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The Changeling

  • Episode aired Sep 29, 1967

Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner in The Changeling (1967)

A powerful artificially intelligent Earth probe, with a murderously twisted imperative, comes aboard the Enterprise and mistakes Capt. Kirk for its creator. A powerful artificially intelligent Earth probe, with a murderously twisted imperative, comes aboard the Enterprise and mistakes Capt. Kirk for its creator. A powerful artificially intelligent Earth probe, with a murderously twisted imperative, comes aboard the Enterprise and mistakes Capt. Kirk for its creator.

  • Marc Daniels
  • Gene Roddenberry
  • John Meredyth Lucas
  • William Shatner
  • Leonard Nimoy
  • DeForest Kelley
  • 28 User reviews
  • 13 Critic reviews

William Shatner in Star Trek (1966)

  • Captain James Tiberius 'Jim' Kirk

Leonard Nimoy

  • Mister Spock

DeForest Kelley

  • Christine Chapel

Makee K. Blaisdell

  • (as Blaisdel Makee)
  • Security Guard

Vic Perrin

  • Lieutenant Hadley
  • (uncredited)
  • Prof. Jackson Roykirk
  • Operations Division Lieutenant
  • All cast & crew
  • Production, box office & more at IMDbPro

Did you know

  • Trivia The biographical photo of scientist Jackson Roykirk is of the director Marc Daniels wearing Scotty's dress uniform.
  • Goofs When Nomad is firing at the Enterprise, Spock states that Nomad is 90,000 kilometers away, and that the energy bolts are moving at warp 15. At that distance, even if they were moving at warp 1, their impact would be virtually instantaneous.

Capt. Kirk : [of Uhura] What d'you do to her?

Nomad : That unit is defective. Its thinking is chaotic. Absorbing it unsettled me.

Spock : That "unit" is a woman.

Nomad : A mass of conflicting impulses.

  • Alternate versions Special Enhanced version Digitally Remastered with new exterior shots and remade opening theme song
  • Connections Featured in Mr. Plinkett's Star Trek 2009 Review (2010)
  • Soundtracks Theme Music credited to Alexander Courage . Sung by Loulie Jean Norman

User reviews 28

  • May 15, 2021
  • September 29, 1967 (United States)
  • United States
  • Official Facebook
  • Desilu Studios - 9336 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City, California, USA
  • Desilu Productions
  • Norway Corporation
  • See more company credits at IMDbPro

Technical specs

  • Runtime 50 minutes

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Star Trek's Shapeshifting Changelings Explained

The female changleing in a cave

Despite not being as well known as Klingons, Romulans, or the Borg, the Changelings may be the most deadly foe the Federation and Starfleet have ever faced. Introduced in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine," a series set on a former Cardassian space station orbiting a wormhole leading to the distant Gamma Quadrant, the Changelings would quickly form the backbone for the entire series-long story. That they were the same race as the station's enigmatic security chief Odo added another layer to the story. 

Not only do the Changelings wield tremendous powers that allow them to alter their shape and form, but they are also rulers of a vast interstellar empire. With the ability to steal another person's identity and a galactic army at their disposal, they are a terrifying threat that added suspense, thrills, and chills to "Star Trek."

More recently, the Changelings have returned to the franchise after a decades-long absence, first in a brief appearance in an episode of "Star Trek: Discovery." However, Season 3 of "Star Trek: Picard" sees them return in full force to plague the Federation. If it's been a while since you've watched "Deep Space Nine" or aren't familiar with it, you may be looking for a bit of a refresher. From their long history and strange biology to their part in the dreaded Dominion, as architects of the greatest war that "Star Trek" has ever seen, here's a brief primer on the shapeshifting Changelings.

The Changeling's real life origins revealed

The Changelings didn't debut until the "Deep Space Nine" Season 3 premiere episode "The Search," but their conception goes back to an earlier directive from producers. Specifically, the showrunners wanted to create a malevolent foe from the Gamma Quadrant that would help give the series its own flavor. According to the producer Ira Steven Behr, they were nervous. "We can't risk it all on one race of villains," he said in the documentary "What We Left Behind." Instead, they set out to create three evil adversaries, hoping that one would prove popular — and they wanted to make them all terrifying.

"We're gonna make them as scary as any villains you can possibly find," Behr said in the "Deep Space Nine Companion." He told his writers to read Isaac Asimov's "Foundation"  trilogy as research, and the result was the Dominion — an incredibly powerful and ancient group that ruled the Gamma Quadrant. The Jem'Hadar were their foot soldiers, the Vorta were what Behr called 'the face men,' and the Founders of the Dominion were revealed as Odo's shapeshifting people in a shocking twist.

As a result of this change, Odo, played by Rene Auberjonois, became one of the most important characters in the series thanks to his connection to the villains of the multi-season story arc that would dominate the remaining seasons.

The Changelings distant origins explained

Now that we know how the Changelings were created by writers and producers, how did they come to be in the world of "Star Trek"? If we are to believe a story told by the Vorta, their origins date back eons, and they were once solid lifeforms just like humans, Vulcans, or Klingons. Eventually, they evolved into the shapeshifters we know, and their society evolved alongside them as they set out to explore the stars and learn about the galaxy. Unfortunately, when they encountered other populated worlds, they were not greeted with open arms.

Instead, they were met with intolerance and even cruelty for no other reason than their non-solid state. As shapeshifters, they were distrusted by what they called mono-forms — ordinary beings who are confined to a single shape — who they more commonly referred to as "solids." According to the legend, the changelings were hunted by the solids and given the derogatory moniker of "changelings," which they would later co-opt in defiance of the prejudice they faced. They eventually found a haven from the solids in the Omarion Nebula, a remote region where they established a home. 

Eventually, though, the Changelings realized that the only way to overcome the bigotry and intolerance of the solids was to control them. In order to conquer and enslave the rest of the galaxy, they'd first have to build an army.

They're considered gods

In the episode "Treachery, Faith and the Great River," a dying Vorta named Weyoun-6 tells Odo the story of how the Changelings founded the Dominion. According to this Weyoun, a Changeling once found itself on the run from a group of abusive solids, and a race of primitive, ape-like people helped hide the shapeshifter, saving its life. From then on, the Changeling vowed to reward the creatures who had saved it, later using their knowledge of genetics to advance their biology and create the Vorta, a highly intelligent, cunning race that would serve the Founders in all things.

Beneath the Vorta are the Jem'Hadar, a race of genetically engineered soldiers who want nothing more than to obey the Founders and are among the most efficient killers in the "Star Trek" canon. They live short lifespans but are bred quickly, aging into adulthood in a matter of days, and are kept docile thanks to an addiction to a chemical compound called Ketracel-white. But the Founders also engineered both the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar to worship them as gods, as they are, in a very real way, the masters of their creation.

Except for in the most extreme circumstances, it is nearly impossible for either race to defy the Founders. With an undying loyalty, the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar have helped assure the Changeling's supremacy and the Dominion's endless rule of the Gamma Quadrant.

Changeling biology

As shapeshifters, the Changelings have biology unlike any other race in "Star Trek." Their "morphogenic matrix" allows them to take on not just other shapes but other states of matter, too. They can hide in plain sight as a human, an Andorian, or a Tellarite, able to accurately mimic any lifeform nearly instantly. They can even replicate their voice simply by hearing it, though Constable Odo has never been able to quite master these skills.

However, their shapeshifting isn't limited to just people, as Changelings can just as easily become a tree, a rock, or even equipment with a reflective surface. We have seen Changelings become water, vapor, and even fire. Still, their biology has one serious drawback — they must regenerate in their natural, liquid state at least once every 16 hours. We've seen this weakness cause problems for Constable Odo, who must regenerate at least one hour each day by reverting to his liquid form and collecting himself in a small pail that he keeps in his quarters. 

In addition, if any part of a Changeling's body is cut off, removed, or otherwise separated from them, it will revert to its liquid state almost immediately. This is how Starfleet, at first, was able to detect Changelings hiding among them by drawing a blood sample. Of course, the Changelings eventually found a way around this measure, presumably by collecting the blood of the people they were disguised as and releasing it on cue during any blood test.

The Great Link

Since they need to regenerate frequently, and due to the energy required to hold a solid form, Changelings prefer to spend the majority of their time in a liquid state. When they communicate they rarely do so verbally, as they prefer to meld together into what is referred to as "linking," which is a bit like mixing two cups of water together. When linked, Changelings cease to be individuals, merging into what is, in essence, one being. In effect, there are no true individuals among Changelings, only parts of the whole who gain brief periods of individuality when separated from the Link.

As such, the Changeling homeworld is essentially one giant ocean comprised of themselves in what is called the Great Link. During their lifespan they can become individuals to explore the galaxy and return home to the Great Link to share what they've learned. Described as "a merging of form and thought, the sharing of idea and sensation," the Great Link is a place of comfort for Changelings. However, this Great Link, covering nearly the entire surface of a planet in the Omarion Nebula, also makes a tempting target. 

In the two-part "Deep Space Nine" episode, "Improbable Cause" and "The Die is Cast," the Romulan secret police known as the Tal Shiar teamed up with the Cardassian intelligence agency the Obsidian Order to destroy the Changeling homeworld. Unfortunately for the Alpha Quadrant, this all turned out to be a ruse by the Founders to eliminate both factions.

Odo and the Hundred

Though they prefer to remain in the Great Link, the Changelings still thirst for more knowledge of the galaxy. To that end, they dispatched 100 infant Changelings out amongst the stars, which they hoped would come to live among the solids and then one day return home to the Great Link to share what they had learned. When Odo met his people and discovered the Founders, he realized that he was one of these Hundred. However, now that he had spent time among the Bajorans and the Federation, he saw his people as the enemy.

While Odo refused to rejoin them, the urge to be a part of the Great Link persisted. Eventually, he'd encounter two more members of the Hundred. In the episode "The Begotten," a dying Changeling child is discovered, unable to shapeshift, and Odo takes it upon himself to become a parent to the naive, formless creature. While the Changeling eventually dies, it is absorbed into Odo and helps resolve a season-long story that had seen Constable Odo forced into a solid, humanoid shape by his people.

Later, in the episode "Chimera," Odo meets a Changeling named Laas, who has lived among another race of people for the past century. He agrees with Odo that the Founders are misguided and invites him to join his search for other lost shapeshifters to form a new, better version of the Great Link. Odo regretfully declines, feeling a duty to his friends on Deep Space Nine.

They are obsessed with order

As a result of their natural state of oneness in the Great Link, there is rarely — if ever — any disagreement or discord among their race. In fact, it's established on multiple occasions that "no Changeling has ever harmed another," a point that is thrown in Odo's face when he betrays his people and murders a Changeling saboteur in the Season 3 finale, "The Adversary." It is this act that forces the Changelings to force Odo into a solid form in the Season 4 storyline. While Odo is unlike the galaxy-conquering Changelings he comes from, he does share their innate need to bring order to chaos, which some have likened to a biological drive.

This is partly what makes Constable Odo such an efficient security officer and investigator, as his desire to bring order made him a ruthless pursuer of justice in a chaotic environment like the Cardassian space station Terek Nor, which eventually became Deep Space Nine. However, for the rest of his people, this means ruling the galaxy, as they see solids as chaotic creatures which are always fighting amongst themselves. 

Ultimately, the Changelings — as Founders of the Dominion — view their conquering tactics as a means of helping those races achieve peace and order, even if they have to enslave them and break them of their desire for freedom to achieve it.

They plotted to destabilize the Alpha Quadrant

Upon discovering the wormhole, the Changelings were initially content to stay in the Gamma Quadrant. However, as the Federation and other Alpha Quadrant powers made more and more excursions into their territory, the Changelings knew that the chaos on the other side of the galaxy would soon threaten them. In their first meeting with the Federation, they ran an elaborate simulation with the crew of Deep Space Nine to see how they would react to a Dominion presence in the Alpha Quadrant, determining that they would be met with open hostility.

In response, the Changelings began staging plots to destabilize the Alpha Quadrant to make it easier to conquer. After plotting to dismantle the Cardassian and Romulan intelligence agencies, the Changelings infiltrated Starfleet in an effort to trigger a war between the Federation and the Tzenkethi in "The Adversary," revealing the extent of the Changeling threat for the first time.

The story that brought Worf to "Deep Space Nine" also sees a Changeling posing as a high-ranking Klingon official and sparking a war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire that risks decimating both sides. At the same time, Changelings begin replacing key individuals on Earth, precipitating a militaristic coup that is only thwarted by Captain Sisko. When these plots are foiled, the Federation knows that a war with the Dominion is all but inevitable.

The Dominion War explained

Following the failed attempt to force the Federation and Klingon Empire into destroying each other, the Changelings lead the Dominion deeper into direct conflict with the galactic powers of the Alpha Quadrant. They are aided by the Cardassians, who join the Dominion, fortifying their forces, and all-out war is quickly declared on the Federation and the Klingons . In what became a high point for "Deep Space Nine," the Dominion War breaks out, and what was truly groundbreaking for "Star Trek" was that victory for the Federation did not seem assured.

In fact, the Dominion succeeds in conquering Deep Space Nine in a status quo shaking story. Later, in what is generally regarded as one of the series' best episodes , "In the Pale Moonlight," Sisko takes desperate action to force the Romulans to join the Federation and Klingon alliance to tip the balance of power. The longer the war drags on, the more it seems like the Changelings would wind up taking over the Alpha Quadrant, as millions of lives were lost. 

What eventually turns the tide, however, is the Cardassians themselves, who rise up to fight back against the Dominion. Led by former villain Damar, the Cardassian rebels help the alliance topple the Dominion and push them back into the Gamma Quadrant. Of course, they aren't alone, as they have a little help from Starfleet's own clandestine intelligence agency along the way.

Section 31's genocidal gambit

At the height of the Dominion War, the Changelings have driven the Federation off of Deep Space Nine. Odo stays on the station along with Major Kira, with plans of helping to sabotage the Dominion, though he often "links" with the leader of the Changelings, causing fears that he has joined their cause. What he doesn't realize is that he has inadvertently passed a deadly genetic disease to the rest of the Changelings, threatening to kill their entire species. It's later revealed that this disease is the work of Section 31, a covert Starfleet intelligence agency willing to go to extraordinary lengths to secure the safety of the Federation.

Led by Director Luther Sloan, Section 31 developed a pathogen that would infect Changelings and break down their molecular structure, making it harder for them to revert to their liquid state. Eventually, unable to assume their liquid form, they would deteriorate and die. Covertly, Section 31 infects Odo with the pathogen with hopes that he will pass it to his people — and that's exactly what happens. A last, desperate, genocidal gambit, Section 31 is willing to wipe out the entire species of Changelings to end the war. 

Unfortunately, rather than convince the Changelings to surrender, it spurs them to fight to the death, promising to kill untold billions before they are exterminated.

