Avery Brooks made a profound impact on the role of Benjamin Sisko in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. His take on the character imbued him with a sense of purpose and power that was all thanks to the actor’s unique and indelible choices. There have been rumors that we could see the character of Benjamin Sisko return to the Star Trek universe in some way, but nothing concrete has managed to manifest. And now, thanks to one of Brooks’s fellow Deep Space Nine castmates, we might have a hint as to why.
Cirroc Lofton, who played Jake Sisko, recently spoke about Avery Brooks and his possible involvement in returning to Star Trek during a panel discussion on The 7th Rule Podcast. In that chat, he suggested that racism is playing a part in why the actor is not yet returning. You can watch the entire panel discussion through the YouTube Channel Orville Nation right here:
The relevant quotes about Avery Brooks have Cirroc Lofton saying that there is “something bigger there, in which he is kind of being discriminated against.” Exactly what this discrimination entails is unclear, and it is very likely Lofton is being purposefully vague for legal reasons. He does go on to say, “I think it needs to be said because this is an important time we’re living in where we’re becoming very socially aware of the types of things that are regressive in society, things that are racial, sexual and all kinds of revolutions we are having in thought and acceptance of people.”
If Avery Brooks is being subjected to some kind of racial bias or feels he isn’t being treated fairly, it would not be the first time a Black talent has dealt with these kinds of issues. Famously, comedian Dave Chappelle was branded as crazy and under the influence of drugs when he chose to leave his hit sketch series Chappelle’s Show. He recently spoke about the issues surrounding all this in a stand-up special, and it’s a revealing and biting look at how the entertainment industry treats its talent, especially minority groups.
So the fact that Avery Brooks has not been acting for two decades has often been murmured about in regards to him being eccentric or difficult to work with. That could very well be motivated by the same kind of discrimination that Dave Chappelle talks about. Granted, this is all speculation since Cirroc Lofton has to remain obtuse. He does go on to defend Brooks once again. “To say that he’s not wanting to act is actually kind of ridiculous, there’s no question that he’s willing,” said Lofton.
It seems that Avery Brooks does not currently have an agent. But if Lofton is correct, it sounds like he wants to come back to the role. If we were to guess, it is possible that his lack of representation means he is being taken advantage of regarding contract negotiations. Again, this is pure speculation so we are not saying anything definitively about this situation.
Hopefully, something can be reached between Avery Brooks and the powers-that-be. Most importantly, we hope Brooks will be treated fairly and compensated for what he believes his talent is worth. We would love to see Benjamin Sisko on screen for one last time. He is one of the greatest characters in the Star Trek canon and having a final sendoff for him would be an absolute treat for fans.