The Klingon security officer Worf appeared in the Star Trek universe for the first time in “Encounter at Farpoint,” the premiere of Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG). The character was in 175 out of the 178 episodes of the show, making him one of the most prominent characters on TNG.
When Deep Space Nine (DS9), the next installment in the Star Trek franchise premiered in 1993, a few TNG actors went straight to the new series. However, Worf was not one of them. Though his character eventually appeared in DS9, he wasn’t brought on until the third season.
In a recent interview with TrekMovie.com, Michael Dorn talked about why his character was brought onto the show and how the existing cast felt about his introduction.
Worf was Brought on to Boost Ratings
Dorn said that he wasn’t expecting to be invited on DS9. He was done with TNG and had just finished filming Star Trek: Generations. He’d moved on to other projects, thinking he was done with Worf.
When Rick Berman, one of DS9’s showrunners, asked Dorn if he’d be interested in bringing Worf to the show, Dorn said he was. However, it wasn’t an easy process.
Dorn admitted that he knew the producers and the studio wanted to bring him on the show to boost ratings.
“Everybody knew that Deep Space Nine was kind of lagging in the ratings a bit. They definitely wanted to go seven years, so they were bringing me on to help with the ratings.”
Dorn said he was worried about the role for a few reasons. His experience on other shows had taught him that bringing an existing character to a new show that had been running for a while could be problematic for the writers, the actors, and the crew. There was also the clear expectation that his role would boost ratings, which created some pressure.
The producers negotiated with Dorn for a few months before they could reach an agreement. One of the things that convinced him to come back was the fact that the writers had a whole storyline already planned out for Worf. It was clear to Dorn that they were committed to making the character an integral part of the show, not just a guest for the ratings boost.
Eventually, they reached an agreement and Dorn showed up on set.
Some of the Existing Cast Members Weren’t Happy About the Change
The core cast of DS9 had been working together for three years before Dorn was introduced. Though Dorn was clear that he never felt any animosity from his co-stars, some of them were a bit resentful about his character being brought onto the show.
One of those actors was Alexander Siddig, who played Dr. Julian Bashir. In an interview with TrekMovie.com last month, Siddig revealed that he and his costars were “a bit offended” by what they considered an obvious ratings grab. He said the cast felt that introducing an existing character was unnecessary as their ratings were fine where they were. They were frustrated that the people behind the show didn’t think they could get the audience they were looking for on their own.
Dorn told TrekMovie.com that he figured this would be the case when he got onto the set. In another interview with TrekNews.net in 2012, Dorn admitted that he did get the feeling that everyone was a little annoyed by the idea of him coming in to “save” the series.
However, he emphasized in both interviews that all of his castmates were very professional and never let their feelings about his addition show. He revealed that it took about six months for the cast to warm up to him. Once they did, his relationship with everyone was really wonderful. He told TrekNews.net that his DS9 costars are still some of his closest friends in real life.
Worf ended up appearing in 108 of the 178 episodes of DS9. His character was explored in-depth, as promised by the showrunners, and his appearance did end up boosting ratings. DS9 ran for seven seasons, just as the showrunners had hoped, and Worf was there until the end.