Colm Meaney Skeptical Of A Return To Star Trek; Reacts To ‘Lower Decks’ Tribute To Miles O’Brien

With five Star Trek shows in production, we have seen a number of veteran Trek actors reprise their roles, with many others expressing interest in following in their footsteps. However, there is one actor who appears happy to leave his spacesuit in the past.

Meaney doesn’t want to ruin a good thing

Colm Meaney started with a recurring role on Star Trek: The Next Generation and moved up to become one of the stars of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. His everyman character Chief Miles O’Brien is a fan-favorite, and he would be a welcome addition to any of the various Star Trek shows in production.

However, while out promoting his role in the film Pixie, when asked by CBR if he was interested in returning to the franchise, Meaney expressed some deep skepticism at the idea:

No, I’ve always kind of felt like seven years in space was long enough. I had a great time doing it. And sometimes, you’re always a bit loathe to go back, especially with something that you enjoyed and was successful because going back, sometimes things end up being ruined.

Colm Meaney spent seven seasons fixing things on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Time must have flown by for Meaney during his time with Trek, as it was actually twelve years from his first appearance in the pilot of TNG in 1987 and his last in the series finale of Deep Space Nine. And the veteran actor didn’t entirely rule out the idea of a return. In his CBR interview followed up, even pointing to one of the shows as a possibility:

But, you never say never. I know there’s a lot of intrigue and that Patrick [Stewart] is doing his new series [Star Trek: Picard] now, and so, who knows? But it’s not something that’s ever been sort of in the forefront of my mind to go back and reprise [the character] O’Brien.

UPDATE: Meaney reacts to Lower Decks tribute to O’Brien

Even if Meaney doesn’t return, Chief O’Brien’s legacy lives on. In the first season of Star Trek: Lower Decks we saw a far future where Miles was described as someone who is “perhaps the most important in Starfleet history.”

Chief O’Brien statue in “Temporal Edict”

In an interview this week with Collider, Meany expressed the same skepticism about returning to the role, but he was also asked about the Lower Decks tribute. His reaction: “they finally got it right!”


Since his time with Trek Meaney has never been short on work in both film and television. His latest is the crime comedy Pixie, where he stars alongside Olivia Cooke, Ben Hardy, Daryl McCormack, and Alec Baldwin.

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Not gonna lie. After the passings of Rene and Aron, before I finished reading the headline, I panicked and feared the worst. I don’t know how or why, but the featured image (which is lovely!) somehow did that to my brain.

Every time I see Shatner or really any of the TOS cast headlined here, the same thing happens to me

“…because going back, sometimes things end up being ruined.”

That sums it up perfectly.

Yes! Thank goodness for Picard and Discovery. And the JJ flics (the first one was brilliant, fight me). And I rather liked the Lower Decks. I’m an old man, a Trekkie. Yet, I seem to recall some kids who insisted they were ‘trekkers’, and that moving forward into the future was what ‘it’ was all about. So they said. ;p

But ‘nemesis’ was not the best way to end the Picard era

While I wasn’t in love with the first season of Picard, I think it was a good season, and a much more fitting end to Data than Nemesis, which I have only ever watched in its entirety once (could never manage to sit through to the end even recently, it’s so terrible).

I think PIC told a new and interesting story for JLP, and was frankly (despite some mediocre writing at times) a much better story than some of what fans here were hoping to see in the lead-up.

I think a second season that uses his new Golem form to explore what it means to be human is a fantastic starting point. After all, TNG– more than any other Trek– was always less about the plot itself, using a lot of bog-standard plots as a framework to hang interesting character stories on. And in that, I feel PIC has succeeded.

I know a lot of fans disagree, and feel that JLP was not the same character as he was on the show, and to that I have always responded with the fact that YES, he was different: changed by 25-30 years of stories almost all of which we did not see (I include the films in that span, as from 2374-2399 we saw 4 stories). 30 years is a LONG time. Even in his old age, it amounts to nearly a third of his adult life.

Meaney doesn’t want to change his character. He doesn’t want to see the backlash that Stewart saw, he wants O’Brien to remain fondly remembered as he was. I can understand that, and I appreciate that. But I also love that Stewart was willing to risk backlash to tell what he believed was a compelling story.

