The Dominion was a major interstellar state in the Gamma Quadrant. Technologically advanced and millennia old, the Dominion was founded under the absolute rule of a group of Changelings known as the Founders, whose will was carried out by the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar. The Dominion was dedicated to imposing the Founders' vision of "order" upon the universe, i.e. bringing all other civilizations under its control.
According to Weyoun 4, the Dominion "has endured for two thousand years", i.e., since the 4th century. Later, in 2375, Weyoun 8 stated "the Dominion has never surrendered in battle since its founding 10,000 years ago." It was established by Changelings, who sought to protect themselves against persecution by the solids via totalitarian control. Becoming known as the Founders, the Changelings used advanced genetic engineering to create two servant races, the Vorta and the Jem'Hadar. On behalf of the Founders, these two species began expanding Dominion territory through diplomacy and military conquest. By the mid-24th century, the Dominion had conquered hundreds of species. (DS9: "The Search, Part II", "To the Death", "Treachery, Faith and the Great River", "The Dogs of War")
In the 2370s, the discovery of the Bajoran wormhole brought the Dominion into contact with civilizations in the Alpha Quadrant. After learning that Starfleet would destroy the wormhole in the event of a direct Dominion incursion, the Founders initiated long-term plans to weaken and subvert the Alpha Quadrant. (DS9: "The Search, Part II", "The Adversary") In 2373, the Dominion was able to secure both the wormhole passage and a power base in the Alpha Quadrant, through the absorption of the Cardassian Union. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light") By the end of the year, open war erupted between the Dominion and a joint opposition consisting of the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire. (DS9: "Call to Arms")
The Dominion made rapid gains in the opening months of the war, beginning with the siege of Deep Space 9 and the wormhole. (DS9: "Call to Arms", "A Time to Stand") However, it was dealt a major setback in mid-2374, when Starfleet and Klingon forces retook Deep Space 9 and prevented the Dominion from obtaining reinforcements from the Gamma Quadrant. (DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels") Also in that year, the Romulan Star Empire joined the war against the Dominion. (DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight") Despite various reversals and an eleventh-hour alliance with the Breen Confederacy, by late 2375, the Dominion verged on defeat and was additionally beset by a Cardassian uprising. The war ended when the Female Changeling agreed to surrender, in exchange for a cure to a morphogenic virus afflicting the Great Link. (DS9: "Strange Bedfellows", "The Changing Face of Evil", "Tacking Into the Wind", "What You Leave Behind")
- Main article: Dominion planets
The Dominion was organized under a strict hierarchy, with the Founders at the top, then the Vorta as administrators, and the Jem'Hadar as soldiers next. This arrangement was referred to as "the order of things" and deviation from it was punishable by death. (DS9: "To the Death", "Rocks and Shoals") The Founders held ultimate authority and their decisions could not be questioned under any circumstances. However, the Founders were largely apathetic towards the affairs of solids and were content to leave the administration of the Dominion to the Vorta. (DS9: "The Search, Part II") The Vorta commanded the Jem'Hadar and disseminated ketracel-white crucial for their survival. (DS9: "To the Death")
Below the Founders, Vorta, and Jem'Hadar, the Dominion included numerous subjugated "member" races. These species were expected to obey the orders of the Vorta administrators. Disobedience would be punished by massive Jem'Hadar reprisals. (DS9: "The Search, Part I")
Known member species included:
In the 2370s, the Dosi and the Son'a were economically affiliated with the Dominion. (DS9: "Rules of Acquisition", "Starship Down", "Penumbra") In late 2375, the Dominion signed an alliance with the Breen Confederacy. (DS9: "Strange Bedfellows") While the Teplans were punished by the Dominion for their resistance in the mid-22nd century, their political status as of the 24th century is unknown. (DS9: "The Quickening")
The Founders were rarely encountered by their subjects, leading them to be regarded as myths or gods. The Vorta and the Jem'Hadar were both engineered to worship the Founders; indeed, they believed that their lives belonged to the Founders, rather than themselves. (DS9: "Rocks and Shoals", "Treachery, Faith and the Great River")
Although the Dominion might seem monolithic and united, there were some internal pressures, mostly between the Vorta and Jem'Hadar. The two servant races of the Founders regarded one another with barely disguised contempt, and a delicate balance existed between Jem'Hadar troops and their Vorta overseers. Their shared loyalty and obedience to the Founders kept them nominally at peace, but often, it was only the Vorta's control of ketracel-white that kept them alive, and even then, this form of control has been known to fail; Jem'Hadar killing their Vorta was rare, but not unheard of. Vorta and Jem'Hadar tried to maintain the appearance of unity, but this varied between individuals; some Vorta, such as Keevan, behaved in a false paternal fashion to their troops, while others, like Weyoun 4, were visibly disinterested in the Jem'Hadar's welfare. (DS9: "To the Death", "Rocks and Shoals")
"Because what you can control... can't hurt you."
