Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had a truly awful idea for its ending.
Not every idea pitched needs to be seen through till the end. That’s the case with one idea for the ending of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Showrunner Ira Steven Behr had an idea to bring back a character that had a minor and brief appearance in season six named Benny Russell. Russell was played by series star Avery Brooks who also played Captain Ben Sisko. Unlike Sisko, Russell wasn’t a Star Fleet officer. Instead, he was a science fiction writer in 1950’s America.
The character was part of a two-part episode that saw the regular members of DS9 playing other characters in a different time period. It was a big hit among fans and the character that Brooks played was someone that resonated with the audience.
The only problem is, Behr wanted to bring Russell back in the series finale. Not a bad idea on its own but the ending of the series finale, “What You Leave Behind”, would have seen the show close, and close on a sound stage, with Russell staring at the venue. In his hand would’ve been a script that said “Deep Space Nine”
This idea would’ve ruined the franchise.
These ideas are bad enough on their own. Be it in a novel or a movie, the whole “it was just a dream” idea is often panned as being an ending without an end. To do it to a show that ran for seven years would’ve been bad enough. The problem, however, isn’t just that it was the end of a seven-year show that fans put their time, effort, passion, and money into, only for it all to be a “dream”. No, the biggest problem is that it would ruin every piece of Star Trek media going forward.
Every movie, every show, every second of time given, would have been destroyed by this moment because we’re no longer able to just turn off our brains. We’re now aware that this is all just a dream, so none of it matters.
This is something Behr would realize after pitching the idea. Thankfully for every fan of Star Trek, Rick Berman, who was the series executive producer and one of the only people able to overrule Behr, hated the idea and shot it down.