The hugely emotional ending of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine asks whether a potential Jake Sisko (Cirroc Lofton) tragedy ever became a reality. The father-son relationship between Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) and Jake is the best in all of Star Trek. Widowed by the Battle of Wolf 359, Sisko dedicated his life to raising his young son into the man he had become by the DS9 finale. The paternal relationship between Ben and Jake was reflected in the bond formed by actors Avery Brooks and Cirroc Lofton during the making of DS9.
Avery Brooks’ determination to positively present Black fatherhood led him to request a single change to Sisko’s exit. Uncomfortable with the idea of Star Trek‘s first Black lead abandoning his unborn child, he requested that Sisko promise to return from the Temple. Tragically, “What You Leave Behind” also separated Ben and Jake, with the former giving his life to save Bajor and serve the Prophets in the Celestial Temple. As Star Trek: Deep Space Nine drew to a close, Jake was seen staring out at the wormhole, waiting for his father to return. Jake’s grief was an upsetting reminder of DS9‘s acclaimed season 4 episode, “The Visitor”.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 4 Foreshadowed Sisko’s Fate
In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 4, episode 3, “The Visitor”, a rare wormhole inversion caused Captain Sisko to be lost in the line of duty. As Jake struggled with his grief, he repeatedly saw visions of his father, and became determined to bring him back. Jake’s obsession with reuniting with his father took up the rest of his life, forcing him to abandon his passion for writing to instead pursue a career in the sciences. To save his father from being lost forever to a freak temporal accident, the elderly Jake Sisko (Tony Todd) took his own life to sever the connection and snap Ben back to the Defiant.
The elderly Jake’s death aborted this potential timeline, but it didn’t stop Benjamin Sisko from eventually being claimed by the wormhole. As Jake stood awaiting the return of his father in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s finale, it’s hard not to worry that he may follow a similar path to his older self from “The Visitor”. However, the Jake Sisko who lost his father on the Defiant was a very different person to the grown man standing on DS9’s promenade in the finale.
How Jake Sisko Could Avoid DS9’s Visitor Tragedy
In “The Visitor”, Jake Sisko was still a young man finding his way in the world, who got dragged under by the sudden loss of his father. In chasing Ben’s temporal echo and returning him to the present, Jake found the purpose and direction that he thought he needed. He’s in a very different place in “What You Leave Behind”: he visited the battlefields of the Dominion War, lived under Cardassian occupation on DS9, and embarked on a career as a journalist. Although the loss of his father is tragic, Jake has matured and has a better grasp of the galactic importance of Sisko as Bajor’s Emissary.
More than that, Jake has familial responsibilities that he simply did not have in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 4. In “The Visitor” Jake and Ben were still a tight-knit father-son duo but by the DS9 finale they’re part of an expanding Sisko family unit. Jake can’t sacrifice his life to await his father’s return because he has responsibilities as a brother to Ben and Kassidy’s unborn child. A stronger family unit, and a better understanding of who he is as a man will have stopped Jake from drowning in his own grief as he did in “The Visitor”.
Jake Sisko’s Star Trek Return Could Continue The Sisko Story
By establishing May 22nd as The Sisko Day, actor Cirroc Lofton and his 7th Rule podcast are continuing to celebrate the legacy of one of Star Trek‘s most complex Captains. Lofton’s return to Star Trek could celebrate this legacy in-universe as well. Sisko’s next generation could be a big part of either Terry Matalas’ proposed Star Trek: Legacy or a potential Star Trek: Deep Space Nine revival. As a writer and journalist, Jake Sisko could continue to tell the story of Captain Benjamin Sisko, hero of the Dominion War and Emissary to the Prophets, ensuring that his father is never forgotten.
These stories would also provide some solace to Sisko’s son or daughter, who may have grown up without ever meeting their father. It’s unlikely that Sisko wouldn’t have found some way to keep an eye on his family from the Celestial Temple, but such visits would be fleeting. The reasons why Captain Sisko hasn’t returned to Star Trek are likely a mixture of fear at ruining Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s perfect ending and Avery Brooks’ apparent disinterest in revisiting the role. However, even if Avery Brooks can’t be persuaded to return as Sisko, Cirroc Lofton’s return as Jake could continue the story of the Emissary in Star Trek‘s future.