The philosophy of the Dominion was divided into three distinct groups, each with notably differing outlooks and aspects. The perspective of the Founders, or the Changelings, with whom ultimately rested the control over the Dominion, was formed from their history of persecution at the hands of non-shapeshifting lifeforms they thereafter termed "Solids". To that end, the priority of the Founders was the survival of their own species, by any means necessary. They had no interest in matters such as Klingon honor, the Federation's goal of peaceful exploration, Ferengi material success, or objections made by opposing groups regarding their methods of self-preservation. (DS9: "The Search, Part II") Their philosophy is to dominate everything that can be dominated and destroying all that cannot; the Founders were, in essence, driven by an urge to "impose order on a chaotic universe."
The Founders' extreme longevity (indeed, practical immortality) has provided them with a uniquely long viewpoint. As the genetically-engineered and highly intelligent Jack described: the Dominion does not adjust its strategies based on what has occurred within the past week or even year, but is concerned instead with what the universe will look like centuries or more forward. This perspective was evident in the Dominion War, where the strategy was to engage in a long-term war of attrition, counting on superior construction methods and their ability to breed Jem'Hadar, rather than risk everything on one battle. (DS9: "Statistical Probabilities")
Apart from the Changelings' metamorphic abilities, the most distinguishing ability of their species is "linking" – the physical and mental connection of multiple Changelings. The species seems to exist in a collective union called The Great Link for much of their life span, producing a strongly anti-individualist perspective. Consequently, the Founders seem to be a remarkably unified, even monolithic, species. Their most sacred axiom: "No Changeling has ever harmed another" reflects both this and their obsession with physical security. Disagreement between the Founders, however, is not unheard of, as illustrated by the (at least initial) lack of consensus over how to deal with Odo after he murdered another changeling. (DS9: "Broken Link")
The Changelings genetically modified the Vorta to serve them in various roles. They have also genetically-engineered the Jem'Hadar to serve as their soldiers. Each group of Jem'Hadar is closely controlled by the Vorta. The Jem'Hadar enforce the will of the Founders, fight in wars to expand the Dominion, protect the Vorta and the Founders, etc. Both races are engineered to worship the Founders as their gods.
A Dominion strategy frequently used was to not use its military might during initial contacts, but rather, to take over via influence and espionage. While Jem'Hadar fighters destroyed the USS Odyssey as a show of force, the Dominion used its vast influential and espionage tactics to destabilize the Alpha Quadrant. For example, the Dominion precipitated a war between the Cardassian Union and the Klingon Empire, and then struck an alliance with the Cardassian Union, knowing full well they would accept due to their dire state, so that the Dominion could gain support and a foothold in the Alpha Quadrant before deploying its military power. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "The Way of the Warrior", "By Inferno's Light")
The Dominion was founded on the principle of control, with the intent being to neutralize any potential threat to the Founders by whatever means necessary. In cases involving cooperative species such as the Karemma, the extent of Dominion interference was fairly minimal and restricted to material support. However, if the target species was or became less cooperative, the Jem'Hadar were dispatched to wipe out any opposition. The fear of massive Jem'Hadar reprisals was enough to keep most planets in line. For a prospective member, at first contact the Dominion may have appeared helpful, or even benevolent. A typical Dominion strategy was to make concessions in the short term for an advantage in the longer term, which may have been centuries in advance. (DS9: "The Search, Part I", "Statistical Probabilities")
By the time of the Dominion War, Dominion technology appeared to have significantly outpaced that of most Alpha Quadrant species.
