Final Frontier Friday: 'The Maquis, Part I'

Welcome to this week’s ‘Final Frontier Friday’! It’s been a while, but it’s time to turn our attention back to ‘Deep Space Nine’. And what better way to do that than with a look at the first half of the landmark second season two-parter ‘The Maquis’?

Despite often overlapping in terms of broadcast runs, production staff, and their placement in the in-story chronology, the ‘Star Trek’ shows of the nineties tended to avoid “proper” crossovers of the sort that audiences have come to expect from shared universe franchises since the release of the first ‘Avengers’ movie. I suspect this was a practical choice as much as anything else. After all, despite all that the shows had in common, television was much more episodic in nature and individual shows were much more standalone than might be expected today. Put another way, the sort of annual crossover extravaganza that ‘Arrow’ and its various spinoffs indulge in were quite simply unheard of at the time. And that, of course, is in addition to the fact that ‘Voyager’ and ‘Deep Space Nine’ – the two that spent the greatest amount of time in concurrent production – were set on opposite sides of the galaxy.

But that’s not to say that there weren’t storylines that weaved their way between the various shows. And one of the most notable of those was the introduction of the Maquis. By early 1994, ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ was wrapping up its run and development was underway on the show that would become ‘Star Trek: Voyager’. Part of the successor show’s core concept revolved around the integration of two crews – one of Starfleet officers, one of misfit renegades (described by ‘Voyager’ producer Jeri Taylor as “idealistic freedom fighters that the Federation felt were outlaws”. Those renegades would eventually be developed into the Maquis. Named for a World War II-era French resistance group, the Maquis consisted of Federation colonists and sympathetic former Starfleet officers who took matters into their own hands when their homes were ceded to the Cardassians following a territorial dispute.

Of course, for their presence on ‘Voyager’ to have any significance to the audience, it would help if the Maquis were an established presence. And so, beginning with the ‘TNG’ installment ‘Journey’s End’, the franchise’s writers began setting up the political situation that would give rise to the Maquis before properly introducing them on ‘Deep Space Nine’. Once established, the Maquis appeared in the penultimate ‘Next Generation’ episode and made several follow-up appearances on ‘Deep Space Nine’ before the launch of ‘Voyager’. From there, ‘DS9’ continued to develop (and ultimately resolved) the larger Maquis storyline while ‘Voyager’ adopted a more personal, character-focused approach, necessitated by their total isolation from whatever ‘DS9’ was doing at any given time. But we’re not here to discuss the resolution of the Maquis story, are we? No, this is about its beginning…