Chase Masterson’s character in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” was about as opposite of a villain as a character can be. Leeta was sweet and kind, though fierce when she or her family was threatened. She always stood up for what was right, no matter what it cost her personally. Leeta saw the best in everyone, especially those, like her husband Rom, whose potential wasn’t apparent to the rest of the world.
However, her counterpart in the Mirror Universe became a villain that rivaled the best of them. Mirror Leeta was first introduced in the DS9 episode “The Emperor’s New Cloak.” She was a member of the Terran resistance cell led by Smiley O’Brien, Miles Obrien’s Mirror Universe counterpart.
Though Mirror Leeta only appeared in one episode of “Deep Space Nine,” her story continued in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) Star Trek Online (STO). Admiral Leeta was introduced in the eleventh season of the game. Her “cunning, tenacity, and thirst for power” propelled her to a position of great power within the Terran Empire, and she led an offensive against the Prime Universe.
In an exclusive interview with Heavy, Masterson dished about what it’s like to play a villain and why she loves Mirror Leeta so much.
Expanding Mirror Leeta for Star Trek Online
Masterson didn’t have the opportunity to get to know Mirror Leeta very well when she played her on DS9, but she’s now intimately familiar with Admiral Leeta thanks to Star Trek Online.
Masterson told Heavy why she loves Admiral Leeta so much.
“Mirror Leeta is such a fantastic character. She’s so raucously ferociously in charge; such a fierce woman. And obviously, that’s such a departure from Leeta, the quiet, gentle, lovely, integrity-filled, compassionate Leeta. So, having the opportunity to play this incredible juxtaposition, as is always the case in ‘Star Trek’ Mirror Universe. Obviously, all the characters are all so wonderful and so chewy in the Mirror Universe, but I think particularly Leeta because the opposites are so dynamic.”
Masterson continued, saying that she’s so pleased with the story arc Star Trek Online has created for her character over multiple seasons of the game.
“You never really know where a villain stands, and Leeta is the ultimate villain. Because villains will do anything to get what they want, they’re really delicious. It’s delicious playing Leeta in [STO].”
She went on to say that one of the best things about playing a villain is understanding their motivations because villains are never villains in their own minds.
“[Villains are] doing the right thing. We’re doing what needs to be done for the people… That’s always the idea. I’m doing the right thing where I’m concerned.”
So, playing Admiral Leeta in STO has allowed Masterson to explore the nuances of the good and evil in every person.
Mirror Leeta and Prime Leeta Have A Lot in Common
Exploring this nuance has led Masterson to the understanding that Admiral Leeta and Leeta are more alike than fans might ever think.
“Mirror Leeta and Prime Leeta are alike in that they will do anything they need to do to follow their own conscience. Prime Leeta is a woman of huge integrity… She loved Rom in that way that was ‘never say die.’ And Admiral Leeta has that. She has that ‘never say die.’ She will go to the absolute end to get what she wants. Nothing matters, nothing at all matters, only the goal… There’s a vast amount of self-knowledge, self-possesvieness, thoroughness, if you will, and integrity to oneself that they both have… [Leeta] is very much about ‘it doesn’t matter what it costs me. I have to do the right thing, I have to follow my heart. I can’t be afraid…’ There are huge costs here. There are huge costs in real life for following our hearts and doing what we need to do.”
Masterson went on to say that she’s so grateful that Star Trek Online has given her, and several other DS9 actors, the ability to tell new “Deep Space Nine” stories. DS9 was the first “Star Trek” series that didn’t follow up its finale with a series of movies. So, there weren’t many opportunities to tell new stories about the show’s characters until STO.
Masterson has voiced Admiral Leeta for several Star Trek Online missions and continues to be a major part of the in-game universe.
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