Facing Alpha Quadrant justice

It's worth noting that the Dominion War wasn't the only ongoing story that weaved its way through seven seasons of "Deep Space Nine." The story of Captain Sisko and his connection to the Bajoran prophets is also front and center, and in the series finale, both come to a head. While Sisko battles with a demonic entity on Bajor, the greatest starship battle in "Star Trek" history takes place, with the Federation, Klingons, Romulans, and their new Cardassian allies hoping to defeat the Dominion once and for all. However, the Changelings refused to give an inch, even as their hope for victory dwindled.

It was only thanks to Odo that the Changelings finally give in. After being cured of the disease developed by Section 31 — thanks to the efforts of Dr. Bashir and Chief O'Brien in the episode "Extreme Measures." Odo links with the leader of the Changelings and heals them as well. He is also able to convince them to seek peace and avert total annihilation, but it comes at a great personal cost. 

While the Changeling's leader remains in the Alpha Quadrant to face justice, Odo rejoins the Great Link in the Gamma Quadrant where he can cure his people and hopefully teach them compassion and empathy to end their destructive ways. As far as we know, Odo never returns from The Great Link.

A rogue faction resurfaces

In the "Star Trek: Picard" Season 3 episode "Seventeen Seconds" we discover in a shocking twist that the Changelings have returned to "Star Trek" after more than 20 years. What's worse, however, is that they have infiltrated Starfleet. They have an agent aboard the USS Titan, while others are involved in a plot to steal a deadly weapons from Daystrom Station.

Former Enterprise security chief Worf has been aware of this conspiracy and has been tracking down the threat. Thankfully, he is now aided by former Picard ally Raffi Musiker. Given Worf's experiences on "Deep Space Nine," he would seem to be the perfect man for the job. In fact, according to Worf, he was alerted to this rogue faction by his old friend Odo, who is still a part of the Great Link in the Gamma Quadrant. 

It seems that after Dominion surrendered in the final episode of "Deep Space Nine," there was a schism within the Changelings for the first time, as a group of shapeshifters broke away and refused to accept defeat. Now it would seem that this faction is looking to reignite the war with the Federation and conquer the Alpha Quadrant once and for all.

‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 3: Who Are the Changelings?


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[Editor's note: The following contains spoilers for Star Trek: Picard Season 3, Episode 3. Star Trek: Picard Season 3 has seen the show’s protagonists in an intense battle with the mysterious Vadic ( Amanda Plummer ). As if being terrorized by Vadic’s super-powerful ship, the Shrike, hasn’t been bad enough, in the third episode, Seven of Nine ( Jeri Ryan ) and Jack Crusher ( Ed Speelers ) discover that the Starfleet ship they’re aboard, the Titan, has been sabotaged. The saboteur, Ensign Foster ( Chad Lindberg ), then attacks Jack, who catches a glimpse of who Foster really is.

What we learn after Jack’s attack is that Jean-Luc Picard ( Sir Patrick Stewart ) and team are up against more than one diabolical enemy on the outskirts of Federation space. Vadic is one of them. The other is the Changelings. And they’ve already begun their attack on Earth.

RELATED: 'Star Trek: Picard' Season 3 Review: The End is Near, But 'The Next Generation’ Is Bright

The First Changeling

The crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager never dealt with the Changelings — they first appeared on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine . These Gamma Quadrant aliens were unknown to the Federation, and for the longest time, there was seemingly only one specimen of this species in the Federation, Odo ( René Auberjonois ).

Odo was first discovered in the Bajoran system, but he was in his gelatinous form and considered non-sentient. For several years, Odo was experimented on by the Bajoran scientist Mora Pol ( James Sloyan ) before Odo was able to retaliate by mimicking other objects. He eventually took on humanoid form, copying Mora’s look. Odo had to learn about his abilities and limitations the hard way — while he could shapeshift into many objects like a chair or crate, his body needed to return to its original viscous liquid form every 16 or so hours. There were times when Odo was prevented from regenerating, and he suffered greatly but was able to recover.

Odo spent the majority of his life believing he was alone in the universe. He had no memory of where he came from or who his people were. His name came from the Cardassion word for nothing, as that was what he was labeled as when he was found. Up until the events of Deep Space Nine , Odo also lacked any real friends or connections (he’d fallen out with his father figure Mora Pol before the show began), but that soon changed as he grew closer to the senior staff of the station, eventually even beginning a romantic relationship with First Officer Major Kira Nerys ( Nana Visitor ).

Much to the shock of Odo and all of the Federation, finding Odo’s people spelled disaster for the Federation.

The Founders

The Founders, as their subjects referred to them, were Changelings who existed primarily in the Great Link — a giant ocean where Changelings intermingled in their natural state. They appeared to have something of a hive mind, but still maintained some form of individuality, unlike the Borg. Odo was really only living half a life — he had no idea how far his shapeshifting abilities could go. Unlike other Changelings, Odo couldn’t mimic the faces of other people. He also needed to regenerate, which was another unique limitation for him. Since Odo was alone in the Alpha Quadrant, he didn’t know that his people, once in their natural state, could merge with one another to form a mental link that allowed them to share experiences and memories with one another. He learned much from the Female Changeling ( Salome Jens ) who tried to ensnare Odo’s loyalty.

At some point in the Changelings’ long history, they once lived among other humanoids, but their shapeshifting abilities caused suspicion, and they were hunted and killed. They retreated to an isolated planet to form the Great Link. However, the Changelings didn’t want to forego exploring the galaxy completely, so they sent out 100 infant Changelings into the galaxy. One of those infants was Odo, and he eventually met another of the Hundred Changelings on Deep Space Nine, but Laas’ ( J.G. Hertzler ) distrust and hate of "solids" drove a wedge between them.

The Changelings saw "solids" as chaos mongers, so a group of them founded the Dominion, where everyone had to strictly follow the rules and orders of the Founders. The Founders’ will was carried out by the species called the Vorta, and their executors were the genetically-engineered soldiers, the Jem'Hadar.

The Dominion War

Deep Space Nine became hot property once a giant wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant opened up across its bow. This also meant the station was on the front line when anything came through the wormhole. During visits to the Gamma Quadrant, news traveled of a ruthless group called the Dominion. At first, Starfleet wasn’t bothered by this group, but then the Jem’Hadar destroyed a Starfleet vessel, and all hell broke loose.

The Federation was on high alert, expecting a Dominion attack, but what they didn’t know was that the Founders had infiltrated some of their highest-ranking posts by masquerading as officials and political figures. By destabilizing the Federation from the inside, the war wasn’t inevitable, it had already begun. On one side was the Federation, and on the other the Dominion. Captain Benjamin Sisko ( Avery Brooks ) and his crew faced several battles, but they came away mostly unscathed, unlike many other Federation ships. There were coups and mass panic on Earth and across the Alpha Quadrant.

The Founders also cleverly duped the Cardassians into attacking the Klingons, thereby pitting two powerful Alpha Quadrant forces against one another, and ensuring the Federation’s strongest ally, the Klingons, were too distracted to help them in their war efforts. Though the Cardassians were the Dominion’s allies, Cardassia was decimated by the end of the war.

Major Kira Nerys, along with a ragtag team of Cardassians, formed a rebellion and captured the Founder who was leading the war efforts. The Founders had been infected by a morphogenic virus by then but Odo remained uninfected. He offered to return to the Great Link and help cure his people if the Founder surrendered. She did and the Treaty of Bajor was signed soon after stipulating the Dominion cease its military operation in the Alpha Quadrant and remain in the Gamma Quadrant.

The Federation suffered many casualties, and the war changed the power dynamics of the Alpha Quadrant for a while.

History [ ]

Dominion invasion

The Dominion invades the Alpha Quadrant

According to Weyoun 4 , the Dominion "has endured for two thousand years ", i.e., since the 4th century. Later, in 2375 , Weyoun 8 stated " the Dominion has never surrendered in battle since its founding 10,000 years ago . " It was established by Changelings , who sought to protect themselves against persecution by the solids via totalitarian control. Becoming known as the Founders , the Changelings used advanced genetic engineering to create two servant races, the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar . On behalf of the Founders, these two species began expanding Dominion territory through diplomacy and military conquest. By the mid- 24th century , the Dominion had conquered hundreds of species. ( DS9 : " The Search, Part II ", " To the Death ", " Treachery, Faith and the Great River ", " The Dogs of War ")

In the 2370s , the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole brought the Dominion into contact with civilizations in the Alpha Quadrant . After learning that Starfleet would destroy the wormhole in the event of a direct Dominion incursion, the Founders initiated long-term plans to weaken and subvert the Alpha Quadrant. ( DS9 : " The Search, Part II ", " The Adversary ") In 2373 , the Dominion was able to secure both the wormhole passage and a power base in the Alpha Quadrant, through the absorption of the Cardassian Union . ( DS9 : " By Inferno's Light ") By the end of the year, open war erupted between the Dominion and a joint opposition consisting of the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire . ( DS9 : " Call to Arms ")

The Dominion made rapid gains in the opening months of the war, beginning with the siege of Deep Space 9 and the wormhole. ( DS9 : " Call to Arms ", " A Time to Stand ") However, it was dealt a major setback in mid- 2374 , when Starfleet and Klingon forces retook Deep Space 9 and prevented the Dominion from obtaining reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant. ( DS9 : " Sacrifice of Angels ") Also in that year, the Romulan Star Empire joined the war against the Dominion. ( DS9 : " In the Pale Moonlight ") Despite various reversals and an eleventh-hour alliance with the Breen Confederacy , by late 2375 , the Dominion verged on defeat and was additionally beset by a Cardassian uprising. The war ended when the Female Changeling agreed to surrender, in exchange for a cure to a morphogenic virus afflicting the Great Link . ( DS9 : " Strange Bedfellows ", " The Changing Face of Evil ", " Tacking Into the Wind ", " What You Leave Behind ")

Territory [ ]

Government [ ].

Female Changeling

The Female Changeling , one of the Founders


Eris , a Vorta covert agent


Kudak'Etan , a Jem'Hadar soldier

The Dominion was organized under a strict hierarchy, with the Founders at the top, then the Vorta as administrators, and the Jem'Hadar as soldiers next. This arrangement was referred to as "the order of things" and deviation from it was punishable by death. ( DS9 : " To the Death ", " Rocks and Shoals ") The Founders held ultimate authority and their decisions could not be questioned under any circumstances. However, the Founders were largely apathetic towards the affairs of solids and were content to leave the administration of the Dominion to the Vorta. ( DS9 : " The Search, Part II ") The Vorta commanded the Jem'Hadar and disseminated ketracel-white crucial for their survival. ( DS9 : " To the Death ")

Members [ ]

Below the Founders, Vorta, and Jem'Hadar, the Dominion included numerous subjugated "member" races. These species were expected to obey the orders of the Vorta administrators. Disobedience would be punished by massive Jem'Hadar reprisals. ( DS9 : " The Search, Part I ")

Known member species included:

  • Cardassians ( 2373 – 2375 )
  • T-Rogorans (conquered 2370 )
  • Yaderans (homeworld annexed 2340 )

In the 2370s , the Dosi and the Son'a were economically affiliated with the Dominion. ( DS9 : " Rules of Acquisition ", " Starship Down ", " Penumbra ") In late 2375 , the Dominion signed an alliance with the Breen Confederacy . ( DS9 : " Strange Bedfellows ") While the Teplans were punished by the Dominion for their resistance in the mid- 22nd century , their political status as of the 24th century is unknown. ( DS9 : " The Quickening ")

Society [ ]

The Founders were rarely encountered by their subjects, leading them to be regarded as myths or gods . The Vorta and the Jem'Hadar were both engineered to worship the Founders; indeed, they believed that their lives belonged to the Founders, rather than themselves. ( DS9 : " Rocks and Shoals ", " Treachery, Faith and the Great River ")

The Karemma were an important commercial power within the Dominion, and constructed weapons for the Dominion military. ( DS9 : " Starship Down ")

The language of the Dominion was known as Dominionese . ( DS9 : " Statistical Probabilities ") The Dominion judicial system made use of courts, but charges and subsequent trials were often merely for show. Enemies of the Dominion were often put on trial for various charges which "hardly mattered", since the goal of the trial was to convict and execute the offender while merely giving a facade of legal framework. ( DS9 : " Sacrifice of Angels ")

Although the Dominion might seem monolithic and united, there were some internal pressures, mostly between the Vorta and Jem'Hadar. The two servant races of the Founders regarded one another with barely disguised contempt, and a delicate balance existed between Jem'Hadar troops and their Vorta overseers. Their shared loyalty and obedience to the Founders kept them nominally at peace, but often, it was only the Vorta's control of ketracel-white that kept them alive, and even then, this form of control has been known to fail; Jem'Hadar killing their Vorta was rare, but not unheard of. Vorta and Jem'Hadar tried to maintain the appearance of unity, but this varied between individuals; some Vorta, such as Keevan , behaved in a false paternal fashion to their troops, while others, like Weyoun 4 , were visibly disinterested in the Jem'Hadar's welfare. ( DS9 : " To the Death ", " Rocks and Shoals ")

Philosophy [ ]

The philosophy of the Dominion was divided into three distinct groups, each with notably differing outlooks and aspects. The perspective of the Founders , or the Changelings , with whom ultimately rested the control over the Dominion, was formed from their history of persecution at the hands of non-shapeshifting lifeforms they thereafter termed " Solids ". To that end, the priority of the Founders was the survival of their own species , by any means necessary. They had no interest in matters such as Klingon honor , the Federation 's goal of peaceful exploration, Ferengi material success, or objections made by opposing groups regarding their methods of self-preservation. ( DS9 : " The Search, Part II ") Their philosophy is to dominate everything that can be dominated and destroying all that cannot; the Founders were, in essence, driven by an urge to "impose order on a chaotic universe."

The Founders' extreme longevity (indeed, practical immortality) has provided them with a uniquely long viewpoint. As the genetically-engineered and highly intelligent Jack described: the Dominion does not adjust its strategies based on what has occurred within the past week or even year, but is concerned instead with what the universe will look like centuries or more forward. This perspective was evident in the Dominion War , where the strategy was to engage in a long-term war of attrition, counting on superior construction methods and their ability to breed Jem'Hadar , rather than risk everything on one battle. ( DS9 : " Statistical Probabilities ")

Apart from the Changelings' metamorphic abilities, the most distinguishing ability of their species is "linking" – the physical and mental connection of multiple Changelings. The species seems to exist in a collective union called The Great Link for much of their life span, producing a strongly anti-individualist perspective. Consequently, the Founders seem to be a remarkably unified, even monolithic, species. Their most sacred axiom: "No Changeling has ever harmed another" reflects both this and their obsession with physical security. Disagreement between the Founders, however, is not unheard of, as illustrated by the (at least initial) lack of consensus over how to deal with Odo after he murdered another changeling. ( DS9 : " Broken Link ")

The Changelings genetically modified the Vorta to serve them in various roles. They have also genetically-engineered the Jem'Hadar to serve as their soldiers. Each group of Jem'Hadar is closely controlled by the Vorta. The Jem'Hadar enforce the will of the Founders, fight in wars to expand the Dominion, protect the Vorta and the Founders, etc. Both races are engineered to worship the Founders as their gods.