Patrick Stewart wasn’t concerned about backlash or fan reaction and I doubt Colm Meaney is concerned about it either. Colm Meaney’s acting credits extend far beyond Star Trek and he’s essentially saying that he’s happy with the work that he did and it isn’t something he necessarily needs to revisit.

I thought it a rather appropriate way to end the TNG era. Much more satisfying that the overrated “All Good Things…”

I’m a Lower Decks fan as well and I’ve been watching Star Trek in its various incarnations for more years than I’m willing to admit (and ST 2009 was far better than I had expected and I enjoyed Beyond as well) but Picard, well, they kind of lost me. I loved the first third, the second third was uneven and the final third just kind of fell apart (Riker’s dialogue in that final episode as he threatens the Romulans was cringeworthy). So, my initial excitement for Picard eventually gave way to, “I wish they would have left it alone.”

Ironically enough, it took Discovery three seasons to move forward, ultimately ending up where it should have started in the first place.

Sounds like he’s a smart guy.

Very much so.

He clearly prefers playing complex, gray area, angry or evil characters. That said, I’m certain some of these new show runners could easily write him up a new conflicted, broken O’Brien struggling for redemption just like many of the other chars in the new treks, especially in Picard.

I would like to see his character from the mirror universe again.

For sure, they might be able to interest him in Picard by pitching O’Brien as a broken, homeless drug addict trying to cope with Keiko leaving him for a Sheliak.

Ah, the feeling of how much of a nerd you are when don’t have to google Sheliak. :P

Indeed lol.

“…because going back, sometimes things end up being ruined.”

Smart man. Especially considering the current crop of writers.

Very smart! They’ve already ruined TNG and part of VOY, no need to ruin even more.

Remember, no matter what the topic, time of day, or whether you just stopped doing it yet again 2 minutes ago, it’s always a good time to stand up and announce that new Trek has bad writing.

I think it’s clear that they need to have Miles fight the Temporal War. Guardian of Forever/Section 31 show?
Seeing an enlisted officer work up the ranks was one of the few positives of TNG and he was great on DS9.

Section 31!? It has to be Miles and Bashir! :P

Turns out Miles and Julian are rolling in GP Latinum due to the success of their online self sealing stembolt store!

I like this a lot. New head-canon confirmed.

One of the cool things, is after DS9 Colm went to do “Hell on Wheels”, a western series whose main star was Anson Mount. Ships passing in the night!

“…because going back, sometimes things end up being ruined.” Kurtzman and JJ need to listen to the most important man in Starfleet history.

Good points on going back. There should be more Trek on going forward. Some prequels are nice, but it is a bit of over-load now.

O’Brien was always my favorite character on DS9. Followed by Jadzia.

I’m just glad I can go back and watch DS9 anytime I want to enjoy some really good Star Trek.

With Trek now charting out the 32nd century, anything that’s not set after that is going to be some kind of “prequel”. A fresh setting would be nice, with less reliance on established characters etc., but I think that’s what the show runners were suggesting recently and fans read it as “throwing canon in the trash”. You can’t win, it turns out.

I feel like the 32nd century is far enough past VOY that even if you set something in the 25th century, it won’t cause too many continuity issues. Throw in the “galactic reset” and the fall of the Federation just prior to DSC S3, and you’re free to do whatever.

So I see what you mean about everything being a prequel, I just don’t think it’s really an issue. It’s not like we’d never seen the future beyond TNG before (Captain Braxton, Lt. Daniels, etc).

I personally don’t think prequels are a problem at all, so long as the fans don’t get hung up on the superficial elements of the canon. Events matter, characters matter. The rest is just presentation.

25th century would be my preference- Picard will being us there anyway, but there’s lots of avenues to explore there without him.

I think prequels can work fine as long as they are smart about it. Update things that really need to be updated fore believability, but not redesign everything just for fun.

Star Trek Enterprise handled it pretty well by updating the style using real existing tech, but not creating future tech that doesn’t seem to be on future shows. Enterprise went off the rails a couple times with the temporal war story line, but otherwise told a lot of fun stories involving earlier history.

Having holograms everywhere on Discovery is one of the areas where they jumped the shark a bit for a prequel show. Not to mention giving Spock a sister we never hear about ever again. Discovery would have made a lot more sense as a third generation show, after the TNG shows.

