank, and Dean.

Behr replied, “The holosuite could have been running when we weren’t there, who knows what Vic was doing.”

James Darren at Star Trek Las Vegas 2018

Definitive moments

Behr also opened up the panel for the actors to discuss what they saw as their defining moment from working on DS9. Here are what some of them had to say:

Nicole de Boer:

My first definite defining moment was my very first scene that I had to do. Coming in and seeing Avery and Brock Peters in the room and having to come in on that first day and having to say “it’s me Ezri Dax.” I was nervous, but very prepared and very excited for it. It’s a very vivid memory.

Chase Masterson:

[On the final day of shooting] at lunch we were all in a soundstage, about 300 of us, every one that worked on the show, we all had lunch together. They were playing “The Magnificent Ferengi” and other episodes on televisions around the room, and the defining moment, is that Ira got up on the scaffolding, because it was a large room and everyone needed to see, and Ira stood there and told us how much working on this show, and the show itself, meant to him.

Andrew Robinson:

I’m claustrophobic, the more pieces [of latex] they put on, the weirder it got and the more scared I got. Then they put that black rug, they called a wig, on and then they put on that furniture pad they called a costume, and I’m sweating like a pig. I’m thinking I gotta call my agent, I gotta get out of this. Then I looked in the mirror, and I saw this thing looking back at me, and the actor in me, who is smart, knew it was an opportunity.

James Darren:

A defining moment for me was when I sang with Avery. And another was of course, the end of the show, which we almost never got through my singing “The Way You Look Tonight,” because every time I got to Nana, I’d be singing to her and she’d start crying and then I’d start crying, so they’d have to cut.

James Darren and Andrew Robinson at Star Trek Las Vegas

More STLV

Click here to see the rest of our STLV coverage.

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noraa

I love DS9, and Far Beyond the Stars, and Ira Steven Behr – but I’m really glad Berman vetoed Behr’s idea of the whole series being in Benny’s head. Beyond the obvious ramifications of “were all of the other Star Trek’s in Benny’s head??” I just feel like that kind of ending essentially invalidates everything that came before it.

Wallace

Actually, I would have loved that dream ending. The only difference is I would have made it ambiguous, so that it could be viewed as possibly being a dream and possibly real. Like most Philip K. Dick novels ask, “What is reality? What is real?”

Curious Cadet

@Wallace — or THE WIZARD OF OZ

Muldfeld

I’m a HUGE Ira Steven Behr fan, especially compared to Rick Berman, but I’m glad Berman over-ruled him. That would’ve been irritating and ruined the drama. It was bad enough that they recast Ziyal to prove to audiences that the show was a construct; that first actress for Ziyal was amazing, no offense to the very good final actress, and it was a shame to see her go.

ML31

Who is Ziyal?

noraa

Gul Dukat’s daughter.

Smiling, Behr continued, “[In an ideal world,] I would have changed the role of Ziyal every single time – just to keep reminding the audience that this is all a construct.” (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 423-424)

ML31

Oh yeah! It’s been quite some time since I watched DS9. I did watch it a 2nd time some years ago….

The River Temarc

…which is pretentious bullshit, and yet another reason why DS9 is not “The Best Trek Evah” promulgated by its fans.

Ira Steven Behr claims to have been inspired by recasting the role of Steven Leiter in the Bond franchise. But that recasting wasn’t due to artistic reasons; it’s because Jack Lord wanted top billing with Sean Connery. And the result was that we got stupidly comical Leiters until “License to Kill,” and arguably until “Casino Royale.”

albatrosity

For sure, I think an ending like that would’ve been way too pomo and would’ve ruined the meaning of the series

Marja

“It was all a dream”?! Ugh. Glad they didn’t do it. Maybe they could have mentioned the 200th anniversary of “Far Beyond the Stars,” the novel that inspired space exploration, or something. And a final shot of Benny at his typewriter, with a bunch of his published novels behind him. Not “it was all a dream” but “fiction inspires us to achieve.”

Thomas

How many fans would’ve lost their minds over this? It would’ve been interesting but fans would go insane. It would’ve been These Are The Voyages but worse.

Tiger2

Yeah exactly MUCH worse. It would’ve been people saying the show isn’t canon now. And fans who love the show it would’ve felt it was invalidated since none of those events happened. It would’ve been a total disservice to the show Behr had made. And as Berman said it would’ve complicated things with the other shows since a lot of DS9 had been referenced in TNG, VOY and the films too.

As I said maybe fine if it was just a stand alone show it could’ve worked. As part of a huge franchise however it would’ve been a disaster for an ending.

Michael Hall

Interestingly enough, the novelization of “Far Beyond the Stars,” which was written by Steven Barnes (who is African American) also implied that TOS was the earlier creation of Benny Russell. Not sure how that would have played on film, though the aired version of the episode at least implies that may have been the case, with the still of Starbase 11 from “Court Martial” gracing the cover of Benny’s fictional ’50s SF pulp magazine to illustrate one of his stories.

As for the actual DS9 finale, it was definitely a mixed bag. The sendoff of the Kira/Odo relationship and some other beats were moving and heartfelt, but for my money the Kai Wynn/Gul Dukat stuff with the Prophets was a total loss (sorry).

Marja

I didn’t quite buy the Kai Wynn/Gul Dukat partnership, but Gul Dukat’s vanity and megalomania killed him, which was an appropriate end for his character.

