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"I admit they place too much emphasis on profit, and their behavior toward women is somewhat primitive."
"They're greedy, misogynistic, untrustworthy little trolls, and I wouldn't turn my back on one of them for a second."
"Neither would I. But once you accept that, you'll find they can be a lot of fun."
– Kira Nerys and Jadzia Dax, 2370 ("Rules of Acquisition")
"They put a paywall on a BOMB!? Stupid Ferengi-"
– The last words of Nick Locarno, 2381 ("Old Friends, New Planets")

The Ferengi were a warp-capable humanoid species from the planet Ferenginar. Ferengi civilization was built on free enterprise, where earning profit was the sole meaningful goal in life, superseding all other endeavors. To the Borg, they were known as Species 180. Despite their misogynistic views, small stature, lack of shame, and extreme obsession with profit, the Ferengi are one of the most underestimated species in all of the Alpha Quadrant. They are usually extremely intelligent, can possess great cunning, and can sometimes hide that fact very convincingly. They can also possess a great aptitude for economics, sciences, and engineering, and they are among the best negotiators in the galaxy in regards to earning profits and deals without resorting to armed conflict.


Omag and his women

Omag, an unusually fat Ferengi

On average, Ferengi were shorter than Humans. Externally, they had orange-brown colored skin, blue fingernails and long blue toenails, enlarged skulls, wrinkled noses, and sharp teeth.

Internally, they had ascending ribs and upper and lower lungs, as well as an unusual four-lobed brain that could not be read by telepathic species such as Betazoids, although Counselor Deanna Troi was able to detect "deception" and "danger" from the Ferengi Bok. (DS9: "Bar Association", "The Dogs of War"; TNG: "The Battle", "The Price", "The Last Outpost") Ferengi physiology was similar to that of the Dopterians, of which they were distant relatives. (DS9: "The Forsaken")

Since Kobheerians look very similar to Dopterians, they too might be related to both species.

There are some episodes that contradict the inability of telepathic species to read Ferengi minds. In TNG, for example, Deanna Troi used her empathic abilities on several occasions, though on others she and her mother, a more powerful telepath, claimed an inability to do so. (TNG: "The Price", "Ménage à Troi") Receptivity to telepathy again features in DS9: "Facets", when Quark volunteers to host the telepathic memories of one of Jadzia Dax's former hosts, but this was a form of touch-telepathy using a guardian as a medium rather than invasive telepathy.

The Ferengi's most distinguishing features were their large outer ears (called "lobes"), which gave them extremely acute hearing, sensitive enough to tell a person's species and gender, even through electronic distortion (DS9: "The Darkness and the Light"), atmospheric/altitude changes (DS9: "Starship Down"), and the decibel level of a sound. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior") The lobes of the Ferengi male were larger than those of females. The sensitivity of the ears, while providing great sensual pleasure, also made them vulnerable to pain and other problems, including severe infections of the tympanic membrane which, if left untreated, could become fatal. (DS9: "Bar Association").

Ferengi Starfleet Captain

A 32nd century Ferengi

Ferengi lobes were usually directly connected to their brow-lines, although ears unconnected to the brow-lines were common by the 32nd century. (DIS: "Anomaly (DIS)")

The skull of alternate Zek in PIC: "Penance" appeared to have very prominent bones where his ears should be, apparently indicating that Ferengi ears were partially made of bone, unlike other species where the ears are largely composed of cartilage and skin. However, said bones had a very different structure than Ferengi ears actually had, making it likely that this apparent indication was in fact a production error. Alternatively, those bones may have been artificial and the result of the numerous lobe enlargements Zek is known to had undergone, rather than a natural part of Ferengi anatomy.

The term lobeling was used to refer to a young Ferengi. (DS9: "Profit and Lace") In fact, according to Nog, "On Ferenginar, we learn about the Continuum while we still have our first set of ears." (DS9: "Treachery, Faith and the Great River")

It is not known if this statement was to be taken literally or figuratively. This was also one of the rare moments that a Ferengi referred to his lobes as "ears".

Ferengi lobes were also said to tingle whenever the Ferengi sensed an opportunity for profit (DS9: "Progress") or was sexually aroused (DS9: "The Homecoming").


Sneed, a Ferengi sporting a stubble

Most Ferengi were completely hairless. However, elderly Ferengi could have hair growing out of their ears (DS9: "The Nagus"), and some others could grow short stubble on their faces. (PIC: "Disengage")

Ferengi blood pressure was much higher than that of Humans. When Nog, Rom, and Quark were sent back to 1947 and analyzed by Human doctors, one of the medics commented on Quark's blood pressure, "250/167. If you were Human, I'd say you were due for a heart attack." Ferengi biochemistry differed sufficiently from that of Humans that sodium pentathol was ineffective as a truth serum. (DS9: "Little Green Men") Ferengi blood was yellow in color (LD: "Mugato, Gumato", "Parth Ferengi's Heart Place"; PIC: "Disengage"), and contained cells called pyrocytes. (TNG: "The Perfect Mate")

Ferengi fingers

Blue fingernails

Otherwise, the Ferengi appeared to have a rather strong immune system. Quark was one of very few members of the station's crew unaffected by the aphasia virus that struck Deep Space 9 in 2369. (DS9: "Babel")

Ferengi were known to have life spans that could exceed one hundred years. Following a cosmetic procedure performed on Vulcan, Ishka commented that her lobes hadn't felt so firm in a century. (DS9: "The Magnificent Ferengi")

In ultimately unused dialogue from the first draft script of DS9: "Body Parts", Julian Bashir remarked about the oldest members of the Ferengi species he was aware of, "I've known Ferengis to live past a hundred and twenty."

When startled, frightened or in pain, Ferengi often emitted a high-pitched scream. (DS9: "Little Green Men", "The Siege of AR-558", "The Circle") Some Ferengi demonstrated a hissing reaction when threatened or in distress, not unlike an Earth cat. (DS9: "Sanctuary", "The Jem'Hadar")

A Ferengi diet mostly consisted of insects and other invertebrates like crabs or slugs. (DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs", "Rules of Acquisition", "The Assignment", "Tacking Into the Wind") They also ate fish. (TNG: "Unification II") Likewise, Nog's favorite Earth food was said to be squid. (DS9: "Blaze of Glory") While visiting a planet in the Gamma Quadrant in 2370, Quark complained about the native bugs, describing them being in his food as "disgusting." When Benjamin Sisko recalled "I thought Ferengi liked eating bugs," Quark was quick to note "Only certain bugs. Ferengi bugs." (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar")

Society and culture[]

Cultural development[]

The Ferengi culture was centralized around the concept of greed and earning profit. Ferengi society most notably was based on a list of rules for business ventures with other Ferengi known as "The Rules of Acquisition". By the late 24th century, this list encompassed 285 rules that Ferengi males were to memorize and follow as part of business ventures with other Ferengi. As Quark once put it, "There is nothing beyond greed. Greed is the purest, most noble of emotions." Consequently, the 10th Rule of Acquisition stated that "greed is eternal." However, there was a time in their history before the founding of the Ferengi Alliance that the Ferengi were an extremely generous people who were not greedy. (DS9: "Prophet Motive")

However, the Ferengi managed to avoid many of the worst aspects of an evolving culture and their social history was notable for the absence of atrocities such as slavery or genocide, a distinction the Ferengi felt made them morally superior (though their definition of "slavery" clearly did not extend to their treatment of women). Ferengi culture slowly grew out of its early stages by introducing a remarkable economic system that developed from early bartering systems to become one of the leading cultures in interstellar commerce. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "Little Green Men")

Unlike most other cultures who frequently idolized warriors or politicians, businessmen were the pillars of Ferengi society for millennia. This tendency led to the slow merging of business and political fields in Ferengi culture, and that influence was evident in the near-universal application of the Rules of Acquisition, as both a personal and financial code of ethics.

The Rules of Acquisition provided advice that all good Ferengi followed, in order to lead a profitable life. For example, the first Rule of Acquisition was "Once you have their money, you never give it back."

In addition to the Rules, the Ferengi also recognized the Five Stages of Acquisition: infatuation, justification, appropriation, obsession, and resale. (VOY: "Alice") They also recognized these traits in other species; Earth's Wall Street was regarded with near-religious reverence by Ferengi. (VOY: "11:59")

The drive for individual gain in Ferengi society led to inventions that spread across many species of the galaxy. Examples included such diverse items as holosuites, synthehol and the popular drink Slug-o-Cola. (DS9: "Body Parts", "Profit and Lace")

It was Gene Roddenberry who decided the Ferengi invented synthehol. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 123, p. 78)

The social norm of acquisition made Ferengi with other motivations remarkable to their peers. One of those, Leck, stated that he "didn't care about latinum" and sought only the thrill of the kill, and was subsequently described by Quark as an "eliminator" whose "priorities are different" from "typical Ferengi"; Nog agreed with the assessment, and Brunt later described Leck as a "psychopath." (DS9: "The Magnificent Ferengi") Despite their profit-based culture, the Ferengi were also known to love and care for their family to the extent that these sentiments could even take precedence over pursuit of profit. (TNG: "The Battle", "Bloodlines")

Role of women[]

Ferengi society and culture was highly misogynistic and patriarchical. As such, laws and cultural norms reflected and deeply institutionalized such misogyny and discrimination.

Ferengi women were referred to as "females." They were barred from most aspects of society, such as not being allowed to earn profit or to travel. Neither were they allowed to learn how to read. (DS9: "Rules of Acquisition") They were not even allowed to wear clothes and were expected to be undressed at all times, to the point where while a Ferengi male would consider clothed alien women to be normal, the thought of their own mother wearing clothes would make them uncomfortable. "Thinking about things", as Quark once put it, was neither something expected nor desired of females. Neither was having opinions or political views. They further were not allowed to have any claim to the estate of a husband should the marriage end, as all females were generally required to sign a Waiver of Property and Profit, giving up any such claim. (DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs")

If a woman was caught earning profit, she was forced to give back all she had earned and either sign a confession, admitting the error of her ways, or be sold to indentured servitude if she refused. Her male relatives would then have to make restitution. A woman's oldest male relative was considered to be legally in control of her and thus responsible for her actions, such as her husband or the oldest son. (DS9: "Family Business")

Marriage, like everything else in Ferengi culture, was a business contract, signed between the prospective groom and the bride's father, in which the father leased his daughter to the groom for a set period (usually five years) for an agreed fee, paid on the birth of a son. (DS9: "Doctor Bashir, I Presume") Pregnancies were considered rentals under Ferengi law, with the father being the lessee. (DS9: "Nor the Battle to the Strong")

As described by Quark, in a marriage "on the Ferengi homeworld, husbands and wives never argue. There's no divorce, no broken homes – nothing but peaceful, conjugal bliss." (DS9: "Fascination")

In addition to being forbidden to earn profit and own property, Ferengi females were not allowed to wear clothes, leave their homes without male escort, or speak to males they were not related to. Their role as caregiver to the male children of a family was strictly defined. Mothers were expected to teach their children the Rules of Acquisition (and as they themselves were not allowed to read meant they had to know the Rules by heart), and to soften their male children's food by chewing it for them. (TNG: "The Last Outpost", "Ménage à Troi"; DS9: "Life Support", "Family Business") Because of this, Ferengi males were often very protective and loving of their mothers, and this was even reflected in the Rules of Acquisition; Rule 31 was "Never make fun of a Ferengi's Mother." (DS9: "The Siege")

By the late 24th century, females made up 53.5% of the Ferengi population and some Ferengi began to realize that the exclusion of females from business represented a significant loss of profit opportunities right on their own homeworld. In the latter half of the century, Ishka – Quark's mother – and Grand Nagus Zek led a movement aimed at reforming cultural traditions that had excluded women, starting by giving females the right to wear clothing. The idea was that giving females that right allowed them to have pockets. Once they had pockets, they would likely want to fill them with latinum, so they were going to need jobs. After they started earning latinum, they were going to want to spend it, which meant Ferenginar would expand its workforce and consumer base at the same time. Initial progress toward this goal seemed less than promising, but by 2375, with the ascension of the progressive Rom to the position of Grand Nagus, the likelihood of further reforms seemed inevitable. (DS9: "Profit and Lace", "The Dogs of War")

Because of the long-standing ban on acquisition of profit by females, any female wishing to engage in commerce had to either bury evidence of her involvement in a transaction or appear as a male. Notably, Pel not only altered the manner of her attire, but also disguised her breasts and the size of her lobes in order to be included in Quark's financial decision-making. Using this disguised appearance, she was involved in the first recorded business transaction between the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants. A contract would likely not have been concluded without her input, making it at the time the most significant financial achievement by a Ferengi female. (DS9: "Rules of Acquisition") Her skill in successfully negotiating the contract between the Ferengi and the Karemma later had a profound impact on the entire Alpha Quadrant. It provided the basis for the Federation to make first contact with the Founders, which in turn led to the Dominion War. (DS9: "The Search, Part I")

