On Saturday, Andrew Robinson, who played Elim Garak on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (DS9), joined a few of his castmates for a virtual, convention-style panel hosted by GalaxyCon. He caught up with costars Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys), Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax), Armin Shimerman (Quark), and Nicole de Boer (Ezri Dax), and chatted about his time playing the most mysterious Cardassian in the Star Trek universe.
The cast also answered questions submitted by fans watching the live stream. One fan asked which character was each cast member’s favorite. Shimerman immediately responded that Robinson’s character, Garak was his favorite. This prompted Robinson to reminisce about how much he also loved Garak and how he’d love to become Garak again.
Shimerman told the panel that he loved Garak so much because he was “the most interesting and fascinating character on the show.” He went on to say that he “loved what Andy did with the role.”
Robinson thanked Shimerman for his kind words and then spoke a bit about his experience playing the character.
“I loved playing Garak so much. The idea of playing someone else?”
Robinson then revealed that he’d actually auditioned for the role of Odo, the station’s head of security. The role eventually went to René Auberjonois, who died in December of 2019. Robinson said that because he invested so much “time and energy” into auditioning for Odo he’d come to love the character. However, even Odo couldn’t beat out Garak as his favorite.
“I adore Garak. I still do. I’d still jump into the braces for that one,” Robinson remarked.
So, it sounds like if Robinson were offered the chance to suit up as Garak again, he’d take it. That begs the question, is there a believable way to bring the character back in any of the Star Trek shows currently in production or development?
Could Garak Come Back in ‘Star Trek: Picard’?
The most logical way to bring back the character would be in Star Trek: Picard because the timelines match. DS9 and Star Trek: The Next Generation were happening at the same time in the Prime timeline. The Enterprise crewmembers even made a few appearances on the space station.
So, it would make sense that Garak would be around, 30 years later, just as Picard, Riker, and Troi are. Fitting a Cardassian into the storyline would take some creative scriptwriting as the Cardassians didn’t play a role in the first season of Picard. However, there’s a big opportunity for Picard to wrap up a storyline from DS9.
At the end of DS9, the Cardassian Empire was in shambles after the Dominion War. They certainly weren’t the power they used to be, and they were pretty mad about the way things played out. It’s unlikely that the Cardassians, a proud and combative species, would be satisfied with their position in the intergalactic hierarchy. Picard could shed some light on what happened to the Cardassian Empire after its fall and how much they’d rebuilt in the 30 years since.
Any story revolving around the Cardassians could easily include Garak given his ties to their black ops group the Obsidian Order. Though Garak was exiled from Cardassia decades before the events of Picard, his skills at manipulation and diplomacy could easily get him back in the fold of a hurting empire.
Other Ways Garak Could Come Back
There are a few more, albeit much less likely, ways that Garak could come back as well. One fan theory suggests that Garak was recruited by the Starfleet black ops group Section 31 as their eyes and ears on Deep Space Nine. This theory posits that the entire time Garak was living on the station, he was passing info back to the organization. Additionally, it suggests that Garak was assigned to cultivate Dr. Julian Bashir as a Section 31 asset.
This fan theory could be confirmed if Robinson reprised his role as Garak for the new Section 31 series that’s currently in development. However, the timelines may not line up right for this to work. If the Section 31 series is set in the original timeline of Star Trek: Discovery, then Garak wouldn’t be born yet. However, fans know that time travel definitely isn’t off the table for the new series. So, Garak could definitely do a guest appearance in the new Section 31 show.
Along the same lines, some tricky time travel could explain Garak’s presence on Discovery. Yes, it’s 300 years in the future, but again, time travel seems to happen quite regularly in the Trek-verse.
A recent behind-the-scenes interview with the props department on Discovery, which can be watched above, revealed that one of the black boxes Commander Michael Burnham collected for information about the Burn came from a Cardassian ship. This hints that at the time of the Burn, the Cardassians were still a player in interstellar politics. So, Discovery could give some clues as to what the Cardassians are doing in the future, which could include a cameo by Garak.
These theories are definitely more far-fetched than an appearance on Picard, but it is Star Trek. Stranger things have certainly happened.