Curious Cadet

I’m really glad Berman vetoed Behr’s idea of the whole series being in Benny’s head…I just feel like that kind of ending essentially invalidates everything that came before it.
–noraa

Kinda the way Riker & Troi turned ENT into a giant holodeck episode with the finale? Too bad he didn’t veto that!

Corinthian7

The Enterprise finale didn’t turn the whole series into a holodeck simulation though. As I recall there’s a line of dialogue in the episode in which Riker in which it’s stated that Rikerreviewed this particular mission to help him make a decision about revealing what happened on the Pegasus. The events being depicted in TATV take place 10 years after the events in Brokenbow, it’s not conceivable that Riker experienced all of this in the holodeck during The Pegasus nor was this implied onscreen. It’s an awful series finale but it’s got nothing on what Behr wanted to do. If you took out Trip’s pointless death the concept would have worked fine as a standalone episode.

ML31

Yes. A standalone episode. NOT a series finale. As a series finale it ranks right up there with “All Good Things…” in that it’s a pedestrian regular episode but not worthy of being the series finale.

noraa

Wait, are you saying “All Good Things…” was nothing more than a pedestrian episode and not worthy of being a series finale???

If that’s the case, I would very much beg to differ. “All Good Things…” is easily the best series finale of any of the Trek series, and, IMHO, one of the best series finales of a show period.

ML31

I’m saying that AGT was at BEST a pedestrian episode. As a finale it was amazingly disappointing. I’d say the best Trek finale was “What we Leave Behind”. And it’s not even close. My real problem with the episode was that, and this happened quite often in TNG, Q held Picard’s hand throughout the entire ordeal. He flat out TOLD him everything. No one figured anything out for themselves. No characters grew. Nothing happened to anyone. It was just a VERY pedestrian episode. Nothing special.

Curious Cadet

@noraa — my problem with AGT is that it’s a manufactured event by Q. Had Q not been brought back in so many comedic episodes, and had he not presented so many “what-if” scenarios to Picard, then maybe I could have taken him seriously at the end. Unfortunately it came off as hollow, with no real threat. The fact the timeline wasn’t impacted also led to the feeling that none of this mattered. All three enterprises were destroyed, yet there were absolutely no real world consequences. And that’s a huge problem with so many Star Trek episodes. They hit the reset button at the end, undoing everything they’d previously setup. ATG ultimately disappoints because of this.

The River Temarc

Absolutely. AGT stands up there with the Sopranos, the Americans, and Breaking Bad finales.

ML31

Never watched The Sopranos or Breaking Bad. But The Americans finale, while not the best ever, was quite satisfying and a worthy ending to the saga. Almost literally the complete opposite of AGT.

Curious Cadet

@COrinthian7 — I’m aware of the circumstances of the episode. The point being the holodeck recreation looked and felt just like the real thing. How did they manage such accuracy? The whole thing had to be programmed, since Kirk says in The Menagerie that no Starfleet logs are recorded in such detail. So, to my point, was the entire series then, just a 2D representation of the holodeck recreations of the missions which we watched as an audience? Or were we watching the actual missions? The question is whether there’s proof of the latter, now that we’ve seen one episode which was clearly a programmed holodeck recreation. It’s a bad decision which taints the whole series. Not as bad maybe as waking up from a dream, but then again, that didn’t really hurt THE WIZARD OF OZ at all.

Tiger2

The Wizard of Oz works because Oz is a fantastical place within the story so you can buy she dreams it. Star Trek is ALSO fantastical lol but it really suppose to exist in its universe.

Corinthian7

@Curious Cadet I see your point but remember we’ve only seen these events from the perspective of Riker’s holodeck program so we don’t know how accurate the depiction was. Sure the crew and ship looked exactly like they should which you would expect from a holodeck simulation but I think it’s safe to assume that the conversations and interactions were dramatic recreations based on historic reports. I suppose it doesn’t really matter though as whichever way you interpret it the events are still canon. Fans of the show can treat the rest of the episodes as being depictions of the actual events and those that had issues with Enterprise can view it all as holodeck simulation if they like.

Curious Cadet

@Corinthian7 — right. Every fan is free to interpret every episode of Trek anyway they like, Prime Universe, Kelvin Universe, or some other parallel universe. They can pick and choose which episodes and films they prefer to view as canon or not. In the end, anything the series does to make such choices ambiguous, lessens the whole. Was ENT just one long Holo-documentary, with creative interpretations and artistic license about the events depicted? Or did it happen exactly as we saw it? With that last episode, who really knows for sure?

Tiger2

Yeah, if anything the holodeck story line made Enterprise stronger in canon because the point is centuries in the future their adventures has become iconic to many in Starfleet like Riker. It’s very much apples and oranges to a guy who just dreamed up a show in its head. Yes the finale was AWFUL but it didn’t invalidate the show at all.

Ironically this is my point with my OP because I still hear this from fans, mostly ones who hated Enterprise that the show isn’t ‘real’ but just a holodeck simulation by Riker. These people aren’t stupid, clearly that’s not what it means but it’s how some people try to disregard it in general.

Exact same issue with the Kelvin movies. Many hate those too so they pretend all of it is just in another universe, even the fact Romulus gets blown up. Some treat that like it wasn’t the prime universe either because it was never really stated as so. Again we know that’s not the case but if you hate something it gives you a reason to say its not canon.