Instead of phased energy or disruptor beams, Jem'Hadar rifles emitted powerful polaron beams. They had a side effect of acting as an anticoagulant in some humanoids, thereby impeding the natural wound healing process. (DS9: "The Ship")
Similarly, Dominion warships displayed more impressive firepower than their Alpha Quadrant counterparts. Phased polaron beams were mounted on all Jem'Hadar attack ships. These initially cut through Federation shielding without effort; however, the DS9 crew subsequently managed to adapt their shields to withstand Dominion weapons for short periods. By the time of the Dominion invasion of the Alpha Quadrant, Federation shields had no more difficulty withstanding polaron weaponry than any other energy weapon. The Breen also wielded a huge advantage on the battlefield with an energy dissipating weapon, which was capable of disabling Federation and Romulan vessels with a single shot. Effective countermeasures were eventually developed by Starfleet engineers. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "Call to Arms", "The Dogs of War")
Dominion warp capability was less advanced when compared to most major Alpha Quadrant species. A Dominion fighter was capable of at least warp 7 and a battle cruiser was capable of at least warp 4.7. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "Valiant")
While some Dominion technology was in many ways more advanced than that of the Federation, the Vorta Keevan once lamented that Starfleet engineers were famed for being able to "turn rocks into replicators". (DS9: "Rocks and Shoals") At least some Dominion technology was manufactured by Dominion member species; it is known, for example, that at least one type of torpedo carried on board Jem'Hadar attack vessels was sold to the Dominion by the Karemma, a Dominion member. (DS9: "Starship Down") The Jem'Hadar did, however, seem capable of performing not only some minor and emergency repairs, but also understanding complex engineering on even Starfleet vessels. (DS9: "One Little Ship")
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- Star Trek: Voyager
- Star Trek films
Background information Edit
The Dominion resulted from several meetings which the writing staff of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had about establishing villains in the Gamma Quadrant during the show's second season. "We had meeting after meeting on what those guys would be like before the word 'Dominion' was ever dropped into a script," stated Robert Hewitt Wolfe. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 73) Ira Steven Behr once referred to the Dominion as "an attempt by the staff to come up with something specific about the Gamma quadrant." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 100) He also related, "I remember saying [to Wolfe, James Crocker and Peter Allan Fields, while having lunch together] one day, 'Okay guys, we're gonna come up with villains, not one but three sets of villains. And we're gonna make them as scary as any villains you can possibly find.'" As part of this mandate, Behr tasked the writing team to read Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy, which all the writers then read. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 153) "The Dominion was definitely a group project," clarified Wolfe. "That was something that Ira, Michael [Piller], Pete, Jim and I talked about and conceptually worked on as a group." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 112) Wolfe continued, "We just felt it was time to give a face to the Gamma Quadrant. Voyager was going to be wandering through the Delta Quadrant from place to place, meeting new people every week, and we wanted to make the Gamma Quadrant distinctly different from that, by creating the Dominion [...] Instead of like the big mysterious out there, which all the other Star Trek shows had done, and Voyager was going to do, it was a very specific, dangerous, nasty Other, so that was part of the motivation." (The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond, DS9 Season 3 DVD special features) The invention of the Dominion not only fulfilled the need to define the Gamma Quadrant but also came about because Behr thought "villains are cool." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 97) He remembered, "With the Dominion, we came up with characters, people, aliens and problems that impact not only in the Gamma Quadrant but the Alpha Quadrant as well. I came up with the idea for the Dominion, then the staff met every day for lunch for a week or two, and we would kick around what to do about this Dominion, then we presented it to Mike [Piller] and Rick [Berman] and they were receptive to it." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 76) Peter Allen Fields highly approved of the name chosen by the writing staff for the new group, saying it "was a pretty good name." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 153)
