Why was Jadzia Dax written out of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine so late?
At the end of season 6 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
Jadzia Dax is killed.
At the start of season 7:
A “new” character, Ezri Dax, the next host of the Dax symbiont, is introduced.
This results in quite a few episodes in the first half of season 7 featuring Ezri heavily (including three full “Ezri episodes” — Afterimage, Prodigal Daughter, and the god-awful Field of Fire). I assumed this was an intentional attempt to get the audience to care about the character before the big finale of the show kicks into gear.
But it does seem like a lot of effort to go through at this stage in the show. Bringing in a whole new character just for the last season seems like an odd choice. Although it was really interesting to explore the same-symbiont, different-host thing, and Nicole De Boer did a great job with the character, were there behind-the-scenes reasons for Jadzia being written out?
And in a couple of weeks time I’ll do a “Why wasn’t anyone written out of Deep Space Nine right in the middle of season 4?” question to round out the trilogy.
According to Memory Alpha, Dax's actress Terry Farrell decided to not renew her contract for season 7 in order to go to some sitcom called Becker (bunch of rumours why). So the DS9 crew were forced to kill Jadzia off.
According to Farrell, they were upset at her decision to leave and implied that they killed off Jadzia out of spite.
@PaulD.Waite "I'm sure at that point, too, for Rick Berman and those people, it was all or nothing. They were angry because I wasn't doing what they wanted me to do or expected me to do. So it was an unfortunate situation all the way around." http://www.startrek.com/article/the-trill-of-it-all-undefinedterry-farrell-interview-part-2
In an interview with StarTrek.com, Farrell herself says that she wanted a less intense work schedule than that of a series regular on Deep Space Nine, but wasn’t able to negotiate it:
I loved Dax. I didn’t not love playing the character. I didn’t not love the show. I didn’t not love the people. Just the routine of it all, I needed a break. I personally just needed a mental break and, unfortunately, I wasn’t mature enough to maybe present it in the way of saying, “Could I please be a recurring character?” I’m sure at that point, too, for Rick Berman and those people, it was all or nothing. They were angry because I wasn’t doing what they wanted me to do or expected me to do. So it was an unfortunate situation all the way around.
Interesting, indeed. Given the ignoble red-shirt death they gave Jadzia Dax, I suspected that Farrell had peed in some muckety-muck's cornflakes.
@KyleJones: it did feel a bit off-hand, didn’t it? Not the heroic death she might of hoped or — although, of course, that fact gave them a whole episode early on in season 7.
Terry Farrell had the option of:
- One more season on DS9 (everyone knew the show was ending with season 7), with the same salary, the same heavy workload, and unemployment afterwards.
- A part as a regular on Becker, with easier work (no makeup!) and several more years of full employment (in the event, it was four years). The job offer for Becker was... well, it was something she had to take then or lose entirely.
Do the math yourself: employment which might go on for four more years, versus a dead-end one year contract. The producers of DS9 would have had to offer her something special in order to keep her. They chose to offer her nothing special. I would have made the same decision in her shoes.
This has happened with many actors on many shows, with at least three examples on Bablyon Five alone. Actors have to make decisions based on what pays the bills, not just on artistic merit or taste.