Corinthian7

@Tiger2I think it’s going to be interesting to see how they deal with this in the Picard show. I have always treated it as canon but that was because I understood less about the split at Viacom. I wouldn’t be surprised if they just don’t mention Romulus at all until there’s a clear outcom from the merger talks.

Tiger2

Sure they can avoid it. And I even said that they can simply say the show was set before the Romulus explosion if you just want to cop out of it completely. I don’t think they will do that obviously but my guess is since it was Kurtzman who wrote the first film and now in charge of this one he will want to deal with it in some way. And it would feel like a cop out the guy who did it in the first place avoids it.

And they knew SOONER OR LATER this was going to have to be addressed. Unlike SOME people here, to many of us it was obvious at some point they were going to go back to the 24th century or farther. So I hope they just address it now and move on. They don’t have to even make it a major story or anything. Look how the Kelvin films have been treating the destruction of Vulcan in STID and STB. They talk about it, reference it, but that’s it basically. They have never felt the need to make anymore of it than background. Its a bit different because its not an enemy but they can do something like this if they want.

And from what I’m told other media has dealt with it like Star Trek Online and some of the novels. Follow their lead.

BorgKlingon

Thank god I don’t dream boring, poorly written and badly acted stuff like Enterprise at night.

trekmaster78

Yes, it would would have been the same negative effect as the holodeck thing on the ENT finale.

ML31

Didn’t think of that. Yes. I think the “it was all a dream” ending would have been worse than the Enterprise holodeck ending. And that one was trashed thoroughly. Even the actors I believe hated it.

martin

That’s what I was thinking too. Funny how Berman allowed the ENT finale after rejecting ISB’s idea. Perhaps since the ENT finale just showed a history program on the holodeck, so it didn’t invalidate the ENT series, but maybe just the last episode — but in whatever way it was taken, it certainly didn’t change the perception of TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and the movies.

Tallguy

Yes, but the events on the holodeck still HAPPENED.

Tiger2

Yes its apples and oranges. It didn’t come out of Riker’s head, he was revising history. In THIS case Behr literally wanted the entire show to just be the imagination of a random guy on the street. It’s odd how people are comparing the two. There is nothing to compare. TATV is bad but it doesn’t invalidate the show at all. It’s doing the complete opposite. The execution of it was just bad.

Tiger2

Meant Riker was revisiting history, not revising! He’s not Trump. ;)

Richard

Yep … DS9 is my favourite series of all time, but that would have cheapened the whole series, not to mention a certain crowd would be saying it is no longer canon.

fgdj200

Dito. For one, it raises the same questions Berman had: what about the other shows/ films in the franchise? Are these also dreamed up? And secondly, and more importantly, what would have done for the show? DS9 is not about dreams really. Revealing that DS9 was the quintessential tale in a religious text would have made more sense, since the show is – among other things – about religion and morality. Anyway, I like Berman. For someone who didn’t like Trek in the first place he did one hell of a job getting the right people to give us some of the finest hours of TV. But in the end, his reverence for the past got the better of him.

odradek

Yeah, you can give this one to Berman. Although this could have given him the idea for the Enterprise final,or at least weakend his strengh to resist against it. So you can blaim Behr for that one.

Tay Dervis

Ugh that would have been awful.

Tiger2

Yeah it’s not the first time I heard this idea. He’s mentioned it a few times in the past and it sounded just as bad then as it does now. I get what he wanted to do and if it was just a one off standalone show maybe it could’ve worked. But part of a massive franchise would’ve been a horrible mistake to end it that way.

For the next eternity people would be debating if DS9 is considered ‘canon’ or if that the show count since technically it never existed. And it would’ve undone all the amazing story telling it did. Same reason why it would be a mistake to ‘fix’ the Kelvin timeline and why they will never do it. You have people who hate Enterprise now suggesting that show never really happened and was just a hologram program Riker used on the D. Don’t give haters more ammo Behr.

I still really miss this show though and it’s obvious how much the cast loved working on it. I would love for Star Trek to be daring again.

BorgKlingon

Seriously? I agree that this was a bad idea, but Jesus, you are aware that the whole franchise is a fictional construct dreamed up by humans, right?

Your way overly dramatic post makes it sound like some of us fans would have seizures or get stuck in brain loops like Nomad because our fan brains would not have been able to handle it. LOL

Marja

From some comments I’ve read here at various times, I wouldn’t put it past some fans to totally lose their sh*t.

Look at how “Discovery” has “killed Star Trek” and other such nonsense. Opinions are not fact, and canon is what Paramount and CBS film under the aegis of “Star Trek.” Full stop.

Tiger2

EXACTLY!

When some fans don’t like a show they go out of their way to invalidate it or say ‘it’s not cannon’. This hasn’t been a huge issue with the 24th century shows but all the prequels like Enterprise, the Kelvin films and ESPECIALLY Discovery being so new this get said all the time on multiple boards. I don’t love all of these either but they are ALL canon and they all contribute to the overall franchise in some way. I was arguing with some guy on another site on why the Picard Show should just pretend like Romulus didn’t explode because he considers the Kelvin movies ‘experiments’ that’s not tied to the franchise at all and because it was simply ‘stupid’.

