Michael Dorn Wanted Armin Shimerman To Play The Ferengi That Worf Killed In Star Trek Picard

Worf, Sneed, and Quark - TrekMovie

Earlier this week, TrekMovie’s All Access Star Trek podcast team spoke to Star Trek: Deep Nine Star Armin Shimerman along with his wife (and DS9) guest star Kitty Swink, TNG vet Jonathan Frakes, and television writer/producer Juan Carlos Coto, brother of late Enterprise writer/producer Manny Coto. They had all gathered together to talk about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and their team Trek Against Pancreatic Cancer for the Purple Stride walk this Saturday, April 27th. During the wide-ranging chat, Shimerman told a funny story about a suggestion for him to appear in the final season of Picard.

Armin says no to Worf chopping off his head

The subject of how other actors have played Ferengi in some of the new Star Trek shows came up, including the character Sneed in the latest season of Star Trek: Picard. Armin Shimerman had nothing but “kudos” for actor Aaron Stanford, who played Sneed:

“I was in awe. It was just astounding.”

Aaron Stanford as Sneed in Picard‘s “Disengage” (Paramount+)

Kitty Swink then prompted her husband to tell the “Dorny story.” Armin obliged, retelling this conversation he had with his former DS9 co-star:

“Before they cast [Sneed], [Michael] Dorn me up and said ‘I’m doing an episode of Picard where I kill off a Ferengi? Wouldn’t it be great if it were you.’ [laughs] I said, ‘No, it would not be great.’ I told him to just forget about that idea, altogether.”

TrekMovie confirmed with Swink and Shimerman that Dorn was suggesting Armin play Sneed on Picard, not that he reprise his DS9 role as Quark. After others noted the scene was rather brutal—it involved Worf cutting Sneed’s head off, Swink jumped in again:

“I got to say, for all the times I have baked bread for Michael Dorn, that was really a shitty thing for him to say.” [laughs]

Michelle Hurd as Raffi Musiker and Michael Dorn as Worf in Picard‘s “The Bounty” (Paramount+)

Jonathan Frakes tried to be diplomatic, suggesting Dorn might have not known Worf was going to cut off Sneed’s head, but Armin said Michael was at least sure Worf was going to kill the character. Frakes (who appeared in every episode of Picard season 3 and directed 2 episodes) noted Sneed was still somewhat based on Quark, complimenting Shimerman on the layers he brought to a previously unsympathetic species:

“The tightrope you walked—all levity aside—to represent what [Gene] Roddenberry thought of as this despicable capitalist pig with huge ears. And yet the humorous, smart, charming, cleve—all the qualities that Quark had and still be an essentially a villain, and do it through rubber. It takes a special actor, which you are.”

Armin Shimerman as Quark in Deep Space Nine

High praise for return on Lower Decks

Shimerman has had a recent return to the franchise, voicing Quark for the season 3 episode “Hear All, Trust Nothing” of Star Trek: Lower Decks. During the podcast discussion, the actor talked up his experience:

“I did have fun, and I did get to ad lib. It was a great, great, great fun. And they couldn’t have been nicer. They were very sweet. And both Nana [Visitor] and I were very touched that they wanted to make it a tribute to Deep Space Nine. The opening sequence of shooting the station brought tears to both of our eyes because it was just so nostalgic. And we love working there. It was a it was a great, great experience. It couldn’t have been nicer.”

Lower Decks “Hear All, Trust Nothing”

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I think that would have been one of the most divisive moments in Trek history had it happened.

Agreed. They could have called that Ferengi ANYTHING but as soon as Worf’s blade went through his neck, it would’ve been “Worf killed Quark!” and I don’t think I could have ever forgiven him (Worf or Dorn).


I think it would have been cool. It’s not Dorn killing Shimerman, it’s Worf killing Sneed. People are being real weenies about this.

It has to be a joke. Seriously.

My recommendation would be no one listen to Michael Dorn regarding casting and plot ideas.

I wish I could upvote this a thousand times.

Dorn had mentioned to Shimmerman in jest. I do not believe he was serious about having Worf do that. The two are friends in real life – it was just a joke between the two. Dorn never suggested it to the scriptwriter or director. Don’t read too much into it.

I know I’m about to be verbally pummeled, but is there that much adoration for Quark out there? I wouldn’t have minded him having a cameo to be killed off, ala Shelby. Just imo, I don’t feel a great affinity for the character. No shade on Armin Shimerman either, by the way. He played the role to a tee.

I liked Quark, but I feel that having any main character killed off in such a fashion would be a bit shitty. Shelby only appeared in two episodes (even if the character was featured in the books more), so it would be a bit different for the fans. Just think back to the way fans reacted to the deaths of Jadzia or Trip, and they at least died in their own shows.

I can dig that. It would have certainly been an emotional punch. It did suck quite a bit when Jadzia left us.

it would also be a very weird dramatic turn for Quark after the character development he displayed in DS9 – to then be in such a state that Worf would kill him

I like Quark as much as any Star Trek character but it really has nothing to do with that. Having any character show up and do something the audience KNOWS they wouldn’t so you can generate a cameo out of it is sooooooooo lazy and apathetic about the world they’ve built. This is the kind of thing new star trek does a little too much. I’m not against writing a character out….I’m against things that suck and that would’ve.

Yes, well put. And part of the reason I asked that was exactly because I would expect that from these showrunners, kill off a main legacy character simply because they can. It is totally lazy if it’s simply done ‘just because.’

Quark is one of the most popular characters of the 1990s-era Star Trek.

Quark and Worf were on DS9 together for years and never seemed to have any serious beef. Worf was very conscientious; Quark was an okay guy for a Ferengi, not one of the really scummy ones. So what exactly would precipitate Worf to lop Quark’s head off, that wouldn’t mangle one character or the other?

Quark is the classic anti-hero. Sure he plays the villain but in the end, he always manages to do the right thing. And in TOS and TNG everyone is beyond good. Quark was the first main Trek character to be dubious. Those are just a few reasons why he is so beloved.

I prefer Sneed. He was an interesting character. I don’t want to see Quark beheaded. Luckily, they didn’t go that route.

Sneed seemed more like Roddenberry’s original intent for the Ferengi. Too bad he was barely on screen, he was a fantastic villain, probably the best of the series.

Anybody read above? Nobody was going to kill Quark, Armin would have been playing Sneed. So, uh what??

I caught that, but as you can see, many, many, many folks would simply see/read “Worf killed Quark” and go to town on it.

Nobody would have been fooled. “That’s Quark using a false name!’

Yes, I caught that he was joking.

I love Dorn as Worf and he’s one of the few old characters I want to see more of, but what a lousy idea! There would have to be a LOT of backstory to explain to us why Worf would ever kill some guy he knew back in the day on Deep Space Nine and never seem to have issues with. For a Ferengi, Quark was a pretty okay guy. What could he possibly do to make Worf so angry at him?

Totally rewatching that ep now!

It’s interesting to see other sites blowing this up as if Armin formally “turned down” an offer from Picard’s casting director to play Sneed. From what I’m reading here, it was just a side conversation between two friends – and that was as far as it went.

If you listen to the podcast, you can hear them all laughing as Armin tells the story. That’s exactly what it was!

Off topic, but the make-up for Worf and Sneed look so good, maybe the best Klingon and Ferengi make-up from the entire franchise.

Worf alone is the most perfect Klingon in these shots. I hope that if we see Klingons again (very likely) they take inspiration from the Picard Season 3 Worf designs.