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Terry Farrell as DS9's departed DaxShe’s gone. Science Fiction’s most vivacious half-woman-half-slug has bid farewell to Deep Space Nine. Terry Farrell explains why...

Everything changes and moves on. That’s 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 didn’t 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 couldn’t 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 can’t do that,” explains Farrell candidly. “After six years, I didn’t flat leave the show. I didn’t screw anybody over. It’s the end of my contract. Time to move on.”

Key to Farrell’s 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 can’t expect the writers to flesh out every character when you’ve got nine regulars and then you’ve got recurring characters that are really like regulars. They’re doing the best they can. One more year, it was just going to be the same stuff. I didn’t have someone calling me and saying 'we’ve got this great idea for Dax'.” As much as she loved the character, Farrell notes, “when it comes down to it, it’s a job to you and it’s a job to entertain people. And if you aren’t feeling like you can come up with new stuff, it’s time to do something different, so you’re not playing it into the ground. It’s 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 it’s been to say goodbye to the fans. She’s 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 don’t think of your character affecting everybody. It’s always everybody else’s character. You know what I mean?” muses Farrell. “I didn’t 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 hadn’t 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 who’d gathered to say goodbye. “Nobody believed I was really going to go...”

Melissa J Perenson
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

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