Quark himself was later involved in an even more significant instance of cross-dressing, one which thereafter fundamentally altered the nature of Ferengi society. After Grand Nagus Zek attempted to give women the right to wear clothes, he was immediately displaced from power by Brunt and forced to set up a government-in-exile on Deep Space 9. While there, Zek tried to convince top Ferengi businessmen to join him for a conference to demonstrate the intelligence of women, using Ishka as his exemplar. When she collapsed after suffering a heart attack, Quark had to fake being the female "Lumba", so as to impress Nilva, an ultra-conservative manufacturer of Slug-o-Cola. Quark received gender reassignment surgery for the occasion, which was reversed afterwards. Quark's "Lumba" sufficiently influenced Nilva to call for, and get the immediate reinstatement of, Zek as Nagus. Zek's women's rights agenda therefore continued. (DS9: "Profit and Lace")

By 2381, clothed females could be seen on Ferenginar openly walking alone in public or accompanying their children themselves. Women's clothes also featured designs previously seen on men's clothes, suggesting that native fashion designs for women had developed since Rom had taken power. One Slug-o-Cola commercial featured a clothed Ferengi female rejecting one Ferengi male for another that had just consumed Slug-o-Cola, telling the viewer that the beverage would make males more desirable to Ferengi females. This suggested that women were becoming more independent in being able to choose the male they wished to be with. (LD: "Parth Ferengi's Heart Place")

In 2383, at least one Ferengi woman, Nandi, held the rank of DaiMon. (PRO: "First Con-tact")

Rituals and traditions[]

Male Ferengi were introduced to the world on their Naming Day, one of few Ferengi ceremonies that included a tradition of bestowing (free) gifts on someone. (DS9: "Rivals")

The Ferengi Attainment Ceremony was a time in Ferengi tradition that an individual became old enough to make his own decisions. A young Ferengi who was about to embark on his first significant business opportunity might auction off personal items that had strong sentimental value in order to raise capital for his venture. (DS9: "Heart of Stone", "Little Green Men")

Quark begs

Quark in a traditional display of submission

Ferengi greeted one another by putting their wrists together, hands apart, and fingers curled inward, equivalent to the old Human custom of shaking hands; Jadzia Dax and Quark regularly greeted one another in this manner. On the other hand, when agreeing upon a deal, two Ferengi placed the back of one hand against that of the other, and pulled it away to the side quickly, as if to signify mutual distrust and understanding. (DS9: "Business as Usual", "The Magnificent Ferengi")

A Ferengi acting in some form of service or submission was commonly known to bow very slightly, face up, making the same hand gesture used in greetings. The cultural connotations of displaying open hands were echoed again in the "obscene" gesture of a person waving empty hands above his head. (TNG: "The Last Outpost"; DS9: "The Emperor's New Cloak")

A Ferengi entering another Ferengi's home was required to pay an admission fee of one slip of latinum per person. One was also required to sign a waiver, acknowledging responsibility in the event that something went missing following one's visit. A traditional greeting in such situations had the resident Ferengi welcoming the visitor to his home and reminding him that "My house is my house," to which the visitor replied, "As are its contents." (DS9: "Family Business")

The Ferengi had a legal tradition called plea bargaining. If a Ferengi required something, especially of importance, that had been taken by another individual, the Ferengi could give something that the individual required in order to have their item returned. (DS9: "Emissary")

Traditional Ferengi cuisine consisted largely of slugs, insects, grubs, and other creatures Humans would call "bugs." Many partook in the beetle snuff habit, snorting a fine powder of dried beetles. In one instance, Jake Sisko told Nog that he was helping his girlfriend, who was studying to become an entomologist, to which Nog replied, "What's an entomologist?" Jake explained that it was "someone who studies bugs." Nog, misunderstanding the science, replied, "Ohhh! She wants to become a chef!" However, only native bugs were considered edible, and foreign (off-planet) bugs were treated with disdain. (DS9: "Sanctuary", "The Jem'Hadar")

Quark receives oo-mox from Emi

Quark receiving oo-mox

According to traditional Ferengi beliefs, the hammer represented sexual prowess. (TNG: "Birthright, Part I") Actual sexual practices of Ferengi were not well known but oo-mox, manual stimulation of the lobes, was widely practiced and could be performed by non-Ferengi. In accordance with their male-dominated society, it was not unusual for a Ferengi to have female servants who would perform oo-mox for him in public, as a means of pleasure and to communicate his status by overtly demonstrating that he could afford such luxuries. (TNG: "Ménage à Troi"; DS9: "The Nagus")

Appropriately for a materially obsessed species, the Ferengi demonstrated interest in cosmetic enhancements by way of tooth sharpeners and surgical procedures such as lobe enlargements to accompany the usual conspicuous displays of wealth. (DS9: "Little Green Men", "Family Business")


Ferengi script

Ferengi script

Main article: Ferengi language

The Ferengi written language resembled a flow chart in appearance, with sixty-degree angles and text most commonly emanating outward from a central hexagon. The hexagon might remain fixed, possibly denoting subject or tense, as the text around it flowed, branched, expanded, and changed. (DS9: "Family Business")

Because their homeworld had an extremely rainy climate, the Ferengi had 178 different words for rain, in all its various forms. Conversely, there were no Ferengi words for crispy, as the condition was largely unknown to them. (DS9: "Let He Who Is Without Sin...")

There was also B'Zal, a Ferengi code which used patterns of light and darkness. (TNG: "Bloodlines")

The Ferengi generally pronounced the word "Humans" as "Hew-mons." There were exceptions to this, like Sovak who addressed Jean-Luc Picard several times as "Human" rather than "Hew-mon". (TNG: "Captain's Holiday")



Three Ferengi civilians in casual clothing

Ferengi military personnel wore uniforms that underwent a major change in style between 2364 and 2365. Other Ferengi wore elaborately designed, multi-layered suits.

Many Ferengi males wore a headdress, which consisted of a cloth wrapped around the back of the head.

Literature refers to it as a "headskirt (β)".

After Nog and Rom joined Starfleet and the Bajoran Militia respectively, they wore headdresses in materials and colors that matched their uniforms. (DS9: "Facets", "Bar Association")

With females given more equality, by 2381 there were women on Ferenginar that not only wore clothes, but with design features previously widely seen on male clothing. (LD: "Parth Ferengi's Heart Place")

On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Ferengi costumes were designed by Robert Blackman. (TV Zone, issue 99, p. 38) Armin Shimerman stated, "They were truly, truly wonderful. They were gorgeous to look at. They were funny, they were outrageous and they were truly a marvel. The only problem was wearing them! They were great for everybody but me. They were made out of couch material and they were very hot." (Star Trek Explorer, Vol. 4, No. 4, p. 11) Another aspect of the Ferengi costumes that made them hot to wear was their multi-layered structure. (TV Zone, issue 99, p. 38)

Whereas Robert Blackman designed large smock outfits for the character of Ishka in most episodes and thought a similar costume would have been "easy" to make for Quark to wear as Lumba in DS9: "Profit and Lace", Blackman ended up creating a new type of body-shape for the Ferengi females in that installment, involving fat suits. "The Ferengi males are all sort of pear-shaped, and I always accentuate their bellies with a pad," he explained. "So I thought that it would be fun to give Moogie [and Lumba] this Rubenesque body with a padded body suit […] Then we made both of them jump suits of stretch velour to wear over the padding." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 575)

A Ferengi head wrap from an early TNG episode was sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay. [1]

As the Ferengi had no clothes for women at the time, Ishka likely just wore adopted designs she liked from other cultures.


Ferengi education employed a work-study approach with apprenticeships in a wide range of business and economic fields – in other words, throwing students into the cutthroat competition of Ferengi commerce; anyone who survived graduated. (DS9: "A Man Alone")


Ferengi technology included the following personal weapons used by their species:

The Ferengi were able to engineer a fully-functional Genesis Device. They also incorporated a paywall into their version of the device that would require anyone trying to disable it to insert two bars of latinum even while its timer to detonation continued counting down, as Nick Locarno discovered to his very brief regret. (LD: "Old Friends, New Planets")

Mirror universe[]

The Ferengi of the mirror universe were, for the most part, seen as far more compassionate and less greedy than their counterparts in the prime universe, often paying for this compassion with their lives. They were oppressed by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance, during the 2370s, and several Ferengi were aligned with the Terran Rebellion. (DS9: "Crossover")

In each of the first three mirror universe episodes in DS9 as well as in the fifth such installment (namely, "Crossover", "Through the Looking Glass", "Shattered Mirror", and "The Emperor's New Cloak"), a mirror Ferengi character is killed off (specifically, Quark, Rom, Nog, and Brunt respectively). Jeffrey Combs observed, "None of the Ferengi from the alternate universe seem to survive." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 645) The regularity with which the mirror Ferengi were killed off was not entirely coincidental and, in fact, caused the third and fourth occasions of a Ferengi from the mirror universe being put to death. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 330 & 645; Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 118) "Ira [Steven Behr] said, 'Well, we kill a Ferengi every time we go over there, so we have to kill Nog,'" René Echevarria stated, recalling one point during the development of "Shattered Mirror". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 118) Similarly, Behr himself admitted that one motivation in the death of Brunt was keeping "our streak going." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 645)


In Ferengi philosophy, the pursuit of profit at any cost was the guiding principle for all traditional Ferengi. With the invention of currency and the concept of profit approximately 10,000 years ago, Ferengi philosophy began to evolve toward the pursuit of material wealth. This guiding principle became so basic to Ferengi that it was eventually codified in the Rules of Acquisition. (DS9: "Little Green Men", "Body Parts")


Greed, deceit, distrust, and opportunism were highly prized values among Ferengi and all were represented within the Rules. The Ferengi belief in conducting all business dealings under the advisory caveat emptor, or "buyer beware", further reflected the pursuit of profit at all costs. (TNG: "The Last Outpost")

Though slavery (of men) was unknown in Ferengi society, exploitation was the rule. The formation of labor unions was forbidden, and indeed most Ferengi did not wish to eradicate exploitation but to become the exploiters. (DS9: "Bar Association")

If profit represented the ultimate goal to Ferengi, the loss of profit opportunity represented the ultimate punishment. Ferengi who broke the law could be punished with the loss of all property and assets. If the crime was deemed severe enough, the offending Ferengi's family could also suffer loss of profit opportunity and could even be sold into indentured servitude to repay their debts – both literal and philosophical. The binding nature of contracts was considered a supreme law in Ferengi society and breaking a contract with a fellow Ferengi was a severe crime. (DS9: "Family Business", "Body Parts")

Capital punishment was not unknown among Ferengi but perhaps even more feared was revocation of a Ferengi's business license. Such an action prohibited other Ferengi from conducting business with the offender and virtually ostracized a Ferengi from his own society, leaving him with so few opportunities for true profit that death might be preferable. (DS9: "Body Parts") Should capital punishment become necessary (such as for going on strike), the preferred method is defenestration from the top of the Tower of Commerce. Not only is the forty-story descent effective, but it allows those in the Sacred Marketplace below opportunities to place wagers on where the condemned will land. (DS9: "Bar Association")

Regard for profit above all else, including life, was also evident in the Ferengi attitude toward dealing in weapons and other military technology. Though the galaxy abounded in weapons dealers, the Ferengi had an approving attitude toward the profession. (TNG: "The Perfect Mate"; DS9: "Business as Usual") Similarly, the Ferengi attitude toward personal liberty was superseded by desire for profit. Despite, or perhaps because of, never having endured slavery themselves, Ferengi showed themselves willing to engage in slave-trading and the capturing of aliens for slave labor if profitable. (ENT: "Acquisition"; TNG: "Rascals")

In accordance with their extreme, crony capitalist mindset, Ferengi historical records on 21st century Earth described Wall Street with reverence. (VOY: "11:59")


The Ferengi cultural emphases upon profit and wealth extended to spirituality, leading to a fairly robust and detailed religious life, even if the central philosophy behind the religion was relatively simple.

Ferengi spirituality flowed largely from their belief that the universe was bound together in the Great Material Continuum. A Ferengi who lived a good life (one who made a profit and accumulated wealth) was said to navigate the Great River of the Continuum. Such Ferengi were rewarded for their success in interpreting the wants and needs of this life by positioning themselves for success in the next life. (DS9: "Treachery, Faith and the Great River")

The Ferengi seemed to draw a distinction between selfishness and greed, indicating that the accumulation of wealth serves a greater good and is therefore not selfish. This is likely the role of the Great Material Continuum and may explain why such accumulation is rewarded in the afterlife. However, it may also be the case that selfishness itself is considered a moral virtue and the accumulation of wealth is rewarded in the afterlife precisely because of that.