I wish people could stop making it about themselves all the time. If you don’t like it, fine, but stop arguing to others it isn’t canon because you thought it sucked.

ML31

I’ve heard some people claim that TFF is not canon for some reason or another. Sorry, just because the film was sub par doesn’t mean it ceases being canon. I think TVH was garbage. Doesn’t mean I’m not calling canonical. Those events happened in this fictional universe. Just because the plotting and execution of the events was pisspoor doesn’t mean the movie didn’t happen.

Tiger2

I guess because they really hate Sybok that much lol. I don’t really love TFF either but however people feel about a film or a show it’s canon. Now I can understand if they feel something may conflict with previous canon and it’s hard to accept it on that basis which is why people have issues with prequels like Discovery in general. Because some may feel it’s ‘overwriting’ previous canon. That is a little different though but I get that argument for certain instances.

I still don’t love the fact they gave Spock a sister for example, it just feels like total pandering to TOS fans but I understand it’s still just a TV show so you shrug and just go with it. And trying to erase shows and movies out of existence because you think they suck is just childish especially when you are ignoring the millions of fans who do like and accept it.

Behr would’ve made that an easy target for DS9 haters if he got his way on it. But DS9 isn’t really hated though like Discovery or Enterprise is and generally loved now throughout the fanbase today so it may not have been a big deal I guess.

ML31

Precisely. I never liked the entire concept of Sybok being Spock’s half brother. I think the plot could have worked better if there was no relation and Spock had been a good friend of Sybok. But it doesn’t REALLY violate canon. Just like Burnham as Spock’s adoptive sister doesn’t. They are both just bad creative choices. IMHO, STD violates canon in a number of other ways. And even though I felt in TVH very few of the characters behaved like themselves and they took way too many liberties with history and even with what a cloaking device actually does (according the even the previous movie) it still has no blatant canon issues.

Tiger2

I wish there was an ignore button here.

BorgKlingon

To ignore, you just simply ignore. Saying, “I wish there was an ignore button here” is full of “look at me!” self-aggrandizement, as well as an obvious attempt to the ridicule the person you are in fact responding to.

A person who legitimately wanted to ignore someone would just do it an not try to call self-congratulatory attention to themselves through a sarcastic insult.

Tiger2

Please go away.

BorgKlingon

If you want to ignore me then stop taking about it and just do it.

But, respectfully, I will not be bullied into “going away.”

Tiger2

Ignored. Go away now. Bye.

BorgKlingon

I would most welcome you actually ignoring me instead of all of these posts talking about your eventual plan, “maybe someday,” to ignore me. :-)

Please just deliver on your promise and let’s stop this silly back and forth…this is so lame!

Tiger2

Ignored! Go away now. BYE

BorgKlingon

(posting in response is not ingoring)

odradek

How many times has this idea be done before? St Elsewhere comes to mind, Roseanne, Growing Pains , Buffy …?

Marja

Exactly. Hackneyed. Oh yeah and Dallas did the famous “last season was all Pam’s dream” after they persuaded the actor who played Bobby Ewing to come back to the series.

BorgKlingon

Growing Pains and Buffy…SORRY, NO, THEY DID NOT END THAT WAY.

odradek

I did not say they ended that way. I mentioned them because both shows used that same old Total Recall concept

BorgKlingon

Ah, OK. You could add Lost to your list. Wasn’t a dream, but they were all dead spirits and having illusions of life in probably, Purgatory.

Danpaine

BorgKlingon, as someone who watched Lost, would you recommend it? I never did, and even though I hear it ended horribly am wondering if it’s worth checking out. 6 seasons is a big investment in time. Thanks!

BorgKlingon

Seasons 1 through 3 are fantastic, and some of the best TV ever done. Then it slowly goes downhill from there, because they never really planned how to wrap up the storylines.

Marja

Sounds kind of typical for JJ Abrams, doesn’t it?

Muldfeld

YES! I hate J.J. Abrams, too! So nice to read this! And yet everyone lauds his garbage, derivative, apolitical work. Pisses me off!

BorgKlingon

You should see his political, aderivative work.

Danpaine

Thanks – appreciate that.

ML31

“Thanks – appreciate that.”

You’re welcome. Always willing to help out. :)

BorgKlingon

No problem, Danpaine

ML31

Danpaine, I watched Lost. That first season kicked some serious A. But the next couple of seasons it seemed to meander a bit much as if they really didn’t know how much to tell or if they even knew where they were going. When they got the order for how many episodes they had left you could see they found their focus and direction. Many argue that they hated how it ended up. I don’t disagree with them. I get that some things are left up to the viewer but there were just TOO many things that were never explored that made little sense. However, if you focus on the characters and emotions and not so much on the circumstances it works better. Obviously YMMV.

Tiger2

I wasn’t a huge fan of the show until it’s third season but it was a very good show. Sadly the ending didn’t work for me at all and it was clear a lot of the questions never had any real answers but when you have to keep people tuned in for five seasons I guess there isn’t much you can do.

It was still a good show with some incredible stories and a great cast but I haven’t thought of rewatching it since it went off the air sadly.

Danpaine

“Newhart,” after 8 seasons, he wakes up on the previous ” The Bob Newhart Show.”

Marja

Oh god, that’s right. But it got a huge laugh!

ML31

Yep. Mentioned “Newhart” in my first post. It was the best use of “it was all a dream”. It was great to get Suzanne Pleshette back to do the cameo as Emily too. And in my mind, was the best series finale ever.

