Avery Brooks changed the ending for Ben Sisko on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
The ending of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine saw Ben Sisko, played by Avery Brooks, leave his friends and family behind and join the wormhole prophets. The ending was left ambiguous, with Sisko telling his significant other, Kasidy, that he may return one day. It was a heartfelt and sad ending, as it left their future up in the air. Made worse by Kasidy being pregnant with Ben’s child and Sisko missing out on time with his unborn daughter.
This was not the first ending filmed, however. In the original, Sisko stopped to see Kasidy, but in that first shot ending, he told Kasidy that he wouldn’t be returning at all and that it was the last time they would see one another.
According to the Deep Space Nine Companion book by Terry J Erdmann, Brooks called showrunner Ira Steven Behr after shooting the ending and revealed he had issues with the way the scene played out. Due to the climate in the 90s, Brooks was concerned with the social optics of how the scene played out. As Memory Alpha put it;
"(Brooks) felt that having a black man leave his pregnant black wife to raise their child alone carried certain negative connotations that he wasn’t comfortable with."
So the scene was rewritten.
It makes sense why Star Trek: Deep Space Nine listened to Avery Brooks
It makes sense why Behr made the call to ultimately re-shoot the ending of Deep Space Nine. While no one thought Sisko was abandoning his family, the social stigma at the time was very real and it makes the situation very understandable that Brooks would like to have a positive moment cap off a show that was, at its core, about a father, his son and the extended family they created along the way.
The show was born out of trauma, with Sisko losing his wife, so it only makes sense that it ends with a bit of optimism.
We’re glad the show ended the way it did, as it not only gave characters optimism that their friend and family members would return but it gave us, the fans, the same hope that Brooks may one day return as Ben Sisko.