Nana Visitor Talks Deep Space Nine and the “Truth” of Major Kira

When you talk about strong female characters, one of the first that will always come to mind for Star Trek fans is Major Kira Nerys, the feisty first officer on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Actor Nana Visitor recently spoke to about the upcoming DS9 documentary What We Left Behind, and spoke about her role on the show, and how Major Kira might be received, were the show made today.

Major Kira was in the Bajoran Resistance during the Cardassian occupation, before becoming Bajoran liaison officer on Deep Space 9. One of her key character points in the show was that she was a freedom fighter, or a terrorist, depending on who you ask. When asked if she would play that character differently to a modern audience, she said: “I think what would be interesting if it was done now, is what the writers would do and say, and the opportunity they would have to to make certain points about freedom fighting or terrorism, however you want to speak of her. But my truth would be the same. The human truth of having post-traumatic stress, and recovering from that, and all the personhood questions that she had.”

Part of Major Kira’s arc was her faith, which was unusual, if not unheard of, for a main-cast Star Trek character up to that point. She had backlash at conventions for her portrayal of faith at the time, with fans telling her they “didn’t want to see that”. But she also said that that has changed since then, and that with the advent of streaming, the audience gets a “whole different truth” to what they were trying to do with those aspects of the show.

Visitor also goes into detail about the part of the documentary where she reveals that she was angry when Deep Space Nine’s writers wanted a romance between her and Gul Dukat. She said: “We can go through the horrendous war criminals in every part of the world. Just name the one that chills you to the bone, that's who Gul Dukat was to me. [...] To find a love relationship, or a physical relationship, with him was unspeakable and unthinkable to me. I think that Damar and Kira towards Season Seven could have gotten involved. That would have been something different, but not Gul Dukat. Never him.”

The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine documentary What We Left Behind comes to theatres for one day only, next Monday, May 13th.

Alison Pitt