Divine Treasury antechamber

The Antechamber of the Divine Treasury

In the case of Ferengi, the mercantile belief in the finite but eternal nature of material accumulation meant that you could take it with you. Upon death, a Ferengi found himself before the Blessed Exchequer, to whom Ferengi prayed in life, and was evaluated on the basis of the profit earned while alive. A successful Ferengi was allowed to bribe their way into the Divine Treasury, where the wealth he had accumulated could be used to bid on his next life, under the supervision of the Celestial Auctioneers. An unsuccessful Ferengi might find himself cast into the Vault of Eternal Destitution, never to return. (DS9: "Little Green Men", "Body Parts", "The Emperor's New Cloak")

By the end of the Dominion War, in 2375, over 40% of the population on Ferenginar no longer believed they had to buy their way into the Divine Treasury. (DS9: "The Dogs of War")

The Ferengi death ritual prohibited an autopsy from being performed on a deceased Ferengi. However, it was accepted practice for a Ferengi to auction off his vacuum-desiccated remains after death, providing the opportunity for their loved ones or enemies to own a piece of the Ferengi after his passing and as a final opportunity to raise capital for the soon-to-be deceased. (TNG: "Suspicions"; DS9: "The Nagus", "Body Parts")

Armin Shimerman believed Quark, Rom and Nog discussing Ferengi religious beliefs in "Little Green Men" was "fun." ("Period Piece", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 6)


Ferengi logo

Official symbol of the Ferengi Alliance

The Ferengi Alliance was the main political body of the Ferengi. It was dedicated to the promotion of profit and commerce and was overseen by a Grand Nagus, who acted as both head of state and principal business leader. The Nagus' power was supported by both the Ferengi Bill of Opportunities as well as the Rules of Acquisition. (DS9: "Profit and Lace")

The Ferengi Commerce Authority, or FCA, was an agency of the Alliance concerned with business practices and the enforcement of trade under the Ferengi Trade By-Laws and Ferengi Code. Agents of the FCA were known as Liquidators and were governed by the Board of Liquidators. The FCA tightly regulated Ferengi business affairs in all industries and throughout the quadrant.

Additional government institutions included the Ferengi Gaming Commission, Ferengi Health Commission, and the Ferengi Trade Mission. (DS9: "Ferengi Love Songs"; VOY: "Infinite Regress"; TNG: "The Perfect Mate")

Generally, the Ferengi Alliance stayed neutral in the politics of the galaxy, since the Ferengi were solely interested in profit and making enemies would diminish business opportunities. In the spirit of free enterprise, most Ferengi business ventures were made without the knowledge of the government. A number of hostile conflicts occurred between the Federation and the Ferengi in the 2360s. However, the Ferengi Alliance itself was not held responsible, despite the Ferengi being more distasteful than most according to Federation Values. Ferengi starships therefore operated more like privately owned privateers, striking deals where they could, and stealing at phaser-point when they couldn't. (TNG: "Peak Performance") Quark once claimed that the Ferengi had never fought an interstellar war. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar")

The importance of business was felt even in Ferengi government, as powerful businessmen could easily become powerful political figures, representing their companies the way states or worlds are represented in most other cultures.

The neutral tendencies of the Ferengi and their government were evident in the 34th and 35th Rules of Acquisition: "War is good for business" and "Peace is good for business." Counter-intuitively, this neutral status often enhanced the influence of the Ferengi Alliance in the galaxy. By positioning themselves as interested only in commerce, not only did Ferengi manage to avoid being embroiled in larger conflicts, such as the Dominion War; they also made themselves available as intermediaries. Ferengi trade representatives often accompanied other governments on diplomatic missions where trade negotiations might serve to open the door to more extensive relations between trade partners who might otherwise have difficulty doing business because of the political climate. (DS9: "Starship Down")

In keeping with their neutral tradition, the Ferengi did not maintain a standing military force and were generally considered ineffectual in most military matters. However, the role of DaiMon in Ferengi commerce was a quasi-military rank and the Alliance did provide the use of starships, notably the D'Kora-class marauders, for the purpose of mercantile exploration and, in some cases, defense of business interests. (TNG: "Ménage à Troi")

See also[]



Gint, first Grand Nagus, as he appeared in a vision to Quark

See main article: Ferengi history

It took around 10,000 years to build the Ferengi Alliance. Gint became the first Grand Nagus and was the original author of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition. While this cemented their greedy and materialistic society, atrocities such as slavery and interstellar wars were notably absent from Ferengi history. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "Little Green Men", "Body Parts")

Contact with Humanity[]

A temporal incident caused a quasi-first contact with Humans in 1947. After they had purchased warp drive technology, the Ferengi encountered spacefaring Humans as early as 2151, albeit in a covert manner without disclosing their identity. Despite the Battle of Maxia in 2355, official first contact with the Federation did not occur until 2364. (ENT: "Acquisition"; TNG: "The Last Outpost", "The Battle"; DS9: "Little Green Men")

Notwithstanding a few aggressive incursions against Starfleet over the following years, both sides maintained sufficient relations for Ferengi representatives to participate in Federation-hosted events or for Starfleet ships to answer Ferengi distress calls. (TNG: "The Price", "Ménage à Troi", "The Perfect Mate") Upon the (re-)discovery of the Bajoran wormhole to the Gamma Quadrant in 2369, the Ferengi Alliance under Grand Nagus Zek was the first Alpha Quadrant power to learn of the existence of the Dominion via its aggressive pursuit of new business opportunities beyond the wormhole. (DS9: "Rules of Acquisition", "The Jem'Hadar")





A list of all appearances of Ferengi (excluding the regular appearances of Quark):

Background information[]


Slutsker and Roddenberry

Gene Roddenberry with a Ferengi-playing actor

The Ferengi were initially developed by Gene Roddenberry and Herbert J. Wright. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 94) Veteran Ferengi actor Armin Shimerman stated, "[Gene] Roddenberry was the one who created the Ferengi. It was something he worked on." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 124) Roddenberry, however, delegated the task of creating the species to Wright. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 36)

The Ferengi were invented in an attempt to fill a need for a new recurring adversary on Star Trek: The Next Generation, much like how the Klingons had provided a real threat to the Federation in The Original Series. In fact, the Ferengi were intended to take the place of the Klingons, who could no longer be used as regular antagonists. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 94)

After Gene Roddenberry tasked Herb Wright with inventing a new species to regularly menace the crew of the Enterprise-D, Wright set to work. Recalling that inspiration for the conflict between the Federation and the Klingon Empire in The Original Series had come from hostility between the US and the USSR during the Cold War, Wright sought an equivalent relevant to the US of the era he was living in, the 1980s. There was meanwhile a palpable feeling that the nation's financial sector was essentially full of greedy barbarians, a notion Wright transplanted into the futuristic science-fiction setting of The Next Generation. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 36) Rob Bowman offered, "The Ferengi sprung from the stereotype of agents and lawyers being cutthroat, greedy and wanting only money." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 35) Wright thus conceived the Ferengi as a species of profit-obsessed, ruthless aliens. He was especially fond of the contrast between them and the crew of the Enterprise-D, who had no desire or need for money. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 36)

In a so-called "Ferengi memo" dated 11 May 1987, Gene Roddenberry described the members of the species as "connivers and manipulators" as well as "robber barons." They were also referred to as having "prodigious sexual appetites." Roddenberry went on to write, "[They] consider themselves too civilized to employ brute force, except when they can label it 'cleverness.' The act of winning is a most important thing in their system of values. They would agree with the twentieth-century Human athletic coach who said, 'Winning isn't the important thing – winning is the only thing' […] [The Ferengi believe] that it is nature's way to reward the clever at the cost of the weak. They believe in the law of quid pro quo and believe it is dishonest to take or receive without fair payment, although their idea of 'fair' is that which profits them the most. [They consider themselves] the 'good guys' who live in perfect accord with nature's immutable laws of survival. They are honestly puzzled with Humanity's concept of good and believe it means only that Humans are demented." (Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek, 2nd ed. paperback, pp. 261 & 236)

One influence on the Ferengi was what Herb Wright described as Gene Roddenberry's "sex fetish." In early first season discussions between them about developing the Ferengi, Roddenberry let Wright know it was his intention to make the species well-endowed. "He wanted to put a gigantic codpiece on the Ferengi," Wright stated. "He spent 25 minutes explaining to me all the sexual positions the Ferengi could go through. I finally said, 'Gene, this is a family show, on at 7:00 on Saturdays. He finally said, 'Okay, you're right.'" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 2/3, pp. 60-61) With Roddenberry's approval, the development of the new species got underway. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 36)

The word "Ferengi" was derived from the Arabic and Persian word faranji (written فرنجي), which meant "frank", as in the Frankish/European traders who made contact with Arabic traders; the word later came to mean "foreigner" in general, though in modern Arabic, it is generally restricted to the meaning "European". Thus, Robert Hewitt Wolfe stated, "Ferengi is, after all, the Persian word for foreigner, particularly for European." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 114)

Designing the Ferengi 2

Andrew Probert's second take at conceptualizing the Ferengi

The Ferengi were imagined as being so fearsome that they are referred to, in TNG pilot "Encounter at Farpoint", as having eaten their previous business associates. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 94) This stemmed from an attempt to make them seem "more dangerous", though Wright worried this level of disgust would distract from the larger relatable moral issues of greed they were supposed to embody. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 17, pp. 30-32)

Tom Barron once claimed the Ferengi first appeared in "the very first episode after the pilot." However, this is incorrect, as the Ferengi actually made their physical debut in the third installment after the pilot, "The Last Outpost". (Dreamwatch, issue 37, p. 35)

The introduction of the Ferengi in TNG took the production staff a while to adjust to. Recalling reactions to a script description of a Ferengi ship, Tom Barron stated, "Everyone turned to one another in a production meeting and asked, 'What's a Ferengi? What ship do they fly?' So right out of the gate they had no Ferengi […] yet they had a story point that had to be conveyed by a Ferengi!" (Dreamwatch, issue 37, p. 35)

Much time and energy was invested in creating the look of the Ferengi – lots more, actually, than had gone into the design of the original Klingons. Ferengi were envisioned as being short in stature and having faces that, to Human standards, seemed grotesque. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 36) The Ferengi ears were originally big because it was imagined that they were especially attuned to hearing sounds. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 74)

In the script for "The Last Outpost", the first view of a Ferengi, as seen on the Enterprise-D's viewscreen, is said to be "large," and "menacing," though later descriptions of how the Ferengi look, up close, characterize them as "hairless humanoids with protruding cupped ears, dressed in strange clothing," and "fine-boned, small – looking far different and less menacing than the image transmitted to the Enterprise Main Viewer." The Ferengi accent is described as "alien, clipped," and "arrogant," and members of the species are also scripted as having "blue colored nails," and "beady eyes" which "'dart' around birdlike," although the Ferengi are "marginally blind" with "weak eyesight." [2]

Probert ferengi concept

Probert's later concept, with "batlike" ears and sharper teeth

The facial appearance of the Ferengi was designed by TNG Senior Illustrator Andrew Probert and refined and produced by Makeup Supervisor Michael Westmore. (Star Trek Encyclopedia, 4th ed., vol. 1, p. 269) The latter individual considered the task as a considerably difficult challenge. (Star Trek: The Official Fan Club Magazine issue 59, pp. 8-9) The design was tried out in concept sketches, in which Probert illustrated the species with massive ears and teeth similar to those of piranha. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 36)

At first, Gene Roddenberry advised that large, sharply pointed ears designed by Andrew Probert looked too much like oversized Vulcan ears and should seem more original. (Star Trek: The Official Fan Club Magazine issue 59, p. 8; Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 74) The producers were also dissatisfied with the Ferengi having a long chin which made them, in the producers' own words, "look more like a witch than an alien." (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 74) The nose was also to be more detailed. "The original nose design didn't have enough character to it," Michael Westmore recalled, "so they left it up to me to redesign a nose for them." (Star Trek: The Official Fan Club Magazine issue 59, p. 8) Almost immediately, the makeup team modified the design. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 74) Westmore continued, "We took the drawings and eliminated the chin, and we changed from a batlike ear to a round ear […] By rounding them off we still got a big-eared effect." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 26) The ears retained an up-sweep but were no longer pointed. (Star Trek: The Official Fan Club Magazine issue 59, p. 8) In their reference book The Art of Star Trek (p. 94), however, writers Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens opine, "The loss of the pointed ears [...] reduced the aura of danger the drawing so effectively conveys." The makeup department next added sets of wrinkles across the Ferengis' large, bulbous noses. The addition of military tattoos, representing allegiance to the Ferengi Alliance, was the final touch in the initial makeup process. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 74)

The casting of the Ferengi roles in "The Last Outpost" soon began. "They were looking for short character actors to play members of a new alien race called the Ferengi," remembered Armin Shimerman. (TV Zone, issue 99, p. 36) Even up to this point, the Ferengi were still intended to serve as a recurring nemesis. "That's how it was explained to me – it was told to my agent and passed on to me," Shimerman noted. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 54)

Once the early Ferengi makeup was designed, some test photographs of Armin Shimerman wearing a prosthetic Ferengi headpiece were taken. The original design of the makeup, as included in "The Last Outpost", pressed the actors' ears flat against their heads. During a sixteen-hour day of production, this became exceedingly painful for the performers. (The Art of Star Trek, p. 95)