Military [ ]

A Dominion strategy frequently used was to not use its military might during initial contacts, but rather, to take over via influence and espionage . While Jem'Hadar fighters destroyed the USS Odyssey as a show of force, the Dominion used its vast influential and espionage tactics to destabilize the Alpha Quadrant . For example, the Dominion precipitated a war between the Cardassian Union and the Klingon Empire , and then struck an alliance with the Cardassian Union, knowing full well they would accept due to their dire state, so that the Dominion could gain support and a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant before deploying its military power. ( DS9 : " The Jem'Hadar ", " The Way of the Warrior ", " By Inferno's Light ")

The Dominion was founded on the principle of control, with the intent being to neutralize any potential threat to the Founders by whatever means necessary. In cases involving cooperative species such as the Karemma, the extent of Dominion interference was fairly minimal and restricted to material support. However, if the target species was or became less cooperative, the Jem'Hadar were dispatched to wipe out any opposition. The fear of massive Jem'Hadar reprisals was enough to keep most planets in line. For a prospective member, at first contact the Dominion may have appeared helpful, or even benevolent. A typical Dominion strategy was to make concessions in the short term for an advantage in the longer term, which may have been centuries in advance. ( DS9 : " The Search, Part I ", " Statistical Probabilities ")

Technology [ ]

Jem'Hadar fighter, profile

A typical Jem'Hadar attack ship armed with the phased polaron beam

By the time of the Dominion War , Dominion technology appeared to have significantly outpaced that of most Alpha Quadrant species.

Instead of phased energy or disruptor beams, Jem'Hadar rifles emitted powerful polaron beams. They had a side effect of acting as an anticoagulant in some humanoids , thereby impeding the natural wound healing process. ( DS9 : " The Ship ")

Similarly, Dominion warships displayed more impressive firepower than their Alpha Quadrant counterparts. Phased polaron beams were mounted on all Jem'Hadar attack ships . These initially cut through Federation shielding without effort; however, the DS9 crew subsequently managed to adapt their shields to withstand Dominion weapons for short periods. By the time of the Dominion invasion of the Alpha Quadrant, Federation shields had no more difficulty withstanding polaron weaponry than any other energy weapon. The Breen also wielded a huge advantage on the battlefield with an energy dissipating weapon , which was capable of disabling Federation and Romulan vessels with a single shot. Effective countermeasures were eventually developed by Starfleet engineers . ( DS9 : " The Jem'Hadar ", " Call to Arms ", " The Dogs of War ")

Dominion transporters utilized transponders , which enabled them to transport individuals across distances as far as three light years . ( DS9 : " Covenant ")

Dominion warp capability was less advanced when compared to most major Alpha Quadrant species. A Dominion fighter was capable of at least warp 7 and a battle cruiser was capable of at least warp 4.7. ( DS9 : " The Jem'Hadar ", " Valiant ")

While some Dominion technology was in many ways more advanced than that of the Federation, the Vorta Keevan once lamented that Starfleet engineers were famed for being able to "turn rocks into replicators ". ( DS9 : " Rocks and Shoals ") At least some Dominion technology was manufactured by Dominion member species; it is known, for example, that at least one type of torpedo carried on board Jem'Hadar attack vessels was sold to the Dominion by the Karemma, a Dominion member. ( DS9 : " Starship Down ") The Jem'Hadar did, however, seem capable of performing not only some minor and emergency repairs, but also understanding complex engineering on even Starfleet vessels. ( DS9 : " One Little Ship ")

Appendices [ ]

Appearances [ ].

  • " The Jem'Hadar " ( DS9 Season 2 )
  • " The Search, Part I " ( DS9 Season 3 )
  • " The Search, Part II "
  • " The Abandoned "
  • " The Die is Cast "
  • " Call to Arms "
  • " A Time to Stand " ( DS9 Season 6 )
  • " Rocks and Shoals "
  • " Sons and Daughters "
  • " Behind the Lines "
  • " Favor the Bold "
  • " Sacrifice of Angels "

Background information [ ]

The Dominion insignia was designed by Herman Zimmerman and Anthony Fredrickson . ( Star Trek Sticker Book , pg. 20)

Origins [ ]

The Dominion resulted from several meetings which the writing staff of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had about establishing villains in the Gamma Quadrant during the show's second season . " We had meeting after meeting on what those guys would be like before the word 'Dominion' was ever dropped into a script, " stated Robert Hewitt Wolfe . ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 73) Ira Steven Behr once referred to the Dominion as "an attempt by the staff to come up with something specific about the Gamma quadrant." ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 100) He also related, " I remember saying [to Wolfe, James Crocker and Peter Allan Fields , while having lunch together] one day, 'Okay guys, we're gonna come up with villains, not one but three sets of villains. And we're gonna make them as scary as any villains you can possibly find.' " As part of this mandate, Behr tasked the writing team to read Isaac Asimov 's Foundation trilogy, which all the writers then read. ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 153) " The Dominion was definitely a group project, " clarified Wolfe. " That was something that Ira, Michael [Piller] , Pete, Jim and I talked about and conceptually worked on as a group. " ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 112) Wolfe continued, " We just felt it was time to give a face to the Gamma Quadrant. Voyager was going to be wandering through the Delta Quadrant from place to place, meeting new people every week, and we wanted to make the Gamma Quadrant distinctly different from that, by creating the Dominion […] Instead of like the big mysterious out there, which all the other Star Trek shows had done, and Voyager was going to do, it was a very specific, dangerous, nasty Other, so that was part of the motivation. " ( The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond , DS9 Season 3 DVD special features) The invention of the Dominion not only fulfilled the need to define the Gamma Quadrant but also came about because Behr thought "villains are cool." ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 97) He remembered, " With the Dominion, we came up with characters, people, aliens and problems that impact not only in the Gamma Quadrant but the Alpha Quadrant as well. I came up with the idea for the Dominion, then the staff met every day for lunch for a week or two, and we would kick around what to do about this Dominion, then we presented it to Mike [Piller] and Rick [Berman] and they were receptive to it. " ( Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages , p. 76) Peter Allen Fields highly approved of the name chosen by the writing staff for the new group, saying it "was a pretty good name." ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 153)

The Dominion was conceived as "a sort of unifying anti- Federation in a way, just to give it a completely different character," said Robert Hewitt Wolfe. Indeed, the group was intended to be similar in structure to the Federation but with very different ideologies. The Dominion was to represent a wide array of alien races, just as does the Federation (as opposed to the mono-species Klingon Empire , Romulan Star Empire , and Cardassian Union ), but it was to be fascist-like, ruled by coercion and domination, in contrast to the cooperation and freedom of the Federation. As Wolfe explained, " The Dominion was not monolithic. It wasn't just the Romulans or the Cardassians . They were distinct in that they were the Dominion. They were, like the Federation, a collection of different races. But unlike the Federation, they were bound together by fear and extortion, whereas the Federation is bound together by noble thoughts and love and friendship and all that good stuff. So in a lot of ways, they were the mirror image of the Federation. " ( The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond , DS9 Season 3 DVD special features) Ira Steven Behr explained, " We wanted warriors, businessmen, and a dark force that was controlling it all. " Wolfe elaborated, " Basically, the idea was that the Dominion was the Carrot-and-Stick Empire. The businessmen, the Vorta, were the negotiators, the friendly guys who show up with the carrot […] Then, if you don't toe the line, they kick your ass with the Jem'Hadar. " ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 154) Michael Piller offered, " Ira and Robert and the staff worked very hard on creating a new group of aliens that are quite different than the others that we have had before. There's a symbiotic relationship where you have to peel back several layers to understand what they really are. What seems to be the most threatening is not necessarily the most threatening. " ( Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages , p. 76)

Initially, the plan was for numerous different species to be seen on Dominion vessels and involved in various parts of the Dominion's activities, although eventually, only three "main" species were firmly established: the Founders , the Jem'Hadar , and the Vorta , although the Karemma were also a member and, subsequently, both the Cardassians and the Breen became members.

The concept of introducing three species at once, as opposed to the more traditional Star Trek method of introducing major races one at a time, was Ira Behr's and came from the fact that he didn't want to risk introducing only one species which may not work. If the Dominion was basically a single race, and the audience didn't accept that race, the ramifications for the show would have been disastrous, so Behr felt it better to err on the side of caution, feeling that if he introduced three races, at least one of them was bound to work. As it turned out, all three were readily accepted by viewers, and all three became major players in the later years of the show.

Robert Hewitt Wolfe explains the structure and organization of the Dominion: " The Gamma Quadrant […] [is] bound together by the Dominion, a very very tough, very smart, very old civilization, run by the mysterious Founders, who are experts in genetic engineering, and who turn out to be Odo's people, the Shapeshifters. They then go and engineer these slave races that do their bidding. Essentially, the two main slave races were the 'carrot' and the 'stick'. The carrot being the Vorta, who would come to your planet and say, 'Hey, you're nice people, here's some M-16s and some popcorn, and whatever else you want baby, alcohol, fire-water? All you have to do is sign this little contract and we'll make you cool.' Then there's the Jem'Hadar. So the Vorta say, 'Oh, you don't want to play ball? Then meet these guys. They're gonna kick your asses.' " ( The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond , DS9 Season 3 DVD special features)

One idea that the writers had that was never actively utilized on-screen was that the Dominion knew about the Federation long before the Bajoran wormhole was discovered, and that they were developing a long-term strategy to deal with the inevitable contact. As Wolfe explains, " The Dominion knew the Federation was out there long before the wormhole was opened, and they had plans to deal with the Federation when the Federation was projected to enter their space in two hundred years, and they were building slowly towards that, that's why they sent out Odo in the first place. But then the wormhole opens up and suddenly the Federation is in their backyard today and it just throws everything into question for both the Federation and the Dominion. " ( The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond , DS9 Season 3 DVD special features)

Ultimately, Ira Behr was pleased to have been instrumental in the creation of the Dominion, happy his Star Trek legacy resulted in something more than merely altering the Ferengi . " I was hoping that it would be something else I could leave to the Star Trek universe, " he expressed, " and I'm really glad it was the Dominion and the Founders and that whole thing. " ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 102) Michael Piller similarly appreciated the design of the Dominion, saying, " We have a good look to some of them. " ( Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages , p. 76)

Episodic developments [ ]

The Dominion was first mentioned in " Rules of Acquisition ", then in " Sanctuary " and next in " Shadowplay ", before finally being encountered in " The Jem'Hadar " (whose original name was "The Dominion"). " We sort of peppered mention of the Dominion into several episodes before we actually saw them, " recalled Robert Hewitt Wolfe. " Basically, we were trying to build the idea that there was something big out there, something pretty tough. " ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , pp. 73 & 153)

References to the Dominion in "Rules of Acquisition" altered how Ira Steven Behr thought of the episode. He reflected, " It […] gave us the opportunity to introduce the Dominion […] Suddenly the weight of the show became more important because I wanted the Dominion to work. " ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 100) Behr also said, " The thing that sold the show to me was coming up with the Dominion. " ( Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages , p. 65) Although the Dominion was conceived as three main species, the first Dominion race to be referenced was the Karemma , in "Rules of Acquisition".

A reference to the Dominion was also deliberately included in "Shadowplay". " It just seemed like the perfect place to keep it alive, " Ira Steven Behr noted. ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 124)

In the script of "The Jem'Hadar", the Dominion is directly linked with "the Tosks [and] […] the hunters ." [1] Indeed, Robert Wolfe has speculated that the Vorta had supplied the Hunters with the Tosk, as part of a general policy providing benefits to Dominion members. ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 154) Michael Piller said about how the Dominion are portrayed in "The Jem'Hadar", " It's only the tip of an iceberg. " ( Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages , p. 76)

Ira Steven Behr promised the Dominion would have a profound effect on DS9 Season 3 . " The Dominion is going to add a new element into the show that I think will build on what's already there, " he predicted. " We will expand this into the gamma quadrant and it will have a tremendous impact on our people. " ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, pp. 98 & 111) He later said, " The major thing we wanted to accomplish in year three was to take the Dominion, which we had been teasing the audience with throughout the last half of the second season, and really bring them to some kind of fruition. We needed to show that there was something worthwhile in the Gamma Quadrant […] I think that's what we went in thinking: How do we make this Dominion the next big enemy or antagonist of the Star Trek franchise? " ( Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages , p. 82)

When Ronald D. Moore and René Echevarria joined the DS9 writing team at the beginning of the series' third season, the Dominion was an aspect that appealed to the newcomers. " Ron and I came in and saw all this new stuff they were doing with the Dominion and we realized what a rich backdrop it was for storytelling, " reminisced Echevarria. ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 91)

In " The Search, Part II ", the writers wanted to depict the Dominion as powerful enough to run elaborate scenarios in the heads of the DS9 main characters, just to see how they would react. Ira Behr related, " We said, 'OK, we're going to give the audience what they think they want,' which is what happens if the Dominion gets into the Alpha Quadrant. " Added Ron Moore, " What would really happen if these things occurred? How would the characters react? Ultimately, that's what the Dominion was trying to find out. " The use of the illusory situation set the Dominion's stratagem apart from the strategies usually employed by other villainous Star Trek races, since the writers didn't want Deep Space 9 and its regular crew to be constantly under siege from the Dominion. " We basically wanted to set up what the Dominion was and establish that they had a different strategy, " explained René Echevarria. " It wasn't going to be them sending the Jem'Hadar to battle us, but they were going to have a long-term strategy of destabilization. " ( Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages , p. 83)

Following the "The Search" two-parter, the Jem'Hadar continued making regular appearances in DS9 but the Vorta seemed to disappear for a while, possibly indicating there had been an altercation between them and the Founders. The writers wanted to keep the latter group somewhat mysterious and distant, so the Vorta were considered vital to continue establishing as an intermediary party between the other two races. This idea led to the notion of enmity possibly existing between the Jem'Hadar and the Vorta, which led to the subsequent return of the Vorta in Season 4 's " To the Death ". ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 168)

Even though the discovery of the Dominion in "The Search" occurs chronologically several months before Voyager is taken to the Delta Quadrant (and despite VOY : " Parturition " featuring a holographic simulation in which a Jem'Hadar fighter is pictured on Voyager 's viewscreen), they are never referred to as the Dominion by Voyager 's crew. In VOY : " Hunters ", after learning of the Dominion War following communication with Earth, Chakotay tells B'Elanna Torres of how the Maquis have been wiped out by the Cardassians, who have "an ally […] from the Gamma Quadrant who supplied them with ships and weapons," implying he had never heard their name before.

