Star Trek Wanted To Replace DS9’s Best Hero With TNG Character

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine has plenty of great characters, but perhaps none are as compelling as the Bajoran freedom fighter turned station first officer Kira Nerys. Nana Visitor so thoroughly made that role her own that it seems impossible to imagine anyone else in her place. It wasn’t impossible to imagine for Star Trek producers, though: originally, they wanted Michelle Forbes to reprise her role as Ro Laren on Deep Space Nine, and the Kira character was only created because Forbes rejected the offer to become a main cast member on the new show.

Ro Laren Was A Fun Part Of The Next Generation

Given how important she was on Star Trek: The Next Generation, it made sense that Trek producers would want Ro Laren to appear full-time on Deep Space Nine. She was introduced in the fifth season as a recurring character with a checkered past: the Bajoran officer was previously court-martialed, and she only joined the crew of the Enterprise D because she felt it was a better alternative than prison. While aboard, she remained a rebellious character who often clashed with Captain Picard and especially Commander Riker.

We Can’t Imagine Deep Space Nine Without Major Kira

After the fifth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Michelle Forbes only appeared in two more episodes and, much later, in one episode of Picard. Considering that producers wanted a feisty Bajoran character who wouldn’t be completely comfortable with Starfleet, it makes plenty of sense that they would want an established bad girl like Ro Laren on their new spinoff. We’re ultimately glad that we got Major Kira, and the truth is that while Forbes would have done an amazing job (as usual), her character’s presence on Deep Space Nine instead of Kira would have messed up some of the best parts of that show.

Kira Is An Ideal Bajoran

For example, on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Kira serves as Bajor’s ultimate representative: She is mostly faithful to the Prophets and spent many years openly battling the Cardassian occupation to win freedom for her people. By comparison, Ro Laren doesn’t speak about her religious beliefs (in fact, several non-canonical Trek novels portray her as not believing in the Prophets), and she ran away from Bajor during the occupation out of disgust for her people. In other words, despite embracing certain Bajoran cultural traditions later, she isn’t nearly as tied to her people and their ultimate liberation as Kira.

We Can’t Imagine Ro Laren And Sisko Working Together

The more we think about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the harder it becomes to imagine Ro Laren ever developing the same great relationship with Captain Sisko that Kira did. Sisko eventually bonded with Kira over many things, ranging from her history as a warrior to her stringent religious beliefs. By contrast, Ro would have been a constant reminder to Sisko of Captain Picard, a man he blames for the death of his wife at the hands of the Borg.

The Picard Appearance Wouldn’t Have Hit Us So Hard

star trek ro laren

If nothing else, if Star Trek producers had been able to bring Ro to Deep Space Nine instead of Kira, it would have undercut some of the cool character development Ro later got. We saw her betray Starfleet and join the Maquis, and the heel turn hit us nearly as hard as it hit Picard. Speaking of Picard, if Ro had been a main character on Deep Space Nine, we doubt we’d get to see her make such an amazing cameo (and heartbreaking sacrifice) in the third season of Picard.

It All Worked Out For The Best

Star Trek lost out on plenty of potential amazing performances, scenes, and storylines when Michelle Forbes declined to join Deep Space Nine, but getting Nana Visitor as Kira Nerys was completely worth it. She was the beating heart of that show and helped us understand and connect with the Bajoran people in a way that Ro Laren never could. Plus, the Kira character pulled off something more incredible than the most advanced starship technology: her hair got better and better with every season, and if it means looking that good, we’re going just to have to start worshiping the Prophets ourselves.