Danpaine

Agreed, that was hysterical for a comedy show. For Trek, not so much.

The River Temarc

Dallas (the original)

PaulB

Buffy’s series finale wasn’t a dream or anything like this. Growing Pains didn’t end like this. So…um…huh?

If you’re talking about shows that have had episodes that were dreams/imaginary, that’s one thing, but this article is about DS9’s FINALE almost being that. Two of your four examples are nothing like this, and Roseanne’s wasn’t quite the same–it wasn’t all imaginary, just part of it.

Mirror Galt

SPACEBALLS

Mirror Galt

NORMAN JEWISON’S JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

odradek

Mirror Galt

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Corinthian7

Not the first time I’ve heard this story but it always makes me shudder. If ever you needed a compelling reason of why the franchise always needs a Berman or potentially even a Kurtzman this would be it!!

Hugues

That would have been awful.
I have a lot of respect for Ira Steven Behr, but, really, did he not get the point of that story?
Benny Russel resisted the people trying to convince him that that future was only in his head, and that he should stop telling the stories. He resisted, not because of the reality of that future, but because the idea that this kind of future would/could never be was unbearable.
We also have to believe that that kind of future is possible.
That believe is in essence, Star Trek.
Behr’s idea would have made DS9 not Star Trek.

kmart

I’ve always loved this idea for a finale, and thought all you needed to cushion the issue with respect to the ‘franchise’ was to see Roddenberry walk past Benny during that last bit, so it is like they shared a vision with common aspects.

Michael Hall

I agree that it could have worked, and possibly better than what we got, depending on how well the concept was handled. But we sure seem to be in the minority on this one. :-)

fgdj200

Now, if they truly wanted to get meta, how about an elderly Benny (about 10 years older) being hired as a writer by Roddenberry for a little TV-show in 1966. And if you have to have DS9 in it, have him propose this idea. However, I think a meta-ending for the show wouldn’t have worked, because it simply wasn’t a meta-show. It wouldn’t have connected properly with the themes and the story of the show. Now, if you take “That 70s Show”, that was a much more whacky show that played with audiences expectations and featured an absurd timeline, where it spend several seasons in 1977, complete with Christmas and Halloween specials and passing climate-seasons each year (basically, 1977 had 3 winters, 3 summers and 3 christmases), but Trek was still, despite some wackiness and all the space–stuff, a fairly grounded serious drama. Ending that on a “it was all in Benny Russel’s head” would be as if they actually ended Breaking Bad with that fake ending, where Bryan Cranston’s character from Malcolm in the Middle was dreaming the entire series.

Brian

That would have been an awful ending. I liked DS9 but my biggest issue was this back and fourth over the prophets. It started out early, with too much focused on Bajor’s religion then it leveled off with minor references until the last season and then it was this story that really mucked it all up with the Pah wraiths and the prohpets and Dukat.

Ian

I never minded the focus on the Prophets early on, it was entwined with Bajoran politics which I found refreshing. Season 2 opens so darned well.
But, apart from one episode that let Rosalind Chao finally do more than play downtrodden or irritated, I can’t think of anything to do with the Pah Wraiths which I actually enjoyed. The idea of them was okay, but the execution was Dungeons and Dragons meets Supernatural, and it took down Dukat and Winn as compelling characters along the way.

BringBackKirkPrime

For once, Berman did the right thing. The Dallas/St. Elsewhere ending was absurd, and would have done damage to the franchise past and future.

BorgKlingon

For Dallas, it stabilized a ratings decline and locked in the show for four more seasons, so I don’t think that is a great example to make your point on here.

St Elsewhere — there you go!

BringBackKirkPrime

Actually, what Dallas did was come up with a cop out. The ratings decline was stabilized by the return of Bobby Ewing, not by the dream idea.

An ending that people will discuss is great–but not when the idea is so stupid and obnoxious that people will just be angry. Like How I Met Your Mother–that was just galactically stupid.

Quantum Leap–another horrible choice. Endings that essentially slap the long time fans in the face are not thought provoking–they are just the product of writers who were being jerks at the time, and this ending for DS9 would have completely destroyed what I consider the last Star Trek series that was actually good.

BorgKlingon

You have a point there. I wasn’t suggesting I liked that ep – I agree that it was lame.

Tiger2

Yes a lot of damage. People would’ve said the show isn’t canon with the rest of the franchise, at least the ones who hate it. I think Behr wanted an ending people could debate and discuss for years, which is not a bad thing but it would’ve done MAJOR damage to how others saw the show. And I DON’T want the show to just an idea in Benny’s head. How it was done in Far Beyond the Stars was brilliant but still in context of the show.

DeanH

Wow that dream-ending proposal was pretty cool and thought provoking. It might have worked brilliantly if DS9 were not part of a greater Trek universe. Conversely, as someone said, it may have inspired the Enterprise finale and we all know how that went over – so in the end I too am glad it got vetoed.

Thorny

Nah, it would have been condemned as a rip-off of “St. Elsewhere” (drama) and “Newhart” (comedy) which both did that a decade earlier. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” around the same time also did an episode which strongly implied the whole series was in Buffy’s head (although that wasn’t the show’s finale.)

The final five minutes of “Newhart” are absolutely comedy genius. Just brilliant. Look it up on Youtube sometime.

