Sept. 29, 2022

Opinion: Ben Sisko is Returning to the Star Trek Universe

Opinion: Ben Sisko is Returning to the Star Trek Universe

Has Alex Kurtzman Been Playing the Long Game With Sisko's Return?

Maybe I've been spending too much time around Girafe. Or maybe it's our shared love for the Romulans and their secretive ways, but a few weeks ago, as I was prepping for the new season of Lower Decks, my Tal Shiar spider-sense went off. I suddenly felt that Benjamin Sisko's return to Star Trek television in one form or another is closer than some may think and that the powers that be (no, not the Prophets) have been teasing this for quite a while now.

And that inkling came a few weeks ago as I went through our screeners of Lower Decks season three. Last week's episode, "Reflections," was heavily packed with Deep Space Nine references, one that's 'blink and you'll miss it,' and the other a full-on Ben Sisko name drop. But the moment I went full Mariner and her conspiracy board was while watching the latest episode, "Hear All, Trust Nothing." I assume at this point that you're fully invested in going deep down the wormhole with me, so let's take a look at the latest evidence pointing to Ben Sisko's return.

Colonel Kira Nerys Looks Longingly Out at the Bajoran Wormhole

Almost a decade removed from the events of "What You Leave Behind," Benajmin Sisko's presence or lack thereof is still felt on Deep Space Nine. Early on in "Hear All, Trust Nothing," we see Colonel Kira looking longingly at the Bajoran Wormhole holding Sisko's prized baseball. Now, you could chalk this moment up with Kira simply to missing her friend and nostalgia, but if you look at all the other evidence, I think it goes much deeper

The Bajoran Reckoning Tablet Shown in Lower Decks "Reflection" and the Picard season two teaser trailer

Just one episode earlier, in "Reflections," there are not one but two references to Benjamin Sisko. The first is a blink and you might miss it look at none other than the Bajoran Reckoning Tablet, famously removed from Bajor by none other than Sisko himself (DS9: "The Reckoning). After throwing it against a wall in anger, the tablet released both a Pah-Wraith and Prophet, bringing upon the fabled reckoning. Kai Winn would intervene, and the reckoning would be brought to an abrupt halt. But the fate of the tablet itself was never expanded upon.

Did the prophet and pah-wraith retreat back to the tablet, rebuilding it in the process? That certainly is one theory. But why is the tablet we see in Jean-Luc Picard's study in the Picard season two teaser in pieces again? The easy answer is that the tablet the Collector's Guild has is either 1. a fake or 2. a similar-looking tablet, but not the Reckoning Tablet. Or perhaps the folks at Paramount wanted to find anything from the Star Trek universe to remind us that time isn't linear for the Picard season two teaser.

That being said, looking at the images from Deep Space Nine, Lower Decks, and the Picard season two teaser, the markings are far too similar, and the decision to fully name-drop Ben Sisko in "Reflections" make for a lot more than just coincidence. The tablet being shown in two different mediums makes for a lot more than just coincidence. In fact, in the current era of film in television, almost nothing is ever just a coincidence.


Remember, this isn't even the first time a Sisko has been referenced in Lower Decks season three. In the season premiere, Tendi and Rutherford are seen eating at Sisko's Creole Kitchen. In one season of Lower Decks alone, there have now been over a handful of references to the Sisko's, and now, an entire episode takes place on Deep Space Nine.

Even with all the evidence, this could all be one man's pipe dream ('s my pipe dream). Avery Brooks has always been hushed over if he'd come back to the role, and some believe he never will. And as more years pass, the chances of seeing a live-action Benjamin Sisko return to the screen pass along with them. But as recently as 2021, Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) has said at panels and various interviews that Brooks is "willing" to return if the right opportunity presents itself.

So with that all being said, let's look at four different ways Benjamin Sisko can leave the prophets and return to the Star Trek universe.

New Ongoing Star Trek Comic Series From IDW:

Benjamin Sisko is returning! Albeit in comic form. Launching on October 26th, the new ongoing Star Trek series will see the return of Benjamin Sisko, taking place three years after the events of "What You Leave Behind," and one year before the events Star Trek Nemesis.