The Dominion was conceived as "a sort of unifying anti-Federation in a way, just to give it a completely different character," said Robert Hewitt Wolfe. Indeed, the group was intended to be similar in structure to the Federation but with very different ideologies. The Dominion was to represent a wide array of alien races, just as does the Federation (as opposed to the mono-species Klingon Empire, Romulan Star Empire, and Cardassian Union), but it was to be fascist-like, ruled by coercion and domination, in contrast to the cooperation and freedom of the Federation. As Wolfe explained, "The Dominion was not monolithic. It wasn't just the Romulans or the Cardassians. They were distinct in that they were the Dominion. They were, like the Federation, a collection of different races. But unlike the Federation, they were bound together by fear and extortion, whereas the Federation is bound together by noble thoughts and love and friendship and all that good stuff. So in a lot of ways, they were the mirror image of the Federation." (The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond, DS9 Season 3 DVD special features) Ira Steven Behr explained, "We wanted warriors, businessmen, and a dark force that was controlling it all." Wolfe elaborated, "Basically, the idea was that the Dominion was the Carrot-and-Stick Empire. The businessmen, the Vorta, were the negotiators, the friendly guys who show up with the carrot [....] Then, if you don't toe the line, they kick your ass with the Jem'Hadar." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 154) Michael Piller offered, "Ira and Robert and the staff worked very hard on creating a new group of aliens that are quite different than the others that we have had before. There's a symbiotic relationship where you have to peel back several layers to understand what they really are. What seems to be the most threatening is not necessarily the most threatening." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 76)
Initially, the plan was for numerous different species to be seen on Dominion vessels and involved in various parts of the Dominion's activities, although eventually, only three "main" species were firmly established: the Founders, the Jem'Hadar, and the Vorta, although the Karemma were also a member and, subsequently, both the Cardassians and the Breen became members.
The concept of introducing three species at once, as opposed to the more traditional Star Trek method of introducing major races one at a time, was Ira Behr's and came from the fact that he didn't want to risk introducing only one species which may not work. If the Dominion was basically a single race, and the audience didn't accept that race, the ramifications for the show would have been disastrous, so Behr felt it better to err on the side of caution, feeling that if he introduced three races, at least one of them was bound to work. As it turned out, all three were readily accepted by viewers, and all three became major players in the later years of the show.
Robert Hewitt Wolfe explains the structure and organization of the Dominion: "The Gamma Quadrant [...] [is] bound together by the Dominion, a very very tough, very smart, very old civilization, run by the mysterious Founders, who are experts in genetic engineering, and who turn out to be Odo's people, the Shapeshifters. They then go and engineer these slave races that do their bidding. Essentially, the two main slave races were the 'carrot' and the 'stick'. The carrot being the Vorta, who would come to your planet and say, 'Hey, you're nice people, here's some M-16s and some popcorn, and whatever else you want baby, alcohol, fire-water? All you have to do is sign this little contract and we'll make you cool.' Then there's the Jem'Hadar. So the Vorta say, 'Oh, you don't want to play ball? Then meet these guys. They're gonna kick your asses.'" (The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond, DS9 Season 3 DVD special features)
One idea that the writers had that was never actively utilized on-screen was that the Dominion knew about the Federation long before the Bajoran wormhole was discovered, and that they were developing a long-term strategy to deal with the inevitable contact. As Wolfe explains, "The Dominion knew the Federation was out there long before the wormhole was opened, and they had plans to deal with the Federation when the Federation was projected to enter their space in two hundred years, and they were building slowly towards that, that's why they sent out Odo in the first place. But then the wormhole opens up and suddenly the Federation is in their backyard today and it just throws everything into question for both the Federation and the Dominion." (The Birth of the Dominion and Beyond, DS9 Season 3 DVD special features)
Ultimately, Ira Behr was pleased to have been instrumental in the creation of the Dominion, happy his Star Trek legacy resulted in something more than merely altering the Ferengi. "I was hoping that it would be something else I could leave to the Star Trek universe," he expressed, "and I'm really glad it was the Dominion and the Founders and that whole thing." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 102) Michael Piller similarly appreciated the design of the Dominion, saying, "We have a good look to some of them." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 76)
Episodic developments Edit