And yet, when Enterprise aired, there was a vocal subgroup of fans who felt it completely broke canon, the tech was far too advanced, the Andorians looked wrong…

Look, we’ve been here before.

In 15 years time, there will be fans who are complaining bitterly about how 4th generation Trek should take lessons from Discovery and Strange New Worlds with conviction equal to yours today.

I don’t think the production design decisions on Discovery were made lightly or flippantly, but I certainly hope they were made for fun, because that’s what Star Trek is supposed to be. Thought-provoking too, but the entry point is fun.

I want a pre-re-sequel…. Bureau of Temporal Investigations Special or something….. lol

What better way to explore the canon?

You can win but each season left the impression that Discovery is a show that is still trying to figure itself out.

According to Bryan Fuller in an interview with Entertainment Weekly: “The original pitch was to do for science-fiction what American Horror Story had done for horror. It would platform a universe of Star Trek shows.”

The idea was to have each season present a different era of Star Trek history. Fuller was not a good fit for CBS but had he remained on board, Discovery would have been a much different series and the resulting shows that followed would have been more in line with Fuller’s “American Gods”, “Hannibal” or “Pushing Daisies” than what resulted with season 1 and the two seasons that followed, which are more in line with what is currently available across broadcast, cable and streaming than the handful of shows that stand out from the rest on those same platforms.

Discovery will likely be remembered as the series that helped push All Access into more homes, not for its groundbreaking impact on television or a bold new direction for the franchise (and dropping f bombs doesn’t qualify).

I think Discovery will be remembered for addressing 2nd generation Trek’s shortcomings on representation, particularly season 3. Even amongst its contemporaries, I feel Discovery is pushing some boundaries there. The screams of some sections of the fandom attest to that. Such beautiful music.

I was aware of Fuller’s premise and I liked it a lot- perhaps they’ll revisit it.

I’ve always kind of felt like seven years in space was long enough.

I think he’s forgetting about his years on TNG. He spent almost twice that amount in space. :)

Meaney strikes me as someone who took his Trek paycheck, went home, and never gave it a second thought. He’s not going to pretend it meant more to him, and I respect that. Classic Dub, really.

Right. You can’t fault him for that. In many ways, Meaney’s approach to the job was similar to O’Brien’s: put in the work, then go home to you family (or bar lol).

“It’s like I said, the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Quarks last words to Morn on ST DS9 final episode – What You Leave Behind

I think he should at least do Miles Edward O’Brian in STO! I think he’s about the only one, besides Avery Brooks, who hasn’t brought his DS9 character to the STOniverse. W8, i think that Cirroc Loften also hasn’t been STO-ified yet either.

“Some things end up being ruined”, to paraphrase, seems unusually specific. Did CBS reach out to Colm already? :P

CBS: So Colm, we want you back where O’Brien has dumped Keiko for a bunch of Orion women, sold his children into indentured servitude to the Emerald Chain, sold Bashir’s genome on the black market for one million bars of latinum, and is leading a cult of Pah-Wraith followers who conduct rituals through subspace signals preventing Sisko’s return and keeping him in agony in the Bajoran wormhole.

Colm: …

As an average fan of star trek (all versions, movies up to 2015, I am disappointed in the lack of future progression of technology, new frontiers and added surprising indepth morally and academically enhanced characters.
Progress. Self enhancement, professionalism!! Not degression of self control and morals.

Time must have flown by for Meaney”

Time flies like the wind; fruit flies like bananas.

Chief O’Brien was my favourite DS9 character, and definitely one of my overall favourite Star Trek characters too.

While I certainly wouldn’t object to the idea of seeing him again at some point, Colm Meaney’s position on this seems very sensible to me.

Unless you’re in it for the payday, or a particularly compelling script has caught your attention, why bother going back to something you last did over two decades ago? Especially if, like Meaney, you have had plenty of success outside of Star Trek.

If CBS can come up with a novel and worthwhile way of involving O’Brien in one of their projects, whether in an ongoing capacity or just as a one-off, then that sounds good to me. But some sort of cameo for the sake of it would be a waste of not only the character but also an actor of Colm Meaney’s talent IMO.

So…dunno anything he has in mind. Which means….nothing?