When Star Trek: Deep Space 9 killed off Jadzia Dax, a strong willed woman of skill, they replaced her with Ezri Dax, a very timid, undeveloped woman barely out of her teenage years and mentality. Why was the character designed as such instead of being a Captain Ersatz of Jadzia, the same in all but name? She still took over her predecessors role, but the change is jarring. What was the reasoning behind this casting change?

I ask this because most shows replace a character, for whatever reason (actor fired/quit most often), with an exact copy except for name.

I am looking for behind the scenes information, writer commentary or word of god. The in-universe events are clear and self-explanatory.

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    Not enough for an answer, but I ask this because most shows replace a character, for whatever reason (actor fired/quit most often), with an exact copy except for name. The exception would be when the character is completely "spent"; you have already told all the stories that this character can support (or the ratings are bad) so you want a different character with other characteristics that can give you the opportunity to develop new stories. Sometimes this is done by making the character go amnesic, changing allegiances, suffering an existential moment that changes the way they are...
    – SJuan76
    Sep 16, 2016 at 10:00
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    If you're going to literally replace a hugely beloved character, I can imagine making the replacement exactly the same is not likely to be a popular move. This decision made intuitive sense to me. If you're going to change the character, change the character. And it worked very well, both in terms of casting and in terms of plot. Sep 16, 2016 at 12:28
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit I'm guessing an example of what OP has in mind is Daniel Jackson and Jonas Quinn from Stargate SG-1
    – Izkata
    Sep 16, 2016 at 18:34
  • @Izkata: Indeed that's a good counter-example. Note that it rather substantially backfired on the producers, according to overwhelming fan response ;) Sep 16, 2016 at 18:35
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit It's just a guess, since he wasn't an "exact copy" - I had to think about when I've ever seen anything like what OP described. Quinn was different with: scientific field, physical ability, personality, not from earth... for me, he was more different from Jackson than Jackson was from Carter. Just not a very good character overall.
    – Izkata
    Sep 16, 2016 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


Well, remember that Trill hosts being super different was part of Dax's whole backstory - it was a pretty huge deal. Curzon Dax was very different from Jadzia Dax. And I'm pretty sure that Jadzia also wasn't a serial-killing psychopath, like Joran Dax. Plus, it was pretty well established in Star Trek: The Next Generation that in a situation like Jadzia's/Dax's - in which the host dies suddenly - that finding a replacement host is pretty much an emergency, and that it's not necessarily easy to transfer hosts. (The 1991 episode "The Host" is pretty much entirely about that.)

So it would've made sense for Dax's next host (Ezri) to pretty much be the nearest Trill that could be found to minimize the wait for a Trill host (the Next Generation episode establishes that a non-Trill host can only take the symbiont for so long). (As Izkata noted in the comments, Ezri states as much at one point.) Given that and the length, rigor, and selectivity of the training for humanoid Trill to become hosts, it made a lot of sense that the nearest available Trill for said emergency wasn't necessarily fully ready to become a host. (Hence a huge part of the awkwardness that seems to contrast with Jadzia - Jadzia had tons of prep for this, while Ezri's getting used to something that she was thrown into without the slightest bit of preparation.)

In short, given the nature of the show and the way that they'd portrayed Dax's history - not to mention Trill culture and biology - it's pretty logical to have the new host be her own person, which likely influenced how the writers decided to portray Ezri. I haven't found any specific non-plot-related reason for the personality change, but it made sense within the general Star Trek universe in general, and particularly within DS9 itself. (Plus, it made it more interesting than just making a carbon copy of Jadzia, in my humble opinion, but I don't have substantial evidence that any of the producers were thinking along those lines.)

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    TLDR - Ezri is Ezri, Jadzia is Jadzia, and Dax is just along for the ride as a backseat driver.
    – T.J.L.
    Sep 16, 2016 at 5:25
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    I've updated my question to make my intention more obvious, I'm looking for writer intention, but the in universe explanation
    – cde
    Sep 16, 2016 at 5:31
  • I also just updated mine to (hopefully) explain why I think this answer is still relevant.
    – ghostdog
    Sep 16, 2016 at 16:19
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    Note that your second paragraph is basically stated by Ezri at some point; that she was the only Trill around and had no training
    – Izkata
    Sep 16, 2016 at 18:39

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