One potential way of using the Dominion was inspired by a line of dialogue from season three outing " The Die is Cast ", in which a Founder posing as a Romulan named Lovok predicts, " After today the only real threat to us from the Alpha Quadrant are the Klingons and the Federation. And I doubt that either of them will be a threat for much longer. " Ira Behr recollected, " I […] said to Ron [Moore] at the time, 'You know, we could do a whole show about that if we wanted to, how the Dominion would want to get between the Klingons and the Federation.' But the Earth didn't move. Nothing shook. " ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , pp. 255-256)

The Dominion was further developed in DS9 Season 3 finale " The Adversary ". " We knew that we wanted to do something with the Dominion [in that episode], " recalled Ira Behr. ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 250) Robert Wolfe concurred, " We wanted [to] show that the Dominion was a really smart organisation and they went about things in an intelligent way. Making your enemies fight each other is a good thing to do. " ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 114)

At the conclusion of the third season, Ira Behr was satisfied with how the Dominion had been developed during the course of the season, remarking, " We've been able to get good use out of it. " He also believed "keeping the Dominion alive" was an important goal for the writers to bear in mind for DS9 Season 4 . ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 102 & 115)

Although the DS9 staff writers wanted to concentrate on the Dominion, they were distracted from focusing on the group by the introduction of the Klingons into the series, which took place in the fourth season. ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 256) Nonetheless, Rene Auberjonois considered that making the Klingons fearful of the Dominion was "a way of pumping up the danger of the Dominion, which has taken some doing." He continued, " They're not the Borg, they're not the Klingons; they're something else, and it's a more complex kind of danger that's being presented. " ( Starlog , issue #222, p. 31)

Though the Dominion became a major part of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine , not everyone who worked on the show cared much about the alien organization or how the writers chose to develop it. Jadzia Dax actress Terry Farrell , for example, was often confused by the Dominion subplots in the fourth season. She conceded, " I don't put much thought into the whole Dominion thing […] If they're going to do something interesting with the Dominion, great, but if they're going to let it hang there, there's nothing I can do about it. " ( The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine  issue 14 , p. 10)

In fourth season installment " Hippocratic Oath ", a discussion regarding the Dominion appealed to Ron Moore. " My favorite moment [in that episode] is when the central Jem'Hadar is talking about the Founders and the fact that they're like gods, but these gods don't talk to them even though they die for their gods. I thought that stuff was pretty interesting, " Moore commented. ( Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages , p. 107)

Midway through DS9 Season 4, Bashir actor Alexander Siddig thought the Dominion weren't entirely satisfactory villains, at least not yet. " I don't think […] the Dominion have gotten to first base with regard to being a serious threat, " he remarked. " I don't think anybody bites their nails over them. " ( The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine  issue 15 , p. 24)

To prepare for directing " To the Death ", LeVar Burton had to learn about the Dominion, specifically the relationship between the Jem'Hadar and the Founders, by watching earlier installments of DS9. ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 347) Regarding "To the Death", Ira Behr noted, " I thought it really filled in a lot of the Dominion backstory that I thought was really necessary. " ( Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages , p. 119)

Ron Moore similarly approved of how the Dominion are portrayed in " The Quickening ". " I thought it […] said something interesting about the Dominion and how they deal with dissent, " he remarked. " That they weren't just berserkers that went around killing everybody, they actually make examples of you and make you suffer quite a bit. They do it in a really nasty way, which adds more to the franchise overall. " ( Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages , p. 120)

The Dominion was briefly referenced in the first draft script of " Body Parts ", Quark being referred to (by both his brother Rom and Quark himself) as the first Ferengi to have made contact with the group. However, the organization isn't mentioned in the final version of that installment.

As noted by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, big revelations about the Dominion served as the conclusions to the second, third, and fourth seasons; DS9 established the existence of the Jem'Hadar at the end of the second season and developed the prevalence of the Founders at the end of third season as well as the conclusion of fourth season. ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 353)

As a sign of the times, Robert Wolfe stated about the Dominion, at the end of DS9 Season 4, " The Dominion threat is being dealt with. " ( Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages , p. 102) However, the DS9 writing staff wanted to establish the Dominion as antagonistic more in DS9 Season 5 than the aliens had been in the fourth season. In fact, during the fifth season, the creative staff tried to return focus on making the Dominion the main enemies of the series. About halfway through DS9 Season 5, the writing staff had a meeting with Paramount in which the writers told the studio, " We want to get back to the Dominion. " Ira Behr later said, " It was slow going getting back [to them]. " ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , pp. 359 & 256)

An opportunity to refocus on the Dominion presented itself to the DS9 writers in the form of fifth season two-parter " In Purgatory's Shadow " and " By Inferno's Light ". Ira Behr recalled, " After doing " Apocalypse Rising " to open the season, we knew we had […] to get the Dominion back on the playing field. " ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 422) Behr also said about how the Dominion are portrayed in the two-parter, " We brought the Dominion back into focus as the leading villains in the galaxy for us, which I thought was important to do after the sidetrack of the Klingons. " ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 47)

Weyoun actor Jeffrey Combs suspected that, when the Dominion formed an alliance with the Cardassian government in season five, they were "using" Cardassian leader Gul Dukat . " We're perhaps the true power behind the throne, " Combs remarked, from the perspective of the Dominion, at the end of the season. " That all remains to be seen, because I don't know what the writers have in mind. " Combs reckoned, though, that the Dominion didn't "trust anybody" but that "they will certainly use them for their own purposes." The actor went on to say, " I think we feel that we can at least get what we want, and then perhaps do away with [the Cardassians] at a later time. " ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 61) However, at the start of DS9 Season 6 , Ron Moore couldn't foresee a time when the Dominion wouldn't be allied with the Cardassians, though he also suspected that the Dominion's relationship with their Cardassian allies might be strained due to the Cardassians still having a long-held goal of reconquering Bajor . ( AOL chat , 1997 )

The Dominion played a role in the story for DS9 Season 6 finale " Tears of the Prophets " at least as far back as when Ira Behr gathered the writing staff and announced, for the first time, details of the plot to them. " We basically knew we wanted to […] have the Dominion attack the Prophets in some way, shape, or form, " recalled René Echevarria. ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 586)

Concluding their exploration of the Dominion was an important aim to the DS9 writers, in the interim between season six and the show's seventh and final season . " We want to wrap up many of the implicit promises that we made to the audience about […] the Dominion, " René Echevarria said. ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 67)

Many viewers began to wonder if, at the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine , Dominion forces would overrun space station Deep Space 9. This theory was motivated by the show's seventh season increasingly referencing the Battle of the Alamo , in which over 180 Texans lost their lives while defending the Alamo from Mexican invaders. However, a final Dominion invasion was not to be. ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 594)

In an early version of the story for seventh season installment " Treachery, Faith and the Great River ", a new Dominion race of warriors called the Modain was introduced. The Modain were, according to an initial explanation Weyoun gave Benjamin Sisko, being bred by the Founders to replace the Jem'Hadar but, after a Modain hatchery was destroyed by Sisko and Weyoun, it was ultimately discovered by Sisko that the Modain had actually been intended to replace the Vorta. ( Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion , p. 617) Ira Behr recalled, " The Dominion had to become a factor again in the series. " ( Cinefantastique , Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, p. 42)

External links [ ]

  • Dominion at Memory Beta , the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
  • Dominion (Star Trek) at Wikipedia
  • 1 Daniels (Crewman)

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Changeling (Star Trek)

Thousands of years ago, members of this species faced persecution from other races which feared them for their abilities. As a result, most of them came to reside on a small rogue planet in the Omarion Nebula, located in the Gamma Quadrant.

  • 2 Culture and society
  • 3 Appearances
  • 4 References

Biology [ ]

The Changelings are extremely non-conventional lifeforms. Their natural state is that of a golden liquid, but they are able to take virtually any form they wish, including solids, liquids, gases and even plasma or fire. Inexperienced Changelings, such as Odo, must return to their liquid state every 16 hours. It's not known whether the same applies to older and more experienced individuals, who have demonstrated abilities that Odo hasn't mastered yet.


Changelings emerging from the Great Link.

A Changeling's body is not made out of cells, but of a biomolecular structure known as their morphogenic matrix. The lack of cells means that Changelings are not affected by senescence, being biologically immortal as a result.

They have no sense of smelling and their minds cannot be read even by naturally telepathic species.

It appears that when a Changeling assumes a specific form, it does not only mimic its external appearance, but its molecular structure as well. When they become rocks, for example, a sensor will not detect them as lifeforms. They are able to morph themselves into fully functional electronic devices. This doesn't make them vulnerable, however, since they can immediately return to their liquid state at anytime. Another interesting aspect of their shapeshifting abilities is that when they morph into a much smaller object, they are able to truly reduce their apparent mass and weight, rather than just compress their volume. The object in question will weigh no more than the expected.

Changelings do not eat or drink, and need no air or any other substance to live. They are perfectly able to survive in space vacuum for unlimited periods of time. Since they need no sunlight either (their adopted homeworld has no sun), it is a complete mystery how they get the energy they need for living.

One possible idea to explain both the Changelings' mass alteration abilities and how they obtain energy is that they are able to exist in subspace, as well as in normal space, regularly importing and exporting mass and energy between the two. [1]

A Changeling masquerading as another humanoid can be exposed by taking a blood sample, since the part of the Changeling separated from the rest will revert to its natural liquid state. This is a characteristic that they share with the mysterious " Thing " species.

Culture and society [ ]

Changelings are an ancient race believed to have originated somewhere in the Gamma Quadrant. Once peaceful explorers, they suffered prejudice from several "solid" races, who were afraid of the Changelings' almost unbelievable powers and resilience.

The Changelings finally decided that the best way to protect themselves was to take control of their surroundings, and thus they founded the Dominion , a major military organization that rules most of the Gamma Quadrant. The Changelings (or Founders , as they are usually referred to) are the absolute rulers of the Dominion, but are still very reclusive and enigmatic, being treated as god -like mystical entities by their servant races. The warriors of the Dominion are Jem'Hadars , a violent humanoid species genetically created by the Founders.


Constable Odo.

Although all Founders are Changelings, not all Changelings are Founders. The most notable exception is Odo, a member of a group of one hundred Changelings who were sent out to travel through the galaxy and gather information about other planets and races when they were still infants. After countless years of drifting through the cosmos, Odo was found by the Bajorans and ended up working for the Cardassians and later on the Federation as chief of security aboard the space station Deep Space 9.

Most Changelings have little sense of individualism. They enjoy merging themselves together to become part of what they call the Great Link , a gigantic ocean of Changelings in their natural liquid form, all deeply interconnected on a physical and mental level (the result is similar to the sentient planetary ocean of Solaris ).

The Great Link used to be located on a rogue world in the Omarion Nebula, but this planet was abandoned in 2371, as an infiltrated Changeling posing as a Romulan Tal Shiar agent became aware of a plot by the Cardassian Obsidian Order to destroy the Changelings' homeworld and fatally cripple the Dominion. In addition to evacuating the planet, the Changelings also took the opportunity to plant 150 Jem'Hadar warships waiting to ambush the Romulan and Cardassian fleets, resulting in the Battle of the Omarion Nebula. Following the success of this operation and heavy losses for both the Romulans and the Cardassians, a Changeling agent claimed that the only threats that still remained to them in the Alpha Quadrant were the Klingons and the Federation.

Changelings are so isolated that some species in the Gamma Quadrant regard them as just a myth, being unaware that they're the real force behind the Dominion.

Appearances [ ]

  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

References [ ]

  • ↑ This idea was first proposed by Star Trek writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe.
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Star Trek S2 E3 "The Changeling" » Recap


Original air date: September 29, 1967

The episode starts off as most episodes start off: with the Enterprise on its way to a planet for Kirk to screw around with. Only, this time … there's no planet. The entire system they were assigned to go to has had all of its organic life forms vaporized , leading the crew to wonder just what the hell is going on. The answer comes in the form of a tiny vehicle firing massive amounts of plasma energy at the ship, resulting in a weak retaliation and the most ludicrous exchanges known to mankind:

Spock: Our shields absorbed (the) energy equivalent to 90 of our photon torpedoes . The energy used in repulsing this first attack reduced our shielding power 20% . (Kirk orders a single photon torpedoes launched, It does nothing .) Spock: No effect. The target absorbed (the) full energy of our torpedo. Kirk: [incredulous] Absorbed it? ... What could've absorbed that much energy, and survived??

Um … yeah. The Enterprise can absorb 450 torpedo hits , but Kirk is stunned when the other vehicle absorbed the detonation of one torpedo. note  Either they assumed it was a spaceborne Glass Cannon , or that something as small as two meters in length shouldn't be able to withstand that kind of attack.

Anyway, Kirk orders a hail to the probe, which inexplicably stops its attacks. After some exchanges of Translator Microbes , the probe, called "Nomad", ceases hostilities, referring to Kirk as " The Creator " in the process. It's brought aboard, against the concerns of Scotty , and is let loose on the ship. This can't possibly go wrong, can it? I mean, it's not possibly like it's able or willing to Kill All Humans and — oh, wait, it's shown to have the power to annihilate an entire planet's worth of organics, and tells the crew that its mission is to "sterilize all imperfect biological organisms". Right then, moving on …

The big three converge over what exactly Nomad is and what it's doing; it seems like the probe wasn't , in fact, able or willing to cause The End of the World as We Know It , in the first place, and its creator — Jackson Roykirk — programmed it for simple deep space exploration. By its own admission, Nomad clearly had an incident with what it calls "The Other", which altered its structure and programming, causing it to become Bender's non-alcoholic and more abusive ancestor and mistaking Kirk for its builder. Unfortunately, by the time they realize this, Nomad has already been lured to the bridge by the siren's song of Uhura, which confuses it and causes it to wipe her memory when it can't discern the logic of "music". And it kills Scotty, too, when he tries to interfere, but the machine fixes him right up afterwards, so it's no big deal. Of course, with Uhura's brain now wiped, we get a hilarious re-education subplot involving her trying to read "The dog has a ball". note  Unfortunately, the broadcast version of the remastered episode has severely truncated the scene where Uhura is re-learning how to read.

With time running out, and information on what happened to Nomad still scanty, Spock somehow manages to mind-meld with the thing. It turns out "The Other" is a probe called "Tan-Ru", sent by an alien society to collect and sterilize soil samples as a prelude to colonization, and they combined during a self-repair attempt into the current Nomad. How that gave it the ability to nuke a world is left to the imagination, and there is no time to speculate, as Nomad has shut down the life support systems of the ship, threatening everyone on board. After confronting the killer probe and confirming that its death orders have no loophole, Kirk does what he does best: confuse a computer to death, by dropping the Logic Bomb that Nomad isn't perfect as it mistook him for its long-dead creator. This melts down two computers — Nomad itself, and Spock's brain, as Kirk was never one for flawless logic, but luckily they're able to beam the probe off the ship before it blows itself up.