The actors in "The Last Outpost" were directed to, in the words of Armin Shimerman, "jump up and down like crazed gerbils." This recollection was confirmed by Rick Berman. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, pp. 61-62) However, Shimerman even went so far as to describe the Ferengi themselves as "angry gerbils" in "The Last Outpost". (The Art of Star Trek, p. 94)

Although the Ferengi aren't canonically referred to as having poor eyesight, Herman Zimmerman was of the opinion that it still accounted for their beady eyes and, to compensate, their large ears. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 38)

When the Ferengi made their on-screen debut in "The Last Outpost", the general reaction was disappointment, with many realizing the species was no real substitute for the Klingons. As the TNG producers discovered, the Ferengi didn’t offer much threat. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, pp. 36 & 188) Hence, many people (including Ira Steven Behr and Armin Shimerman) consider the introduction of the Ferengi in TNG to be disastrous. Indeed, Shimerman once commented that, by portraying his Ferengi character of Letek as very one-dimensional, he had done a "horrible thing […] to the Ferengi." (Crew Dossier: Quark, DS9 Season 6 DVD special features) Additionally, Shimerman admitted, "It's one of the great disappointments of my life that it didn't flesh out to be exactly what Gene Roddenberry had wanted it to be." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 54) Behr proclaimed, "Was there ever an alien race on Star Trek that did not work more than the Ferengi when they were introduced? It was a disaster." ("Quark's Story", DS9 Season 2 DVD special features) He elaborated, "I think I'm not saying anything out of school by telling you that the idea of lethal Ferengi was kind of a bust. The Ferengi are not the Klingons or the Romulans. They were minor villians at best." (AOL chat, 1997) Likewise, Wil Wheaton has stated that the Ferengi were "probably the lamest enemy ever introduced in the history of television." [3] Maurice Hurley critiqued, "The Ferengi were just terrible. They were like pests. It was like making a villain out of a housefly." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 27) Hurley criticized further, "I still think the Ferengi were a waste of time. Goofy. No bushido involved; it was a joke. We had these arguments from the beginning. I was the lone voice screaming in the wilderness. If somebody's interested in gold, they're not much of an adversary. If we can make gold in our replicator–and we can–then it's like sand at the beach in Santa Monica. Who cares? Give 'em all the sand that they want. Get them out of here. They want gold? Here, take a truck load and get out." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, pp. 158 & 160) Rick Berman concurred that the Ferengi didn't "measure-up to the level of villainy intended." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 35) In fact, he believed they had a high "silliness quotient" so they were a "disappointment as a major adversary." (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 41) On the other hand, Producer Robert H. Justman thought the Ferengi worked best when they were first introduced. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 21) Michael Piller remarked, "There's a big difference of opinion about the Ferengi." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 35) Nonetheless, TNG's audience was uninterested in the notion of Picard regularly having confrontations with a race of cutthroat capitalists. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 36)

Initial refinements[]

A confluence of events, among them the Ferengi having ended up being regarded as silly, guaranteed that they were prevented from becoming major adversaries; the decision to radically change them was soon made. (Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Continuing Mission, pp. 61 & 62) Robert Justman reckoned, "If you wanted to keep the characters around I suppose that's what you have to end up doing – you can't have them always hissing at each other. I guess Rick [Berman] took the road that was the best way to go once they became popular." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 2, Issue 12, p. 21) The elements of the Ferengi which were regarded as the most negative were modified or omitted in later installments. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 36)

The Ferengi's first return appearance, in TNG installment "The Battle", was intended to provide some insight into their culture; Larry Forrester, who devised the episode's story, wrote several scenes into his first story outline for the outing that featured the Ferengi aboard their own ship, though these scenes were later removed. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 41) Showing the Ferengi in "The Battle" involved adding a set of lower teeth to the makeup, giving the species an even more carnivorous appearance. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 74) For directing the installment, Rob Bowman was asked to portray the Ferengi differently to how they had been established. Consequently, before he directed "The Battle", he was "given some notes" which warned him about what the producers didn't want the Ferengi to be like. Noted Michael Piller, "I think the Ferengi worked pretty well in 'The Battle'." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 35) Bowman himself stated, "The Ferengi are great characters and they withstood the test of time, and they're a lot of fun." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 2, p. 94)

Following their reappearance in "The Battle", the Ferengi were put into a temporary period of retirement by TNG's writers. "People were afraid to use them because it wasn't working," Michael Piller revealed. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 35) The Ferengi were in fact almost outrightly abandoned as adversaries. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 3rd ed., p. 128)

The final draft script for the first season TNG episode "Angel One", dated 4 November 1987, named the Ferengi as enemies with battlecruisers near a Federation outpost. (p.8, scene 14) In the final version of the episode, the Romulans had become this enemy.

In subsequent seasons, the Ferengi makeup was enhanced with the addition of cheekbones for the individual characters, which were thereby made to look more realistic. The use of airbrushing to add shadows to the Ferengi in the later seasons resulted in them becoming more physically complex. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 74)

A TNG Season 2 two-parter which was entitled "Ferengi Gold" and which heavily featured the species was written by Gene Roddenberry but never filmed. In the storyline, the Ferengi would have utilized superior technology to pose as gods. (Star Trek Monthly issue 26, p. 27)

The Ferengi eventually made a return in "Peak Performance", the penultimate installment of TNG's second season, in which Armin Shimerman again portrayed a Ferengi, Bractor. "I went into 'Peak Performance' with the hopes of trying to fix my original concept of the Ferengi," he admitted. (TV Zone, issue 99, p. 38)

Michael Westmore made adjustments to the Ferengi teeth as the seasons of TNG were produced, having more time to experiment with the look of some of the alien characters in the series. In retrospect, he described refining the Ferengi teeth as "one of my pastimes on TNG." He recollected, "Ultimately, I decided to create unique sets of teeth for each of the actors. I began by taking a cast of the actor's mouth and then changing the upper teeth in the cast by covering individual teeth with acrylic pointed teeth. I leave gaps between some or bring others closer together. Sometimes I even make double rows. Then I take a cast of the lower teeth and align the upper and lower to each other–sometimes even shooting a tooth into a gap between the uppers and lowers–so that when the actor speaks, his Ferengi teeth will open and close naturally." (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 74) He noted, "Now every set of Ferengi teeth are like a work of art." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 2/3, p. 105)

The notion of involving the Ferengi in TNG Season 3 episode "The Price" was suggested by Michael Piller. With hindsight, he related, "When I said let's use them in 'The Price' I thought I'd present them as vermin, weasels, and play them with a little bit of fun." Even by the end of TNG's third season, there was still a large debate over how successful the Ferengi were. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 35)

As originally conceived by René Echevarria, the third season TNG episode "The Offspring" was to have featured "some jeopardy with a Ferengi," as Echevarria later phrased it. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 142)

Before playing Sovak in season three offering "Captain's Holiday", Max Grodénchik had to research what exactly a Ferengi was, since he knew nothing about them. The Ferengi were familiar to his then-roommate, who happened to be a science fiction fan. "He imitated the early Ferengi, and explained what the Ferengi were, how they were 24th-century capitalists, and all they cared about was making a buck. But his imitation seemed a little too outrageous to me," Grodénchik remembered. "I called my brother long distance – he was the only other science fiction fan I could think of – and I said, 'My roommate is saying all this outrageous stuff about Ferengi. Does it make any sense?' He said, 'That's exactly right. They represent pure profit motive and they are definitely outrageous.' When I went in to read, I said, 'I have no idea what a Ferengi is. But this is what my brother and my roommate say a Ferengi is.'" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 54)

Having sought to further refine the Ferengi as villains ever since "The Price", Michael Piller was extremely pleased with how they are depicted in TNG Season 5. He felt proud at having turned them into characters he believed were more effective, especially in the episode "The Perfect Mate". At the end of the fifth season, he mused, "They bring energy and humor to the show. It used to be that nobody liked them because they were too funny. They couldn't be taken seriously, but this year they've been very effective for us." According to Rick Berman, though, the Ferengi remained difficult to do. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 2/3, p. 78)

During the evolution of TNG: "Chain Of Command, Part I", a part originally scripted for Quark was replaced with a new Ferengi character, DaiMon Solok. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 267)

Future developments[]

By the end of TNG Season 5, Star Trek's creative personnel knew they would be focusing on the Ferengi much more in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Remaining under the supervision of Michael Westmore, the makeup laboratory was still entirely set up to produce Ferengi makeup for DS9. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 2/3, pp. 78 & 105)

In the series bible for DS9, the Ferengi were described thus; "The Ferengi race has been a part of ST:TNG since the very beginning. They are ugly, sexist, greedy little aliens who are interested in only profit and getting their hands on anything of yours they happen to fancy." [4]

By the time the Ferengi were being readied for appearances on the show (on 5 October 1992), their makeup had undergone considerable development since their introduction, involving heads, noses, cheeks, and double sets of teeth like piranhas'. ("The Deep Space Nine Sketchbook", DS9 Season 1 DVD special features) Michael Westmore noted, "We kept [them] pretty much the same." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 1, p. 29) In essence, though, DS9 allowed the species a chance to keep evolving, conceptually. Viewers, as a result, started to actually like the Ferengi. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 349) "Of all the creatures we've had, they're probably the most unappealing," stated David Livingston, "yet now they're part of it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 30) DS9 re-imagined the Ferengi as a scheming, profit-driven, yet likable species – a change that had begun in TNG episodes such as "Ménage à Troi". As Ira Behr states, "Deep Space Nine and Armin Shimerman and Quark and some others have made the Ferengis a race to be enjoyed and cherished." ("Quark's Story", DS9 Season 2 DVD special features) Behr specifically believed the species was "legitimized" by Quark, "for the first time in the history of Star Trek." Regarding how they were changed, Behr observed, "We're able to do things with the Ferengi now just as we would with the Klingons. The Ferengi have more to them than just the fact they are greedy little buggers in space." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, p. 107)

Shortly prior to portraying Ferengi brothers Quark and Rom on DS9, Armin Shimerman and Max Grodénchik discussed many details about the Ferengi, when the two actors first met. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 19) "We talked for a long time about [...] how we felt about Ferengi," Grodénchik divulged. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 54)

Before portraying Nog on DS9, Aron Eisenberg was baffled by what a Ferengi was, in common with Max Grodénchik initially. Eisenberg related, "I [said], 'What's a Ferengi? I have no idea.'" After Casting Director Ron Surma provided the actor with a couple of TNG VHS tapes, Eisenberg realized what the species was like. "I looked at the tapes and said, 'Oh, that's what a Ferengi is,'" concluded Eisenberg. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 68)

The casting of Armin Shimerman as Quark was based on the strength of his performance as either Letek in "The Last Outpost" or Bractor in "Peak Performance". "I'm not sure which Ferengi impressed [Rick Berman]," Shimerman explained. (TV Zone, p. 38) In the role of Quark, Shimerman wanted to alter the depictions of the Ferengi, undoing the damage he felt he had done to the species when they had debuted. (Crew Dossier: Quark, DS9 Season 6 DVD special features) He noted, "The Ferengi have always seemed to be very broad and on the verge of slapstick. I would like to reel that in a little." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 22) At first, Shimerman actually wanted the Ferengi to remain antagonistic. "Originally that was my thought, that the Ferengi should be a threat to the station and the Federation," he admitted. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, pp. 49-50) Shimerman elaborated, "My agenda is to make the Ferengi a race to be reckoned with. Not necessarily ferocious. We're not Klingons, that's for sure. But it seems to me that the Ferengi were for many years comic stock characters. I feel badly about that because I started that–I was the Godfather of the race and started those footsteps in that wet cement and it was a mistake […] I'm trying to make them three-dimensional. To have a culture, an agenda, and a value system. It's not a Human value system, but it's a value system that if you step back and take a look at, it's still ethical. They are very ethical about their unethicalness […] I would also like [Starfleet] […] to eradicate some of the blindness they bring towards the Ferengi and begin to understand the value of the race […] I am just trying to make them as centered and real and committed to their value system as the Humans are to theirs." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, pp. 110 & 124)

Before Armin Shimerman started portraying Quark, the subject of the character's Ferengi makeup was discussed in some long chats Shimerman had with Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and, in particular, Michael Dorn. All three expected the makeup process would become increasingly streamlined during the run of DS9 and convinced Shimerman of this probability. (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 1, p. 16)

The depictions of Ferengi in DS9 included the brotherly bond between Quark and Rom. "Even though it was comic relationship about two brothers, we dealt with a lot of things that brothers and siblings have to deal with," Armin Shimerman remarked. "I thought we did a good job of that." (Conversations at Warp Speed) Robert Hewitt Wolfe remarked, "There is a lot of love between these two brothers, it just comes out in a dysfunctional way." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 114)

