The Cardassians and the Bajorans were at the center of one of the most epic conflicts in “Star Trek” history, which was partially depicted in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” The Bajorans lived under brutal Cardassian occupation for more than 50 years. When the resistance movement finally overthrew Cardassian rule, the animosity between the Bajorans and Cardassians only grew.
Starfleet got involved in the Bajoran-Cardassian conflict when the Federation and Bajor entered negotiations for the planet’s membership in the interstellar organization. Though the Cardassians grudgingly accepted the end of their occupation, tensions remained high as the Federation helped the Bajoran provisional government rebuild.
Open conflict reignited when the Cardassians joined forces with the Dominion, sparking the Dominion War. However, the alliance between the Dominion and the Cardassians was fleeting. The Dominion massacred over two million Cardassian citizens. The Cardassians abandoned their alliance with the Dominion and joined the Federation. The Dominion responded with genocide.
Cardassia was decimated at the end of the Dominion War, and Bajor was still undecided about Federation membership. “Star Trek” canon has not yet made it clear whether Bajor ever joined the Federation. Cardassia’s fate after the Dominion War has been largely left out of canon as well.
However, an Easter Egg from “Star Trek: Discovery” season three and the trailer for season four hint that “Star Trek” fans may get some vital information about Bajor and Cardassia in the 32nd century.
Did the Cardassians Join the Federation?
During the third season of “Discovery,” Michael Burnham was searching for the black boxes from the ships that were destroyed during The Burn. Prop Master Mario Moreira showed off the black boxes the props department crafted for the show. Most of the black boxes were simple cylinders that he explained were from standard Federation ships.
However, Moreira revealed that one of the black boxes was from a Cardassian ship. He followed up with a quick comment about how the Cardassian ship was a Federation ship at the time of The Burn. So, at some point before The Burn, Cardassia did join the Federation.
This is a major departure from the previous “Star Trek” canon. In all the previous “Star Trek” series, the Federation and Cardassia were at war or had a tenuous peace at best. Cardassia joining the Federation is a big deal for Trek history.
The third season of “Discovery” didn’t offer any insights as to whether Cardassia was still part of the Federation in the post-Burn world. However, the season four trailer offered a hint.
A Half Cardassian Federation President?
The trailer for “Discovery’s” fourth season prominently features a new character who appears to be at least part Cardassian. She has the distinctive Cardassian ankh-like marking on her forehead and the characteristic bumps around her eyes.
Her Cardassian features are not as pronounced as they would be on a true Cardassian. She doesn’t have as many facial bumps and there aren’t any ridges extending down her neck onto her shoulders. So, her appearance suggests that she’s part Cardassian and part another species.
The part Cardassian woman appeared twice in the trailer. The first time, talking about how the gravitational anomaly the universe is facing is a threat to both non-Federation and Federation planets. The second time, meeting with the President of Ni’Var and Federation officials at Federation headquarters. Fans have suggested that she might be the Federation President.
The fact that a part Cardassian woman exists in the future is remarkable in itself. The Cardassians have always been xenophobic and specist to the point of being supremacists. Though it’s been established that Cardassians have parented hybrid children, the shame surrounding these children was evident. So, a part Cardassian woman gaining prominence in interstellar politics is a major shift in Trek history.
A United Bajor and Cardassia?
Zooming in on stills of the character reveals a small detail that brings up even more questions about Cardassia in the 32nd century. The character appears to have slight ridges on the bridge of her nose, which suggests that she might be part Bajoran as well.
“Discovery” has already introduced the idea of species that were at war for centuries reuniting in the future. The Romulans and the Vulcans not only established lasting peace, but they also decided to cohabitate on the planet once known as Vulcan, known as Ni’Var in the 32nd century. Season three revealed that the unification of the Romulans and Vulcans was at least a few generations old. There was already an entire sector of the planet populated by Vulcan-Romulans.
It’s possible that Cardassia and Bajor followed a similar progression, leading to a new species of Cardassian-Bajorans.
At this point, this is pure speculation. The character may not actually have ridges on her nose. What appears to be ridges when zoomed-in might just be a trick of the light. She could also be Cardassian and human.
However, if she is Cardassian and Bajoran, “Discovery” will definitively wrap up some of the biggest loose ends that were left at the end of “Deep Space Nine.”
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