The Tropeling:

  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot : Nomad, a deep-space probe, clearly had an incident with what it calls "The Other", quickly revealed to be an alien probe named Tan-Ru, which altered its structure and programming, causing it to become self-aware . Part of its new programming includes the sterilization of life as a prelude to alien colonization, corrupted from Tan-Ru's original mission. Spock: (mind-melding into a Machine Monotone ) I am Nomad. I am performing my … function. Deep emptiness … it approaches … collision … damage … blackness. … I am the Other. I am Tan-Ru … Tan-Ru … Nomad … Tan-Ru … error. Flaw. Imperfection. Must … sterilize. ( Beat ) Rebirth … we are complete … much power … gan ta nu ik-ta Tan-Ru … the Creator … instructs … search out … identify … sterilize imperfections. … We are Nomad … we are Nomad … we are complete. We are instructed … our purpose is clear … sterilize imperfections … sterilize imperfections … Nomad — sterilize — sterilize — NOMAD — STERILIZE —
  • A Million Is a Statistic : A planetary population of four billion, sterilized by Nomad, isn't mentioned again in the episode.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated : Nomad overhears Uhura singing to herself, and curiously approaches her about this unique form of "communication". The probe ultimately can't understand the idea of music and decides that it is frivolous.
  • Back from the Dead : Scotty.
  • Nomad claims that its mission is non-hostile, after having killed the inhabitants of four worlds .
  • Spock claims that Kirk was just testing Nomad's memory banks, because he realised that Nomad's assumption that Kirk was The Creator was the only thing stopping it from 'purging' the 'biological infestation' on Enterprise .
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality : Nomad is simply a computer carrying out (the garbled remnants of) its programming and that of Tan-Ru.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs : Nomad and Tan-Ru's programming is a rare dramatic example. Nomad's orders: Seek out new life forms. Tan-Ru's orders: Collect soil samples and sterilize them. Final result : Seek out and sterilize imperfect life forms.
  • Continuity Nod : The song Uhura sings is "Beyond Antares", which she'd sung in full back in "The Conscience of the King" .
  • Cooldown Hug : Kirk gives Spock one after a Mind Meld goes bad.
  • Creator Cameo : Marc Daniels, the director of the episode, appears as the photo of Jackson Roykirk (at 17 minutes and 48 seconds into the episode, to be precise).
  • Death Is Cheap : Scotty is killed by Nomad, then revived by it in a matter of minutes no worse for wear.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness : The Enterprise is stated as passing warp 10 and then warp 15. Later series would establish warp 10 as the absolute maximum way to quantify speed and as infinite speed . This has led to fanon that in between TOS & TNG, the method of calculating warp speed was changed.
  • Easy Amnesia : Nomad claims he's completely erased Uhura's mind, yet she is nearly "re-educated" by the end of the episode. It implies that Nomad didn't actually erase Uhura's memories, but simply blocked her access to them, another strike against the machine's supposed "perfection".
  • "Eureka!" Moment : In the final confrontation with Nomad, Kirk, after confirming several times that Nomad will "sterilize" anything that is imperfect or in error without exception, decides to convince the probe that it itself is imperfect, and by its own logic should be eliminated .
  • Exact Words : Kirk asks Nomad if he destroyed the system where they found him. He answers truthfully, "Not the 'system', but the biological infestation ."
  • Fusion Dance : Spock's mind-meld with Nomad reveals that, after their collision long ago, Nomad and Tan-Ru underwent one of these as they merged and self-repaired. The "new" Nomad kept the Earth probe's name, the alien probe's power and hardware, and a blend of each other's programming (settling on "search out … identify … sterilize imperfections ").
  • Gone Horribly Right : Nomad upgrades the Enterprise ' s engines, causing it to reach warp 10 and then warp 15 . However, the ship starts to break down because it is not designed to travel that fast, and so Kirk demands the upgrades reversed.
  • Hates Being Touched : Nomad. Trying to touch it is not a good idea. Whether or not this is because it interprets any contact as an attack is not known. It will, however, allow itself to be touched (e.g. by Spock) if Kirk orders it to do so, because it believes that Kirk is its Creator.
  • I'm Standing Right Here : Bones is clearly offended when Nomad says that he "functions erratically".
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing : Nomad refers to everyone, human or Vulcan, as a "unit".
  • It Runs on Nonsensoleum : How Nomad packs so much power into a couple-metres-long probe is never really explained.
  • Jewish Mother : Invoked by Kirk, with tongue firmly in cheek, mock-mourning the probe that thought Kirk had created it: "You saw what it did to Scotty. What a doctor it would have made. [beat] My son, the doctor."
  • Just Testing You : After Kirk asks Nomad why Nomad refers to him as "The Creator", Spock quickly interrupts, telling Nomad that "The Creator was just testing your memory banks".
  • Little "No" : Spock: My congratulations, Captain. A dazzling display of logic. Kirk: You didn't think I had it in me, did you, Spock? Spock: No, sir.
  • In the climax, Kirk convinces Nomad that it is itself imperfect by revealing that its creator, Jackson Roykirk, is dead and that Nomad mistook Kirk for him. Then he says that Nomad made another error by not discovering the first error, and then committed a third error by not sterilizing itself after the first two. This sends Nomad into a Villainous Breakdown that leads to its self-destruction.
  • Also subverted earlier in the episode. Nomad came to see that Kirk (who it still thought was its Creator) also qualified as an "imperfect" being. When Kirk asked it how an imperfect being could have created a perfect machine, Nomad simply concluded that it had no idea.
  • Machine Monotone : Spock slowly takes on this speech pattern as he mind-melds with Nomad, and even as he backs away from the probe, showing the gradual Mind Rape inflicted by the probe's powerful artificial intelligence.
  • Spock says "… Nomad … sterilize …" over and over again after a mind meld gone wrong with the probe NOMAD.
  • Nomad, after Kirk gives it a Logic Bomb , causing the probe to repeatedly shout "error", "analyze", "examine", "faulty" and so on in a progressively higher and more distorted tone until it self-destructs.
  • Mechanical Abomination : Once a simple exploration device, Nomad now wields both the power to raze worlds and a vast, warped intelligence that drives it to kill.
  • Mistaken Identity : Nomad thinks Kirk is his creator, Dr. Jackson Roykirk.
  • Oh, Crap! : When Kirk, angry over Nomad referring to the redshirts he "sterilized" as "biological units", answers, "I'm a biological unit and I created you!" This confuses Nomad, and Kirk realizes that he was foolish to say it, as it now leaves everyone open to "sterilization".
  • Only Mostly Dead : Scotty, but he gets better thanks to Nomad's intervention.
  • Only Sane Man : Scotty is the only crew member who objects to bringing a planet-sterilizing superweapon aboard the ship. McCoy , to an extent, is also all kinds of apprehensive.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse : Nomad, five hundred kilograms and a metre or two long, can knock out the Enterprise shields with just three blasts.
  • Scotty is zapped by Nomad but revived, whereas every other Red Shirt it attacks is completely vaporized.
  • Nurse Chapel somehow survives trying to stop Nomad from accessing Kirk's medical records as well, being only stunned. It happened off screen, so we don't know exactly how threatening she was to Nomad.
  • Kirk also reveals at one point that he is a "biological unit" and thus imperfect, but his status as the Creator in Nomad's mind means Nomad never seriously tries to "sterilize" him.
  • Poke in the Third Eye : The mind-meld with the probe's artificial mind goes seriously wrong, to the point that Spock is sent into a near-catatonic state as Nomad takes control of the meld. Kirk, who Nomad fortunately respects as its "Creator", has to order Nomad to let go of Spock and drag the Vulcan out into the corridor to recover.
  • P.O.V. Cam : We get a couple of them from Nomad. Once when he follows a leery Bones to sickbay, and once when he walks off with some disgruntled guards.
  • Reaction Shot : When Kirk drops the Logic Bomb , the camera briefly cuts to Nomad; it doesn't visibly react, but one can easily imagine that it's thinking "WTF?" after the Wham Line .
  • Red Shirt : One of the highest body counts in the series, as Nomad vaporizes four security guards when he breaks confinement and kills (or at least incapacitates) two others.
  • Robo Speak : This is how Nomad talks.
  • Nomad mistook James T. Kirk for Jackson Roy kirk , his creator. Strike one.
  • Nomad did not immediately discover his mistake and imperfection. Strike two.
  • Nomad did not correct by sterilization. Strike THREE and yer' OUT!
  • Screen Shake : And it's a doozy, with the entire bridge crew hurled back and forth as Nomad's opening shot hits the shields.
  • Significant Name Overlap : It's downplayed, but James T. Kirk and Jackson Roykirk have some naming similarities, such as their first initials and the last (or all) four letters of their surnames. This is enough for Nomad, with its garbled programming, to mistake Kirk for Roykirk as its "Creator", and eventually lead to its own self-destruction after the mistake is clearly identified.
  • Snap Back : Uhura is back to normal by the next episode, despite last being seen being taught to read again and only being able to speak Swahili. An earlier draft of the script had Nomad explaining that it had not purged her brain completely — her memories and experiences were intact, but her ability to express language was wiped. This line was probably cut for time. They probably taught her Swahili first because it was her original language. (By the way, she first says Sikumbuka — "I can't remember" — then ina mbwa ni tufe, "the dog has a ball.") The James Blish novelization still has this version.
  • Speaks in Binary : Nomad while in space. It later changes to a mathematical message requesting language equivalence.
  • This Cannot Be! : Kirk when told the entire population of the system has been destroyed, then when told that Nomad just absorbed the energy of a detonating photon torpedo with no damage.
  • Title Drop : When Kirk discusses with Spock the old notion of a changeling — a creature left in place of a baby by the Fair Folk .
  • Too Dumb to Live : You would think that after the deaths of the first couple of redshirts , the others would quit firing on the damn thing. But they don't.
  • Touched by Vorlons : Nomad's destructive abilities were enhanced after the impact with an alien probe.
  • Unexplained Recovery : Scott was tempting fate, wearing that red shirt in every episode. He got better, but at least four other Redshirts weren't so lucky.

the changelings star trek

  • Villainous Breakdown : Kirk's Logic Bomb to Nomad leaves the probe shaking and erratically shouting "Error", "Analyze", "Must sterilize" and variations thereof in a rising and distorted voice, as it builds up to self-destruct.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction : Nomad counts as one, after its fusion with Tan-Ru.
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill : Kirk assures Nomad that they mean no harm, moments after firing a photon torpedo at it. And then Nomad, in a major Refuge in Audacity moment, states that its own mission is non-hostile, moments after pummeling the Enterprise with powerful energy bolts.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human? : Inverted. Nomad wants to kill anything that's too human. Spock is spared because he is so much more "orderly" than the human crew members. Spock seems almost flattered to be described as such.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds : Aw, he's just a little lost robot doing what he thinks he was programmed to do!
  • Writers Cannot Do Math : The range to Nomad when it is firing at Enterprise is given as 90,000 km, and the plasma bolts are travelling at Warp 15. They shouldn't be taking several seconds to impact, they should be covering that distance in a tiny fraction of a second.

Video Example(s):

Captain kirk and nomad.

Captain Kirk exploits Nomad's belief that it is perfect and programming to eliminate imperfections by pointing out something it overlooked: In mistaking Kirk for its creator, it is itself imperfect, and thus must eliminate itself.

Example of: Logic Bomb

  • Star Trek S2 E2 "Who Mourns for Adonais?"
  • Recap/Star Trek: The Original Series
  • Star Trek S2 E4 "Mirror, Mirror"

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How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Media sources:

11,241--> Report

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Celebrating the best of tv, movies, and comics

Yes, the Changelings are returning in Star Trek: Picard

A refresher on the alien species the Changelings, who make a recent appearance on Star Trek: Picard.

Who Are the Changelings of Star Trek?

odo of star trek: deep space nine

Who Are the Changelings' allies?

jem'hadar and vorta alien races

Who Are the Changelings of Star Trek: Picard?

amanda plummer of the paramount+ original series star trek: picard

Watch our interview with Star Trek's newest captain, Todd Stashwick , who just debuted on Picard earlier this year.

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The Changeling s are an Alien race from the Gamma Quadrant who control vast swathes of that Quadrant. They appear primarily in Star Trek - Deep Space 9 as the main antagonists. Changelings are an aggressive race and ones that are at the seat of power of the Dominion . Changelings are liquid aliens as opposed to solid aliens like Klingons and Vulcans. The Changelings are able to transform themselves into any shape that they desire. Changelings are able to take away the ability to shape shift from one another which they do to Constable Odo after he kills a fellow Changeling.

The Changelings have created their own army race, the Jem Hadar as their foot soldiers. Apart from the Changelings, the Vorta are also part of the Dominion but subservient to the Changelings. The Cardassians joined with the Dominion for the length of the Dominion Wars until a peace treaty was signed. The Changelings are also known as the Founders primarily by the Jem'Hadar .

Their race had spread out across the galaxy meeting new races which they called solids. The Solids didn't treat them with care and forced them to change into different objects. They decided to take their revenge, first by creating the Jem'hadar and then waging wars on their enemies. They managed to subjugate a few races in the Gamma Quadrant.

Changeling Home World

The Changelings home world is a planet that orbits no Star , such planets are known as rogue planet s. The planet is located in the fictional Omarian Nebula in the Gamma Quadrant. The Changelings on the planet live in a Great Sea containing many millions of them. The planet is attacked by the Romulans but Jem'Hadar warships are able to repulse the attack but not before the Romulans devastate the planet.

The Changelings live in a large lake known as the Great Link. Changelings are able to fuse with one another. During the link, they are able to share memories and thoughts. When Odo visits their home world, he is able to create his first link with another member of his race. The Changeling home world is seen in The Search at the beginning of the third series.

Copyright : Paramount

Last Modified : 13th June 2024

Date Published : 16th April 2014

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Star Trek: The Original Series

“The Changeling”

2.5 stars.

Air date: 9/29/1967 Written by John Meredyth Lucas Directed by Marc Daniels

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

Review Text

The crew encounters Nomad, a computerized Earth probe that somehow merged with an alien probe and subsequently launched a mission to "sterilize" (read: destroy) anything that is "imperfect." Nomad has already killed millions. Fortunately, Nomad mistakes Kirk for its creator, a scientist who died hundreds of years ago. This gives Kirk just enough perceived authority over the machine to keep it from destroying the Enterprise and its crew.

Nomad and the mystery behind its existence is neat in story terms, and it being on the verge of destroying everything keeps us mindful of the danger. A scene where Spock mind melds with Nomad is interesting (even though I wondered how he could read the thoughts of a computer). But the episode suffers from a few too many unproductive gimmicks: Scotty dying and then undying; Uhura's mind being wiped of all information; and, of course, the cliché where Kirk Outsmarts the Computer™ yet again—although this time it seems a little more plausible than in previous episodes.

Unfortunately, the ridiculously implausible idea of Uhura's wiped mind being retrained with basic education (she is reading sentences on the level of "See the dog run" at one point in the episode) is more than just a little absurd. The fact that she's on the bridge the next week as if nothing happened is just plain silly.

Previous episode: Who Mourns for Adonais? Next episode: Mirror, Mirror

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Comment Section

43 comments on this post.

I didn't get how Spock could mind-meld with the computer/robot, either. And I'm not sure it was a good writing choice; Spock's telepathic powers aren't to be bandied about or used lightly--it's just not Spocklike to do that.

How can we see the pulses approaching if they're going "Warp 15"?

