This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine premiering on television. The show set itself apart from previous Trek series by being more serialized, which was considered a sin for TV at the time. How could fans enjoy a show if missing one episode meant missing ongoing plot points? This was in the days before DVRing or streaming your favorite shows. These days binging shows is almost expected, so you could say the show was before its time.
One thing that was always a mainstay of the Trek franchise was having major guest stars (even though they were often unrecognizable under all the latex and makeup). People like Whoopi Goldberg, Joan Collins, David Soul and Stephen Hawking graced previous iterations of the franchise. But Deep Space Nine had its own share of guest stars that either went on to great fame or continued a strong career by appearing on the show.
Here are nine of the more interesting guest stars from the series.
Jonathan Banks had a flourishing career in film and TV. Best known in the 1980s for his appearances in Gremlins, 48 Hours, and Beverly Hills Cop, Banks was already recognizable to audiences when he got the part of Golin Shel-la on DS9.
The episode “Battle Lines” was the 12th episode of the first season of the new series. The action takes place on a lonely moon where Shel-la is the leader of a group called the Ennis who have been fighting a war with their enemies, the Nol-Ennis for centuries. It turns out the moon is a penal colony and through a biomechanical means those placed there are unable to die. They are fighting an endless war in which the death toll is high, but no one stays dead.
This episode saw the Kai of Bajor, Opaka, die while on the moon and become reanimated. The problem is that once a person is brought back to life they cannot leave the moon or they will immediately die. So Opaka stays behind when the rescue team finds them, to try and broker a lasting peace.
Jonathan brought a brooding energy that would continue in his better known role of Mike Ehmantraut on Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul.
Known better as Dr. Grace Holloway, companion to the 8th Doctor (Paul McGann) in a 1996 TV movie, Daphne Ashbrook played the title character of the second season episode “Melora.”
Melora is an Elaysian who is the first of her race to serve in Starfleet. Her species comes from a low gravity planet which means that to function in “standard” gravity she has to have the assistance of an anti-grav chair and servo controls built onto a framework to support her as she moves through the normal gravity of the station.
DS9 was Melora’s first deep space assignment. She was a loner and also had a huge chip on her shoulder about having other people help her. Slowly, Dr. Bashir becomes romantically involved with her and she begins to see the positives of letting other people get close to her. Bashir works to adjust her body’s response to higher gravity and she is faced with the decision to either lose her handicap to fit in or continue with her handicap and retain who she is. She chooses the later option once she realizes she could never return to her own world for more than a few hours at a time once her body had fully adjusted.
Daphne has continued to work in TV and film. She has also released books and had a respectable career in music.
Best known for playing Lisa Tuttle on Saved By The Bell, Lark Voorhies got to play a love interest for Cirroc Lofton‘s Jake Sisko in the third season episode “Life Support.”
Lark’s character is Leanne, a resident of DS9 who became romantically entangled with Jake when they both ended previous relationships. She tries to get Jake to find a date for her friend, Riska (Eva Loseth who also appeared in Saved By the Bell). Unfortunately, he asks Nog (Aron Eisenberg), who jake had cancelled previous plans with to be with Leanne.
Nog treats the girls like any Ferengi would, as property not people. This sparks a fight between the boys who eventually mend fences.
While she was mentioned in other episodes this was her only appearance on the show.
She has another Trek tie…she voiced the Borg Queen for an episodes of Robot Chicken.
Few actors get to play the same role in Star Trek more than once, Tony Todd not only got to play Worf’s brother, Kurn, in three episodes of Next Gen and two video games based on the franchise but he brought the character to DS9 as well in the fourth season episode “Sons of Mogh.” He also starred as the elderly Jake Sisko that same season in “The Visitor.”
He was one of the actors up to play the lead of DS9, Benjamin Sisko. He was known for his work in Platoon, Lean on Me, and The Crow.
Perhaps best known for playing the title character in the Candyman trilogy, Tony Todd has appeared in all three Rick Berman led incarnations of Trek (besides Kurn and Jake he also played an Alpha Hirogen on the Voyager episode “Prey”). He even appeared on a show in direct competition with DS9, Babylon 5.
But it is Kurn, Worf’s younger, impetuous brother, and a stellar performance as an older Jake Sisko that Trek fans will always remember him for.
Known to Trek fans for having played Zefram Cochrane in the film, Star Trek: First Contact, James Cromwell has had a long and illustrious career. He is best known probably for the film Babe, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for his portrayal of farmer Hoggett.
