In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Nana Visitor played a tough, no-nonsense Bajoran who trusted few people which was understandable given her history. Kira went through hell and back while fighting to save her planet and to free her people from Cardassian rule. She didn’t back down from a fight even if it meant going against authority. And when, according to an interview Visitor gave The Costa Rica News, she read the script and saw the vision for the character, she immediately called her manager because she thought there had been a mistake. Major Kira had to be a man’s role.
But it was a role that Visitor says she’d been hungry for, and knowing it wasn’t written for a man energized her. So she took the risk and accepted the role even though “science fiction was known to be a career killer in those days.” She wanted to be Kira. But back in the early nineties, it was a challenge for a woman to play such a tough, angry woman who carried a chip on her shoulders. Visitor admits that she got a lot of negativity from people who felt that she was doing women a disservice by trying to play Kira “like a man.” When, in reality, Visitor played Kira in the way she herself would react to having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Because there’s little doubt that Major Kira suffered both mentally and physically from the traumas bestowed upon her by the Cardassians, most notably Gul Dukat.
It would be ludicrous to assume that any woman would act any differently had they endured and seen what Major Kira had seen. Though she might have come off as overly tough at times, I always thought she had a defensive shield in place to ward off any potential threats. And who wouldn’t?
Despite the role sounding like something a man might have undertaken, Nana Visitor took it and made it hers, making Major Kira one of the toughest women in Star Trek history.