That Uhura learning to read scene is high comedy, especially when Chapel goes over to McCoy and asks with seriousness and dejection, does he think they can really teach her again!? And then Uhura pronounces "blue" as "bloo-ey" and McCoy and Chapel laugh indulgently like Uhura's an adorable two-year-old. I think what makes it so bizarre, funny, and extreme is that only the most half-hearted effort is made to acknowledge how devastating this total loss of memory would be, and how difficult retraining would be, while still providing enough of an effort that it is not wholly glossed over. If they glossed it over entirely ("she'll be retrained for next week!") then it would be clear that the writers et al. didn't really expect us to buy it in any realistic way, but needed us to accept it and move on. The slow-approaching but "warp 15" pulses (as Jack mentions) and Spock's mindmeld with the totally non-biological machine (as Jammer and Strider mention) are examples of this -- they are totally goofy concepts, but they are part of the plot, so, deal with it and move on. If they actually took the thing *really* seriously, even ending the episode on something of a downbeat the way TNG's "The Mind's Eye" ends with Troi saying that it would take Geordi a long time to deal with the events of the episode (even though he's fine next week), there would be a sense that they were lending it the proper gravity. This business has essentially one or two lines which tell us this is Serious!, and then end with a joke; it's one of my favourite "bad" moments from the original series, perhaps because it's bad in a bizarre, audacious way that only this show could do. Another moment I found quite funny, but I'm not sure is actually a poor decision, is a few times during the final Kirk/Nomad confrontation there would be a shot of Kirk saying something, and then a reaction shot of Nomad floating in stunned silence. Hee. It's funny how easily this anthropomorphization goes down, to the point where we look to a machine that literally cannot express any reaction visually in order to "see" its reaction. In general I think the episode does a good job of making Nomad seem like a recognizable character even though it's just a machine wandering about; one of the details I like is the way its attitude toward Kirk subtly changes from reverent awe to confused reluctant compliance to outright hostility as it becomes more and more disenchanted with Kirk's decisions. The rest of the episode is pretty okay, if not thrilling. The Scotty death and rebirth business I agree is a little pointless. The extent of the social commentary comes down to the idea that well-intentioned missions can become twisted; *probably* we're not going to be sending out any probes which will merge with other probes to become super-probes which kill people, but it's a common theme in science-fiction that computers can sometimes go astray of the original *intent* of the programming, and something like that happens with Nomad. Nomad's emphasis on perfection and sterilization is also one of the series' frequent reminders that humanity is flawed, and this is not actually a "bad thing": ability to accept imperfection is necessary in order to go on with life, and Nomad's extremism comes down to its arbitrarily high standard for existence and perfection. The search for self-improvement and improvement of the world *is* a valuable one, but let's keep things in perspective. Like Jammer, I find Kirk's short-circuiting Nomad's logic more plausible than in other Kirk Outsmarts the Computer episodes, partly because the specific problem Nomad had, the impossible standards for perfection and the programming to destroy anything falling short of that problem, is one that obviously *would* implicate Nomad, as a sub-perfect machine. I think I'd say 2.5 stars for the package, too.

I rather like the theory some fans have that Uhura only lost her LANGUAGE, and that she had everything else just fine. It makes the consequences still real but averts the obvious issues of her TOTALLY losing her memory.

I enjoyed this episode a lot more than I enjoyed the Star Trek the motionless I mean the motion picture. It would had been funny if Nomad was a Dalek. It would had been better if McCoy discovered the effect on Uhura was only temporarily due to Scotty interrupting the process. Great use of the cast with a few exception. 1. I wish they replaced Mr. Singer with Chekov or transporter chief kyle. 2. Replace Scott with Sulu for the last act when they grabbed the anti grab.


Saw this today for the first time, ive been watching quite a few of series 1 and 2 mainly because tomorrow is 'Mirror Mirror' which im eager to see. But this episode left me.....speechless! Ludicrously bizarre, laugh out loud-able in the most part. I thought the previous episode with Adonais and his 'giant hand' holding the ship was somthing but 'nomad'...well...I guess this episode had somthing to do with 'The Motion Picture'...carbon units/units, the basic premise etc, ill have to read up on it. How the crew kept a straight face whilst 'wobbly' nomad wandered around the ship i dont really know. Love Spocks reactions to some of the things 'nomad' said though and Uhura 'see dog run'...sigh!

Ah yes, yet ANOTHER episode where Kirk "outwits" the machine with self-destructive "logic". But wow, I was face-palming through a lot of this. From Spock's mind-meld (with a tin can?) to Uhura going from pre-school English to "College level" in a short time (wtf, do they have some kind of learn-by-osmosis machines in the 23rd century, ala the "lesson feeds" in "The Matrix"?), to the lovely (laughable) Nomad-perspective camera angles, to Kirk's TERRIBLE joke at the end that REALLY made me put palm to face... And yet, it was still an enjoyable episode, and I could get past the hokeyness and silliness. It was also interesting to see this story again, and realize what I somehow hadn't realized before: "Oh hey, this is where they got that whole V'Ger thing from The Motionless Picture!" [The movie being a slightly different case, where the story was oversimple and the plot not all that well thought-out, and the pace plodding with somewhat stiff acting, but nonetheless still was somehow an enjoyable thing to sit through]. I give it 1.5 out of 4. Stupid, but fun.

I realize not everything has to make complete sense, but the thing with Uhura made not sense. How did she still know Swahili if her mind had been wiped? Wouldn't there be major psychological implications if she had lost all her memory? How would it be possible to relearn everything in a matter of weeks? The joking at the end was unnecessary, too. Seems weird to make jokes about a thing that just killed 4 billion people. Altogether, this is a pretty weak episode.

I've never seen the episode, but I did see Star Trek: The Motion Picture... Judging from this synopsis, they're basically the same story. Which only proves the movie could have been half as long and with twice as many laughs ;-)

So last episode was the advanced alien who was like a god, this episode is Kirk outwitting a computer, and next episode is bearded Spock. It's the TOS trope trifecta! Toss in some red shirt deaths and a few "He's dead Jim"s and we've got it all! I have to admit the Uhura thing was odd. So, Nomad wiped out everything in her brain? So then how did she still know Swahili? It's not like the language is innate within her, and its highly unlikely anyone on board would have taught her Swahili first. So I guess Nomad just wiped out some of her brain. But why keep Swahili and not English? Did it just wipe her brain down to a 4 year old? Do our brains really work that way, with a "date learned" stamp on everything? I guess what I'm saying is that glossing over Uhura relearning everything within a week is slightly forgivable since it's not clear what she really lost. I guess we can fanwank it away that she really didn't lose that much of her knowledge, even though that's what Nomad implied. Oh well, best not to think too much about it. Also best not to think too much about Nomad's origin story. We had, what, two different non-sapient robots cram together to suddenly become a sentient AI with a garbled mission combined from the mission of the two different programs they had. Does assembly code really work like that? Wouldn't the programming be less in English and more in producing the protocols and logic trees to carry out the mission? Instead, it seemed more like what a human would think, combining two vague mission statements into one. To me, it seems clever on the surface, but underneath is just kinda stupid. Although hey, who knows how the whole AI think works in the Trek universe. I will admit though, that while the "outwitting a computer" thing is thoroughly mocked in TOS, it was reasonably well done here. I like the way it was done, with Kirk slowly getting to the point to show Nomad his logical flaw. Going the route of getting Nomad to agree that his role is to destroy anything perfect, then pointing out that Nomad himself is perfect, was well done. And hey, the rising crescendo of Kirk's demands on Nomad keeps the tension going well enough, followed by the race to getting him off the ship. It's a lot better than just demanding him the last digit of pi or something. Oh well. It's a simple plot, but one that works well enough.

I love Kirk's final remark/joke. Only the original crew had the chemistry to pull that kind of thing off.

Another mediocre episode for me after "Who Mourns for Adonais?". Just a lot of silliness with Scotty being killed then brought back to life, part of Uhura's memory being wiped out and her learning to read basic English again, Spock mind-melding with a computer... The premise of an old Earth probe being damaged and turned into an ultra-powerful killing machine that adopts Kirk as its creator is interesting. As Nomad starts to piece together its next move (killing off the crew and heading for Earth while starting to disobey Kirk) works, however the story is slow paced, it does drag as if it was a struggle to fill the full hour. I do agree with many of the comments already made that of all the instances where Kirk convinces a computer to destroy itself, this one's probably the most well done. This one rates 2/4 stars for me. Very much a true science fiction story which has its silly quirks.

Uhura's memory-wipe aside, I liked this episode. The two things that stood out for me were the cinematography, especially the shots looking over Nomad's "shoulder," and the music score. I realize many of the music quotes were reused later in the series, but wow they are good. I am not sure at what point they stopped composing new scores and simply used existing material. If the pieces in this episode were from earlier ones, I wish I knew which ones. When watching TOS, I also keep in mind when it was done, and I'm frequently thinking the effects were so good for that time. The way Nomad floats around the Enterprise about 3 feet of the floor is so nicely executed. I couldn't tell if they had it on some kind of rolling dolly or suspended with wires, but neither was at all discernible. You can be sure none of it was digital! 3 stars for me on this one, just on the strength of the music and production values.

So many problems with this episode: - Nomad conveniently thinks Kirk is the engineer who created it and also conveniently forgets that it was built by humans.... even tough it scans all the "units" to determine they are biological, it just "forgets" to do that with Kirk and doesn't realise until Kirk tells it at the end? - Uhura remembers Swahili but has to be taught English? Wouldn't here entire personality be different, all her experiences and upbringing that made her herself have been lost? - A mind meld with a robot? Come on they could have come up with a better solution than that. - Some abysmal camera work following Nomad around the ship closely from behind. What was the director thinking? Not a terrible episode but not one of the best. 2/4

@Peter - As for the musical score -- like most TOS episodes, it's a mish-mash from other ones that had original scores. I'm pretty sure nothing original was made exclusively (or mostly exclusively) for this episode. Probably the 2 most used episodes for the score are "Catspaw" (the impending danger music as Nomad wanders through the hallways) and "Amok Time". There's also a bit of "Who Mourns for Adonais?" and a bit of "Metamorphosis". But I don't think of this episode, in particular, as being one of the TOS episodes with an outstanding score -- those would be (having original scores) "The Doomsday Machine", "Amok Time", or "The Conscience of the King". "Metamorphosis" had an excellent musical score as well. They wrote some great music for S3 as well in "The Empath".

Not a super serious episode but certainly fun to watch over and over again. I love watching Kirk out-logic Nomad in the end - my dad and I loved to act that part out together when I was a kid. Good memories! "A mass of conflicting impulses" - Nomad describing Uhura

Why would the merged probe have the deadly firepower shown here? Surely this is vastly more potency than a probe would need to sterilize the quantity of soil a one meter probe could store.

A really fun and tense episode, "The Changeling" is also a neat look at how the same story can be done different on TV and in a feature film. While "Star Trek The Motion Picture" tells this story as an epic Heart of Darkness journey into the awesome unknown, keeping the big reveal secret until the end, the TOS source episode relies more on character and tension to get the job done. The coincidence that saves the ship here at the start is a bit extreme, but I give "Changeling" 3 stars because it's fun and tense. The crew's efforts to manage and then defeat Nomad make for some intriguing conflict. Glad to see Uhura and Scotty mix it up a little in the plot, here, too. The theoretical implications of an Earth probe coming home to destroy Earth after mingling with aliens are better discussed in TMP, including the search for God aspect, but the TOS ep does a better job of highlighting what we love about the TV series: People working together to solve a problem. This episode is a good example of how TOS could sell minimal special effects -- the probe design is rather underwhelming and unthreatening compared to V'ger -- with convincing acting and stylish filmmaking. I especially love Kirk's logical victory at the end that actually feels logical for once: It's a clever leap of intuition to apply the implications of his own imperfection to Nomad's mistaken identification of him as "the Creator." This is a bit more reasonable than the TMP resolution of entering the transmission codes into V'ger, though perhaps less mystical than the Decker-Ilia merging. Anyway, "Changeling" is a good but not great TOS episode with iconic imagery, even though there's not much deep substance to the themes here.

I thought Uhura's mind-wipe was meant to echo Nomad's. Uhura, like Nomad, is a life-seeking communication's device which upon contact with alien technology suffers a breakdown and loss of memory. Like Nomad, she then needs to be reeduacted. IMO, the episode would have been better if Scotty's death was removed from the script. Devote that time, instead, to developping the Uhura subplot better (and with more gravity).

Debra Petersen

Just finished watching this one again on H&I. Isn't it a little odd that Kirk would say Nomad "thought I was it's MOTHER"? Wouldn't a man more naturally say FATHER? I guess the writer was going for some humor and thought it sounded funnier that way, but to me it just sounds...strange.

Just watched the episode expecting it to be the one where that woman turns into a yeti. Instead we got the same storyline that would feature in TMP, that crappy TNG episode about mining robots and no less than two Voyager episodes: Dreadnought and Warhead. Talk about returning to the well. TOS is something I view with ambivalence. To me it is undoubtedly the weakest Trek series. Even though season 1 of ENT is generally not good, it's wishy-washy and boring rather than embarrassingly absurd like TOS. It seems that either a TOS episode is a masterpiece, or it's a laughable dud which nobody in their right minds would even think of, let alone pitch, sell and get someone else to produce. The general quality of this series would be totally unacceptable today. Unfortunately The Changeling is just such embarrassing tosh. The threat emanated by Nomad is undone by, well, everything else about it, from the cheesy robot voice to the way it wobbles when flying. It regards itself as perfect and yet looks like the exhaust of an old car. As for Spock mind melding with it, this is one of the great WTF moments in sci-fi. So if I possessed telepathic abilities, I would mind-meld with my computer's hard drive? Perhaps Spock can also read a book just by sitting on it. I'm trying to be nice since this is vintage sci-fi and it's probably someone's favourite episode (although I fear the thought that such a person exists). Give me TNG's Masks instead, at least that has eerie music and a creepy atmosphere of dread. And it has a robot talking in a silly voice.

Standard issue fare for TOS, hitting all the notes except "starry-eyed sexy lady falling for Kirk." Instead, it is an eyeless, floating piece of metal which falls for Kirk. The Uhura thing was beyond silly, though it was nice to see her get some screen time. A good sci fi concept, not particularly well played out. Average.

Bobbington Mc Bob

Ah the original Star Trek "Unrecoverable change, remedied by next week" reset episode. This must surely have been the model for the entire series run of Voyager :D I liked this one, the sense of foreboding from Nomad felt very real, and I could see the seeds for V-ger in this too. Watching TOS for the first time having seen everything that came after first can be a really fun exercise in deja-vu like a-ha moments.

They were totally going for a Star Trek meets a Dalek episode right? They did a good job. The probe did come across as weirdly creepy.

James T. Kirk. Jackson Roykirk. Doesn’t sound similar to me. Really a sophisticated computer couldn’t tell the difference?

Neo the Beagle

Warp 15 bolts, equal to 90 photon torpedoes?!? From little Nomad? And to absorb (1) torpedo from Enterprise? Nomad and the Doomsday Machine should have had their own spin-off series: which one could destroy the most planets in the least amount of time...