Cromwell would reprise the role of Cochrane for two episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise (“Broken Bow’ and “In A Mirror, Darkly”) but he also appeared twice in the Next Generation and once on DS9 as Minister Hanok in the fourth season episode “Starship Down.”
Hanok is trying to settle a trade dispute with the Federation. Quark (Armin Shimmerman) represented Ferengi interests with Sisko acting for the Federation. Armin had worked with Cromwell doing Shakespeare and relished the chance to work with him again in this episode.
Their meeting onboard the Defiant is detected by the Jem-Hadar who attack. The rest of the episode plays out like a submarine thriller where Quark has to disarm a bomb and the ship is slowly filling with a deadly gas that endangers all their lives.
Vanessa Williams was the first African American woman to become Miss America in 1984, but resigned after controversy regarding the unauthorized publication of nude photographs in Penthouse magazine. For most people, that would have ended her fame but she went on to act and sing her way back into America’s hearts.
Williams portrayed Arandis in the fifth season episode “Let He Who Is Without Sin..” Arandis had been a friend and lover of Curzon Dax, he died while seeking Jamaharon with her.
Jadzia and Worf are going on vacation to Risa. Dr. Bashir and Leeta tag along, which also means Quark is coming. While Bashir and Leeta take off to enjoy the pleasures of the planet as a method of ending their relationship, Arandis’ past relationship with Curzon causes a great deal of tension between Jadzia and Worf.
The whole episode Jadzia and Worf fight over whether they are suited to each other, which results in Worf siding with a fringe group that is against the kind of fun seen on Risa. They want the Federation to be strong and that message speaks to Worf. Jadzia, on the other hand, enjoys as much of the trip as she can with her old friend.
Williams continues to act in both film and TV (including voice work) and tours performing her many hits to sold out audiences.
Best known for his portrayal of Red Foreman on That 70s Show, Kurtwood Smith has a history of appearing in science fiction films and TV shows. After appearing as the Federation President in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, it was no surprise that he got other jobs in Trek.
In the fifth season episode “Things Past,” Smith played Thrax, a Cardassian, who preceeded Odo as the Chief of Security on Terok Nor (DS9) during the occupation.
In the episode, Sisko, Garak, Odo and Dax end up somehow in the past. They seem to appear as Bajorans to those around them. When they are blamed for an attempt on Dukat’s life and arrested, they have to deal with Odo’s predecessor. Ironically, they aren’t really in the past, they are in a link with Odo who was remembering what he considers his greatest failure. Letting 3 Bajorans die when they were innocent of the assassination attempt.
Odo is so ashamed of this that in his mind Thrax let them be executed not him. The truth comes out eventually and he has to live with the shame.
Finding out that Smith was playing a stylized version of Odo was a major twist at the end of the episode. While the character never appeared on screen again, Thrax was in several Trek novels.
Best known for films like 10 Things I Hate About You and Bring It On, Gabrielle Union, has only made one foray into science fiction, Deep Space Nine.
Out of all the guests listed here, Union was the one that probably was happiest to get the part. She commented, “My mom is and was a massive Trekkie….So being a Klingon in my family was akin to winning the Oscars.”
Playing N’Garen in the sixth season episode “Sons and Daughters,” she did not have much to do. She was one of a crew of Klingons serving under Martok in the Dominion War. This episode was really about Worf and his son, Alexander, who also served under Martok.
N’Garen joins with the crew to make fun of Alexander when he makes several mistakes. She does get to destroy a Jem’Hadar vessel, so it is a sure thing her mother was pleased.
With a music career that spans five decades, the last entry on the guest list is former Stooges front man, Iggy Pop. Probably best known for songs like “Lust for Life” and “Real Wild Child (Wild One),” Iggy occasionally acted in both films and on TV.
Playing the Vorta Yelgrun in the sixth season episode “The Magnificent Ferengi” Pop brought a good comedic sense to the role. He got several good one liners about the antics of the Ferengi.
The main plot was that Quark and Rom’s mother, Ishka, had been captured by the Dominion. At first, they attempt to assemble a strike team of Ferengi that includes Brunt, their cousin Gaila, Leck, and Nog. Their practice in the holodeck for the rescue was a disaster so they switch to making a trade. Sisko helps them get another Vorta, Keevan, to trade as a hostage.
They meet on an abandoned Cardassian station, Empok Nor, for the trade and hi jinks occur.
Iggy doesn’t move a lot in the episode due to being injured in a mosh pit a few days earlier at one of his concerts. But he seems to be enjoying himself.
There are many more folks that come from all walks of life to guest star on nerd related shows like DS9. What shows would you like to see a list like this for? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.