Deep Space Nine was the third spin-off of the original Star Trek series, and it was highly controversial. Many fans initially balked at a Star Trek show where the crew remained mostly stationary.
Some people compared the show to Route '66 — since they were near a highly trafficked wormhole, the universe would just come to them.
The show had a rough start, but as it progressed it gained more and more fans, with some Trekkers that still maintain it is the best of all the televised Star Trek shows.
It is markedly different than it's immediate predecessor, Star Trek: The Next Generation. Whereas Star Trek: The Next Generation was mostly optimistic, full of perfect officers who would tow the Federation line, and a captain more likely to quote Shakespeare than launch photon torpedoes, Deep Space Nine was considerably darker.
It explores the tough decisions and gritty alliances behind the scenes of the supposedly perfect Federation and exposes the tarnish, corruption, and political intrigue that is just under the surface.
The crew of Deep Space Nine was by no means made of bad guys, but they were forced into many decisions that would leave most Starfleet purists clutching their chests.
As Deep Space Nine evolved into a critical and fan-favorite show, over the years fans have developed many of their own theories regarding the events of the seven-season run.
With that said, here are the 20 Crazy Fan Theories About Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (That Make Too Much Sense).
20 Q Never Returned To DS9 Because Sisko Hit Him
In the first season of Deep Space Nine, the old trickster Q decided to pay a visit to Sisko and immediately gave him the same sort of treatment that he used to give to Picard.
Namely, he would put Sisko in a number of fantastical situations and obstacles just to see how he would react.
In one such scenario, Q manifested a late 1800s boxing match where he and Sisko would face off. As Q spouted insults at Sisko, Sisko laid him out with a series of quick punches.
Q was flabbergasted that a Starfleet officer would actually hit him. "Picard never hit me," he protested. Sisko shot back, "I'm not Picard!"
Many fans think Sisko's intestinal fortitude intimidated Q and that the punch hurt his feelings, so Q decided that Sisko wasn't fun to play with anymore.
This is why he never returned.
19 Garak Works For Section 31
Section 31 is sort of the secret service of the Federation. It has complete autonomy and often uses dubious methods to accomplish its ends.
So what does the Cardassian Garak have to do with Section 31? As far as Cardassians go, he's nowhere near as hostile as many of the other Cardassians introduced on the show.
He's a tailor who works on the ship and is friendly to almost everyone.
However, it is revealed in the later seasons that he used to be a spy for the Cardassian government.
Some fans believe that he was recruited long ago by Section 31 to actually spy on the Cardassians, effectively making him a double-agent.
Given his past, and that his current occupation exposes him to gossip from the whole crew, this would make him a perfectly placed intelligence agent.
18 The Federation Started The Dominion War
While most fans would say that the Dominion are definitely the bad guys, some say that it was actually the Federation that forced their hand into war. (This is depicted in fan art above.)
The Bajoran wormhole near Deep Space Nine enabled instantaneous travel to the Gamma Quadrant, a part of the galaxy that ordinarily would take 67 years to reach.
As a result, Deep Space Nine and the Federation became exposed to brand new cultures they had never encountered before.
Some say it was the Federation's reckless colonization of parts of Gamma quadrant that started the war.
In season two's "Jem’hadar", the Dominion destroys Federation footholds in Gamma Quadrant and warns them not to further explore Gamma Quadrant nor enter the wormhole.
The Federation responds that they will continue. Theorists say this is the moment that the Federation became the invaders.
17 Sisko Was Stationed At DS9 For His Experience In Dealing With Alien Cultures
Many fans thought Sisko being stationed at Deep Space Nine was the equivalent of being stationed in Antarctica — a post so remote that it must have been a punishment.
However, others think this move was much more deliberate than it appeared.
Proponents of this theory say that Sisko was chosen for his expertise in dealing fairly with alien cultures.
For example, he served as XO under a Vulcan while on The Saratoga, was mentored by a Trill, and had a good friend in the Academy who was a Benzenite.
He also never served in the Cardassian and Bajoran war, so he would be neutral on a station where Cardassians and Bajorans had to co-exist.
