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The Star Trek franchise has had its share of bizarre and crazy episodes, but if Star Trek: Deep Space Nine showrunner Ira Steven Behr had gotten his way, his show would've ended with perhaps the strangest episode of them all. Behr recently revealed his plan for the series finale was actually tied into the Season 6 episode "Far Beyond The Stars," where Benjamin Sisko became a 1950s science fiction writer named Benny Russell. Behr enjoyed the premise of the episode and its subject matter so much he wanted the series' conclusion to be the revelation that the whole adventure happened in Russell's mind:
I did pitch to Rick Berman that the final episode would end up with Benny Russell on Stage 17 at Paramount, wandering around the soundstages, realizing that this whole construct, this whole series, that we had done for seven years, was just in Benny's head. That is how I wanted to end the series. And Rick said 'Does this mean The Original Series was in Benny's head? Does this mean Voyager was in Benny's head?' I said 'Hey man, I don't care who is dreaming those shows, I only care about Deep Space Nine and yes, Benny Russell is dreaming Deep Space Nine.' He didn't go for it.
The pitched episode certainly would've made for one of the most mind-blowing finales a Star Trek series has pulled off, but Star Trek: Deep Space Nine executive producer Rick Berman wasn't comfortable with it. Making the events of Deep Space Nine the figment of a writer from the 1950s' imagination would open up a whole can of worms that the franchise would not have been able to dismiss so easily. Ira Steven Behr may not have been so concerned about that, although Berman --and I'd assume it's safe to say a sizable chunk of the fans -- would've taken issue with it.
Ira Steven Behr said Benny Russell would've only been dreaming up Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in his explanation to attendees of Star Trek Las Vegas (via Trek Movie), but there are several callbacks and references in the series that would only be able to be explained as part of his imagination as well. Several cast members from other Star Trek shows, particularly Star Trek: The Next Generation appeared in Deep Space Nine. On top of that, the show featured a score of alien races and plotlines that tied into prior shows to the point that calling Russell's imaginative storyline a coincidence would've been a little far-fetched. Of course, at the end of the day, the entire franchise is a work of fiction, but it sounds like Star Trek's head honchos weren't interested in the showrunner's idea becoming canon.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fans can watch the actual finale of the show on Netflix or CBS All Access. For a look at what's happening in the world of more current television, visit our fall premiere guide.