Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine writer Robert Hewitt Wolfe shared memories of his time on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine including setting up long term storylines, actor influence on storylines and lack of interference by the studio.
The writers of Deep Space Nine had more freedom than they found on some shows due to that lack of studio interference. “On Deep Space Nine, we got virtually no studio notes ever,” said Wolfe. “They largely just let us do what we wanted. Things went very smoothly.”
One thing that the writers realized rather quickly was that having the characters on a stationary space station as opposed to being on a traveling starship freed up the writers to create more serialized stories. “We very rapidly realized that being on a space station meant not ending stories every week,” said Wolfe. “If you’re on a starship, you leave the planet where the adventure is happening every week, and therefore…there isn’t a narrative pull towards revisiting those stories or it’s rarer. On our show, we never left, and the people we were dealing with didn’t either a lot of the time, so very quickly…we built towards more serialized storytelling. I think it’s something that was just a natural outgrowth of the premise.”
Some story elements had a longer lead time, and began their build up early in the series. According to Wolfe, these included the Bajoran religion and politics and the Dominion, which was set up beginning in the second season.
Other story elements developed as a result of the actors themselves, including the Odo-Kira romance. Odo’s scenes were played with “this admiration and longing for her that we picked up on very quickly,” said Wolfe, “and [we] thought, ‘Well, OK, that’s a great relationship too…we’ll run with that.’”
More can be heard on the podcast, located here, including Wolfe’s thoughts on working with Michael Piller and Ira Steven Behr, for which characters the writers most enjoyed writing, how Nog went from Ferengi son to Federation cadet and Wolfe’s most recent work, Alphas.