Star Trek Just Brought Back Its Most Mysterious Villains

In the penultimate Season 3 episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks, the enigmatic Breen return for the first time in over two decades.

By Michileen Martin | Published

star trek breen
The Breen attack in “Trusted Sources” – Star Trek: Lower Decks, Season 3, Episode 9

That’s right: Star Trek just brought back the Breen. The enigmatic, warlike, and powerful aliens– who kind of look like what if Leia’s bounty hunter costume from Return of the Jedi spawned an entire race–have returned to the franchise Gene Roddenberry built. They lock horns with the crew of the Cerritos in this week’s episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks.

The penultimate episode of Star Trek: Lower Decks Season 3 brings in the Breen by way of two once-conflicting planets: Brekka and Ornara. The residents of the former planet were portrayed as having the population of the latter world hooked on a drug only Brekka could provide in the TNG episode “Symbiosis.” In “Trusted Sources,” the Cerritos is sent to check on Ornara as part of Starfleet’s “Project Swing By.”

When everything on Ornara turns out to be fine, leaving Captain Freeman (voiced by Dawnn Lewis) with no way to impress the journalist following her around, she turns her attention to the sister planet Brekka. In Star Trek, arriving in the middle of a major city to find no one in sight is always a good sign someone like the Breen is waiting to kick your butt, and such is the case in “Trusted Sources.” The only Brekkian the crew finds is soon vaporized by the emerging Breen.

As TrekMovie points out, if you count holograms then the final season of Star Trek: Voyager was the last time a Breen showed up in canonical Trek. But for actors playing actual Breen, you have to go back a bit earlier to the final episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The Breen became major players in the show’s final season as the newest members to the Dominion.

star trek breen
The Breen and the Dominion in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Star Trek has handled the Breen in interesting ways. They’re first mentioned in a 1990 episode of The Next Generation, but we never actually see one of them until five years later in Deep Space Nine‘s Season 4 episode “Indiscretion.” When Kira (Nana Visitor) and Dukat (Marc Alaimo) form an uneasy alliance to search for a lost ship that was carrying Cardassian soldiers and Bajoran prisoners, they discover it was the Breen who attacked the ship, caused it to crash land on a planet, and then forced all the survivors into slave labor.

Star Trek made the Breen much more important in the final season of Deep Space Nine, when their entry into the Dominion stymies the Federation/Klingon/Romulan Task Force’s invasion of Cardassia. The Breen have a weapon capable of taking out a ship’s power in one shot, which leads to the destruction of the DS9’s first Defiant (along with a lot of other ships).

Ironically, you could argue in that major Star Trek conflict, the Breen unintentionally make it possible for the good guys to win. Their entry into the Dominion–and their clear status as the Founders’ new Alpha Quadrant favorites–plays a big part in convincing the Cardassian leader Damar (Casey Biggs) to lead an insurrection against the Founders and their Jem’hadar armies.