January Jones

Holy hell, what a total hack this Behr guy is. God knows how Berman and Piller managed to wrestle a great show out of him if he thinks that’s a good idea.

Muldfeld

Yeah, all you have to do is look at what a piece of garbage everything Berman did after DS9 to see how bad most of his instincts are. Behr’s imperfect, but brought out the best in his writers (Ronald D. Moore’s work improved by leaps and bounds after joining DS9) and created the best, most political, most original Trek — easily!

Arathorn

Yeah so chill out a bit. It was a dumb idea, but the guy did a pretty stellar job on everything else.

AdAstraPerAspera

It was one idea. Let’s not start being disrespectful to people because of one idea he had out of many, many, many good ones. There is no need to be rude.

PEB

Cirroc is still a gorgeous guy… and looking more and more like what I imagine Jake Sisko would grow up to look like (meaning he looks less like an actor playing a part and more like he REALLY IS Ben Sisko’s son)

Tiger2

I honestly didn’t know that was Cirroc lol. Yeah he has grown to look more like Sisko’s son. Even followed the bald look. ;)

ML31

Yeah… While it would have been clever since they introduced Benny already and could have been a nice call back… I’m not so sure I’d have been on board with the “it was all a dream” ending. It’s been done before. Newhart did it the best.

Denny C

That would have been a great way to burn up and goodwill he had earned with fans. We never woudl have forgiven him (not to mention it had been done before in other shows).

Trek in a Cafe

It only would have worked if the character of Benny had appeared a few more times and slowly weaved his way into the fabric of the show in a Twin Peaks kind of way. Like maybe he’s at the bar a lot or shows up to get his suit tailored.

Phil

Helluva idea on Behr’s part, but it had to have been done right. The rabid canon sector of the fan base would have crucified them for it either way…

AdAstraPerAspera

They appear to be doing that already just from him mentioning the ideas. Another fine example of the toxicity that the fandom- and this website- has descended into.

BorgKlingon

Well, I just said, rather colorfully, that I think it was a bad idea, which is my opinion. I didn’t imply “universal franchise Armageddon” as a couple of the other overly dramatic types here did.

I will say, if anyone could have pull this off, it would have been Ira and his team. I think perhaps the final ep of Lost soured me on this approach forever.

Phil

The creative process is just that. A process. There will be hits and misses, I’m sure whoever gave the thumbs up to the ‘Spocks Brain’ script probably doesn’t have it on their CV. Behr pitched the idea, it didn’t stick. It’s just an interesting footnote in the shows history now.

Yeah, some of the hysteria over Behr sharing that story is a bit misplaced. DS9 is a helluva show, and in my humble opinion is a better entry into the franchise then TNG, which was always a bit pretentious.

Marja

“Spock’s Brain” is a hilarious B-movie. And if you have a sip of alcohol every time someone says “brain” you’re so goofed up you enjoy it even more.

Scripts like that were why Shatner mostly phoned it in with his 3rd season performances. There were still a couple of good Kirk performances, but ….

BorgKlingon

Phil, I agree completely with your post here.

LackofComparison

When has the “it was all just a dream” ending to a series ever been a good idea? So glad they didn’t do that. Just so… so very glad.

Thorny

By the way, there is a whole “Tommyverse” universe on TV, which because of St. Elsewhere being in Tommy’s imagination, means lots of other TV shows (Cheers, Wings, Frasier, Hill Street Blues, etc.) were, too.

Thorny

“Newhart” Absolutely hilarious.

“St. Elsewhere’s” finale was pretty cool too, all of the show being the imagination of Dr. Westphal’s autistic son.

ML31

“When has the “it was all just a dream” ending to a series ever been a good idea?”

The final “Newhart” episode.

Marja

The only good one in TV history, IMO :^)

I love DS9 and I think Behr mostly did right by the series. And in general I would attribute the success of DS9 to the fact that Berman was busy with other things. But I’m also really glad Behr didn’t get his way on this one. That would have been terrible. I want Star Trek to be real in its own universe. (Except for Enterprise, can we pretend that was a dream and only the Mirror Universe parts were true? :) )

BorgKlingon

I love Ira, but thank God Berman stepped in and shut down that brain-fart.

That would be like if the great series, Lost, had wound up with the most of the eps never having happened. ;-)

Cygnus-X1

Fans would have hated Behr’s ending, especially those for whom promoting “diversity” and “equality” is a major appeal of the show. Firstly, and it was all just a dream endings are cliche and a cheap way to duck out of a story when the writer(s) can’t think of a thematically cohesive ending. The series finale of ENT (and it was all just a holodeck program) was similar to Behr’s ending, and wasn’t well received by fans, on the whole. Secondly, making the entire series Benny’s dream would mean that all of Sisko’s accomplishments as a Black man not only never happened, but couldn’t happen in real life due to the depressing societal circumstances depicted in Far Beyond the Stars. In other words, it would be statement that a Black man with Sisko’s accomplishments could only exist in his own dream. I don’t see any upside to that.

