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Star Trek: DS9's Nana Visitor Thought Major Kira Would Only Be One-Off Character

"Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" follows the lives of those on board its titular space station, a remote outpost operated through a partnership between the United Federation of Planets and the nearby Bajoran government. That makes Major Kira Nerys, Deep Space Nine's liaison to Bajor, played by Nana Visitor, one of the show's most important characters, especially since her people have been under siege by the Cardassian Empire. But according to Visitor, she originally mistook the part for a one-off.

In a 2011 interview with the "Star Trek" official blog, Visitor explained the confusion she underwent after securing the role. Though she understood that the part was unique and filled with potential, she told the publication, "I had no sense that she was a lead character. None. I thought that Kira was a one-off. I thought she was a guest star role."

Visitor didn't even realize the character was a woman, at first, because of how nontraditionally the character of Kira was written on the page. "I actually didn't know it was a woman," Visitor said. "I wasn't sure that it was a woman because it didn't sound like a woman."

Nana Visitor landed the DS9 audition during a stressful career period

According to "Deep Space Nine" actor Nana Visitor, one reason she didn't realize she had secured a lead role on the show was that the job arrived during a professionally tumultuous period of her life, when she was auditioning constantly. Though unsure precisely why she hadn't noticed that the role was a regular one, she said, "Frankly, at the time, I was auditioning for three shows a day some days. So it was that time in TV when a lot of a pilots were being made, and I was at a prime age and place in my life to be up for a lot of them."

But whether she immediately realized it or not, Visitor had scored a role that would occupy her for the next seven years. Often hailed as a high point for "Star Trek" and one of the best sci-fi shows of the '90s, "Deep Space Nine" ran for as many seasons from 1993 to 1999, with Major Kira being a, well, major part of the show for its duration. According to Visitor, she felt as though she fit perfectly in the role—an opinion with which fans overwhelmingly concur—telling the "Star Trek" blog, "It just resonated with me so deeply. It was like putting on an outfit and thinking, 'Yeah, this is mine. I've worn it before. It fits me perfectly.'"