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Worf’s hidden story after TNG and DS9 is genuinely heartbreaking

Worf is one of the best Star Trek characters ever, and an absolute fan favorite too. But, his backstory before Picard season 3 is completely heartbreaking.

Michael Dorn as Worf in Star Trek TNG

Throughout Star Trek history, it’s hard to think of many characters who’ve had a rougher, tougher time than Worf. Through a lot of his life, he’s gone from one tragedy to another, and it’s those events that have shaped him into one of the most complex – and beloved – characters in the franchise.

Seriously, think about it. From Star Trek TNG, we know that Worf’s parents were killed in a Romulan massacre on the Khitomer colony. Raised next to human children, he was shunned by his peers and had a lonely, difficult childhood.

The mother of his child, K’Ehleyr (one of the best Star Trek characters despite only two appearances) was killed while she was aboard the USS Enterprise-D, and Worf was later forced to take responsibility for the corruption and disgrace of the Duras family in order to protect the Klingon Empire. Then in the Star Trek series DS9 his next partner, Jadzia, is killed too.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg; the man really can’t catch a break. Now, thanks to a deleted scene from Star Trek Picard season 3 (hidden away in the extras section of the DVD, Blu-ray, and Steelbook release via Gizmodo) we know that the tragedy continues. The deleted scene, in which Worf opens up to his fellow Star Trek captain and former comrade Riker, comes from the moment in season 3 when Worf, Riker, and Raffi broke into Daystrom Station in order to recover the remains of Data.

Riker asks Worf to explain what happened to him during the years following the Dominion War. We already know that Worf became the Federation ambassador to the Klingon Empire, but at some point that occupation ended, and Worf began to take on more covert work and look to pacifism. In the scene, Worf explains exactly what caused the change.

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“I have hunted Changelings for decades now, slaying with certainty villains with innocent faces. I have done this alone for fear my friends may be false. I have distrusted those I loved most and suspected everyone I’ve known. I have done this diligently until the day I plunged my blade into the heart of a woman who was just that: a woman.”

He continued, “As she passed she begged to understand. To my terror, I was incapable of explaining. I was wrong. I had killed many, but never an innocent. So, I swore to temper myself; my rage, my suspicions, for what I could not repay.”

Well, that explains it then. Worf must have abandoned his role as an ambassador in order to begin a quest to hunt down rogue Changelings during the Dominion War, and the fact that he led to the death of an innocent woman was what shaped his story in the Star Trek timeline post-TNG and DS9, turning him into the Worf we meet in Picard season 3. Clearly, Worf’s a magnet for tragedy.

While the other members of the Star Trek The Next Generation cast who return in Picard season 3 are all different to when we last met them, none had changed so much as Worf and now we know precisely why. Hopefully, if Worf ever returns to Star Trek again (and Colm Meaney has said he’d be up for a Worf series) the character could have a slightly happier story to tell.

For more on Star Trek, check out our guide on how to watch the Star Trek movies in order. You can also read our feature on why the TNG movies were doomed to fail, or see our picks for the best Star Trek starships before keeping up with the development on the Star Trek Legacy release date. If you want to swap sci-fi franchises, check out what’s going on with Avatar 3, or see what’s new on Paramount Plus.