The Star Trek Vulcan Civil War That Never Was

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

Vulcan Civil war

One of the most memorable Star Trek: Deep Space Nine stories came from “Homefront” and its follow-up episode “Paradise Lost.” The episodes served as a poignant commentary on the dangers or martial law as well as the danger of trusting those who demand more power in order to keep us safe. However, this story was originally going to involve the Vulcans getting embroiled in a civil war that could have changed the entire future of the franchise.


To understand this Vulcan Civil War that never was, you need to understand a bit more about the original episodes. “Homefront” kicks into high gear when dozens of people are killed on Earth in an attack, and footage implicates the shapeshifting Changelings as the culprits. Since the two of them are the biggest experts on the topic of the Dominion and shapeshifters, Captain Sisko and Odo head to Earth to help determine if this is part of a new enemy attack and to help the planet prepare for foes who can look like anyone and anything.

Paradise Lost

The follow-up episode “Paradise Lost” didn’t feature Vulcans in the finished episode, but it did show the beginning of what could have become a Starfleet civil war. Sisko works hard to help Admiral Layton institute martial law across the entire planet but eventually discovers Layton has been manipulating everyone into believing in the Changeling threat in order to consolidate his own power. Sisko eventually defeats the power-hungry admiral, but not before the Defiant does battle with the USS Lakota in a tense showdown that nearly results in the other vessel’s destruction.

What Would’ve Been

This ambitious two-parter remains one of the best stories Deep Space Nine ever told, but that story was nearly very different. Originally, “Homefront” was going to be the third-season finale, and the idea was to create a kind of tense “to be continued” finale in the vein of “The Best of Both Worlds.” To this degree, both Vulcans and a looming Civil War were going to play a major part.

In the final version of “Paradise Lost,” a Changeling who appears as Chief O’Brien drops some shocking knowledge on Captain Sisko: there are only four Changelings on Earth, and the Dominion doesn’t need any more than that because Starfleet’s paranoid fear will be enough to destroy them. In the earlier script for “Homefront,” however, the Changelings would have infiltrated Starfleet in a more aggressive attempt to destabilize the organization. Their efforts are so successful that Starfleet nearly breaks out in a civil war, and this is enough to cause the Vulcans to leave the Federation.

The Civil War Was Cut In Favor Of A Coup

Vulcan Civil war

Originally, this burgeoning civil war was going to lead to an explosive cliffhanger ending for “Homefront” in which a Starfleet ship was about to open fire on a Vulcan ship orbiting Earth. Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be: the writers eventually thought an attempted Starfleet coup made for a better plot and effectively removed the Vulcans altogether. Other factors ranging from the decision to move “Homefront” to season four and to use much of the spare budget on the action-packed “The Way of the Warrior” created the more modest final episodes that fans know and love. 

Vulcans Vs. Humans

Vulcan Civil war

Ultimately, this change was probably for the best: sure, Vulcans being part of a Starfleet civil war would have been dramatic, but such a plot point wouldn’t have been as impactful without all the drama between early humans and Vulcans that Enterprise would later add to the franchise. Of course, it’s tough not to think about Enterprise when reading about the original plans for these DS9 episodes. The script development process is proof enough that the earworm of a theme song was right and that with any good Star Trek story, it’s a long road, getting from there to here.

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