The Dominion was first mentioned in "Rules of Acquisition", then in "Sanctuary" and next in "Shadowplay", before finally being encountered in "The Jem'Hadar" (whose original name was "The Dominion"). "We sort of peppered mention of the Dominion into several episodes before we actually saw them," recalled Robert Hewitt Wolfe. "Basically, we were trying to build the idea that there was something big out there, something pretty tough." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 73 & 153)
References to the Dominion in "Rules of Acquisition" altered how Ira Steven Behr thought of the episode. He reflected, "It [...] gave us the opportunity to introduce the Dominion [...] Suddenly the weight of the show became more important because I wanted the Dominion to work." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 100) Behr also said, "The thing that sold the show to me was coming up with the Dominion." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 65) Although the Dominion was conceived as three main species, the first Dominion race to be referenced was the Karemma, in "Rules of Acquisition".
A reference to the Dominion was also deliberately included in "Shadowplay". "It just seemed like the perfect place to keep it alive," Ira Steven Behr noted. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 124)
In the script of "The Jem'Hadar", the Dominion is directly linked with "the Tosks [and] [...] the hunters."  Indeed, Robert Wolfe has speculated that the Vorta had supplied the Hunters with the Tosk, as part of a general policy providing benefits to Dominion members. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 154) Michael Piller said about how the Dominion are portrayed in "The Jem'Hadar", "It's only the tip of an iceberg." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 76)
Ira Steven Behr promised the Dominion would have a profound effect on DS9 Season 3. "The Dominion is going to add a new element into the show that I think will build on what's already there," he predicted. "We will expand this into the gamma quadrant and it will have a tremendous impact on our people." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, pp. 98 & 111) He later said, "The major thing we wanted to accomplish in year three was to take the Dominion, which we had been teasing the audience with throughout the last half of the second season, and really bring them to some kind of fruition. We needed to show that there was something worthwhile in the Gamma Quadrant [....] I think that's what we went in thinking: How do we make this Dominion the next big enemy or antagonist of the Star Trek franchise?" (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 82)
When Ronald D. Moore and René Echevarria joined the DS9 writing team at the beginning of the series' third season, the Dominion was an aspect that appealed to the newcomers. "Ron and I came in and saw all this new stuff they were doing with the Dominion and we realized what a rich backdrop it was for storytelling," reminisced Echevarria. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 91)
In "The Search, Part II", the writers wanted to depict the Dominion as powerful enough to run elaborate scenarios in the heads of the DS9 main characters, just to see how they would react. Ira Behr related, "We said, 'OK, we're going to give the audience what they think they want,' which is what happens if the Dominion gets into the Alpha Quadrant." Added Ron Moore, "What would really happen if these things occurred? How would the characters react? Ultimately, that's what the Dominion was trying to find out." The use of the illusory situation set the Dominion's stratagem apart from the strategies usually employed by other villainous Star Trek races, since the writers didn't want Deep Space 9 and its regular crew to be constantly under siege from the Dominion. "We basically wanted to set up what the Dominion was and establish that they had a different strategy," explained René Echevarria. "It wasn't going to be them sending the Jem'Hadar to battle us, but they were going to have a long-term strategy of destabilization." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 83)
Following the "The Search" two-parter, the Jem'Hadar continued making regular appearances in DS9 but the Vorta seemed to disappear for a while, possibly indicating there had been an altercation between them and the Founders. The writers wanted to keep the latter group somewhat mysterious and distant, so the Vorta were considered vital to continue establishing as an intermediary party between the other two races. This idea led to the notion of enmity possibly existing between the Jem'Hadar and the Vorta, which led to the subsequent return of the Vorta in Season 4's "To the Death". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 168)
Even though the discovery of the Dominion in "The Search" occurs chronologically several months before Voyager is taken to the Delta Quadrant (and despite VOY: "Parturition" featuring a holographic simulation in which a Jem'Hadar fighter is pictured on Voyager's viewscreen), they are never referred to as the Dominion by Voyager's crew. In VOY: "Hunters", after learning of the Dominion War following communication with Earth, Chakotay tells B'Elanna Torres of how the Maquis have been wiped out by the Cardassians, who have "an ally [...] from the Gamma Quadrant who supplied them with ships and weapons," implying he had never heard of them before.
