The Jem'Hadar were a genetically engineered humanoid-reptilian race from the Gamma Quadrant. They served as the military arm of the Dominion and were one of the most powerful military forces in the galaxy during their time.
Jem'Hadar were generated in birthing chambers or hatchery. Their growth cycle was accelerated such that they reached full maturity only three days after emergence. They did not procreate naturally, and their species consisted solely of males. (DS9: "To the Death")
As infants, Jem'Hadar strongly resembled mammalian species, with a complexion resembling that of Humans; within a day of maturation, Jem'Hadar children already had advanced language skills and cognitive reasoning. As they aged, their skin paled to a bluish-white, and became scaly and reptilian in appearance. (DS9: "The Abandoned")
Adolescent Jem'Hadar required food for nourishment. (DS9: "The Abandoned") Adult Jem'Hadar did not require sleep, and their sole source of nourishment was the drug ketracel-white, which provided the Jem'Hadar with all necessary nutrients, as well as an isogenic enzyme that had been deliberately omitted from their metabolism. As a result, all Jem'Hadar were addicted to "the white," which was regularly distributed to them by Vorta overseers. This was the Founders' means of ensuring the Jem'Hadar's loyalty to them. (DS9: "To the Death")
Without a steady supply of white, Jem'Hadar suffered withdrawal symptoms: their circulatory systems began to shut down, beginning with muscle spasms. Psychologically, they became uncontrollably violent, attacking their enemies, then their Vorta overseers, and finally each other. A few Jem'Hadar were naturally 'born' with the ability to produce the necessary enzyme without actually taking white, but these cases were rarely noted save for exceptional circumstances as they still took the drug on a regular basis and never knew that they weren't addicted. (DS9: "The Abandoned", "Hippocratic Oath", "To the Death", "Rocks and Shoals")
Jem'Hadar were designed to have excellent vision and strength several times greater than Humans. (DS9: "Favor the Bold") They also had the ability to "shroud" themselves, a form of camouflage that acted as a personal cloaking field, effectively hiding them and their weapons from both sensors and the naked eye. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", "The Abandoned") However, they had to drop this effect when attacking. (DS9: "To the Death") Also, Jem'Hadar lost the ability to shroud when they were suffering withdrawal from the white. (DS9: "Rocks and Shoals")
Jem'Hadar had extremely resilient bodies, such that phaser beams on "stun" intensity had no effect on them. During the Dominion War, Federation fighters quickly learned that only lethal settings could be used to stop them. (DS9: "Rocks and Shoals")
After an enormous Jem'Hadar fleet was eliminated inside the Bajoran wormhole during Operation Return, the Gamma Quadrant was effectively sealed off from the Dominion forces in the Alpha Quadrant. The Dominion began to breed Jem'Hadar soldiers in the Alpha Quadrant, known as "Alphas", in 2374. The Alphas' genetic and psychological profiles were designed specifically for combat in that Quadrant, and so the Alphas were regarded – largely by themselves – as being superior to original "Gamma" Jem'Hadar, so their introduction led to considerable friction with their Gamma Quadrant counterparts. The Founders believed this made them better leaders than the Gammas, though this opinion may have been revised after one of the Alphas' first missions, led by Kudak'Etan, became a disastrous failure. (DS9: "One Little Ship")
Psychology and lifestyle
Jem'Hadar were engineered to be soldiers and ship crews, and nothing more. Their culture shunned all forms of relaxation and recreation, on the belief that such things made them weak. (DS9: "To the Death") For the same reason, Jem'Hadar fighters, and probably other classes of Jem'Hadar starships, were not equipped with chairs. (DS9: "A Time to Stand", "One Little Ship")
Like the Vorta, the Jem'Hadar were genetically engineered to revere the Founders as gods and to be unquestioningly loyal to them. However, this engineering was not flawless, which is why it was necessary to make them dependent on the white. When a Jem'Hadar company assigned to a Dominion science team on Vandros IV rebelled, Dominion experts nervously predicted that they could gather support from other Jem'Hadar units in the Gamma Quadrant, and effect a complete takeover of the Dominion in less than a year. (DS9: "To the Death")
Most Jem'Hadar died young in battle; as such, it was rare for them to live past fifteen years of age. Few ever lived to the age of twenty, and those who did were awarded the title "Honored Elder." To date, no Jem'Hadar has ever lived to the age of thirty. (DS9: "To the Death")
Culture and tradition
Although the Jem'Hadar worshiped the Founders as gods, the vast majority of the Jem'Hadar had never actually seen a Founder, and some doubted that they even existed. (DS9: "Hippocratic Oath") Yet they built their service to the shapeshifters into a religion, literally regarding the Founders as living gods, to the extent that the Jem'Hadar ritualistically committed suicide if they failed to protect a shapeshifter from harm. (DS9: "The Ship")
The Vorta, as the representatives of the Founders, were also given immense loyalty by most Jem'Hadar – even when such loyalty seemed unwarranted. Absolute obedience from the Jem'Hadar was further guaranteed by the Vortas' control of the ketracel-white. (DS9: "The Abandoned", "Hippocratic Oath", "Rocks and Shoals")
Although the glory of the Founders meant everything to the Jem'Hadar, they also showed a strong sense of honor for themselves. Ikat'ika, First of Dominion Internment Camp 371, showed this when he refused to kill Worf, even after he was ordered to do so by his Vorta superior. He chose rather to yield the fight than to kill Worf, saying, "I cannot defeat this Klingon. All I can do is kill him, and that no longer holds my interest." He was ordered to be shot for this insubordination. This indicated that at least some Jem'Hadar might have preferred insubordination and therefore death to doing something considered dishonorable. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light")
Jem'Hadar combat units followed a very specific hierarchy. Normally, a Vorta commanded one or several units. Every unit contained a Jem'Hadar First, who was in command. Each Jem'Hadar after the First was also given a number rank (Second, Third, Fourth, etc.). In the event the First was killed, the Second took over for the First, the Third took over for the Second, and so forth. Although the succeeding Jem'Hadar assumed the duties of his superior, he only received the higher number rank if his Vorta commander granted it. (DS9: "Hippocratic Oath", "Rocks and Shoals")
Before each battle, the following ritual was observed by the Jem'Hadar:
- First: "I am [Rank] [Name], and I am dead. As of this moment, we are all dead. We go into battle to reclaim our lives. This, we do gladly, for we are Jem'Hadar. Remember – victory is life."