Anyone notice the 4 episodes in a row that puts Scotty thru hell? Last week : Apollo backhanding Scotty (enough to appreciate the stunt work involved, btw) several feet, having his arm paralyzed, and of course having his phaser zapped when he drew it, injuring his hand. Apollo almost killed him. This week: Now it's Nomad's turn: NOMAD kills Scotty! Sorry for that spoiler alert. But he comes back to life! Sorry for that spoiler alert also. Next week: no chance to rest, as Scotty is under extreme pressure in the Mirror Universe, with death a certainty if he fails Finally: Scotty gets fired by Kirk because Scotty can't find a way to counteract Vaal in "The Apple", thus dooming the Enterprise to a fiery disintegration. As the Enterprise starts to burn up in the atmosphere, Scotty probably had second thoughts about not taking that vacation last month that he had coming....

@Beth, I agree with every single word you wrote! Silly & enjoyable :-)

I quite liked elements of this: - the AI story including the crashing and merging of two probes (presumably both had self-repair routines built in) - Uhura's greater contribution than usual, including getting to hear her sing. (I've assumed that the 'mind wipe' was actually induced amnesia which left some abilities intact, e.g. knowledge of Swahili) - the use of logic from Kirk (would have been better from Spock!) to cause NOMAD to self destruct (but why does that always mean a speeding up falsetto voice? Kubrick's HAL going slower and deeper singing 'Daisy Daisy' was more effective). But other elements were ludicrous if not downright offensive: - huge destructive pulses from NOMAD at the start - what, from something that looked like an interplanetary vacuum cleaner?? - the crew's underwhelming reaction to the destruction of billions of people - yet how on earth did NOMAD actually achieve that? It's only a tin can after all. - NOMAD's categorisation of its scan of Uhura as a mass of chaotic impulses - WHAT, BECAUSE SHE'S A WOMAN????? Not an outright poor episode - I'll give it 2 or perhaps 2.5 stars

I liked this version of Star Trek: The Motion Picture better than that feature film remake. The work with the Nomad prop was pretty skillful. They could have easily improved the Uhura situation by a line or two saying the damage wasn't as severe as it first appeared, was just temporary like being stunned, or whatever. A cop out, but way less than what they went with!

(Skillful for TV of that era) I think Nomad basically was indeed a Dalek knock-off. Dalekmania was HUGE in the mid 60s and there were even two Dalek oriented feature films by the time this episode was made. British films, but there's no way that would have gone unnoticed by contemporary American sci-fi writers. (For those less familiar with Doctor Who history, the Daleks were so popular initially that they overshadowed the Doctor himself.)

@ Trek fan and NoPoet et al, I'm sorry but besides the idea of an old soace probe from earth, isnt the plot of The Motion Picture very different and more original and richly imaginative than this episode..not that thuw episode is bad or unoriginal..but it had the vger cloud and unique alien environment ofnthe cloud where vger was in and those potential otber alken lifeforms/galactic structures within the cloud and the Ilea life form?

Spock's mind-meld with Nomad wasn't as ridiculous as some here have stated. Spock once or twice mentioned that Nomad was incredibly sophisticated, almost biological in its makeup - - which I suppose was included by the writer specifically so the mind-meld option would work. One thing that bothered me about Nomad's destructive energy bolts at the beginning was that they became progressively less destructive after the first one. Another thing that I wondered was why the Enterprise didn't just move slightly to the side to get out of their way, since the crew could see them coming and had plenty of time to react. Also, the part about Uhura, a woman, being "a mass of conflicting impulses" highlights the societal sexism of the time in which the show was produced. Remember, during the TOS period, women were still not allowed to be starship captains.

A LOT of people in these comments need to watch the episode again - Uhura didn't lose her memory (she retained Swa'hili, knew who Christine was, had language skills, retained her intelligence, mathematical aptitude etc.) What she lost was her knowledge. They make that point several times. Which is why she's able to re-educate so quickly, the intelligence and ability is still there - they just have to feed the information back in.

Proud Capitalist Pig

In folklore, a “changeling” is a sprite that has been sent as a replacement for an infant child that has been stolen by other sprites. How perfect for this little examination of AI -- we indeed are selling our souls to this technology, and I’m sure will soon be creating bastardized machine-children in the place of offspring. Nomad was a hoot -- a little flying vacuum cleaner with a testy voice and a bad attitude that’s responsible for killing “billions.” I too got a kick out of those over-the-shoulder shots as Nomad is stalking the ship. One question (just a nitpick) -- why did it zap Scotty but *vaporize* that unfortunate crewmember that no one cares about? The only reason that Nomad could "repair" Scotty's unit was that Scotty wasn't disintegrated. How convenient! I always appreciate stories that warn us about powerful AI’s but as Jammer and other commenters have indicated, this one was a tad silly as well. An interesting notion is that when imperfect beings (such as we humans) create “perfect” technology, the technology would usually end up just as imperfect as we are. The logic puzzle that Kirk introduced to Nomad in order to end the threat was damn obvious and simplistic but fine for a 50-minute science fiction tale I guess. Yes the plights of Scotty and Uhura were as dead-on-arrival as Scotty was on the Bridge. But I loved when Uhura provided her own “On-Hold” muzak over the proverbial ship’s phone -- using her own beautiful voice, of course! Nomad (re: McCoy) -- “This is one of your units, Creator?” Kirk -- “Yes, he is.” Nomad -- “It functions irrationally.” Kirk -- “Sometimes.” My Grade: C-

I fully agree that this episode is meant to show perfect AI as a threat: the more perfect a computer is, the more difficult it is to keep it under control – sooner or later it will reach a point where it no longer needs its “creator” and starts programming itself independently. The episode makes a very valid point why AI still needs human control. At first, Kirk and Spock wonder about Nomad’s purpose and if it is indeed the probe built by Roykirk centuries ago, because they remember its mission was a peaceful one. In Spock’s mind-meld with Nomad, he learns that Nomad merged with that other probe called Tan Ru. I think it’s essential to note that none of them was a killing device, the missions of both probes were scientific ones: Nomad was “supposed to be the first interstellar probe to seek new life-forms”, and Tan Ru was sent out “to secure and sterilise soil samples from other planets”. In a way, their missions could even be called similar to that of the Enterprise! When the probes merged, a perfect computer was created… but it has a screw loose. Yet it doesn’t notice… how could it? This kind of superior control can only be performed by humans, which leads to the point that AI will always need and should always remain under our control. Which still sounds pretty relevant today.

@Lannion Great points, Lannion. I like how you highlighted that the original mission of Nomad went awry *because* of its interstellar journey--what it was designed to do. When AI learns "too much," it becomes too dangerous.

If the idea of a changeling is that fairies exchange a normal baby for a spite, then I think it becomes difficult to see this episode as being about the dangers of AI. The Ultimate Computer is much more obviously about that. But if we're taking the title seriously then it seems to me much more relevant to marvel at the existence of fairies rather than the changeling itself and how it's causing you problems. Or put another way, the fact that space contains such wonders, some of them dangerous or capricious, makes it both enticing and menacing. Nomad is a terror, but also did sort of do what it was supposed to: discover something new and bring back that information. It's just that the manner of bringing it back isn't what we would have ever wanted. Better be careful what you ask for: sometimes if you ask a question you'll get an answer when you are not ready for it. It seems to me that if I wanted to draw out a general message, which is a bit tough since this is more of a horror show than an exploration episode, it would be more about what's out there than about Nomad itself. Things very strange can change what you know and switch them for terrors. This happened to one probe, and caused so much damage it could have destroyed the Earth. What happens if mankind itself meets something out there that changes us for the worse?

@Peter G "Things very strange can change what you know and switch them for terrors. This happened to one probe, and caused so much damage it could have destroyed the Earth." I tip my hat to you, Peter G. I think you captured the message perfectly. Such a reading does place the Nomad AI in a more innocent light, even though we still brought about its destructive path by creating it in the first place. I think a lot of science fiction stories that are similar to this are meant to put a check on our hubris.

@William B: ))and Spock's mindmeld with the totally non-biological machine (as Jammer and Strider mention) are examples of this -- they are totally goofy concepts(( Nomad was a fusion/hybrid of the original Earth space probe and an ALIEN space probe named "Tan Ru." For all we know, "Tan Ru" may have been at least partially biological (maybe it had Voyager's "gel packs" or what-not).

@elscotto: ))How did she still know Swahili if her mind had been wiped? Wouldn't there be major psychological implications if she had lost all her memory? How would it be possible to relearn everything in a matter of weeks?(( Uhura was singing ENGLISH when Nomad scanned her. The scan thus affected only her ENGLISH. Bones and the others refer to her mind being "wiped," but that was obviously before an in-depth examination could be performed; it was not an exact diagnosis. The scan Nomad performed thus merely "clouded" her English-language skills, and so it was relatively easy to "re-activate" them. Sheesh! You people are all so *literal*. Uhura faints, Bones flippantly says that her "mind was wiped" (a mere FIGURE OF SPEECH!), and you folks go so far as to complain that she should have been reduced to a drooling idiot, pooping in her panties, PERMANENTLY!

This episode is definitely a little weak from a plot mechanics standpoint. Scotty’s death/resurrection was a bit much and really served no purpose, Spock mind-melding with Nomad is a bit of a stretch only partially salvaged by how little we really know about Nomad, the crew ripping off pithy quips in the wake of billions of deaths is a tad tone deaf, and of course Uhura having to relearn English in a week seems unlikely. I will say on that last point tho, it’s possible Uhura was just suffering from a severe case of disorientation rather than a total mind blowout, the episode isn’t really that specific about it. But all that being said, I still enjoyed this one. It’s a pretty solid core idea, which I’m sure is why they chose to recycle it for ST:TMP. This episode probably became much more prescient in the wake of the Voyager probe launches in the 70s and as such seemed like a no-brainer as the basis for V’Ger. I thoroughly enjoyed the Kirk-kills-computer-with-logic cliche, and agree with the above commenters that it’s probably done best here. I think what saves this episode from total ridicule is that despite the questionable creative choices written into it, none of the characters act out of character. Scotty doesn’t get killed because he does something un-Scotty-like, his actions are pretty understandable, same with Uhura. So while the episode strains credulity and has some pretty improbable contrivances, the heart of the show isn’t disrespected. It’s enough for me to still find this outing fun to watch. 2.5/4 masses of conflicting impulses.

Radio Jonathan

A good but flawed episode. Many of the flaws have been discussed so I won't go into them again. This episode, along with Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the Star Trek Voyager episode "Friendship One" and the Space:1999 episode "Voyager's Return" all have a similar overall premise. We are sending probes out in the interests of science and if there is intelligent life out in the universe, friendship. In spite of these good intentions, are we inadvertently doing any harm? Something to think about.

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The Changeling

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"The Changeling" is a Star Trek episode , the 37th episode of Star Trek: The Original Series , the 8th episode of the show's second season , first aired on 29 September 1967 . The episode was written by John Meredyth Lucas MA , directed by Marc Daniels MA and novelized in Star Trek 7 by James Blish .

  • 1.1.1 Episode characters
  • 1.1.2 Novelization characters
  • 1.2 Starships and vehicles
  • 1.3 Locations
  • 1.4 Races and cultures
  • 1.5 States and organizations
  • 1.6.1 Astronomy
  • Lifeforms
  • Medicine
  • 1.6.3 Communications
  • 1.6.4 Materials and substances
  • 1.6.5 Measurement
  • 1.6.6 Technology and weapons
  • 1.7 Occupations and titles
  • 1.8 Other references
  • 2 Chronology
  • 3.1.1 Adaptations
  • 3.2 Background
  • Translations
  • 3.5 References
  • 3.6 External links

References [ ]

Characters [ ], episode characters [ ], novelization characters [ ], starships and vehicles [ ], locations [ ], races and cultures [ ], states and organizations [ ], science and classification [ ], astronomy [ ], biology [ ], lifeforms [ ], medicine [ ], communications [ ], materials and substances [ ], measurement [ ], technology and weapons [ ], occupations and titles [ ], other references [ ], chronology [ ], appendices [ ], related media [ ].

  • TOS - The Eugenics Wars novel : The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume 1
  • TOS - The Eugenics Wars novel : The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh, Volume 2

Adaptations [ ]

Novelized in Star Trek 7.

Background [ ]

  • In DFT comic : " Issue 9 ", the four security guards vaporized by Nomad were named Ward , Cordry , Kessler and Real . However, one of them was clearly identified as Lieutenant Carlisle in the episode and it's impossible to tell which name belongs to each of the other three guards .

Episode image.

Connections [ ]

Timeline [ ], production timeline [ ], translations [ ].

  • ↑ The character of Clifford Brent was not named in the episode but the same actor, wearing an officer 's Starfleet uniform , was addressed as Brent in TOS episode : " The Naked Time ". The same actor also played the character of Vinci .
  • ↑ The character Vinci was not named in the episode but the same actor, wearing the same operations division Starfleet uniform , was addressed as Vinci in TOS episode : " The Devil in the Dark ". The same actor also played the character of Clifford Brent .

External links [ ]

  • " The Changeling " article at Memory Alpha , the wiki for canon Star Trek .
  • The Changeling (Star Trek) article at Wikipedia , the free encyclopedia.
  • 1 Ferengi Rules of Acquisition
  • 2 USS Voyager (NCC-74656-A)
  • 3 Intrepid class

Jun 2, 2024 Delta Gatti

Star Treks New Enterprise Captain Is Revealed And We Called It

The commanding officer of the Enterprise-F, as revealed in the penultimate episode of Star Trek: Picard, is Admiral Elizabeth Shelby - a choice we predicted only a couple of weeks ago.

By Michileen Martin | Updated 8 months ago

The penultimate episode of Star Trek: Picard streamed on Paramount+ this morning and it finally revealed the commanding officer of the Enterprise-F is Admiral Elizabeth Shelby (Elizabeth Dennehy).

Long-time Trek fans will remember Dennehy originated the role in the game-changing Star Trek: The Next Generation two-parter “The Best of Both Worlds.” And if you’ve read my Trek-related op-eds here at GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT , then you remember that I predicted Shelby as a frontrunner for the new Enterprise Captain ‘s chair just a couple of weeks ago.

To be fair, I did put Garrett Wang’s Harry Kim in front of Shelby as Star Trek’s new Enterprise captain, but Voyager fans will probably be thankful I was wrong about that. Today’s episode, “Vox,” reveals that the concerted efforts of The Borg and the Changelings have led to the most youthful members of Starfleet being assimilated without anyone’s knowledge, and when we last see Shelby, she’s being executed by her Borg-ified subordinates. Tragically, the former TNG recurring character winds up undone by the same enemy she helped defeat.

Portrayed by Elizabeth Dennehy, daughter of the late Brian Dennehy (Cocoon, Silverado), Shelby first appears to be little more than an arrogant foil to Will Riker ( Jonathan Frakes ) when she first shows up in TNG. But she soon proves to all the heroes aboard Star Trek’s Enterprise-D that while she’s unapologetically ambitious, she cares as much about the Federation and her crew mates as anyone else. It’s in large part Shelby’s dedication and innovation that leads to the defeat of the Borg in “The Best of Both Worlds.”