His fair treatment of the Ferengi and other cultures he encounters, including The Prophets, supports the theory that Sisko's true talents are in extra-terrestrial diplomacy.
16 Section 31 Was Controlled By An Emergent AI
As much as we know about Section 31, its origins are still mysterious. Even if agents revealed exactly how it started, how could we trust them?
This is an organization that runs on deception and strategems — there's no way to guarantee they wouldn't be lying to us.
Some fans think that the Federation's computers and experimental AI's actually reached the singularity — that fabled point where the computers became superior and sentient.
There's some backup evidence here in the series of Star Trek novels based on Section 31, which claim that the organization was created and run by an AI called "Uraei."
The idea was that in case of a serious threat, a super-intelligent AI could most efficiently allocate resources, gather information, and adjust strategies in real time.
This begs the question: who's really giving the orders in Starfleet?
15 A Theoretical Season 8 Exists And Its Outline Will Be Introduced In A DS9 Documentary
Deep Space Nine still has a dedicated fan base that would love to know what happened to the characters after the scripted adventures ended.
Luckily, a crowd-funded documentary is being completed entitled What We Left Behind that is headed by former DS9 showrunner Ira Steven Behr.
Behr and fellow writers Hans Beimler, Ronald D. Moore, and Rene Echevarria have already written a hypothetical storyline for a new episode (possibly leading to a new season) that they want to feature as part of the upcoming documentary.
The story would address what happened to Sisko after he joined the Prophets, and what the other characters have been up to all these years.
As of last year, it looked like the project would probably get its funding, and as far as we know, Leonard Nimoy's son Adam Nimoy is still set to direct.
14 The Federation Didn’t Take DS9 Seriously So It Staffed It With Inexperienced & Green Officers
This theory explains that the Federation didn't really take the outpost seriously, and staffed it with officers they felt were more or less expendable.
On paper, you could see why this would seem like a less than desirable assignment. The "ship" doesn't go anywhere, the alien technology is super buggy and is in constant need of fixing or renovation.
On top of this, there are a host of aliens not normally stationed together, including two species that just ended a war against each other.
Aside from Sisko and Major Kira, almost everyone else is a junior officer or barely out of the academy.
Worf would be considered the most experienced, but he doesn't join the crew until much later.
This supports the idea that had the Federation thought it more important, they would have initially crewed it differently.
13 The Founders Created The Jem'Hadar As A Slave Race
Yes, the Jem'Hadar are already technically a slave race, raised artificially for the purposes of warfare. They are the military division of the Dominion.
The Jem'Hadar are birthed artificially and reach adulthood after only three days of being "born."
The entire soldier-race is male and completely subservient to the Dominion.
However, some fans believe that it wasn't always this way, and that a long time ago, it was the Founders (also known as the Changelings) that commandeered and enslaved their race.
The theory maintains that it was the Jem'Hadar that was the first major resistance the Founders encountered, and when they eventually won their conflict, they enslaved their opponents as punishment for rising up against them.
12 Sisko Faked Being The Emissary In The Episode “Accession”
Sisko had been named "The Emissary of the Prophets" by the mysterious "Prophets" that live in the wormhole.
However, he faces competition when Akorem, a famous Bajoran from 300 years ago, emerges from the wormhole and claims that he is actually the Emissary.
Akorem's suggestions for Bajoran society include returning to the caste system, though, which threatens Bajor's eligibility into the Federation.
Sisko accompanies Akorem into the wormhole where the Prophets explain that Sisko is still the Emissary, and they return Akorem to his own time.
However, this fan theory believes that everything that happened inside the wormhole was a fabrication.
Starfleet needed Sisko to remain Emissary to get Bajor to join the Federation, so theorists say Sisko just put Akorem back into the wormhole and devised the story about the Prophets' "confirmation."
11 The Prophets Are Actually The Advanced Descendants Of The Bajorans
The Prophets are mysterious beings living inside the wormhole that often communicate with Captain Sisko by appearing as close friends or family.
They are believed to be advanced extra-dimensional beings, perhaps indistinguishable from gods to most lifeforms.