Max Grodénchik in make up

Max Grodénchik's Rom makeup is applied to his face

Karen Westerfield

Armin Shimerman's Quark makeup is given a touch-up by Karen Westerfield

At the start of DS9, the duration required for applying the Ferengi makeup was approximately three hours. ("Quark's Story", DS9 Season 2 DVD special features; Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 56; The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 2, p. 51) The Ferengi makeup, at the same point in the series, took an hour to remove. (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 2, p. 51) It basically consisted of two prosthetic appliances. The first was the helmet-like headpiece, which stretched from the wearer's eyebrows, over the person's head, to the back of his or her neck. The other appliance stretched from ear to ear, also covering the wearer's nose. While it was being carefully laid onto the actor's face, the makeup was glued down with a small brush. The makeup was then painted to match the complexion of the actor, a process which involved dabbing the skin and matching appliances. Painting the makeup pieces in took roughly an hour of the approximate three-hour total duration. ("Quark's Story", DS9 Season 2 DVD special features) The Ferengi hands were painted orange. (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 2, p. 51)

On DS9, actors preparing to don the giant Ferengi ears often consulted Armin Shimerman. "They always come to big daddy, especially the ones that have never seen the show before," Shimerman acknowledged. "I tell them what the race is all about, what the constraints and the freedoms of the makeup are, and the choices they have to make – how to use their hands, their teeth. It's a bit of a learning process […] I have found that actors who only have TV and film training are a little intimidated by the makeup, but for those of us who originally went into the theater, it's what we wanted to do anyway; work with makeup and be a little larger than life." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 110) Shimerman also proclaimed, "I became the prototype for all Ferengi that followed." (Conversations at Warp Speed) Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens wrote about Shimerman, ""He has brought a depth to the Ferengi fully the equal of The Original Series' Vulcans […] With Shimerman’s input, the new Ferengi headpieces used on Deep Space Nine had extra folds sculpted into them to keep the actors’ ears from being crushed." (The Art of Star Trek, p. 94) Shimerman himself found the makeup troubling. "It was very difficult to wear the rubber head and the mask. It was claustrophobic, it was hot, and it was disorienting. One of the ironies is that the Ferengi had such huge ears and the actors who played them were made deaf by the makeup. It was a little like having your hands over your ears while you talk; you could hear but it was a faint sound. On hot days it was enormously hot inside the makeup. It was very, very difficult." (Conversations at Warp Speed)

Author Dafydd ab Hugh has described the Ferengi in Deep Space Nine as being the "New Improved Ferengi". (Voyages of Imagination [page number?edit])

It has often been suggested that the Ferengi are in fact Star Trek's representatives of 20th and 21st century Humans. For example, Ira Behr remarked, "To me, the Ferengi, even more than O'Brien, are the closest to 20th century Human beings on the show. They're us. They have the energy of 20th century Human beings, they have the drive, they have the greed, they have the sense of self that we do. You can't trust them until you can trust them, and once you understand them, they're quite wonderful. And, like us, they're constantly rising above their limitations, and what more can you ask from anyone?" ("Quark's Story", DS9 Season 2 DVD special features) In addition, Behr commented, "To me, the Ferengis are 23rd century Human beings, you know. They have all the drive, the need to succeed, the greed, the self interest, the good and the bad of us." (The Ferengi Culture, DS9 Season 5 DVD special features) He also said, "To me, the Ferengi are 20th Century Human beings. That's what they are. And to me that means they are deeply flawed, but deeply energised and energising characters." ("The Producer's View", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 14) Similarly, Robert Hewitt Wolfe stated, "The Ferengi are us. That's the gag: the Ferengis are Humans. They're more Human than the Humans on Star Trek because they are so screwed-up, and they are so dysfunctional. They're regular people. And that was the fun of that. Obviously, the characterizing is taken to the extreme, and sometimes even made into cartoons. But the best cartoons are also us." (Hidden File 03, DS9 Season 3 DVD special features) Wolfe also said, quite simply, "In the Star Trek universe, the Ferengi are the most Human people out there, because the Human people in the Star Trek universe are much more evolved than we are; the Ferengi aren't." (Crew Dossier: Quark, DS9 Season 6 DVD special features) Nonetheless, Wolfe also recognized the extraterrestrial nature of the species, adding, "I've said it before, the Ferengi offer us a unique and alien culture and yet, in the best of Star Trek traditions, it's all about us." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 114)

The intention of making the Ferengi analogous to modern-day Humans filtered through to the actors. Max Grodénchik commented, "I always thought that the Ferengi on the show are the closest thing to 20th-century Human beings, because they are greedy." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 57) Jeffrey Combs offered, "It's probably an examination of capitalism to it's farthest degree. All these characters are sort of riffs on different aspects of our own psyche, so I suppose the Ferengi are that. Whether it encompasses the entire 20th Century, I'm not so sure about that." ("Voice of Ferengi Authority", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 14) Armin Shimerman believed the Ferengi were metaphorical for Humans in general. ("Quark's Story", DS9 Season 2 DVD special features; Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, p. 90) Like Gene Roddenberry did when he was involved in originally inventing the species, Shimerman thought of the Ferengi as "the robber barons of the future." (Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek, 2nd ed. paperback, p. 236; "Quark's Story", DS9 Season 2 DVD special features) He reckoned, "The Ferengi are a number of those old [Catholic] seven deadly sins stuck together […] By pointing out Humanity's shortcomings, its nastier sides, and greedier sides, we will learn to see how ugly that is and perhaps how to eschew it in our lives." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 24, Nos. 3/4, p. 90) Furthermore, Shimerman was of the opinion that the Ferengi's degree of similarity to Humans was evident in the relationship between Quark and Rom, the actor pointing out, "Yes they're Ferengi, but they're also a model for Human brothers." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 48)

By the time DS9: "Babel" was in production, Armin Shimerman had high hopes that later scripts from the series would give more insights into the Ferengi species. (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 1, pp. 10 & 18)

In the writing of DS9: "The Nagus", the Ferengi replaced a syndicate consisting of various criminals from multiple different species. "I don't remember exactly why, but I came up with the idea of making it a Ferengi show," stated Ira Steven Behr. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 39) Regarding how he suggested the idea to David Livingston (who had devised the first version of the story), Behr reflected, "I said to him, 'Maybe we should do a Ferengi episode.'" ("Behr Necessities", TV Zone special #34) With the advent of the Rules of Acquisition in "The Nagus", not only did Ferengi avarice suddenly make more sense but so did everything about their social development. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 349)

Much to his surprise, Ira Steven Behr found himself directly associated with the Ferengi since writing the script for "The Nagus". He noted, "I am now identified with the Ferengi as much as Ron[ald D. Moore] is with the Klingons." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 39)

Filming The Nagus

During production on DS9: "The Nagus", several Ferengi-playing actors receive instructions from David Livingston

When Wallace Shawn began portraying Grand Nagus Zek in "The Nagus", he didn't know what a Ferengi was, so he asked Armin Shimerman what it was. Shimerman was somewhat concerned that the acting of the Ferengi in "The Nagus" might go overboard. David Livingston remembered, "My comment to him was, 'You can't go over the top. These guys are Ferengis.' To have those two high-caliber people in those two roles wearing those big screwy makeups with the big ears and funny noses was a treat for me." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 49) At least in Max Grodénchik's opinion, though, there was no comparison between his own makeup as Rom and the makeup Shawn wore as Zek. "How can I complain about my makeup when I know what Wallace goes through?" Grodénchik rhetorically asked. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 57) Indeed, Shawn found his own Ferengi makeup very bothersome. ("Section 31: Hidden File 06", DS9 Season 2 DVD special features) On the subject of the Ferengi-playing actors in "The Nagus", Shimerman remarked, "We had, I think, seventeen Ferengi running around, and nobody knew who each other was." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 49)

From its first season, beginning with the episode "The Nagus", DS9 tended to do one or two so-called "Ferengi episodes" every year. Armin Shimerman offered, "Since that time, there have been many Ferengi episodes where it has just been me, or Max and me [as the main characters left with the responsibility of making the episode successful]." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 19) Generally, these episodes were "comedy episodes", farcical romps that were far more cartoonish than anything else seen in the Star Trek universe, using the Ferengi to represent contemporary Humans. "That's why we took such delight in the Ferengi episodes," Robert Hewitt Wolfe reminisced. (Hidden File 03, DS9 Season 3 DVD special features) Ira Behr clarified, "I don't really see them as galactic comic relief." (AOL chat, 1997) For some fans of Star Trek, however, the existence of such comedic episodes wasn't entirely welcomed, and the Ferengi episodes became something of a controversial part of the DS9 legacy. Reckoned Shimerman, "There are probably many people who grimace when they see there's going to be a Ferengi episode next week." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 19) Ira Behr observed, "The Ferengi just get ripped by people. There are people who love them, and a lot of people who hate them. They just find them silly." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 240) With that in mind, Behr further explained, "What I found for the most part was that the more 'passionate' fans were not big fans of the Ferengi episodes. The people I'd meet on planes who just watched the show, they loved the Ferengi episodes. They didn't see it as being untrue to the canon, or as, you know, doing the type of show that Star Trek is not supposed to be doing. They seemed to like them." (The Ferengi Culture, DS9 Season 5 DVD special features) The uniqueness of the Ferengi compelled the writers to nevertheless persist with periodically writing Ferengi episodes that were meant to be comedic. In retrospect, Behr stated, "It's just I thought the Ferengi were really cool characters and gave us a totally different feeling." [5]

Meanwhile, the Ferengi continued to be featured on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The script for TNG Season 7 episode "Suspicions" describes the Ferengi as typically "volatile, argumentative." [6] Keeping the species consistent was viewed as important upon filming the role of Ferengi scientist Doctor Reyga, who Director Cliff Bole initially suspected was meant to be slightly more compassionate and less "oily" than the rest of the species. Bole later remembered, "Rick Berman said, 'Don't forget, they're still Ferengis." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 278)

It took actor Peter Slutsker three hours to get into his Ferengi makeup, as Dr. Reyga, each day of filming "Suspicions". [7] By comparison, an incident in DS9 Season 1 shortened the time taken to apply Max Grodénchik's Rom makeup, as the makeup artists had to hurry it; with two people working on Grodénchik, the Ferengi makeup took only fifty-one minutes. The altered duration influenced Grodénchik to comment about it, when he arrived in the makeup trailer the next day. "I said, 'If two of you can do me in 51 minutes, three of you could probably do me in 12 minutes. If four people worked on me it would probably be minus 6 minutes.' We'd actually save time, we would make time," Grodénchik laughed. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, pp. 56-57)

By the end of DS9 Season 1, Ira Behr was anxious about becoming too associated with the Ferengi. "I was concerned that my Deep Space Nine legacy was going to be the Ferengi and nothing but the Ferengi," he noted. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 102) Behr elaborated, "It's true I've done a lot of stuff with the Ferengi, but they're not really villains. I had this fear that my Star Trek tombstone would read, 'He really made the Ferengi work.' And there should be more to a man's life than that." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 97)

However, Ira Behr did have a high opinion of the DS9 Ferengi. "I like them. I feel that Dax [in DS9 Season 2 outing "Rules of Acquisition"] kind of reflects my feelings towards the Ferengi, like it's beyond good and evil. They're just interesting. Now a lot of that interest comes out through humour […] and the Ferengi are a lot of fun." ("The Producer's View", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 14) Behr particularly liked how the Ferengi are depicted in second season episode "Sanctuary", with anti-Skrreean racist comments being expressed by Quark and his nephew, Nog. "There was good stuff with the Ferengis looking down on the Skrreeans," he observed. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 102)

By the time Star Trek: The Next Generation was nearing its end in its seventh season, the fact that the TNG Ferengi hadn't been a success was evident. Were it not for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the last TNG episode to feature the species, Season 7's "Bloodlines", could have been the final production to ever present them. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 349) In their reference book Star Trek: The Next Generation 365 (p. 349), Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann wrote, "A species whose culture was dedicated to lining their pockets just didn't fit on a series where the heroes didn’t even have pockets. Although meant to represent a serious threat, no one took them seriously. And although given humorous mannerisms, they weren't particularly funny […] But that was beginning to change. As 'Bloodlines' went into production, there were quite a few Ferengi earning a living across the street from TNG’s soundstages. On Stage 18, where Deep Space Nine's beautiful Promenade set was situated, a different genus of Ferengi had emerged."

