Rene Auberjonois shared his thoughts recently on playing Odo, including what he thought the character would be, how Odo evolved, and Odo’s relationship with Quark and with Kira Nerys.
One of the aspects that Auberjonois liked about Odo was knowing next to nothing about the character and watching him evolve. “So, where I thought in the beginning that I didn’t want to know where he was from and loved that it was a mystery, I also loved the fact that when we got a script – one that focused on Odo and his world – I’d learn something new that I didn’t know about the character,” said Auberjonois. “I would have to ingest it and incorporate it into this character that was being built over seven years.
When it came to Odo-Quark, Auberjonois believes that the writers saw the potential of their adversarial relationship and knew it would be often revisited. “I have a feeling that they knew the Quark-Odo would be one of the things that would be, not necessarily a cornerstone, but something that they could go back to, that was the kind of relationship between characters that Star Trek fans revel in,” he said. “So I have a feeling that there’s an element of that in the Quark-Odo relationship, because it meant the writers could refer to that very briefly and have it have meaning.
“We’d have tiny little encounters most of the time. It wouldn’t even be scenes. I would walk into the bar to do something else completely, and Quark and Odo would have an exchange, maybe only two or three lines between them, but the audience was so in tune with that relationship that they could extrapolate. And, in fact, Armin and I have commented on it over the years.”
Odo and Kira came out of Necessary Evil. “..in the end, in present time,” explained Auberjonois, [Odo] understands that Kira was responsible for this, that she was an underground fighter. The writers wrote in that scene at the end that they were in Odo’s office and he looks at her. I can’t remember the exact words of how they described him looking at her, but it was clear that he understood that this person who was his only real friend on the station has betrayed him in some way. I don’t know what it was that I did or if it was how it was shot, but the next day, when they were looking at the dailies, the writers said, ‘Oh my God, look, Odo loves Kira.’ And they went with that.”
But in the end, Odo left Kira and returned to the Great Link. “If anything could be called inevitable in a series as out-of-this-world as Deep Space Nine, that was inevitable,” said Auberjonois. “The one thing I knew, by the time we’d explored the relationship with Kira and started to know who the Founders were, was that that had to be the way it was going to end for them and for Odo specifically.
“So I was completely satisfied with it because I thought, ‘This is the way it has to be.’ It’s the classic, poignant ending. It’s people making great sacrifices for the greater good.”