The Bajorans see them as divine beings, and the Prophets' history is woven into their own religion.
The Prophets explain that they are "of Bajor." Some interpret this to mean that they are actually descended from Bajorans, evolving into an energy-based higher lifeform.
This would mean that the Prophets are actually from the future, and they are visiting their Bajoran ancestors in the past, perhaps as a way to protect their own species.
The show doesn't explain enough about the Prophets to confirm or negate this theory, so it is an intriguing possibility.
10 DS9 Contained An Ore Processing Plant That Was Repurposed To Be A Deuterium Refinery
Deep Space Nine was originally constructed for the Cardassians by Bajoran slave labor to serve as an uridium ore refinery.
The refinery (near the center of the station) was also operated by Bajoran slave labor. Of course, after the Cardassians abandoned Bajor, the Federation took control of the station and moved it closer to the wormhole.
Many fans speculated that it would be a waste for the Federation not to use the ore processing facilities as a resource.
The writers actually addressed this in season three's "Civil Defense".
In it, Chief O'Brien, Sisko, and Jake accidentally set off an old Cardassian security system while trying to convert the refinery to process deuterium.
The security system mistakenly identifies Sisko and crew as hostile Bajorans in a rebellion.
However, they eventually manage to shut down the program, averting self-destruction of the station.
9 Sisko's Love Of Experimental Archaeology Is Due To His Connection To The Prophets
Experimental archaeology is an area of study where scientists perform certain tasks using relics or knowledge from an ancient culture to test the ability of that culture.
An example might be building a replica of an ancient boat to see if it could actually cross the ocean.
In the episode "Explorers" from season three, Sisko and his son Jake engage in a little experimental archaeology when they build an ancient Bajoran spaceship using only tools that the Bajorans would have used in that era.
It was called a Bajoran Lightship, and utilized solar sails for its propulsion. Piloting the ship was similar to navigating a sailboat, as it had physical and low-tech controls like winches and handles.
Some fans theorize that Sisko's deep connections to The Prophets and Bajor inspired him to build the ancient Bajoran ship in the first place.
8 Many Of The Plotlines For DS9 Were Cribbed From Babylon 5
Fans of Babylon 5 have long suspected that many of its story ideas were cribbed for Deep Space Nine. They were both in development at the same time at separate networks.
According to a comment by Steven Hopstaken, Warner Bros. and Paramount were in talks to create their own joint network.
"Paramount and Warner Bros. both agreed that Deep Space Nine would be the show that would launch the new network and there wouldn’t be room for two 'space' shows on the network," he said.
He continued: "I was told they purposely took what they liked from the B5 script and put it in the DS9 script. In fact, there was talk of leaving the B5 script intact and just setting it the Star Trek universe."
The deal eventually fell apart. Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski later called Hopstaken's uncorroborated comment "interesting."
7 Section 31 Has Been Around A Long Time & Mirror Georgiou From Discovery Was One Of The Original Agents
While Deep Space Nine introduced Section 31 into the Star Trek universe, other Trek spin-offs have had fun with the idea.
Star Trek: Discovery, which is set a few years before the original series, explores the same concept.
A major part of the first season has our heroes on the Discovery stuck in the mirror universe. When they escape, they bring back with them the mirror version of Captain Georgiou, who is an evil Emperor in her universe.
Her fate at the end of season 1 is unclear.
In a deleted scene that was recently available online, we see her running a bar on Kronos, where she meets a mysterious stranger dressed in black.
After a cryptic conversation, he entreats her to join him in keeping the universe at peace. He gives her a black badge and says, "Welcome to Section 31."
6 Sisko Never Gets To Retire On Bajor Because Of His Deal With The Prophets
In "Sacrifice of Angels", Sisko asks the Prophets to stop the Dominion fleet arriving through the wormhole.
The Prophets agree, but tell Sisko that he must pay a penance for this act. The Prophets hold up their end of the bargain, making the Dominion fleet vanish.
Some fans think that Sisko's penance is that he'll never get to retire on Bajor, something he claimed he wanted.