In DS9 Season 2 finale "The Jem'Hadar", a comment partly regarding the Ferengi, said by Quark to Sisko and expressed from the Ferengi perspective, highlighted the differences between them and Humans. "It was time to lay to rest this long-time feeling that the Ferengi were the 'failed villains' of the Star Trek universe," recalled Ira Behr. "I wanted people to see them as something else. And if we could show that Sisko, whose character has a lot of weight, would take what Quark says [about the positive differences between Ferengi and Humans] seriously, then the audience would take it seriously." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 155) Behr also stated, "Quark was always great in some of these shows, from 'The Jem'Hadar' on, to give the point of view of 'The Federation this, the Federation that. Well, we're actually as good or better. We're saner, we don't conquer.' They see themselves as a kinder, gentler people, trying not to get sucked up by the vast conglomeration of Federation forces, you know, it's big business, a superpower." (The Ferengi Culture, DS9 Season 5 DVD special features)

Throughout season three of DS9, the writing staff worked on developing distinctions between Quark, Rom, and Nog. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 101)

In DS9 Season 3's "The House of Quark", the Ferengi encountered Klingons, in an unlikely pairing which allowed the writers to explore aspects of both species. The writing staff obviously imagined Ferengi psychology as being far different to that of Klingons, such as not considering a fight to the death honorable. "Ferengi values would say that's a terrible way to go – so distasteful!" commented Robert Hewitt Wolfe. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 171 & 172)

The Ferengi was one alien race which, by the time Star Trek: Voyager was in initial development, had become an extremely familiar element of the Star Trek universe. Deliberately, much less attention was paid to the Ferengi in Voyager. (Star Trek: Voyager - A Vision of the Future, pp. 155 & 162)

Ira Steven Behr thought the Ferengi were treated in a particularly comedic way in "Prophet Motive", which he co-wrote with Robert Hewitt Wolfe. "They are fun to write sometimes, and we've done a lot with them compared to where they started off," Behr observed. "Of all the Ferengi episodes, 'Prophet Motive' was by far the lightest." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 92)

With Michael Piller having originated Quark as an occasionally humorous character, Ira Steven Behr continued the process, once he was promoted to becoming DS9 showrunner and executive producer, of humorizing the Ferengi. Behr further developed the psyche, incentives and society of his alien charges. (Star Trek: The Next Generation 365, p. 349)

The Ferengi were on the minds of Ira Behr and Robert Wolfe as they concocted "Family Business", the second (after "Prophet Motive") of two Ferengi episodes in DS9's third season. "We wanted to do a show about the Ferengi that was more serious," related Behr. He, having an interest in sibling relationships and male bonding, used the episode to explore relations between Quark and Rom, the writers devising a physical fight between the two brothers. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 240) "Family Business" revealed more naked Ferengi skin than had ever been shown before. The episode also introduced two other Ferengi characters: the brothers' "Moogie" (or mother), Ishka, and FCA Liquidator Brunt. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 241 & 240) Jeffrey Combs, who played the latter character, was initially not very knowledgeable or even familiar with Ferengi, apart from having watched a couple of episodes, so he had to learn about the species. He considered the Ferengi attitude as perhaps including having standards perceived by oneself as high and inflexibility from those ideals. "Now, maybe that's the Ferengi way as well, but I don't see that from Quark or Rom," Combs observed. "They're Ferengi through-and-through, but they seem to have a basic goodness about them." Any Ferengi-related questions Combs had were answered by Armin Shimerman, who thereby helped Combs fill in the details he needed to catch up on. ("Voice of Ferengi Authority", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 14)

Ferengi anatomy resulted in their natural environment of Ferenginar being established as chronically rainy. "Robert [Wolfe] had this feeling that given the way Ferengi look, the style of body with big heads and ears and little eyes and no hair, that they would live in a moist climate," explained Ira Behr. In "Family Business", this decision allowed for more physical comedy between the members of the species, such as selling towels at the door for people to dry the rain off themselves. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 241)

At about the same time as "Family Business" was produced, DS9's makeup staff managed to reduce the makeup duration from three to two-and-a-half hours. The fact that many of the same makeup artists were being used for the Ferengi, and that those workers had done a huge amount of makeup for Ferengi and other regular DS9 alien races, made this time reduction possible. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 56)

Ira Behr approved of how the Ferengi are depicted in "Family Business". He commented, "It's about as pure a Ferengi show as you can get. This season we've accomplished two very good episodes for the Ferengi […] I thought there was some wonderful stuff between Rom and Quark [in 'Family Business'], and the fight [between them] was good and surprising […] The relationships were all nice […] We were also able to develop Rom's character and Quark's character, and […] it worked on a Human level as well as a Ferengi level. It's family, and family stuff has to be dealt with." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 97)

Other members of production personnel also liked how the Ferengi are portrayed in "Family Business". "The show was as Human as you can get with a show about people with those big ol' heads," stated Robert Wolfe. David Livingston offered, "The fight between Quark and Rom I thought was wonderful, flying over tables and stuff." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 97)

Multiple DS9 Ferengi episodes were directed by Rene Auberjonois, including the season three installments "Prophet Motive" (Auberjonois' directorial debut on the series) and "Family Business". "I think the fact that he got to do the two Ferengi shows is great, because he was perfectly suited to that material," commented David Livingston. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 92) Auberjonois himself remarked, "As grotesque as the Ferengi are, they're also sort of adorable." (Starlog, issue #222, p. 29) He further admitted, "I've always found the Ferengi, although they can be quite grotesque, to be like fairy-tale characters." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 214) In addition, Auberjonois stated, "I've always thought of the Ferengi as cartoon characters […] [Unlike any of DS9's other regular characters,] with the Ferengi you can [make fun of them without diminishing their strength as characters.]" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 445)

In preproduction for "Family Business", Rene Auberjonois rehearsed principle Ferengi-playing actors Armin Shimerman, Max Grodénchik, and Ishka actress Andrea Martin, the latter of whom had to endure three hours of makeup application each day of production and wore a unique Ferengi mask, based on a stock Ferengi headpiece. The Ferengi makeup in the episode additionally included the backs of a pair of hands, two shoulders, and a back. Shimerman and Grodénchik were stunt doubled, for the fight sequence, by Stunt Coordinator Dennis Madalone and his brother-in-law, George Colucci. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 240 & 241) Auberjonois veered away from showing the Ferengi in "Family Business" in a typical manner by deciding to film them (and the rest of the episode) using low angles. "[That] isn't usually the way you shoot Ferengi, because they're small people, so you tend to keep the camera higher to accentuate the fact that they're small," he pointed out. (Starlog, issue #222, p. 29)

An idea pertaining to two Ferengi was thought up immediately following the creation of "Family Business". Remembered Ira Behr, "Right after 'Family Business' we thought, 'Let's put Moogie and Zek together.' It seemed like a gimmick that you just had to do. There was no way we couldn't do it." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 445)

During DS9 Season 4, the Ferengi began taking two hours to apply, rather than two-and-a-half. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 56)

By DS9's fourth season, Armin Shimerman, Max Grodénchik, and Aron Eisenberg had a long-established practice of rehearsing together, in their own time, because they wanted to ensure they delivered their best performances. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 63) "One of the things that Aron and Max and I do, whenever there [are] scenes between the two of us, or the three of us, and between those two as well, is that we get together," said Shimerman. "If it's a scene with me included then it will be […] at my house and we'll rehearse until the cows come home, trying to get it exactly right." The rehearsals were also to counteract the effects of the Ferengi makeup. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 47) "We could go onto the sets, and [Shimerman] […] , and Jeff Combs, and Max Grodénchik [Rom], they'll come in and they'll get on the set to actually stage it," remembered Auberjonois. "Then, when you come on the set and there are 150 people waiting for you to make decisions and get the work done, it's just such an advantage to have that kind of help up front from the actors." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 34)

The Ferengi and prejudice against them featured in a never-produced DS9 story that Armin Shimerman and David R. George III pitched. "There's always been, in my mind, a sort of racial prejudice against the Ferengi, not only by the fans, but also, in many regards, by the characters – not by the actors who play them – but by the characters," Shimerman specified. "It's sort of the way it is written. I wanted to deal with that prejudice and explode it out where everybody could see it." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, p. 35)

In the writing of fourth season episode "Little Green Men", the idea of "revealing" that a group of Ferengi were behind actual historical reports famously purporting an alien visitation in Roswell of 1947 was thought up by freelance writers Toni Marberry and Jack Treviño. "They didn't pitch much more than Quark, Rom and Nog are the Roswell aliens," recalled Ira Behr. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 108) Representing the Ferengi as the alleged extraterrestrials proved popular with the actors playing them. " We all got to have fun in our own way […] We had fun working on it, too – going over it, laughing," reflected Aron Eisenberg. "When we first went over the episode at Armin [Shimerman]'s house, we were just cracking up." ("Ferengi Invasion", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 6) Shimerman himself concurred, "We had a great time […] I got to work with Max and Aron, who I don't work with enough […] We had a great time spoofing Roswell, New Mexico, and all the legends that have come out of New Mexico." ("Period Piece", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 6) Rather than the task of preparing the episode being all fun and games, though, all three actors invested a lot of effort on portraying their respective Ferengi roles in "Little Green Men". "It's a trio not a duet," stated Shimerman, "and the three of us worked very hard on it." ("'Little Green Men' Datafile", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 6) He also noted, "It was a great way of Star Trek […] providing the possibilities that it wasn't Martians after all, it was Ferengi." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, pp. 61 & 63) During breaks from filming a scene in which a Jeep carrying the Ferengi trio rounds a corner and drives toward camera, Eisenberg invented a song about the Ferengi. "Aron started singing, 'Three Ferengi in a jeep, and we are in trouble deep. We got to get back to Deep Space Nine. 24th Century is our time,'" Grodénchik recalled. ("Scene by Scene", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 6) Eisenberg and Ira Behr joked that, after the "truth" of a Ferengi triumvirate having actually been the purported Roswell aliens was "exposed" in DS9, the real identity of the extraterrestrials was again obscured by "lies" in such subsequent productions as the 1996 film Independence Day. "I don't know what the hell fantasy they're dealing with, but where are Quark and Rom and Nog?" Behr jested, while Eisenberg remarked, "When I saw Independence Day and they were on their way to Roswell, I kept thinking, '[....] Do they know that we were the actual aliens?'" ("Ferengi Invasion" & "Telling the Real Roswell Story", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 6) Reaction to the Ferengi depictions in "Little Green Men" was positive, Shimerman noting about himself and his Ferengi-playing co-stars, "A lot of people have complimented us on it." ("Period Piece", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 6)

Two episodes later, in "Our Man Bashir", Quark and Rom collaborate with Starfleet Lieutenant Commander Michael Eddington. "Quark and Rom are such outrageous characters […] [Armin Shimerman and Max Grodénchik] are a delight to be with on the set, as the characters," remarked Eddington actor Kenneth Marshall. "It's always great to have something that vivid to work off of." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 15, p. 53)

Filming Bar Association

Ferengi-playing actors receive instructions from Director LeVar Burton, while filming "Bar Association"

Armin Shimerman once observed that, in "Bar Association", the DS9 creative staff attempted to "deal with two serious problems," the first being the relationship between Rom and Quark, with the former defying Ferengi society at large, whereas the second issue was asking the Star Trek fans to respect the species. ("Quark Quips", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 14) In one particular scene of "Bar Association", more Ferengi appear than in any other scene from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. ("Oddments", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 14) Ronald D. Moore thoroughly approved of how the Ferengi are portrayed in "Bar Association". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 115)

By the time "Bar Association" was produced, Armin Shimerman was disgruntled that a percentage of Star Trek fans seemed unable to accept a Ferengi episode if it was serious. "We need to train the audience so that they get used to the fact that a Ferengi episode, or anything about the Ferengi, can be either serious or comical," he opined. Ira Behr partly agreed with Shimerman's reaction. "Yes, I think it's unfortunate that the fans, or at least a segment of the fan population, have never been able to warm to the Ferengi. But I don't think it has anything to do with being three-dimensional […] They are [just] not easy to categorise within the acceptable Star Trek parameters." Behr had a theory as to why a specific portion of the viewing audience hadn't embraced the Ferengi. "I can't say that this is absolute reality, but I can only surmise that on some level the fans think that the Ferengi are mocking them and mocking Star Trek. They see it that if they laugh, somehow they are breaking their bond with Kirk, Spock and McCoy and that Great Bird of the Galaxy." ("The Producer's View" & "Quark Quips", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 14)

Shooting Body Parts

Ferengi-playing actors Max Grodénchik and Armin Shimerman receive direction from Avery Brooks during production on "Body Parts"

More depth to the Ferengi than was usual was allowed in the episode "Body Parts". (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 48)

By the end of Season 4, some members of the shooting company were happy with how the Ferengi were developing. For instance, Armin Shimerman felt proud of his and Max Grodénchik's efforts to "resuscitate and redefine the Ferengi" (Shimerman's words). "I must say, Max [Grodénchik] and I have come a long way towards doing that," Shimerman opined. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 0) He even felt, in fact, that the relationships between Quark, Rom and Nog (as well as the friendships between the actors who played them) made the DS9 series work. Shimerman remarked, "We've had wonderful episodes […] We're a tight-knit group, the three of us. We spend a lot of time in makeup together […] Working with Max Grodénchik is sheer delight, as is with Aron [Eisenberg]." Shimerman held the opinion that the conceptual evolution of the Ferengi mirrored that of the Klingons. "We haven't done it to that extent, but I believe Max and I and Aron are doing the same thing for the Ferengi […] Because of the work that the three of us have done, I think we're expanding that one dimensionality [that Shimerman believed was true of the TNG Ferengi] and making them much more three dimensional characters, characters that you can get behind and possibly even learn something from." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, pp. 47 & 48) Ron Moore commented, "The Ferengi are turning out to be a pretty interesting race." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 115)