Michael Hall

Well, I happen to know that promoting diversity and equality–your snide scare quotes are duly noted–has been a major appeal of this franchise since its earliest beginnings. And, as I’ve stated elsewhere on this thread, I have no issue with Behr’s idea per se so long as it was properly handled. Certainly, I wouldn’t object to it on the absurd basis that it would render Sisko’s accomplishments meaningless since, either way, he’s a fictional character. If an older Benny Russell awoke on the Paramount stages as a producer or writer on a prime-time science fiction show featuring a Black captain–well, that in and of itself would show that societal circumstances had indeed changed since the frightened, McCarthyite period portrayed in FBTS, so your objection (i.e. the objection you assume others would make) fails to make sense even on that level.

Stating opinions is fine, but it would be nice not to confuse making an argument with constructing strawmen by putting ridiculous arguments in the mouths of other people, much less your fellow fans.

BorgKlingon

I think you misread Cygnus-X1’s comments in relating to what he was saying there on race. I did not take it in the negative way that you seem to be reacting to?

Cygnus-X1

Michael Hall

You’ve gotten good at misconstruing my comments. I encourage you to keep at it. You make a good foil.

If an older Benny Russell awoke on the Paramount stages as a producer or writer on a prime-time science fiction show featuring a Black captain–well, that in and of itself would show that societal circumstances had indeed changed

“If” being the operative conditional there. “If”. Behr’s idea as stated above does not include that provision, and thus is your whole argument nullified. And you can take the quotes however you want to, but I use them in order to differentiate between the ideological/political/marketing concepts and the non-valent (dictionary) words that go by the same name. There is some overlap in meaning between them and also some significant differences.

Michael Hall

Uh-huh. Here’s the relevant quote from Behr; I’d love to know how I misconstrued or misinterpreted his intent in any way:

I did pitch to Rick Berman that the final episode would end up with Benny Russell on Stage 17 at Paramount, wandering around the soundstages, realizing that this whole construct, this whole series, that we had done for seven years, was just in Benny’s head.

What do you think Benny Russell, a successful SF writer in 1955, would be doing on the Paramount stages decades later if he wasn’t working on the show in some capacity? Playing pinocle, seeking autographs, what? I was a contract employee at Warner Brothers for a year and while my credentials allowed me to wander just about anywhere on the lot, the soundstages themselves were strictly off-limits unless you had a damned good reason to be there.

As to language, I’ll leave it to you to explain your means of determining that Roddenberry’s insistence on having a Black and an Asian was noble and progressive while the current producers are merely engaged in a species of cynical marketing and peecee pandering. And please remember: neither Ira Behr nor myself chose to drag indentity politics into what was decidedly a non-political story. You did.

Cygnus-X1

Michael Hall

What do you think Benny Russell, a successful SF writer in 1955, would be doing on the Paramount stages decades later if he wasn’t working on the show in some capacity?

In a story where the character is having such severe hallucinations and/or is having his consciousness affected by The Prophets, it could literally be anything.

…Roddenberry’s insistence on having a Black and an Asian was noble and progressive while the current producers are merely engaged in a species of cynical marketing and peecee pandering.

Roddenberry didn’t make the races of his actors the centerpiece of his marketing campaign for TOS. He hired the actors he wanted and got onto business. TOS treated its actors’ races like they were irrelevant, because that’s the ideal that GR wanted to advance—a future where people are judged by the content of their character and by their performance, not by their race, ethnicity or skin color.

Cygnus-X1

Michael Hall

In other words, you appear to have made certain assumptions about Behr’s ending that I did not make. My opinion is based on Behr’s statement as is. I’m not putting words in his mouth nor “interpreting” what he said. It’s possible that he means what you think he means, but it did not occur to me to read it that way. Nor would I say now that I’m certain which way he meant it. If he meant it your way, then my opinion would change based on that. But I don’t know that that’s what he meant. I’ve seen shows where the character is displaced in a Hollywood meta-reality (Family Guy…I think The Simpsons did it before them…and I’m sure there are others) and it’s by no means meant to imply that the character is a producer or writer of their own show. So, that’s the sort of trope that I thought Behr was describing. Now, I’m not so sure. I suppose it could be either.

BorgKlingon

Jesus, what an angry and bitter post. I don’t think Cygnus X-1 deserved that sort of response. That’s just out-of-line.

Take a Prozac or get a massage.

kmart

Aren’t you calling out the wrong poster here? Cyg was the one who sounded angry and ‘off’ to me, and while I admit that is probably a first and everybody has their bad days, it isn’t cause for you to snipe at somebody calling him on it.

Admittedly, I do feel a little weird weighing in on one side or the other as Hall and Cyg are easily my favorite posters here.

Cygnus-X1

kmart

What part sounds angry? I’m not angry about anything.
I’m just saying that I don’t think Behr’s ending would have been well received for the reasons that I listed. The inability of a Black man to have certain jobs (due to societal oppression) is the whole premise of his character arc in “Far Beyond the Stars.” So, making Sisko’s whole arc in DS9 just a dream undoes the progress implied by the juxtaposition of “Far Beyond the Stars” (where Benny is kept down) with the rest of DS9 (where Sisko is made captain and so forth). And, more generally, I’m saying that it was all just a dream endings are a cop-out and it wasn’t well received as the series finale of ENT.

Cygnus-X1

Of all things that might be controversial, I didn’t think that my opinion about Behr’s ending would be.

BorgKlingon

Hmm, I don’t see it away, but if I went overboard in my response as well, that is admittedly hypocritical — and so I apologize for that.

