What are the Changelings and what is the Great Link? After a long absence, the Changelings are back in Star Trek.
In Star Trek Picard season 3 episode 3, Seven of Nine and Jack Crusher discovered a Changeling onboard Captain Shaw‘s USS Titan. Then, Raffi and Worf found one too.
So the Changelings look set to play a big role in the new Star Trek series, and could be connected to our villain Vadic and her ship the Shrike. Still, it’s been a while since we last saw them so here’s everything you need to know about the Changelings, the Great Link, and more now that they’ve returned in Star Trek Picard season 3.
What are the Changelings?
Changelings are a shape-shifting alien species from the Gamma Quadrant. Their ability to change form, and their intelligence, allowed them to cement great power for themselves especially during the 24th century.
The Changelings became the founders of the Dominion – which was a huge galactic power akin to the Federation – brining together species like the Vorta, Jem’Hadar, Karemma, and later the Cardassians. The wormhole at Deep Space Nine led them to the Alpha Quadrant, where they would begin the Dominion war in an attempt to gain more power across the galaxy.
The Changelings were ultimately defeated, not least through the help of the Changeling Odo who served as the chief of security aboard Deep Space Nine.
Who is Odo in Star Trek?
Odo was a Changeling and one of the main Star Trek characters on Deep Space Nine. He served as the chief of security, where he tracked down smugglers and criminals and all other general bad-folk.
His character took on a greater importance in the Dominion war arc as his loyalties to Deep Space Nine – and Kira in particular – were tested by his links to the Changelings. He eventually infected the Great Link with a morphogenic virus, ending the Dominion war, before returning to the Great Link himself to spread the cure.
What is the Great Link?
The Great Link was where the Changelings existed in their natural liquid form. In this form, in the Great Link, they were able to intermingle and connect with one another without taking on solid shape.
The experience of the Great Link provided the Changelings with meaning, and Changelings were drawn to it to rest and recover. Odo ultimately re-joined the Great Link after the end of the Dominion war.
What happened to the Changelings after DS9?
After the events of the Dominion War and the finale of Deep Space Nine, the Changelings were cured by Odo who returned to the Great Link. The Changelings appeared to be subdued, no longer eager for war after suffering heavy losses.
Now, it appears that they’re back in Star Trek Picard season 3. Worf explained to Raffi that some terrorist sect of Changelings has splintered off from the Great Link, and seems intent on seeking revenge on Starfleet and the Federation. And, for some reason, it looks like an integral part of their plan involves the capture of Jack Crusher.
That’s all on the Changelings for now but we’ll learn more as Star Trek Picard season 3 progresses. For more on the show, check out our Star Trek Picard season 3 review, or take a look at our guide to Rachel Garrett and the Red Lady.