The Prophets state, "The Sisko is of Bajor, but he will find no rest there. His pagh [soul] will follow another path."
At the end of the series, Sisko goes to live with the Prophets in the wormhole but claims he'll return.
Showrunner Ira Steven Behr compares Sisko to Moses, in that he can lead his people to the promised land, but is unable to go there.
For now, this theory seems likely.
5 The Federation Eventually Collapses, Which Is Why We Keep Getting Prequels & Reboots
The last known events from original Star Trek universe are depicted in the Star Trek reboot, where future Spock unwittingly creates an alternate timeline after the destruction of Romulus.
However, little is known after that. What's going on in the original universe?
Though many fans hoped that a new Star Trek series would pick up where Star Trek: The Next Generation left off, Star Trek: Discovery ended up being another prequel.
Could this be because the Federation eventually collapses in some horrible cataclysm? The lack of a foreseeable future seems very unlike Trek.
However, Patrick Stewart recently announced that he would be returning to his Picard character in a new Star Trek series, so this seems to imply the future is still intact.
This may leave the door open for other characters like Sisko to return as well.
4 Benny Russell Is The True Creator Of DS9’s Universe
In the episode "Far Beyond the Stars", Sisko has a vision from the Prophets where he assumes the identity of Benny Russell, a science fiction writer from Earth's past, in the 1950s.
He's attempting to publish a groundbreaking story about the black captain of a starship in the distant future, which already implies that Sisko may be a product of Russell's imagination.
In the follow-up episode "Shadows and Symbols", Russell has been committed to a mental institution but continues to write his stories on the walls.
Sisko revisits him in another vision, in the midst of trying to open a relic called The Orb of the Emissary. It is only after Russell writes it down that Sisko is able to do so.
Is Russell the true author of the Deep Space Nine universe? Or is he a seer that can predict the future? Both possibilities are tantalizing.
3 The Events of DS9 Are Just A Miles O’Brien’s Holodeck Fantasy
Chief O'Brien starts out as a minor character in Star Trek: The Next Generation and remains a part of the crew before eventually being transferred to Deep Space Nine.
O'Brien has much more to do on Deep Space Nine, with him included front and center as part of many of the main storylines.
Indeed, it seems that he has everything he could want on Deep Space Nine. He has a wife, a family, a best friend, and is considered a valuable part of the crew with tasks that constantly require his attention.
Could his entire life on Deep Space Nine just be an elaborate holodeck fantasy to keep him from being bored with his transporter room job on the Enterprise-D?
It's an intriguing possibility.
2 Gene Roddenberry Would've Never Allowed Many Of The Plotlines
Gene Roddenberry was heavily involved in Star Trek: The Next Generation and had strict rules the stories had to abide by.
One such rule was that there be no serious conflict between crew members. Deep Space Nine, by contrast, wasn't bound by this rule.
Showrunner Ira Steven Behr instead aimed to critique the supposed utopian society of the future and tell grittier stories.
According to Behr, “you can love that society but at the same time you critique that society. So I said okay, let’s take this thing everyone loves, the Federation, let’s see out how it works, what’s strong about it, what are its weaknesses, and why it’s worthwhile.”
Indeed, there is often friction among the main characters, along with wartime decisions that they regret.
However, this is also one of the reasons why Deep Space Nine is so special to fans.
1 There Will Never Be A High-def Or Blu-Ray Version Of DS9 Available
Star Trek, the original series, and Star Trek: The Next Generation have both received top-of-the-line facelifts in the home video market. They both have released HD versions with footage that has been completely remastered.
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Voyager, and Deep Space Nine were all shot on 35mm film, but transferred to videotape where the editing took place.
So when producers wanted a remastered version of Star Trek: The Next Generation, they actually used the original 35mm negative and recut the episodes shot for shot. This was enormously expensive.
Unfortunately, the Blu-rays did not sell well, partially because most of the episodes are available on streaming.
Deep Space Nine was never as popular as Star Trek: The Next Generation, so it's doubtful producers will invest money remastering the show.
However, fans continue to hope.
Can you think of any other fan theories about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that might be true? Sound off in the comments!