Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s Cirroc Lofton Explains Why He’s ‘Conflicted’ About ‘Far Beyond The Stars’ Still Resonating So Strongly With Fans

Cirroc Lofton and Avery Brooks in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Far Beyond the Stars"
(Image credit: Paramount)

Star Trek is a sci-fi franchise rooted firmly in the future, but every now and then we get Trek stories that are set in the past, whether we’re talking about whatever the contemporary period is or even further back. Usually this is a result of characters traveling back through time or being engaged in a holodeck program, but the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Far Beyond the Stars” was a special case, as this story saw Avery Brooks’ Benjamin Sisko dreaming that he was a science fiction writer living in 1953 America. Nearly 25 years after it originally aired, this Deep Space Nine episode still resonates strongly with fans, but series lead Cirroc Lofton feels “conflicted” about its beloved status.

Just like all the other main Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actors, and even a few of the recurring ones, Cirroc Lofton played a different role in “Far Beyond the Stars,” bringing to life a young hustler named Jimmy who knew Avery Brooks’ Benny Russell. When I asked Lofton, who co-hosts the Trek-centric podcast The 7th Rule these days with Ryan Husk, how he felt about “Far Beyond the Stars” still being so popular among Deep Space Nine fans, the Jake Sisko actor started off by saying how there was an “electricity” when they shot the episode, particularly because Brooks also directed it, and he had “this enthusiastic, kind of contagious energy about him.” Lofton then shared his mixed feelings about the episode’s reception these days:

I feel conflicted about looking back on it after all these years later. On one hand, I’m happy that it’s still memorable and that the impact of the message resonates when you watch it, and that you do feel a certain type of way when you see those things transpire. It does pull on some kind of emotional feelings that we all have for when we see injustice and being treated in certain ways. But the other part of it that I’m not so thrilled about is that episode was talking about the 1950s in America, specifically dealing with the issue of police brutality against African Americans in America. And that issue, unfortunately, is something we still see in the headlines today, and that’s the part of it I wish was something more of past tense than as far as current in the headlines. So yeah, I wish it was like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s how it used to be, that’s how it was,’ but unfortunately, it’s more like, ‘That’s how it is.’

From when Star Trek: The Original Series originally on NBC from 1966 to 1969, this franchise has never shied away from delivering social commentary to viewers, and “Far Beyond the Stars” is one of the best examples of this. Taking place right before the Civil Rights movement officially kicked off, this Deep Space Nine episode showed Benny Russell struggling living life as a Black man, from his editor refusing to publish his latest story because his protagonist is also Black, to, as Cirroc Lofton pointed out, dealing with police brutality. On the one hand, Lofton is appreciative that Star Trek fans like “Far Beyond the Stars” so much, but he’s also disappointed that African Americans are still having to deal the kind of racism presented in this episode, as opposed to this being something that had been stopped a long time ago.

“Far Beyond the Stars” is an especially mind-twisty episode, because along with all of Benjamin Sisko’s closest allies and a few enemies being represented as humans in Benny Russell’s life, but his sci-fi story is about the Deep Space Nine saga. I won’t spoil what happens to Benny, but by the end of the episode, though it’s left ambiguous what caused Sisko’s vivid dreams, they clearly left him shaken. “Far Beyond the Stars” is frequently ranked as one of the best episodes in the Star Trek franchise, but one can’t blame Cirroc Lofton for wishing that the subject material wasn’t as relevant to real life anymore.

My conversation with Cirroc Lofton also included getting his thoughts on Lower DecksDeep Space Nine tribute episode “Hear All, Trust Nothing,” his recollection of Tony Todd playing the older Jake Sisko in “The Visitor” and how he felt about René Auberjonois’ Odo being included in the Prodigy episode “Kobayashi.” You can stream Deep Space Nine and the other Star Trek shows to your heart’s content with a Paramount+ subscription, and those of you interested in listening to The 7th Rule can look forward to the hosts delving into The Next Generation at the start of 2023.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.