BorgKlingon

What if they did it Behr’s way, but in the 2nd to final scene, Behr’s funeral is shown…and then the screen says: “In the 24th Century” and we have a final scene shown Sisko being promoted to Commodore. So Behr both had a dream, but it was all true as well (and infer some cross-time connection between the two…that has been done in Trek before).

Cygnus-X1

BorgKlingon

Interesting idea, though I can’t recall a producer or any other staff member ever being inserted into a Trek story as him/herself.

Kev-1

I thought he regretted sending Sisko off to join the prophets. They would have regretted the “it’s a dream” thing by now, I think.

ScottM

Because everyone so loooved the ending of St. Elsewhere…

Michael Hall

Perhaps, as Benny Russell was leaving the Paramount lot for the last time, they could have had him walk past Floyd’s Barber Shop, as Jim Kirk and Edith Keeler had done decades earlier. Now, that would be meta!

Thomas

Okay, I kind of like this…

Soren

Behr’s idea was really really bad. Up there with the shower scene from Dallas with Bobby Ewing, only much worse. It would of invalidated every emotion and feeling the audience had invested in show. And here was me thinking only a hack such as Braga would do such things, like we saw with his character assassinations of Janeway and Kes in Voyager.

Well thank goodness the dream ending never happened for DS9. I remember the last episode of the “Newhart” show back in 1990 where Bob Newhart woke up in bed with his T.V. wife from “The Bob Newhart Show” and the entire “Newhart” show was just a dream. It worked well with comedy filmed in front of a live audience…. But a dream ending would have totally ruined DS9!!!!

Lt. Kije

This guy always tried to give off that “cool” vibe with the purple beard, sunglasses, fedora or whatever, but between this and the one documentary where he wore a shirt proclaiming him a lesbian, I think he sounds pretty dopey.

BorgKlingon

If you think that’s bad, I hear that their may be a crazy dude with orange hair and miniature hands running a superpower.

Danpaine

Ha! Confirmed.

Stellarwind

Thank goodness they didn’t do that. I absolutely despise plots where it just never happened, that it was all literally a waste of time. This was a problem for Voyager, despite enjoying some of those episodes where it occurred. To wrap up an entire series with that plot device would have been almost as bad as the Roseanne finale.

Penguin44

Reminds me of the scene in far beyond the stars, where quarks character says making it a dream guts the story. He’s right.

DaveCGN

That sounds like an idea for a possible Orville series finale:
The series was just a dream of Peter Griffin after watching a TNG episode in the bedroom and sleeping over. :D Well, that would connect Family GUY directly with the Orville (and somehow both series with TNG.) :D (aaaa i really wrote “Family Gay” and had to edit it…)

TonyD

I never cared for DS9 at all. All the leads seemed a bit too pompous and full of themselves when in their roles and the show wallowed too much in deconstruction for my tastes as it seemed to enjoy taking events and characters from prior Trek shows and twisting them to its own ends. Behr’s idea for the finale just kind of reinforces my notions of where that attitude came from. It’s bad enough to want to render seven years of stories moot, but to then apply that same idea to the entire Trek saga reeks of arrogance and hubris. Glad he got vetoed on it and even happier he has nothing to do with Trek these days.

tony

‘ it seemed to enjoy taking events and characters from prior Trek shows and twisting them to its own ends. ‘

sorry, when did that happen?

TonyD

Just off the top of my head…

– They did this with Worf and his brother. They took their honor away, brainwashed Kurn, then gave Worf his honor back but never mentioned Kurn again.

– They turned the Klingons into enemies for a while, then back to grudging allies, while turning Gowron into a vain heavy who was unceremoniously offed.

– They made large elements of Starfleet/the Federation seem like incompetent boobs during the whole Dominion arc (I remember one episode where the Federation president came across as little more than a coward).

– They introduced Section 31, which is 180 degrees opposite to the ideals of Trek. I particularly hated this one.

– They twisted the mirror universe, destroying the empire and basically saying that Spock’s efforts are what brought it about.

kmart

s31, who do you think ordered Kirk to steal the cloaking device anyway?Love dS9 and especially their use of 31.

ML31

“who do you think ordered Kirk to steal the cloaking device anyway?”

Starfleet Command did.

TonyD

Well you can retcon anything you like but to me it’s just another example of that deconstruction and changing history to suit your own story.

Ticking Bomb

IMO, making the finale about a mere dream in Benny Russell’s head would’ve been a royal mistake. Not that I liked the finale they chose to go with, though. I expected to see a truly menacing ending with Gul Dukat turned into living flesh n bone Pah-wraith as opposed to a seemingly inoffensive nemesis that never even made it out of the fire caves to put up an evil fight against the entire Alpha Quadrant. For the most part, I found the final episode boring and uneventful, to say the least. Even predictable at times. But I’m used to all of these great Star Trek series always rushing into a sudden and boring ending. I just hoped DS9’s ending would be different. That said, and for exception of that closing episode, I still think DS9 is the best Trek series ever made.

BorgKlingon

Great points. It’s great to see people respond to the actual article topic (DS9 here) instead of just finding a way to morph every single article into an opportunity to hate on DSC as several continue to do here. Thanks!

ML31

That “dream” idea is only slightly better than handing control of Discovery to Space Hitler and giving the trigger to one person, thinking it would stop a war they had all but officially lost.

HN4

More proof that Star Trek isn’t real.