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Who Is… Ezri Dax?

Who Is… Ezri Dax?

There are a few characters in the Star Trek Universe we’ve spent generations with. And there are some who barely got a chance to shine. And there are some that expanded media have revived in their own way. In a return to our old Comms feature, we’re looking into one of those who’s short time in Trek lived on beyond the known universe and asking… Who is Ezri Dax?

At some point in their history, the Trill discovered they could have a symbiotic relationship with a worm-like species living on their world. Implanting a symbiont into a Trill host created a merged life. And once the host died, the symbiont would move to a new host and carry it’s name and memories to the next, living on through different people for hundreds of years.

Initially introduced in The Next Generation, the Trill’s were defined in Deep Space Nine by it’s science officer Jadzia Dax, who’s host once lived inside Curzon Dax as a mentor to Benjamin Sisko. But after three seasons and some behind the scenes shenanigans, Sisko would meet a third Dax to bring into his life: Ezri.

Following the death of Jadzia, caught in the crossfire of Gul Dukat’s master plan to become Sisko’s evil counterpart, Sisko had some down time on Earth and in the middle of a crazy scheme had the young Ensign Dax stroll into his family restaurant and usher in a new chapter.

Replacing characters on a show is always tough, but a final season casting was a gamble. Especially replacing a fan favourite. For six years Jadzia had formed bonds and built character as a strong and capable officer, balancing the memories of prior hosts with her own life to become a loved and valued member of the team; not just of Deep Space Nine, but as part of the honoured House of Martok through her husband, and fellow badass warrior Worf.

When it came to the decision to retain Dax as a character, and introduce a new host, it was apparently not an easy process creatively, with Ira Stephen Behr noting on the final season DVD extras that after several brainstorming sessions, the idea just came to him suddenly to not have Jadzia 2.0, but go the same route as TV shows such as MASH by replacing her with a polar opposite.

“It felt like the best way to go was to go young, to go with a young, fresh-out-of-the-Academy kid, who is now an old soul, and to have that host not be so adept at it.” Behjr mentioned in the DVD Extras, “This is a person who wasn’t quite ready for this whole honor that has been bestowed on them.”

In contrast to Jadzia, who was a trained and disciplined host before being joined, Ezri was her opposite. A lower decker just learning the ropes with no intention of being one of the few and the privileged to become ‘joined’, just focused on figuring out her career. Until her ship was picked to carry the Dax host to Trill, got sick and needed a host. And of course, being the only Trill on board young little Ezri’s life got turned upside down more than the Prince of Bel Air.

With no training, no preparation and no intention of ever taking a host, Ezri Tigan – now Ezri Dax – had to bear a responsibility she never wanted whilst dealing with balancing out several lifetimes of memories and emotions and how those would all conflict and change her personality. It also meant that in her return to Deep Space Nine, every relationship Jadzia built was going to be revisited through Ezri’s eyes, giving the writers plenty to work

“I laid down on that operating table one person and I woke up a completely different person. Well, I should say eight different people. I was not prepared for this at all. I mean, you’re supposed to get years of training and preparation before you get joined, and all I got was a fifteen minute lecture from the ship’s surgeon, and he wasn’t even a Trill.”
Ezri Dax

Of course, having lots of stories to play with means having to tame yourself in the writers room when they had to wrap up the show’s many multiple personal arcs, close off the Dominion War and ensure none of the cast were left behind as they expanded and introduced the character.

In her short year on screen, Ezri began as a nervous ensign suffering from space sickness as she helped Sisko follow visions sent by the prophets, to handling the emotional wellbeing of the complex Garak, dealing with the fact Worf saw nothing in her but grief for his late wife, using an old hosts experiences to hunt a serial killer and even managed to sneak off home to save her brother from a criminal gang.

But the key to Dax’s time on DS9 were the relationships formed. Or re-formed. Sisko, who first met Curzon Dax as his mentor and Jadzia as his best friend and advisor, he was now a mentor to Ezri. Worf, while initially cold to her, became a protective older brother type while Quark saw a second chance to romance someone who still had no interest in him.

It was a big change of pace for a bit season, but it largely worked. Nicole DeBoer gave a perfect performance in showing the growing confidence of the character and integrated well with the rest of the cast. Her introduction also allowed to show more flaws and offered more variety in character dynamics; especially being paired up with an uncomfortable Worf towards the end of the Dominion War arc.

Her introduction also allowed an old story from seasons past to revive. Once upon a time the overly confident, and somewhat socially awkward, Dr Bashir would try to woo Jadzia in the manner of a Tesco Value Hugh Grant. Of course, nothing happened. Both for the character maturity gap as well as the cringe inducing nature of the whole sub plot. But where young Bashir and overly-wise Jadzia were a mismatch, matured Bashir and more emotionally tuned Ezri finally revived the story in a more natural way that led them both to self doubt before ‘confirming’ their interests on the eve of the final battle with the Dominion.

One of the few leading characters to last only one short season in the whole franchise, Ezri Dax is often overshadowed by her predecessor, yet still managed to bring new life into the character dynamics of the DS9 crew whilst gaining her own full character arc going from confused ensign to the heart of the station.

As the show ended and the cast split up, Ezri remained on Deep Space Nine with Bashir to explore their new life together in peace time and sadly hasn’t been seen since those closing shots. Until now. Well… kind of…

Like nearly every aspect of the Star Trek Universe, especially those still with stories to tell, Ezri Dax’s fate was explored in multiple books based on the Next Generation era in whats now a tapestry of ‘What If?’ scenario’s following the TNG era crews through their later years. For Dax, her personalities finally meshed and took her in an unexpected direction as captain of the USS Aventine; a science explorer with experimental slipstream drive.

Aventine itself would later be absorbed as a playable ship in Star Trek Online and now, years on, her Captain is finally following to revive her role in the game.

Joining many Trek veterans, including DS9 co-stars Nana Visitor, Alexander Siddig and Michael Dorn among many others – including Chase Masterson as Terran Emperor Lita – Nicole DeBoer will be the new addition to the line up as she voices Captain Ezri Dax in the latest episode of the long-running online game.

Teaming up with Captain Harry Kim as well as our own Captain as the player, Captain Dax will lead the defence against a Borg Incursion like no other as the Mirror Universe Borg cross over to the STO-Universe in a surprising new direction for the game!

The new episode launches January 23rd on PC, and at a later date on console. You can find out more through the Star Trek Online home page. Star Trek Online is free to play while premium purchases apply.

Our latest issue of Comms takes a look at the last year of Star Trek, sci fi, superheropes and more!! With the usual features including What If, Fistful Of Data and more, the “All Good Things” issue of Comms is available as part of SFCQ2’s free membership! To find out more visit our Comms preview or Enlist Today!

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