Star Trek: Lower Decks Features A Cameo From One Of The Franchise's Greatest Background Players

The activity center of the eponymous space station on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" was called the Promenade, a circular walkway where tourists and officers alike could socialize, buy things at any number of shops, attend school, and even worship at a small Bajoran chapel. The most happening spot on the Promenade was Quark's Bar, a somewhat unsavory tavern/gambling hall/holographic brothel run by the clever and ambitious Ferengi Quark (Armin Shimerman). Quark was frustrated by the constant visits from the station's Starfleet officers, as Starfleet seemed to operate in a post-capitalistic milieu and Quark was spiritually devoted to the acquisition of wealth. 

Thanks to various war efforts and political upheaval, business wasn't always good at Quark's, but he managed to keep his business running thanks to the tenacity of some of his regulars. Also his willingness to exploit workers, dock wages, and generally be a greedy boss.

No matter how bad things got, however, Quark's Bar would always be occupied by a silent character that looked a little bit like an unhappy walrus. And in the latest episode of "Star Trek: Lower Decks," which takes place at Deep Space Nine years after the events of the series, sees his return in animated cameo-form. This is Morn (Mark Allan Shepherd), who was, according to "The Star Trek Encyclopedia." named after Norm from "Cheers." While Morn was conceived as a background figure to occupy space behind a scene's action, he eventually captured the imaginations of the "Deep Space Nine" writers, and it wouldn't take long before Morn was granted a fascinating backstory. 


According to dialogue in multiple "Deep Space Nine" episodes, the bad and sad-faced Morn once had hair, and has slowly gone bald over the course of his tenure at Quark's. He seemed to be in a constant state of inebriation, and  everyone had quickly accumulated a Morn story off-camera. On the special features of the DVD for the seventh season of DS9, Morn was said to have lines of dialogue, but they would invariably be cut. In one episode, audiences heard Morn laughing, but that's the only time anyone heard his voice. 

Morn appeared in the background of 93 episodes of "Deep Space Nine," one episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (the one where the Enterprise docked at DS9), and the pilot episode of "Star Trek: Voyager." He became beloved merely by ubiquity, and speculation as to who he was ran rampant. As such, Morn became almost a supporting character on the show, even if he never — with one notable exception — became central to the plot. 

The one notable exception was the sixth season episode "Who Mourns for Morn?" (February 4, 1998) in which Morn dies. Quark is destitute without his most loyal customer, and offers Morn's stool to a new patron, a Bajoran man also played by — in a cute casting twist — Mark Allan Shepherd. 

Morn, it turns out, was incredibly wealthy, and bequeathed his fortune to Quark. The reason Morn was wealthy, however, was that he was once a key player in the infamous Lissepian Mother's Day Heist many years prior. Morn, it turns out, had hidden the entire take, and took to hiding out in Quark's Bar for years, hoping to avoid being tracked down by his heist associates.

Who Mourns for Morn?

It's certainly hilarious that the writers on "Deep Space Nine" finally conceived of a story starring Morn, only to remove him from the episode completely. Morn dies, and his heist associates immediately begin hounding Quark for their share of the take. Quark, quite taken aback that Morn had any money at all, had to fend off their threats and/or advances. It was only due to Quark's cunning and luck that he escaped unscathed. 

The episode ends with Morn's associates being apprehended and Morn himself — rather surprisingly — returning to Quark's Bar. Morn, it seems, faked his own death, knowing that the statute of limitations on the Mother's Day Heist was set to expire soon. If he waited long enough, and kept the money for himself, Morn could legally keep the entire take.

It should be noted that money in the world of "Deep Space Nine" takes the form of gold-pressed latinum, a scant amount of precious liquid metal sealed in hand-sized bricks or strips or slips of otherwise-worthless gold. Morn managed to extract the latium from its gold casing and stored a huge amount of it in his second stomach. The episode ends with Morn regurgitating a small amount of latinum into a glass to demonstrate his clever subterfuge. It's not without consequences, however. Having liquid metal in his stomach for many years caused Morn to lose his hair and age prematurely. The years of booze helped to alleviate the discomfort.

Morn, then, went straight back to drinking. We love you, Morn.

Morn, it seems, hasn't budged since the events of the final episode of "Deep Space Nine." Or, if one wishes to be imaginative, he did depart, went on a years-long adventure, and returned. 

Coming to Paramount+ in 2024: "Star Trek: Morn."