A Star Trek: Voyager episode in which Ferengi appear is "False Profits". It depicts them much as they were to have been portrayed in the ultimately abandoned TNG two-parter "Ferengi Gold", with a group of Ferengi using advanced technology to pose as gods. (Star Trek Monthly issue 26, p. 27)

Despite the Ferengi having significantly transformed through their many Star Trek appearances, Ira Behr suspected a villainous Ferengi would still be too much to take, even by the time of DS9 Season 5. "I don't think the fans would accept a Ferengi heavy at this point," Behr reckoned, adding that Brunt – who was probably most like a Ferengi villain over the course of the series – was "only a heavy to other Ferengi." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 439)

The Ferengi were on the minds of Ira Behr and Hans Beimler while they did a polish on "Business as Usual" and then immediately began writing the next Ferengi episode, "Ferengi Love Songs" (whose title was changed, in such a way as to include the word "Ferengi", only at the last minute, because Behr wanted it altered). "We were in the Ferengi mind set," reflected Beimler. "It was just great fun. Ira understands the Ferengi better than any non-Ferengi I know." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 53)

"Ferengi Love Songs" finally executed the idea, initially devised straight after "Family Business", of putting Ishka and Zek together. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 445) In the episode, that relationship wasn't the only one which was further developed, as the bond between Quark and Ishka was too. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 53) After the role of Ishka was recast with Cecily Adams in the part, she got an idea of the relationships between the Ferengi characters by watching a video tape Armin Shimerman lent her, featuring an episode in which Andrea Martin had portrayed Ishka. Both Shimerman and Max Grodénchik, though appearing as Ishka's sons, were actually older than Adams. She and Wallace Shawn found the Ferengi makeup to be remarkably thick. "Wally and I would get out of makeup and have no idea who each other was," noted Adams, laughing. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 445 & 444) Jeff Combs was disappointed that, even though Brunt and Zek appear in "Ferengi Love Songs", they have no scenes with each other in that episode. When Combs met Shawn on the set of "Ferengi Love Songs", Combs felt the Ferengi makeup they were both wearing, which he said made them look like "weird creatures," made the experience "really quite amusing" and "surreal." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 62) Rene Auberjonois enjoyed directing Shawn, Adams, and Combs. "[It was a] wonderful working experience," stated Auberjonois. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 34)

Aron Eisenberg believed that, by Nog helping Jake Sisko engage in lengthy negotiations for a baseball card in "In the Cards", a quality inherent to Ferengi in general was exemplified. "This all relates to the Ferengi's setting of financial goals and going after them," Eisenberg observed. (TV Zone, issue 99, p. 41)

By the end of DS9 Season 5, the Ferengi makeup took around an hour and a half to apply. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 61) In the interim between the fifth and sixth seasons, Ira Steven Behr intended for the Ferengi to return, en masse, in "The Magnificent Ferengi". "We have to do the rescue mission with the 'Magnificent Ferengi'," he noted. "We're going to gather all the Ferengi." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 55)

When David Livingston asked Aron Eisenberg to improvise a dance for Nog to do in sixth season's "You Are Cordially Invited", imagining how members of the Ferengi species might dance was puzzling for Eisenberg. He asked himself, "How do Ferengi dance?" and proceeded to think up a set of unusual dance moves, which he termed the "Ferengi Love Dance". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 506)

The Ferengi ensemble in "The Magnificent Ferengi" went some way toward motivating Ira Behr to make a rare set visit while the episode was in production. "I had all my Ferengi!" he exclaimed. "I had Nog and Rom and Quark, whose joint presence is worth a million bucks for me, anyway, and on top of that I had Jeff Combs back as Brunt, Josh Pais as Gaila ('Business as Usual'), [and] Hamilton Camp […] playing Leck ('Ferengi Love Songs')." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 516) Behr also declared about the episode, "It showed Ferengi in a somewhat different light." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 46) He elaborated, "The Ferengi needed to show that they could be heroes, but after they showed they could, it was like, 'Well... now we don't have to do that anymore.'" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 518)

The actors playing Ferengi characters in "The Magnificent Ferengi" were happy with the Ferengi portrayals in the episode. The fact there were "seven character actors in this Ferengi makeup" resulted in Jeffrey Combs finding the installment to be very fun, from a production standpoint. He enthused, "Some of the things that we were doing just sitting around, or waiting for the camera to roll, some of the dialogue was really cool." The task of portraying Ferengi in the episode additionally resulted in friendships between Josh Pais and Combs, as well as between Hamilton Camp and Combs. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, p. 84) Armin Shimerman was likewise happy with the portrayals of Ferengi in "The Magnificent Ferengi". "We were surrounded by these wonderfully comedic actors playing the other Ferengi – Jeff Combs, Josh Pais, Hamilton Camp, and Cecily Adams […] They were so funny," he remarked. "I can't tell you what a treat it was to watch each of these truly talented performers chew up more scenery than I'd ever seen chewed before and make it all work beautifully." ("A Profitable Venture", TV Zone special #34) Though he usually considered himself the hammiest actor in the DS9 cast, Shimerman took delight in allowing his fellow Ferengi performers to overact even more than him. "I just loved being with all those Ferengi […] There were so many hams on that episode that I decided to step back and enjoy myself and let them have a good time. They were brilliant," Shimerman enthused. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 517)

Though Director Chip Chalmers had previously directed Max Grodénchik as the Ferengi Sovak in "Captain's Holiday", Chalmers was unfamiliar with DS9's take on the Ferengi species when he was assigned to film "The Magnificent Ferengi". He prepared to direct the Ferengi who were included in that episode by reading The Ferengi Rules of Acquisition and Legends of the Ferengi. Chalmers was very impressed by the performances delivered by the installment's selection of Ferengi-playing actors. "They're all quite talented comics," he observed. "I had no trouble whatsoever getting absolutely magnificent comic timing out of each and every one of them." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 518 & 517)

Although the DS9 writing staff intended for "The Magnificent Ferengi" to pay homage to the film The Magnificent Seven in title only, Armin Shimerman and Max Grodénchik based their performances in the installment on those of Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner, respectively, in the movie. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 517)

Aron Eisenberg meanwhile enjoyed performing with Armin Shimerman and Max Grodénchik. He especially liked that all three Ferengi-playing actors could speak to each other and share ideas when it came to their performances as members of the species. "We can always talk about scenes or feel free to say, 'You know, would you mind doing it this way?' They're both very professional and very talented," Eisenberg commented, regarding his Ferengi-portraying co-stars. "They're always right on the money with their performances." (TV Zone, issue 99, p. 42)

An undeveloped comedic B-story for "Change of Heart" would have featured Rom, Nog, and Nog's mother, Prinadora. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 545)

The females of the Ferengi species are focused on in DS9's last Ferengi episode, "Profit and Lace". René Echevarria remembered that the installment's development began with a discussion about "the feminist movement, and giving Ferengi women the right to vote." Although the writers of the episode wrote it as a light comedy farce, Director Alexander Siddig wanted to concentrate more on the bickering relationship between Quark and Ishka. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 575, 573 & 574)

At the time DS9 Season 7 entry "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" was produced, Max Grodénchik, Aron Eisenberg, and Armin Shimerman were very skilled at playing baseball, though their characters were depicted differently. "The joke was that the Ferengi were the worst ball players [in 'Take Me Out to the Holosuite'], but, in fact, we were the ones who really could play," Grodénchik explained, chuckling. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 610)

When later season seven outing "It's Only a Paper Moon" was produced, the Ferengi makeup took three hours to apply and an hour to remove. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 637)

As DS9 neared its end, bringing two specific Ferengi characters back to the show was important to the DS9 writing staff. "We wanted to do something with Quark and Rom before the going got hot and heavy," Ira Behr remembered. The Ferengi pair was therefore featured in mirror universe episode "The Emperor's New Cloak". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 644) "Who better than to have Rom and Quark [in the mirror universe]?" Behr rhetorically asked. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, p. 72) By having the Ferengi visit the mirror universe, the writers temporarily put them in jeopardy. "That gave us a chance to present another example of the Ferengi having to face adversity and danger," Behr explained. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 644) The pair of Ferengi characters had to be shown carrying a cloaked Klingon cloaking device through a corridor, which involved Armin Shimerman and Max Grodénchik miming. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, pp. 72-73; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 645)

Avery Brooks directing 'Dogs of War'

Max Grodénchik and Aron Eisenberg receive direction from Avery Brooks, during the making of DS9: "The Dogs of War"

Armin Shimerman once reckoned that, instead of Zek ultimately continuing as Grand Nagus, he himself would have had either Ishka or Brunt assume that role at the end of DS9. Ira Behr dismissed the notion of Quark becoming the new Nagus or Zek continuing to hold that title, which led to Rom being appointed as Nagus in "The Dogs of War". However, the writers believed the Ferengi would, in Ron Moore's words, "eat him alive," unless their society changed. Behr stated, "We had to figure out what would have had to happen to Ferengi society that would enable Rom to become the nagus." René Echevarria reasoned, "To some extent, we'd laid some pipe in that direction with Moogie's influence on the nagus. The audience had accepted the leap Moogie had accomplished for females, so we figured they'd be able to make this leap." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 694-695)

Jeffrey Combs was surprised that, though he had expected the Ferengi characters of Gaila and Leck to return following their appearance in "The Magnificent Ferengi", those characters were never again reprised in DS9, due to the producers running out of time by the end of the series. "I'm sure they would have loved to have 'The Magnificent Ferengi' return," Combs speculated. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, p. 84)

The DS9 producers were very proud of the Ferengi characters that appeared on the show. In retrospect, Rick Berman admitted, "I have been just delighted by how rich these relationships have become […] [such as the ones involving] Quark and his brother Rom, Rom's son Nog, and Quark's mother and the Grand Nagus." ("Quark's Story", DS9 Season 2 DVD special features) Ira Behr commendingly mentioned Aron Eisenberg and Max Grodénchik as being among supporting actors whose work on the series pleased him. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, pp. 74 & 67)

Likewise, the Ferengi-playing actors from DS9 were happy with their own efforts on the series. Aron Eisenberg believed the bond between himself, Armin Shimerman and Max Grodénchik, during their time playing Ferengi in the series, was "very tight." Eisenberg reasoned that this was because they "worked so often together." [8] Shimerman felt similarly about Eisenberg and Grodénchik, commenting, "I am very fortunate in the fact that I get to work with them a lot and they are such nice people. We've been very lucky, the Ferengi. In many ways we are family. We get together often. There is a great rapport between all of us. It's been fortunate that they cast just the right people for the Ferengi. I am very proud of a lot of the work that we did on Deep Space Nine." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, p. 37) Shimerman also reminisced, "The really wonderful days were the days that I got to work with Wallace Shawn, Max Grodénchik, Aron Eisenberg, and Cecily Adams. When we had Ferengi episodes and all of us were together, I think there was not only joy in my heart; I truly believe that they were better days for the crew as well." ("Quark's Story", DS9 Season 2 DVD special features)

In about 2000 or 2001, Armin Shimerman and a friend of his thought up an ultimately never-produced idea for an animated series featuring Quark and Rom as teenagers. (Star Trek Explorer, Vol. 4, No. 4, p. 11)

Although Armin Shimerman was eager to make a guest appearance on Star Trek: Enterprise, the possibility of returning in a Ferengi role didn't appeal to him. "I would prefer not to come back as a Ferengi, but if they asked me to I probably would," he said, at the time. (Star Trek Explorer, Vol. 4, No. 4, p. 10)

Prequel appearance[]

It was important for the Ferengi-playing actors in ENT: "Acquisition" to be reliable at conveying what each of their characters was feeling and talking about, even while speaking in Ferengi. The episode's final draft script called for this, noting at the start, "Though there are no subtitles, we should be able to sense from their attitude the basic gist of what they're saying."

As scripted, the Ferengi in "Acquisition" (with the exception of Krem) were unconscious at the end of the story, with an "anesthetic agent" having been administered to them as well as they having been shackled to hand holds aboard their own ship. Their fate was modified so that, in the episode itself, they are conscious though still handcuffed to the vessel, on board the craft.

