Monday, 9 December 2019

Rene Auberjonois: In Memoriam

With news earlier last week of the passing of Charlie X actor Robert Walker it was perhaps an even more shocking blow to the Star Trek community to hear of the loss of Deep Space Nine’s Rene Auberjonois.

Already an acclaimed actor with credits such as M*A*S*H and a huge catalogue of voice work, he would first be exposed to the franchise not in 1993 but in 1991 and The Undiscovered Country which celebrated 28 years since release on December 6th. 

His part, that of the conspiratorial Colonel West would be clipped from the theatrical release but be reinstated for the video release the following year. 

Over the course of seven seasons we would become better acquainted with the actor through his role as shapeshifter and station security chief Odo in a role that would be pivotal to the whole series and offer an incredible character development arc that ‘stretched’ from the first episode to the last - but we shall come to that shortly.

Nor would the role of Odo be his last role in the Star Trek universe with Auberjonois returning one more time for the Enterprise episode Oasis as well as appearing in the recent Deep Space Nine retrospective What We Left Behind.

Behind the camera Auberjonois would direct a further eight episodes of the Star Trek spin-off including Hippocratic Oath, The Quickening and Waltz.

In memory of Rene we at Some Kind of Star Trek would like to offer up some of our favourite Odo moments from the series to celebrate his work on Deep Space Nine...

1. Odo becomes a solid; 

Broken Link

While it would be season three’s finale The Adversary that saw a Changeling harm another for the first time in their history, it would take a season for the punishment to be dished out. Guilty of the crime, Odo is stripped of his ability to shape shift and Auberjonois has a whole new aspect of his character to deal with. Great work from Rene here as Odo becomes increasingly ill and realises what he must do...The resulting change in "form" lasted for the following half a season, allowing Auberjonois a chance to spread his wings under Klingon makeup as well as an occasional romance.

2. Finally kissing Kira; 

His Way

Only taken like six seasons?! Years of tension, suggestion and sideways looks all came together on the Promenade. One of the few occasions Rene got to play a softer and more intimate side to his character more openly than ever before - plus he got the girl! I'd also couple this episode with Auberjonois' more relaxed Odo from the future featured in Children of Time which saw him confess all to Kira and lead to this a season later.

3. Unable to break form; 

The Die is Cast

Broken Link may have seen Odo weakened but this was Odo at his most vulnerable, being tortured at the hands of Garak aboard the Cardassian/Romulan assault fleet. Truly a mesmerising performance between Auberjonois and Andrew Robinson that has to be beheld and is one of the pinnacles of the show overall especially when we discover that Odo wants desperately to return home - perhaps the only time we ever really see him crack...

4. "I’m...home"; 

The Search

Single biggest character development EVER just ahead of Bashir turning out to be either a)Changeling or b)genetic superman. Auberjonois wasn’t a fan initially but this gave Odo such a new lease of life and spun the character into a whole new realm that would be instrumental in the structure of Deep Space Nine up to its very conclusion.

5. Quark and Odo; 

(multiple inc) The Ascent

The relationship between these two was immense and putting the two of them together for a full episode was definitely the way to explore it even more. I could've listed a whole ton of moments here from the last conversation they have in What You Leave Behind, maybe Quark showing he does care when Odo is escorted to the Defiant in Broken Link, Odo's masked concerns in Necessary an episode and you can see the brilliance of this partnership all the way through the show.

6. Curzon Odo; 


When is Odo not Odo? When he's taking part in a Trill ritual and gets to host Curzon Dax. Maybe not strictly an Odo moment but one that allowed Auberjonois' the chance to step outside the usual restrictions of the character and play out a little more humour and emotion. 

7. Could it be...?; 


Auberjonois first foray into the background - or potential background - of Odo which revealed a more caring and human side than we had seen in the first half of season one. While Vortex isn't going to win any awards, it does allow Odo and Rene to shine and demonstrate that there were a lot of dimensions to the shapeshifter although we'd have to wait a little longer to find out just where he came from... (thanks to James Smith from the Stoke on Trent Star Trek Club for this suggestion).

What are your favourite Odo moments from the series? Comment below!

RIP Rene Auberjonois 
1 June 1940 - 8 December 2019


  1. Oh no, not another one. What is going on lately? First D.C. Fontana, then Robert Walker, now Rene Auberjonois. I don't think I can take another loss of the Star Trek family. I'd like to think of Dr. McCoys' quote in ST II:TWOK, but pluralized, " They're really not dead, as long as we remember them. "

    1. Totally agree there. real shocker of a week and let's not forget Marina Sirtis' husband as well. Bad time for fans - but Trek has made them all immortal!

  2. Great list dude, agreed with all of your selections for finest Odo moments. Ive always been a fan of the Quark/Odo scene in The Search Part 1, inside Quarks room on the Defiant.

    "I have no interest in your witless prattle!". I always loved how Rene used his voice as a performer and what a crucial element it was to his portrayal of Odo.

    Got to meet him in 2014 - Luckily - and he was a gentleman.

    1. Thanks! That one had come to mind as had many, many other Quark/Odo moments - maybe that's a future article right there! I could've picked a load more including Children of Time, The Adversary, even Heart of Stone which is a clunker of an ep but brilliant for Rene's performance.