Shes gone. Science Fictions most vivacious half-woman-half-slug has bid farewell to Deep Space Nine. Terry Farrell explains why...
Everything changes and moves on. Thats what Terry Farrell realized last year when faced with the expiry of her six year contract with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and discovering that she really didnt want to return for one more year.
Regardless of talks with Paramount last spring, Farrell decided to go with her instinct. I felt like I couldnt make any decisions out of fear. And if I was afraid, then I would stay for one more year of security. I thought I just cant do that, explains Farrell candidly. After six years, I didnt flat leave the show. I didnt screw anybody over. Its the end of my contract. Time to move on.
Key to Farrells feeling of stagnation was the lack of opportunities for her character, Jadzia Dax a Trill with a 350-year-old symbiont inside her body to evolve. You cant expect the writers to flesh out every character when youve got nine regulars and then youve got recurring characters that are really like regulars. Theyre doing the best they can. One more year, it was just going to be the same stuff. I didnt have someone calling me and saying 'weve got this great idea for Dax'. As much as she loved the character, Farrell notes, when it comes down to it, its a job to you and its a job to entertain people. And if you arent feeling like you can come up with new stuff, its time to do something different, so youre not playing it into the ground. Its like to be true to your audience is to be true to yourself, too.
In spite of her conviction that she made the right decision to leave when she did, Farrell has been surprised by how difficult its been to say goodbye to the fans. Shes also been surprised by the popularity of her character, based on the collective outcry at news of her departure amongst viewers of the show. You dont think of your character affecting everybody. Its always everybody elses character. You know what I mean? muses Farrell. I didnt realize how emotional it was going to be for me, saying goodbye to the fans. And certainly, not how emotional it was for them.
Farrell was the last actor hired for the pilot. She read for the role just four days prior to the start of filming. The first day that I read was the Friday before the Tuesday they were starting. And I think it was a couple of weeks after that that I got hired, remembers Farrell. I felt from the description of Dax and all of her past lifetimes that it would be an incredible challenge, and I really needed that kind of challenge. I needed to grow as an actress and I felt like Dax would really help me to do so.
When it came time to actually leave, Farrell hadnt expected the outpouring of support she received from the cast and crew. That was an incredible moment in my life. I was really surprised, really genuinely shocked and had no idea, she recalls of the crowd of well-wishers whod gathered to say goodbye. Nobody believed I was really going to go...
In this ten-page interview feature, Terry Farrell talks of technobabble, her favourite episodes and Dax's life and death.
Cult Times September 1998, #36. Can't get it locally? You can order it here
Image © Paramount