Armin Shimerman Wanted Star Trek's Quark To 'Wipe Out' Past Ferengi Portrayals

Armin Shimerman has been with the "Star Trek" franchise for almost 35 years now, ever since he first appeared as a Ferengi named Letek in an early episode of "The Next Generation" season 1. That episode, "The Last Outpost," originally aired in October 1987, but Shimerman would rather you forget about it and his other early "Trek" appearances and just count forward from when he played the scheming Ferengi bartender Quark on "Deep Space Nine."

In "The Next Generation," Shimerman also played the non-Ferengi face on a Betazoid gift box in the later season 1 episode, "Haven." He would pop up again as a different Ferengi leader named Bractor in the season 2 episode "Peak Performance," but it wasn't until "Deep Space Nine" premiered in January 1993 that Shimerman really came into his own as a series regular by playing Quark. In a recent convention appearance at Fanboy Expo (via, Shimerman addressed his first "Star Trek" appearance and how he sought to erase it from people's minds during his time as Quark, saying:

"The change from the ['Next Generation'] Ferengi that I created, because I'm the actor for the main Ferengi in that first episode, to Quark and all the Ferengi that followed me — I so hated my performance in 'Next Generation.' [mocks hunched walk] That's what I did. This is how I played Letek, which is Richard III. But it was wrong. It was horrible. I've said this for years now, my whole agenda as Quark was to try to wipe out that performance from the 'Next Generation.' I was so one-dimensional. It was a horrible performance. The only thing good about it was the check didn't bounce."

'The Ferengi were the most human of creatures'

As a casual "Star Trek" fan, I had forgotten the Ferengi even appeared in "The Next Generation" and only remembered Quark and his brother, Rom (Max Grodénchik), from "Deep Space Nine." So I guess that means Armin Shimerman succeeded in obliterating the early appearances from at least one viewer's memory. Although of course, there may be some hardcore Trekkies who will never forget.

Whatever the case, the Ferengi were a profit-driven species, but Quark occasionally stepped outside those bounds and showed himself to be a more well-rounded character, willing to put the lives of others ahead of his financial gain. This went along with Shimerman's aim, as an actor, to make Quark three-dimensional, even human:

"For Quark my agenda was to try to make that one-dimensional creature into a three-dimensional person. You may not agree with me ... but the Ferengi were the most human of creatures on 'Star Trek.' You might not like the Ferengi, but a lot of the characteristics that the Ferengi had are very much human characters. And so I was very happy to do that."

Shimerman has done plenty of other acting work where he wasn't in alien makeup, such as when he played Principal Snyder in the first season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." However, to some fans, he will always be Quark — and not those other false Ferengi, Letek and Bractor, whose names you may have already forgotten even while reading this.