Both Ethan Phillips and Jeffrey Combs, who each portrayed at least one Ferengi before appearing as a member of the species in "Acquisition", likened the Ferengi appearance to that of a Human backside. Phillips once referred to the make-up as "the butthead!" Similarly, Combs declared, "The Ferengi are big orange butts." The likeness was also acknowledged by Matt Malloy, who referenced it while describing the teaser of "Acquisition", saying, "The back of my head comes up so that it looks like an ass – like someone's mooning the camera! People would know right off the bat, 'Oh, Ferengi! They're back!'" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, pp. 26, 27 & 31)

Before being cast as "Acquisition" Ferengi Krem and Muk respectively, Jeff Combs and Clint Howard were considered for other Ferengi roles in the episode. Combs remarked, "I heard that they had been thinking of me for one of the more aggressive Ferengi." Howard mentioned that, when he auditioned for "Acquisition", his doing so involved "competing with several other guys for all the Ferengi roles." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, pp. 26 & 27) Though Howard tried out for the role of Grish and Matt Malloy read for the part of Muk, their casting was swapped. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 28)

By the time "Acquisition" was produced, the Star Trek makeup artists, still supervised by Michael Westmore, had built up a large stock of Ferengi prosthetics. Jeff Combs explained, "They have basic molds and heads and it costs them a lot of money to sculpt the new ones." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 27)

While Ethan Phillips and Matt Malloy were having their Ferengi makeup applied for "Acquisition", they sat beside each other. Regarding not only himself and Phillips but also the other actors who were portraying Ferengi in "Acquisition", Malloy later noted, "We were in the chair eight days in a row." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 30)

Though he played both Krem in "Acquisition" and Liquidator Brunt in DS9, Jeff Combs was careful to physically differentiate the two Ferengi roles. He later pointed out, "The brow-lines – that ridge above the eyes – are different and distinguishable if you're really looking [....] I looked as different from Brunt as I could. I even chose a different posture; Brunt was always a strutting peacock, and Krem is much more timid and shuffle-footed." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 27)

In fact, all the Ferengi-playing actors who appeared in "Acquisition" were given a lot of freedom to vary their performances as Ferengi from how the species had been established before. Clint Howard explained, "I knew what a Ferengi was – I'd seen Armin Shimerman's work, and I've seen enough of Deep Space Nine to know what they're like – but the producers and Jimmy [Whitmore, the director] said, 'These are different; this is the very first time in the world of Star Trek that we're going to see Ferengis, so be comfortable in whatever your choices are – they're fine, because it just means that everybody else has been wrong!'" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 29) Howard was gleeful about the wide latitude given to the performers and said, "We were able to act like exactly who we were." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 44)

The performances of the Ferengi in "Acquisition" were influenced by such elements as the extensive makeup and how each of the characters had been written. Jeff Combs reported, "The parts were written very specifically in terms of who they were; you could easily tell one from the other, and they just let us run with it." Matt Malloy stated, "It was kind of over the top and we all accused each other of stealing from everyone else." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 29)

Even by the time of "Acquisition"'s making, the Ferengi make-up still had its difficulties. Jeff Combs admitted, "It's one of the hardest [makeups] that I've been in." Ethan Phillips found the Ferengi mask was "a lot warmer than the Neelix makeup," causing him to sweat more. "So that was horrific," he commented. Matt Malloy pointed out, "We were lifting stuff, dragging the captain off and unbolting his chair and walking it to the elevator. We're stomping around, having to push each other through little corridors and wedge through doorways and get in little shoving matches, and you do that three or four times and there's just no place for the heat to go […] I was watching some scenes and thinking that there seemed to be a little delay when the guys were responding to each other, and I realized that the sound [had to move through the Ferengi masks and each actor's sweat before reaching their eardrums]." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, pp. 30 & 31) The Ferengi makeup likewise caused Clint Howard to feel as though one of his senses had been taken away. "It was like acting with a horrible head cold and I felt like my equilibrium was a little funny. [By the end,] I was ready to stop." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 44)

Whereas Ethan Phillips and Jeff Combs both played multiple Ferengi, Clint Howard had only appeared twice in Star Trek, once as a child when he performed as Balok in TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver", and again briefly as Grady in DS9: "Past Tense, Part II". Matt Malloy had never been in Star Trek before. As a result, Howard and Malloy based their performances as Ferengi on those which Combs and Phillips delivered for "Acquisition". (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 44; Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 29)

Matt Malloy was ultimately happy with the portrayals of four Ferengi played by himself, Ethan Phillips, Jeff Combs and Clint Howard in "Acquisition". He opined, "I think it worked […] They just had so much fun with these unbridled capitalists […] [Compared with Quark and Ferengi shown in later chronology,] we're broader and meaner and, I think, funnier in that we have less awareness of right and wrong." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 31) In common with Ferengi who were depicted as living later, though, those in "Acquisition" were significantly short. "We were all the same size," Clint Howard noted, "and we were smaller than Archer actor Scott [Bakula] physically, so there were enough reference points in the episode that we weren't standing out like giants." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 44)

After some fans expressed complaints that the appearance of Ferengi in "Acquisition" apparently violated canon, Brannon Braga considered possibly featuring the species again in Enterprise. He suggested the series might later deal with the fact that, in "Acquisition", the crew of Enterprise NX-01 doesn't find out the name of the species. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 27) However, this plan did not take place.

Other notes[]

Though the Ferengi were often depicted as being motivated by greed, Aron Eisenberg recommended that their psychology can be interpreted differently. "We think of the Ferengi as being greedy just because they want latinum," he acknowledged. "Well, if you look at it a different way, yes, they want latinum, but that's a goal which they strive very hard to achieve. So in this regard I think the Ferengi are wonderful examples of goalsetters." (TV Zone, issue 99, p. 40) Eisenberg further commented, "When a Ferengi sees what he wants, he doesn't let anything get in his way. He has all these rules for obtaining money, and that's the center of his life. Nothing really deters him from that goal. Nothing clouds that vision. A Ferengi won't allow it." Eisenberg used the steadfast approach of the Ferengi in general as a basis for Nog's specific determination to join Starfleet and then to consistently succeed within the organization. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 570)

At least by the time DS9 Season 4 aired, there were many fans of the Ferengi. In her book Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before (paperback ed., p. 196), J.M. Dillard referred to these fans as "Ferengophiles".

Journalist Ian Spelling once referred to a Ferengi head as similar to "a baby's oversized tush" and described Ferengi noses, finding them "memorable," by suggesting, "Imagine a baked potato attacked by Freddy Krueger." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 2, p. 50)

The Ferengi makeup was generally accepted as one of the hardest Star Trek prosthetic schemes to endure. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, pp. 29-30) It was harder to wear (at least in Jeffrey Combs' opinion) than the Vorta makeup. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 61) As an example of the difficulties with the Ferengi makeup, an actor playing a Ferengi might suffer inhalation of glue vapors. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 29) Pointing out some other difficulties, Armin Shimerman explained, "The big disadvantage of working behind such heavy make-up is the enormous amount of heat generated within the mask […] This just makes it harder and harder to concentrate [such as with an actor's lines of dialog]. Furthermore, the large ears are antithetical to what they appear to be." (TV Zone, issue 99, p. 38) Indeed, the enlarged Ferengi ears ironically impaired hearing, rather than making it easier. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 23, No. 6, p. 22) Matt Malloy remarked about the Ferengi, "They're fairly broad, and you have these top and bottom teeth that require a great deal of annunciation to get stuff going […] You have this foam head on and, before you know it, you're sweating so badly that it's pooling around the base of your head and sloshing up into your ears […] The sound has to get through the foam and then through your own sea of sweat to your eardrums!" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, pp. 29 & 31) Laughing, Clint Howard exclaimed, "The irony of those big ears–no ear holes!" (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 44) Howard elaborated, "Sure, the makeup's a pain; you're sweating a little more than normal, and the teeth make it hard to talk – when you put those dentures in your mouth it's a whole ball of wax trying to talk through them. You have to adapt to that." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 29) Jeffrey Combs mused, "You are in this little, cotton cocoon that dulls your ability to hear […] You have to trust that you're speaking in a normal voice and other people can hear you, even though to you it sounds like maybe you should speak up." Combs found the lessened hearing made it especially difficult to gauge the vocal nuances of his performances as a Ferengi. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 61) He relayed, "It's like the worst head cold you've ever had. It just goes on and on and by the end of the day you can't hear and there is a ringing in your ears and it really starts affecting your world. It's like being an old man." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 40) Combs further explained, "It's not so hard to get into it, but as the day progresses there is a cumulative effect. You can't hear in there, so you're like an old man with a pickle, and as the day goes on dementia sets in! Then as the long days pile up on each other it gets even harder. But you get to that place and you go, 'Now, wait a minute. I could be digging a ditch with calluses all over my hands. I think this is OK!'" (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 30) Armin Shimerman noted that the cumbersome Ferengi makeup was not only considerably deafening but also felt "rather intrusive." "It begins to play on your psyche, and on your concentration as the day gets longer," he explained. "And the only way to combat that, is really to be so prepared at the beginning of the day that even when you get a little punch-drunk by the end of the day, your rehearsal process kicks in and keeps you going when things begin to get rather silly for you." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 47) Ethan Phillips complained, "The [prosthetic] head captures [the sweat] – it can't escape at all, so you've got an inch of water sloshing around and you have to try not to tilt your head because it runs into your ears!" Recalled Malloy, "[Phillips] said the breaking point is when it is Thursday morning at 4.30 and your skin is still raw from the day before and they're putting more glue on it." The makeup was so heavy that, inadvertently, the actors sometimes had tired-looking eyes, so it was best for them to keep their eyes wide open. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 30)

For at least some performers, having to wear the Ferengi makeup wasn't entirely bad. Armin Shimerman offered, "The advantage is that the make-up itself is a freeing process." After likening the Ferengi masks to lamp shades or paper bags, he added, "You might be tempted to do things under that paper bag that you would never do without it." (TV Zone, issue 99, p. 38) The removal of the makeup felt similarly freeing. "I'll tell you, it's such a blissful feeling when it comes off, it's like going off on a hot air balloon. You're just released, the shackles are undone," Combs laughed. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 61)

Despite the persistent difficulties with the makeup, everyone who played a Ferengi did so to the best of their abilities. "When you get in that makeup," observed Jeff Combs, "everybody rises to the occasion." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 3, p. 29) The prosthetics allowed the actors to more easily get into the frame of mind of their respective Ferengi roles. Combs related, "Something happens when you get that Ferengi make-up on. You just turn into a toad or some sort of odd gargoyle." ("Voice of Ferengi Authority", Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 14) Playing a Ferengi could also be fun. "It's great to play a Ferengi," Combs enthused. "They're greedy, lascivious little creatures." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 61)

During the development of the Ferengi on Star Trek, their level of technological development additionally changed. For example, in TNG: "The Last Outpost", the Ferengi have technology on par with that of the Federation, but by the time of DS9: "Little Green Men", it was revealed that they are not that technologically advanced and have bought a good share of their technology.

The performers usually cast as Ferengi had short stature. "I think they really prefer people 5'5" or 5'6"," stated Clint Howard. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 44) Benjamin Svetkey noted, "Ferengis don't grow over 5'6"." (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 78)

Through their multiple Ferengi appearances, Armin Shimerman and Max Grodénchik became well-renowned for portraying members of the species. "When you think of Ferengi, you think of us, not only for Deep Space Nine, but also for The Next Generation," remarked Shimerman. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, pp. 47-48) Ultimately, Ethan Phillips played two Ferengi characters (though also featured as Neelix posing as a member of the species in VOY: "False Profits") and Jeffrey Combs also appeared as two Ferengi. "It's weird. I never thought I'd play three different Ferengis," Phillips concluded. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 139, p. 42)

Max Grodénchik imagined the aspirations of Ferengi children, commenting, "I'm sure every Ferengi boy wants to grow up to be the grand nagus." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 223)

Armin Shimerman once referred to the Ferengi as being fascinated by the Trill, especially Jadzia Dax. The magazine he was interviewed in (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 2, p. 50) speculated, "Ferengis like close encounters with any females."

Nicole de Boer suspected that kissing a Ferengi, the like of which she described as having "big, gnarly teeth," would cut the other kisser. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 645)

A Ferengi appeared sitting next to Chris Pine in a diner in a photoshoot for the December 2009 issue of GQ. [9] This Ferengi was portrayed by longtime Trekkie Francis Scofield, known for his NewFerenginar blogspot.

Michael Chabon hinted that Ferengi characters could appear in Star Trek: Picard. [10]


The discrepancy between the early Ferengi and the later ones was at least partly explained in the novel The Buried Age, a flashback novel looking at Picard's career between the destruction of the Stargazer and assuming command of the Enterprise-D. The book explains that the supposedly threatening nature of the Ferengi in early TNG was a product of disinformation; viewing the Federation's moneyless economic structure as a sign of insanity, Grand Nagus Zek ordered a military buildup and sanctioned the spread of malicious rumors so that, when they did make contact, it would be from a position of strength. The novel Watching the Clock further explained the encounter with Humans in ENT: "Acquisition" did not lead to any further contact in the near-term because at that time, Ferengi society experienced a severe economic crisis with century-long cessation of interstellar activity. DTI historian Aleek-Om suspected the Suliban Cabal's sponsor had commissioned his shapeshifters to cause the recession without the Ferengi ever discovering the true cause.

According to the novel Rise Like Lions, the mirror universe Ferengi were wiped out by the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance in 2378, due to their support for the Terran Rebellion.

In "The Khitomer Conflict, Part 2", an issue of IDW Publishing's Star Trek: Ongoing comic series, it is mentioned that the alternate reality's Federation and Ferengi have made contact by 2261.

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