One potential way of using the Dominion was inspired by a line of dialogue from season three outing "The Die is Cast", in which a Founder posing as a Romulan named Lovok predicts, "After today the only real threat to us from the Alpha Quadrant are the Klingons and the Federation. And I doubt that either of them will be a threat for much longer." Ira Behr recollected, "I [...] said to Ron [Moore] at the time, 'You know, we could do a whole show about that if we wanted to, how the Dominion would want to get between the Klingons and the Federation.' But the Earth didn't move. Nothing shook." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 255-256)
The Dominion was further developed in DS9 Season 3 finale "The Adversary". "We knew that we wanted to do something with the Dominion [in that episode]," recalled Ira Behr. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 250) Robert Wolfe concurred, "We wanted [to] show that the Dominion was a really smart organisation and they went about things in an intelligent way. Making your enemies fight each other is a good thing to do." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 114)
At the conclusion of the third season, Ira Behr was satisfied with how the Dominion had been developed during the course of the season, remarking, "We've been able to get good use out of it." He also believed "keeping the Dominion alive" was an important goal for the writers to bear in mind for DS9 Season 4. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 102 & 115)
Although the DS9 staff writers wanted to concentrate on the Dominion, they were distracted from focusing on the group by the introduction of the Klingons into the series, which took place in the fourth season. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 256) Nonetheless, Rene Auberjonois considered that making the Klingons fearful of the Dominion was "a way of pumping up the danger of the Dominion, which has taken some doing." He continued, "They're not the Borg, they're not the Klingons; they're something else, and it's a more complex kind of danger that's being presented." (Starlog, issue #222, p. 31)
Though the Dominion became a major part of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, not everyone who worked on the show cared much about the alien organization or how the writers chose to develop it. Jadzia Dax actress Terry Farrell, for example, was often confused by the Dominion subplots in the fourth season. She conceded, "I don't put much thought into the whole Dominion thing [...] If they're going to do something interesting with the Dominion, great, but if they're going to let it hang there, there's nothing I can do about it." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 14, p. 10)
In fourth season installment "Hippocratic Oath", a discussion regarding the Dominion appealed to Ron Moore. "My favorite moment [in that episode] is when the central Jem'Hadar is talking about the Founders and the fact that they're like gods, but these gods don't talk to them even though they die for their gods. I thought that stuff was pretty interesting," Moore commented. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 107)
Midway through DS9 Season 4, Bashir actor Alexander Siddig thought the Dominion weren't entirely satisfactory villains, at least not yet. "I don't think [...] the Dominion have gotten to first base with regard to being a serious threat," he remarked. "I don't think anybody bites their nails over them." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 15, p. 24)
To prepare for directing "To the Death", LeVar Burton had to learn about the Dominion, specifically the relationship between the Jem'Hadar and the Founders, by watching earlier installments of DS9. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 347) Regarding "To the Death", Ira Behr noted, "I thought it really filled in a lot of the Dominion backstory that I thought was really necessary." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 119)
Ron Moore similarly approved of how the Dominion are portrayed in "The Quickening". "I thought it [...] said something interesting about the Dominion and how they deal with dissent," he remarked. "That they weren't just berserkers that went around killing everybody, they actually make examples of you and make you suffer quite a bit. They do it in a really nasty way, which adds more to the franchise overall." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 120)
The Dominion was briefly referenced in the first draft script of "Body Parts", Quark being referred to (by both his brother Rom and Quark himself) as the first Ferengi to have made contact with the group. However, the organization isn't mentioned in the final version of that installment.
