Deep Space Nine's Armin Shimerman Is Still Apologizing For His Earliest Star Trek Performance, And Hopes His Time As Quark Helped 'Eradicate' It

A sizable number of actors who’ve appeared in the Star Trek TV shows and movies have played more than one role. Take Armin Shimerman; while he’s unquestionably best known in the franchise for playing Quark during the entirety of Deep Space Nine, prior to joining that series, he appeared in a handful of The Next Generation episodes as other Ferengi characters, including Letek in “The Last Outpost,” the series’ fifth episode. However, Shimerman doesn’t look back fondly as this particular Trek role, and has gone so far as to apologize for the performance and express hope that his time as Quark helped “eradicate” it.

The actor shared these sentiments while appearing on The Shuttlepod Show to discuss his experience working on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Season 2’s 10th episode, “The House of Quark.” Clarifying that he didn’t have any issues with “The Last Outpost” itself, Shimerman explained why he regrets his acting choices for Letek as follows:

I apologize for that first episode. Not the episode, my performance. Letek was the character, the Ferengi’s name was Letek, and it was nothing like what I was told they wanted. I’m the one that screwed up. It’s all my fault. I take responsibility. The Ferengi, originally, were meant to be the new Klingons. We were supposed to be threatening, we were supposed to be a menace to the Federation, we were supposed to be everything that the Klingons were and more. And I had the largest Ferengi part on that episode… I thought I played it seriously, but I failed miserably.

“The Last Outpost” introduced the Ferengi to the Star Trek mythology, with Jake Dengel, Tracey Walter and Mike Gomez also playing members of that alien race. Armin Shimerman is correct that initially her Ferengi were meant to serve as major antagonists in The Next Generation, akin to how the Klingons and Romulans were used in Star Trek: The Original Series. However, that didn’t end up coming to pass, with the Ferengi ultimately being used in more humorous capacities for the remainder of The Next Generation’s run. For his part, Shimerman acknowledged that he failed in his attempt to play Letek seriously, even acknowledging that the characters’ “hunchback and limp” added to “how bad the performance was.” He continued:

I am so enormously embarrassed by that performance. And all of Quark, my whole agenda for seven years, was to eradicate that Next Generation performance.

Armin Shimerman would later play DaiMon Bractor in Season 2’s “The Peak Performance,” but it was his seven-season stint as Quark on Deep Space Nine, plus guest appearances as the same character on The Next Generation and Voyager, where he truly got to shine within the Star Trek franchise. In fact, Deep Space Nine benefitted the entire Ferengi species as a whole, fleshing out them past simply being comic relief and delving into the nuances of their society and culture. Other notable Ferengi characters on Deep Space Nine included Quark’s brother Rom, played by Max Grodénchik, his nephew Nog, the first Ferengi to join Starfleet, played by the late Aron Eisenberg.

While Shimerman hasn’t played Quark onscreen in nearly two and a half decades, he did vocally reprise the role in last year’s Lower Decks episode that paid tribute to Deep Space Nine, “Hear All, Trust Nothing,” which also featured Nana Visitor back as Kira Nerys. That series, along with all the other Star Trek TV shows and movies, can be streamed with a Paramount+ subscription. To learn what’s currently airing or will premiere soon, head to our 2023 TV schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.