Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Had One Of Its Most Important Characters Resurrected Without Explanation
Brock Peters' Star Trek: Deep Space Nine character Joseph Sisko was strongly implied to be dead three times before he finally showed up alive and well.
It doesn’t take long for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Joseph Sisko, played by the late Brock Peters, to become one of the show’s most memorable recurring characters. He first appears in Season 4’s “Homefront,” and before that? Well, before that, according to at least three conversations Ben Sisko (Avery Brooks) has in the series, his father Joseph was dead.
Of course, Star Trek is no stranger to bringing characters back to life. A large chunk of the original crew’s films deals with the death and resurrection of Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and Data (Brent Spiner) died and in Star Trek: Picard came back twice. The difference in the case of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s Joseph Sisko is that no explanation for his resurrection has ever been offered.
As early as the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine series premiere, Ben Sisko refers to his father Joseph in the past tense, saying he “was a gourmet chef.” He does the same in Season 2’s “Paradise.” All you have to do is watch a single scene between Ben and Joseph in “Homefront” to imagine the tongue-lashing the former would’ve gotten for suggesting the latter wasn’t a chef anymore.
In the Season 2 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “The Alternate,” Ben Sisko actually takes things a step further, describing his father’s death while talking to Odo (Rene Auberjonois):
“When my father became ill, I can remember how small and weak he looked there, lying on the bed. He’d been so strong, so independent. It always seemed to me that there was nothing that he couldn’t do. But in the end, I realized there was nothing that he could do and nothing I could do to help him.”-Ben Sisko in “The Alternate”
To be clear, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Ben Sisko never conclusively says his father died. Regardless, the dialogue makes it clear that was the initial intention of the writers.
After all, you don’t say the kind of thing Sisko says to Odo in “The Alternate” and fail to add at the end something like, “thankfully he survived,” unless he didn’t. Particularly considering the context in which Sisko relates the story.
He’s trying to relate to and comfort Odo who is worried about the health of the scientist who raised him — if Ben Sisko’s father had been meant to have survived the illness Ben describes, you would think that would be pretty pertinent information to bolster Odo’s hopes.
Clearly, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine writers changed their mind at some point about Ben Sisko’s father and the series was better for it. In spite of being stubborn about his medical situation, Joseph is the voice of reason in “Homefront” when Ben temporarily gives in to the paranoia that is spreading across Earth after a Changeling terrorist bombing. Not to mention that Ben’s birth later becomes very important to the series, and that story would have been much more difficult to tell without his father.
By the way, Star Trek added Brock Peters to its mythos a decade before he played Joseph Sisko. He played the ultimately treacherous Starfleet Admiral Cartwright first in 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and again in 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.