As noted by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, big revelations about the Dominion served as the conclusions to the second, third, and fourth seasons; DS9 established the existence of the Jem'Hadar at the end of the second season and developed the prevalence of the Founders at the end of third season as well as the conclusion of fourth season. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 353)
As a sign of the times, Robert Wolfe stated about the Dominion, at the end of DS9 Season 4, "The Dominion threat is being dealt with." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 102) However, the DS9 writing staff wanted to establish the Dominion as antagonistic more in DS9 Season 5 than the aliens had been in the fourth season. In fact, during the fifth season, the creative staff tried to return focus on making the Dominion the main enemies of the series. About halfway through DS9 Season 5, the writing staff had a meeting with Paramount in which the writers told the studio, "We want to get back to the Dominion." Ira Behr later said, "It was slow going getting back [to them]." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 359 & 256)
An opportunity to refocus on the Dominion presented itself to the DS9 writers in the form of fifth season two-parter "In Purgatory's Shadow" and "By Inferno's Light". Ira Behr recalled, "After doing "Apocalypse Rising" to open the season, we knew we had [...] to get the Dominion back on the playing field." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 422) Behr also said about how the Dominion are portrayed in the two-parter, "We brought the Dominion back into focus as the leading villains in the galaxy for us, which I thought was important to do after the sidetrack of the Klingons." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 47)
Weyoun actor Jeffrey Combs suspected that, when the Dominion formed an alliance with the Cardassian government in season five, they were "using" Cardassian leader Gul Dukat. "We're perhaps the true power behind the throne," Combs remarked, from the perspective of the Dominion, at the end of the season. "That all remains to be seen, because I don't know what the writers have in mind." Combs reckoned, though, that the Dominion didn't "trust anybody" but that "they will certainly use them for their own purposes." The actor went on to say, "I think we feel that we can at least get what we want, and then perhaps do away with [the Cardassians] at a later time." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 61) However, at the start of DS9 Season 6, Ron Moore couldn't foresee a time when the Dominion wouldn't be allied with the Cardassians, though he also suspected that the Dominion's relationship with their Cardassian allies might be strained due to the Cardassians still having a long-held goal of reconquering Bajor. (AOL chat, 1997)
The Dominion played a role in the story for DS9 Season 6 finale "Tears of the Prophets" at least as far back as when Ira Behr gathered the writing staff and announced, for the first time, details of the plot to them. "We basically knew we wanted to [...] have the Dominion attack the Prophets in some way, shape, or form," recalled René Echevarria. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 586)
Concluding their exploration of the Dominion was an important aim to the DS9 writers, in the interim between season six and the show's seventh and final season. "We want to wrap up many of the implicit promises that we made to the audience about [...] the Dominion," René Echevarria said. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 67)
Many viewers began to wonder if, at the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dominion forces would overrun space station Deep Space 9. This theory was motivated by the show's seventh season increasingly referencing the Battle of the Alamo, in which over 180 Texans lost their lives while defending the Alamo from Mexican invaders. However, a final Dominion invasion was not to be. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 594)
In an early version of the story for seventh season installment "Treachery, Faith and the Great River", a new Dominion race of warriors called the Modain was introduced. The Modain were, according to an initial explanation Weyoun gave Benjamin Sisko, being bred by the Founders to replace the Jem'Hadar but, after a Modain hatchery was destroyed by Sisko and Weyoun, it was ultimately discovered by Sisko that the Modain had actually been intended to replace the Vorta. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 617) Ira Behr recalled, "The Dominion had to become a factor again in the series." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, p. 42)