Shelby hasn’t been completely absent from the world of Star Trek since TNG, though the last time we saw her, it wasn’t on the Enterprise. She had a voiceless, animated appearance in Season 2 of Star Trek: Lower Decks. Set a few decades earlier in continuity, that episode confirmed Shelby had at that point attained the rank of Captain.

Shelby’s demise marks the second death of a beloved Trek recurring character in this final season of Picard. Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes), who once served aboard Star Trek’s Enterprise-D, dies heroically earlier in the season. Another TNG recurring character, Jonathan del Arco’s Hugh, gets abruptly snuffed by the Romulan villain Narissa (Peyton List) in Picard‘s first season.

I would sure hate to be a former TNG recurring character who gets tapped to be in Picard. Anyone else feeling a little grateful Dwight Schultz’s Reggie Barclay is a no-show so far?

Speaking of fallen “minor” characters, it isn’t just alum from Star Trek’s Enterprise who meet their end in the final season of Picard. A surprise favorite since the beginning of the final season, Todd Stashwick ‘s Captain Liam Shaw is also killed off in “Vox.” He dies a hero’s death: holding off the assimilated Titan crew members to give the others a chance to escape.


Screen Rant

Why strange new worlds changed discovery's klingons explained by star trek director.


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Jonathan Frakes Asked Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 3 Cast: "Am I Being Punked?"

Strange new worlds can save a classic star trek character after 58 years, mash: all 11 main characters, ranked by likability.

Warning: This Article Contains SPOILERS For Star Trek: Strange New Worlds Season 2, Episode 1 - "The Broken Circle"

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds director Chris Fisher reveals the reasons why the Klingons in season 2's premiere episode, "The Broken Circle," don't resemble the Klingons seen in Star Trek: Discovery . The crew of the USS Enterprise encounters Klingons on the planet Cajitar IV in Strange New Worlds season 2's premiere. However, the Klingons look like they do in Star Trek: The Next Generation, with hints of their appearance in Star Trek: The Original Series , instead of the more brutish and animalistic Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery .

Appearing as a guest on The 7th Rule hosted by Cirroc Lofton and Ryan T. Husk, director Chris Fisher explained why Strange New Worlds season 2 changed the look of the Klingons, and the reasons are based upon the needs of Strange New World s' story rather than a reaction to the negative fan outcry over Star Trek: Discovery 's Klingons. Read his quote and watch the podcast below:

I'd say one of the big challenges of this episode for me as a director was reintroducing Klingons. I personally love the look of the Klingons in Discovery, [but] that look wasn't gonna work us. Because we're a character-driven show, we need Klingons who can actually emote emotion and not have so much prosthetics and visual effects. So we really kind of moved the Klingons from a creature into a character. As you'll see through the season, the Klingons, we come back to [them] in a different way [and] maybe even tone them down a little bit more.

Strange New Worlds' Klingon Change Wasn't A Reaction To Star Trek: Discovery

Many Star Trek fans made the logical assumption that Strange New Worlds reverted the Klingons back to their more popular Star Trek: The Next Generation look as a reaction to how negatively Star Trek: Discovery 's Klingons were received. Discovery took a bold step in reinventing the Klingons to look and sound more alien, which hammered home season 1's themes of Klingon identity as they went to war with the United Federation of Planets. But while Strange New Worlds ' producers are certainly aware of how a vocal segment of fans feels about Discovery's Klingons, it appears that wasn't the primary reason for the change.

Indeed, Strange New Worlds ' Klingons work better for their character-driven series. Along with fighting Dr. Joseph M'Benga (Babs Olusanmokun) and Nurse Christine Chapel (Jess Bush), Strange New Worlds needed Klingons who could drink blood wine with Lt. Spock (Ethan Peck) and La'an Noonien-Singh (Christina Chong), as well as face off with the Vulcan Science Officer in tense view screen negotiations. It's harder to imagine Star Trek: Discovery 's guttural Klingons engaging in these story points. Plus, the Klingons are set to return in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2, and Chris Fisher hints the aggressive warrior race will be "tone[d] down" further compared to the monstrous Klingons of Star Trek: Discovery.

Star Trek: Strange New Worlds season 2 streams Thursdays on Paramount+.

Source: The 7th Rule

  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (2022)
  • Star Trek: Discovery (2017)

the changelings star trek

Every Star Trek Episode & Movie Directed By David Carson

  • David Carson directed iconic Star Trek episodes like "Yesterday's Enterprise" and "Redemption, Part II," showcasing his talent for storytelling.
  • Carson's transition from directing Star Trek television episodes to feature films, like Star Trek Generations, solidified his place in Trek history.
  • With only two directors, David Carson and Jonathan Frakes, having directed both Star Trek TV episodes and feature films, Carson's impact on the franchise is significant.

David Carson directed eight Star Trek television episodes and one feature film. Carson began his directing career in British theater and television, and Star Trek: The Next Generation was one of his first gigs upon coming to the US. TNG's producers liked Carson's directing style and brought him back several times throughout the series. Not only did Carson direct one of TNG's most famous episodes in "Yesterday's Enterprise," but he also helmed Star Trek Generations, the movie featuring Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and the USS Enterprise-D crew.

David Carson directed four total episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and was later asked to direct "Emissary," the feature-length premiere of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine . Carson directed three more episodes of DS9, before moving on to other projects. Carson may not have quite as prolific a Star Trek directing resume as Jonathan Frakes, but he brought several iconic episodes to life over the years. Here are all nine Star Trek episodes and movie directed by David Carson.

David Carson and Jonathan Frakes remain the only two people to have directed both Star Trek television episodes and feature films.

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"The Enemy"

Star trek: the next generation season 3, episode 7.

David Carson's Star Trek directorial debut, Star Trek: The Next Generation's "The Enemy," picks up after the USS Enterprise-D answers a distress call and finds an injured Romulan on a planet near the Neutral Zone. Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) finds himself stranded on the storm-ridden planet, and he must work with another Romulan survivor to make it back to the Enterprise alive.

David Carson adds some flair to an already well-written episode.

When a Romulan warbird arrives to investigate, Captain Picard must smooth things over with Romulan Commander Tomalak (Andreas Katsulas) to avoid inciting a war. "The Enemy" has a lot of moving parts, but all of the stories are interconnected and play off of one another well. Between the stormy planet and some cool shots through Geordi's VISOR, David Carson adds some flair to an already well-written episode.

"Yesterday's Enterprise"

Star trek: the next generation season 3, episode 15.

"Yesterday's Enterprise" remains one of Star Trek: The Next Generation's most iconic and beloved episodes for a reason. Not only does it feature the return of Denise Crosby as Lt. Tasha Yar , but it also offers a glimpse into a previous version of the USS Enterprise. When the Enterprise-D encounters a rift in spacetime, the heavily damaged USS Enterprise-C emerges from the wormhole. At this moment, the universe shifts, and the Enterprise-D is now a warship involved in a bitter war with the Klingon Empire.

Tasha Yar is alive, but pretty much everything else about this universe is worse than the original one. In the end, the Enterprise-C must travel back through the wormhole on a suicide mission that will save the future. The proper timeline is restored for the Enterprise-D, with only the El-Aurian bartender Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) sensing that something significant has transpired.

"Yesterday's Enterprise" truly fires on all cylinders, and David Carson does a great job of making the warship Enterprise-D feel very different from the Enterprise viewers are used to.

"Redemption, Part II"

Star trek: the next generation season 5, episode 1.

In Star Trek: The Next Generation , "Redemption, Part I," Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn) and Captain Picard help install Gowron (Robert O'Reilly) as the Chancellor of the Klingon High Council. In response, the Duras sisters, Lursa (Barbara March) and B'Etor (Gwynyth Walsh), work with the Romulans to incite a Klingon civil war. After "Redemption, Part I" ends with the reveal of Commander Sela (Denise Crosby) , the half-Romulan daughter of Lt. Tasha Yar, "Redemption, Part II" involves a tense stand-off with a blockade of Federation ships.

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Meanwhile, the Duras sisters kidnap Worf, attempting to win him over to their cause to no avail. In one of the ships among the blockade, Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) overcomes prejudice and insubordinate officers to save the day by detecting Romulan ships hiding nearby. "Redemption, Part II" has a lot going on, and it doesn't all work, but Klingon politics are always interesting, and it's great to see Data get a chance to command.

"The Next Phase"

Star trek: the next generation season 5, episode 24.

When the USS Enterprise-D responds to a distress call from a Romulan ship, Lt. Geordi La Forge and Ensign Ro Laren (Michelle Forbes) are presumed lost in a transporter malfunction. In reality, however, Geordi and Ro have become out of phase with the rest of the ship. They can interact with one another, but can only observe what's going on around them. Eventually, they discover that an out-of-phase Romulan has been following them.

The Next Phase" is a fun episode focusing on two underutilized characters in Geordi and Ro.

After dispatching the Romulan, Geordi and Ro work to find a way to contact their friends, while Data plans a funeral for them. At the funeral, Ro uses a disrupter to release a burst of chronoton radiation, which alerts Data to their situation, and he helps bring them back into phase. With its classic science fiction premise, "The Next Phase" is a fun episode focusing on two underutilized characters in Geordi and Ro.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

Cast Michael Dorn, LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner, Wil Wheaton, Jonathan Frakes, Patrick Stewart, Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden

Release Date September 28, 1987

Showrunner Jeri Taylor, Michael Piller, Rick Berman

Star Trek Generations

Released on november 18, 1994.

David Carson's first foray into film directing came when he was asked to direct Star Trek Generations , after Leonard Nimoy turned down the opportunity. As the first feature film for Star Trek: The Next Generatio n crew, Star Trek Generations was the historic first team-up and passing of the torch from Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) to Captain Picard. Star Trek Generations opens with the christening of the USS Enterprise-B, with Kirk, Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), and Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig) all in attendance.

When the shakedown cruise turns into a rescue mission, Kirk is presumed lost after a hull breach on the Enterprise. Star Trek Generations then jumps 78 years into the future, where Captain Picard and his crew are pulled into a mission to stop the El-Aurian Dr. Tolian Soran (Malcolm McDowell) from killing millions in an attempt to reach the Nexus realm. Picard and Kirk team up to stop Soran, which results in Kirk's death. David Carson also stages the spectacular destruction and crash-landing of the USS Enterprise-D.

David Carson went on to direct two more feature films: 1998's Letters from a Killer starring Patrick Swayze and 2004's Unstoppable starring Wesley Snipes.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2

In one of Star Trek's best series premieres , Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) arrives on space station Deep Space Nine, which the Cardassians have recently vacated. When a Bajoran spiritual leader tells Sisko that he is the Emissary of the Bajoran Prophets, she gives him a strange orb that leads him to a wormhole connected to the Gamma Quadrant. On the space station, Major Kira Nerys (Nana Visitor) orders DS9 to move to the wormhole and stalls some angry Cardassians.

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Sisko speaks with the strange beings inhabiting the wormhole, convincing them to allow ships to pass through. As he contemplates his own future, Sisko decides to remain on the station and try to move on from his past. With its powerful opening flashback sequence and compelling character introductions, "Emissary" does a wonderful job revealing DS9's connections to the greater Star Trek universe and establishing what kind of show it would be.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 1, Episode 8

Although the Trill had been briefly introduced on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Lt. Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) allowed Star Trek to fully explore this strange species. In "Dax," a man named Ilon Tandro (Gregory Itzin) accuses Dax's previous host, Curzon, of murdering his father and he wants to punish Jadzia for the crime. This raises an interesting philosophical debate that the episode wrestles with without finding a definitive answer.

Constable Odo (René Auberjonois) tracks down Ilon's mother Enina Tandro (Fionnula Flanagan) , who provides an alibi for Curzon and secretly reveals to Dax that her husband betrayed his own people and was murdered for it. In the end, Curzon is cleared of the murder and the viewer learns a little more about Jadzia, the Dax symbiont, and Trills in general. "Dax" offers a compelling look into one of Star Trek's most unique species.

"Move Along Home"

Star trek: deep space nine season 1, episode 10.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' s notorious "Move Along Home," a Gamma Quadrant species known as the Wadi arrive on the space station with a strange game called Chula. When Quark (Armin Shimerman) agrees to play, he finds himself controlling the station's senior officers as players within the game, progressing through a series of puzzles. Commander Sisko, Major Kira, Lt. Dax, and Dr. Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) then make their way through various levels of the game.

When the players fall off a mountain to their apparent deaths, they find themselves back in Quark's bar. The Wadi delegate Falow (Joel Brooks) reveals that their lives were never in any danger, but he neglected to tell them that earlier as a lesson to Quark about his cheating. With its high-concept story, "Move Along Home" suffered from budget constraints and is often regarded as one of DS9's worst episodes.

In Star Trek: Lower Decks season 4, episode 3, "In the Cradle of Vexilon," Lt. Sam Rutherford (Eugene Cordero) hilariously speed runs through a game of Chula.

"The Alternate"

Star trek: deep space nine season 2, episode 12.

As one of Constable Odo's best Star Trek: DS9 episodes , "The Alternate" dives into the Changeling's past when the Bajoran scientist who first studied Odo visits the station. Dr. Mora Pol (James Sloyan) believes he has found another life form like Odo, and the two go to investigate. After being affected by volcanic gasses on the planet, Odo begins unknowingly attacking people on DS9 while in his gelatinous form.

Realizing that Odo is the culprit, Mora informs Sisko and Kira, and they contain Odo within a force field before removing the gas from his system. Throughout this ordeal, Mora realizes that he has been ignoring Odo's feelings regarding life at the Bajoran laboratory. In the end, both Mora and Odo apologize to one another and they part on better terms. And David Carson's Star Trek career comes to an end with a solid entry about one of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's most compelling characters.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Cast Terry Farrell, Cirroc Lofton, Rene Auberjonois, Nicole de Boer, Michael Dorn, Andrew Robinson, Nana Visitor, Avery Brooks, Colm Meaney, Armin Shimerman, Alexander Siddig

Release Date January 3, 1993

Showrunner Ira Steven Behr, Michael Piller

Every Star Trek Episode & Movie Directed By David Carson


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  1. Changeling

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  11. Dominion

    Star Trek. The Dominion was a major imperialist state in the Gamma Quadrant. Technologically advanced and millennia old, the Dominion was a interstellar oligarchy founded under the absolute rule of a group of Changelings known as the Founders, whose will was carried out by the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar. The...

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    © 2024 CBS Studios Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation, and CBS Interactive Inc., Paramount companies. STAR TREK and related marks are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc.

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  15. Odo (Star Trek)

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    "The Changeling" is a Star Trek episode, the 37th episode of Star Trek: The Original Series, the 8th episode of the show's second season, first aired on 29 September 1967. The episode was written by John Meredyth LucasMA, directed by Marc DanielsMA and novelized in Star Trek 7 by James Blish. Clifford Brent[1] • Carlisle • Christine Chapel • Cordry (Ensign) • Bill Hadley • Kessler ...

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