Before Star Trek: Deep Space Nine took off almost 25 years ago, Captain Sisko was little more than space dust until Avery Brooks was cast in what would go on to be a powerful and iconic role within the Trek franchise.
Pretend that hasn’t happened yet for a moment. When you think of other candidates who could have been orbiting the role, who enters your mind? How about the 12th Doctor and Rupert Giles?
TrekDocs just tweeted ancient records from outer space — okay, a Sisko casting session schedule from July 23, 1992 — with some really familiar names.
Think Peter Capaldi of Doctor Who, Pip Torrens of Preacher, Alexander Siddig of Game of Thrones, and Anthony Stewart Head of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I wonder if Head took a cue from his Buffy alter ego Rupert Giles and refused tea before his audition because he preferred to be tense.
Then The DS9 Documentary one-upped them with this:
I still can’t imagine anyone other than Brooks as Captain Sisko. He’s navigated the Enterprise through some of the most ethically nebulous stories in the Star Trek universe, such as Far Beyond the Stars. This is one of those episodes that lingers in your mind long after the end credits. The question of whether Sisko’s alter ego would have had the same impact if he had not been a black man was controversial, but ultimately powerful in addressing race as Star Trek never had before.
Star Trek’s only black commanding officer is just as relevant today as he was in the ‘90s. While most of his stories revolved around the alien worlds and interplanetary relations that the other iterations of the series usually encountered, and Sisko was mostly defined by his strength of character, his race was a facet of his identity that only strengthened him further.
While Avery Brooks was ultimately the ideal Sisko, the thought of Capaldi negotiating with Ferengi is still deeply amusing.