Something to note here that may be important and indicate even more that Sisko is returning beyond comic book form is that this new series, and other Trek comics, are supposed to be treated as canon. Speaking to, Jackson Lanzing said this about how the comics are being considered canon.

"This is real Star Trek. This is as close as we can, on the comic side, to being canon. We will be canon until they un-canonize us. But we are working with the shows. We are in communication with the teams. We are encyclopedic Star Trek knowledge boys, so we're on Memory-Alpha all the time, but our brains are effectively little Memory-Alphas. We're already fed by all the canon that we grew up with, that being TOS to Voyager. So all of that stuff, if it was on the show, it's canon."

So, for the moment, Benjamin Sisko's return in Star Trek #1 is canon until a television series or film says differently. But an ongoing comic series working so closely with the shows currently on television suggests to me bigger plans for Ben Sisko down the line.

Lower Decks or Prodigy Like Animated Series:

What Captain Sisko Might Look Like in the Animated Style Art: SNP's Erik Canaria

This seems to be the most likely outcome, especially with all the hints and easter eggs Lower Decks has been dropping in its third season.

It's perhaps the most convenient way to bring Avery Brooks back into the fold. If Sisko was to come back in animated form, Brooks wouldn't necessarily have to commit to being a series lead if he didn't want to. It could be as simple as a cameo or a one-episode guest spot.

But a full animated run could also be a variety of different stories. For one, doing an eighth season of Deep Space Nine in animated form would certainly be fresh and unique. It could also strictly be a Sisko story, his reunion with Jake and Casidy and becoming a father all over again. As I said, the ways an Avery Brooks-led series could go are endless when it comes to animation.

Star Trek: Sisko: A Mini-Series or Limited Series Run:

It took Patrick Stewart a lot of convincing to return to the role of Jean-Luc Picard, but ultimately, he did come back, and for better or worse, having the character on television is better than not having him on television.

The same can be said, and I would say moreso for Benjamin Sisko. Any fan of Deep Space Nine will tell you that the abrupt ending to his story left too many questions not to be answered. A three-season or even six-episode live-action Sisko-led mini-series could give the character the proper send-off he and the rest of the Deep Space Nine crew deserve.

DS9 has been left in the dust, and fans have been asking for a revival for a couple of decades. The Next Generation had seven seasons, four movies, and now three seasons of Picard. Even Kate Mulgrew is back as Janeway in Star Trek Prodigy, and Voyager had a much better series finale than Deep Space Nine as far as wrapping things up. Like Picard, this kind of limited run series could give closure to Sisko, the return of Jadzia Dax in some form or another, a final farewell to Aron Eisenberg, and so much more. 

Deep Space Nine Season Eight:

Let's be real for one second here. This is the least likely scenario to occur. If you've seen the Deep Space Nine documentary, What We Left Behind, then you know Ron Moore and DS9 writers had a reunion and did a fantasy draft of what would happen in a Deep Space Nine eighth season premiere.

And it was pretty damn impressive. It had Captain Nog commanding the Defiant, Kira as a Vedek, Section 31, and of course, the return of Benjamin Sisko after nearly 20 years. You can't help but watch them come up with this fantastic story and not simultaneously swear them off for the fact that it will most likely never happen.

Elements could surely be taken from their pitch for either the animated and live-action series proposed above or perhaps used as an extremely condensed version in a Deep Space Nine film. Either way, too much has happened over the years, like the untimely passing of Aron Eisenberg and Rene Auberjonois, for an entire eighth season of the beloved series. 

Did I miss anything? Is there another medium you'd like to see Benjamin Sisko return in? Let me know in the comments, or use the contact for on our website to send me a message.

No matter which direction Benjamin Sisko's (and Avery Brooks') return ultimately goes, my feeling after taking the time to write this is stronger than ever; that moment is coming sooner than you think. After all, the man said it himself. "It's hard to say - maybe a year, maybe yesterday? But I will be back."