11 celebrities who were almost cast on 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'

By: H&I Staff    Posted: December 9, 2022, 10:57AM

Image: The Everett Collection

On January 3, 1993, the Star Trek universe expanded even further with the premiere of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Not only did the third live-action Trek television series introduce new characters, it pushed the boundaries of the franchise thematically.

As the first show created without direct involvement of Gene Roddenberry, DS9 boldly explored darker plots and long running narratives, centering around the Dominion War. It was less about exploration, and more about conflict, both political and personal.

Thus, the show required a strong cast. The final collection of actors was flawless, but there were some fascinating alternates on the table when Deep Space Nine first went into preproduction. Let's take a look at some familiar faces and big names that nearly landed a role on DS9.

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Richard Dean Anderson

Benjamin Sisko

That's right, MacGyver himself was considered as the man in charge. Anderson is certainly most associated with the crafty '80s action hero, and perhaps that made producers reluctant to cast him in a new role, but he did successfully jump into the science-fiction realm as the lead in Stargate SG-1 in 1997.


Kathy Bates

Kai Opaka

The kai was essentially like the pope of the Bajorans, the religious leader the humanoid aliens opposing the Cardassians in the Dominion War. Former NYC rocker and disco singer Camille Saviola played the character in a handful of episodes. The role almost went to much bigger name, Kathy Bates, who had recently won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1990 for Misery.

Image: The Everett Collection


Shelley Duvall

Kai Opaka

Also considered to play the kai was Duvall, an unforgettable performer in cult classics like The Shining and Popeye

Image: The Everett Collection


Robert Goulet

Vic Fontaine

Fontaine, a holographic projection of a stereotypical Vegas crooner, was one of the more unique characters in the Star Trek canon. He turns up in eight later episodes, notably the series finale. James Darren, the former 1960s teen idol who had played Moondoggie in some Gidget flicks, sang his way into the role. However, some legitimate Vegas performers were considered. Goulet had dozens of acting credits under his belt, having recently shown his skills in films like Beetlejuice and The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear.

Image: The Everett Collection


Frank Sinatra, Jr.

Vic Fontaine

The son of Ol' Blue Eyes was also up for the role of the hologram.

Image: The Everett Collection


Famke Janssen

Jadzia Dax

It is said that the role of Dax was Janssen's if she so desired. However, despite having some Star Trek experience under her belt, the Dutch actress passed on the gig, hoping to pursue a career on the big screen instead. Indeed, she landed an enviable job as Jean Grey in the X-Men films, opposite Patrick Stewart. But if you really want to see her aboard a Federation starship, check out the Next Generation episode "The Perfect Mate."


James Earl Jones

Benjamin Sisko

From Darth Vader to Starfleet captain? It nearly happened. Jones certainly had the gravitas to pull it off, having played the first black president in The Man (1972). He, too, ended up in Stargate SG-1 instead, if only for one episode.

Image: The Everett Collection


Tony Todd

Benjamin Sisko

Todd is no stranger to the Trek universe. He's played multiple characters onscreen and in video games. You probably know him best as Kurn, Worf's brother. He almost played a much larger role, the lead, in fact. At least Todd got to play a Sisko, as he turns up in "The Visitor" as an aged Jake Sisko, the son of Benjamin.


Eriq La Salle

Benjamin Sisko

Our final alternate for Sisko is another prominent black actor of the 1990s, La Salle, who played Dr. Peter Benton in eight seasons of the smash medical drama ER

Image: Warner Bros. Television


Tim Blake Nelson


Nelson is brilliant playing quirky characters, so much so that he believed he was a shoo-in for Quark. In an interview, he once declared he was "basically [a human] Ferengi," adding that his "Ferengi career came, it just came later." Of course, he did not play actual Ferengis, only men like the aliens, in movies like O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Minority Report.

Image: The Everett Collection


Martin Sheen

Luther Sloan

While not a major character, Sloan was a fascinating one, an operative of Section 31, essentially the CIA of the Federation. William Sadler ended up with the part, appearing in a few episodes, but a far bigger name was considered. Sheen shined in deadly serious films like Apocalypse Now, but he had also won an Emmy as a guest on Murphy Brown. Early in his career, he was no stranger to science-fiction, having made an early impression in an episode of The Outer Limits. In the late '90s, he turned up in other space epic, in the TV movie Babylon 5: The River of Souls.



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