Monday, September 30, 2013

Character Insight No. 68: The Bajoran Wormhole

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe.  An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight!  This week, we profile yet another inanimate object with plenty of character, the Bajoran Wormhole from Deep Space 9.

Bajoran wormhole

The Bajoran Wormhole is the only known stable artifical wormhole in the Star Trek galaxy. This wormhole was created by the Prophets, a powerful set of beings that the Bajoran people come to worship. The Prophets themselves give this wormhole more than enough character to sustain multiple stories during the Deep Space 9 series.

The Bajoran Wormhole connects the Bajor system in the Alpha Quadrant to the Idran system in the Gamma Quadrant. That connection allows the incursion of the Dominion into the Alpha Quadrant in one of the better story arcs of this series.

Indeed, the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole and how to open it by Benjamin Sisko and Jadzia Dax changed their posting on DS9 from a quiet outpost on the edge of Federation space into a hotbed of activity. The activity was not all bad, as exploration and trade boomed thanks to the new connection to a whole new zone full of different foreheads of the week. In my opinion, that saved this show by giving it an injection of exploring the Final Frontier, a must-have feature of any Star Trek.

In one memorable moment, the wormhole was temporarily destroyed by Dukat acting on behalf of the Pah-wraiths as he tried to force the Prophets out. However, the Celestial Temple of the Prophets proves to have at least nine lives as Sisko and company find yet another Bajoran Orb to rekindle the wormhole again.

In lieu of a notable quote, here is the great sound effect associated with the wormhole opening: 

 Bajoran wormhole opening
The visual effects that make up the Bajoran Wormhole were created by Rhythm & Hues, an early CGI pioneer. That effect took 14 weeks to complete, but turned into the signature digital effect of its time. That company continued to work on television and movie blockbusters all the way until making the Academy Award-winning visual effects for The Life of Pi in 2012. The company was broken up this year.

Thanks to @chefrevelry on Twitter for the unique suggestion!

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