- Jem'Hadar: "Victory is life." (DS9: "To the Death")
When ketracel-white was dispensed, the following ritual exchange usually took place between the Vorta overseer and the ranking Jem'Hadar:
- Vorta: "[Rank] [Name], can you vouch for the loyalty of your men?"
- First (or ranking Jem'Hadar): "We pledge our loyalty to the Founders from now until death."
- Vorta: "Then receive this reward from the Founders. May it keep you strong." (DS9: "To the Death", "Rocks and Shoals", "Favor the Bold")
Jem'Hadar Firsts were also capable of distributing the white among those under their command. By 2374, Alpha Jem'Hadar no longer recited the ritual dispersal statement, as they believed they demonstrated their loyalty by their actions, not their words. (DS9: "One Little Ship")
Technology and equipment
- Uniforms: Jem'Hadar uniforms allowed their wearers to be almost completely unaffected by many forms of anti-personnel force field. (DS9: "The Jem'Hadar")
- Weaponry: Jem'Hadar carried plasma weapons in both rifle and pistol variants, capable of firing lethal disruptor bursts with anti-coagulants that were designed to slowly kill their enemies if the burst itself did not. The weapons had at least two other settings: they were able to stun, and to fire a more powerful burst capable of vaporizing a humanoid target. (DS9: "Tacking Into the Wind", "The Search, Part I", "The Ship", "Change of Heart", "By Inferno's Light") Other Jem'Hadar weapons included the Houdini Mine.
- Melee weapons: In close quarters, Jem'Hadar preferred the kar'takin or shock blade. (DS9: "To the Death", "Sons and Daughters") They also carried combat knives. (DS9: "To the Death", "The Siege of AR-558") Jem'Hadar rifles could also be fitted with a bayonet, as seen when Jem'Hadar soldiers engaged Cardassian rebels during the Battle of Cardassia. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")
- "The Jem'Hadar" (Season 2)
- "The Search, Part I" (Season 3)
- "The Search, Part II"
- "The Abandoned"
- "Hippocratic Oath" (Season 4)
- "To the Death"
- "Broken Link"
- "The Ship" (Season 5)
- "In Purgatory's Shadow"
- "By Inferno's Light"
- "Ties of Blood and Water"
- "Blaze of Glory"
- "In the Cards"
- "Call to Arms"
- "A Time to Stand" (Season 6)
- "Rocks and Shoals"
- "Sons and Daughters"
- "Behind the Lines"
- "Favor the Bold"
- "Sacrifice of Angels"
- "Statistical Probabilities"
- "The Magnificent Ferengi"
- "One Little Ship"
- "Change of Heart"
- "Tears of the Prophets"
- "Image in the Sand" (Season 7)
- "Shadows and Symbols"
- "The Siege of AR-558"
- "'Til Death Do Us Part"
- "Strange Bedfellows"
- "The Changing Face of Evil"
- "When It Rains..."
- "Tacking Into the Wind"
- "The Dogs of War"
- "What You Leave Behind"
- VOY: "Flesh and Blood" (hologram)
Conceptual origins and name
Robert Hewitt Wolfe originated the notion of the Jem'Hadar as a fierce and vicious race of warriors with skins like rhinos. The species, used to carry out the threats of the Dominion in cases of disobedience among those who opened trade with the Vorta, was always imagined as being part of the Dominion. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 153 & 154) However, the concept of the Jem'Hadar was that the producers wanted to create something more than merely a fearsome alien, already having plenty of those. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 140)
Robert Wolfe wrote about the Jem'Hadar in a memo that defined the Dominion. Even as early a time as when he was writing the memo, Wolfe was fairly certain about the origins of the Jem'Hadar, including the idea that they (and the Vorta) had been genetically engineered by the Founders. Wolfe was even aware of some backstory explaining what had happened to the Jem'Hadar prior to this. "I think we all agreed that the Jem'Hadar were originally like the Mongols," he remembered. "They were some incredibly nasty, conquering subculture on a world of their own, but without all the genetic engineering; they didn't grow up in three days and all that stuff. The Founders got a hold of them and said, 'We'll make you the ultimate killing machines, what do you think?' And they said 'YEAH!' They just volunteered." In the memo, Wolfe declared that the Jem'Hadar had rebelled several times during the history of the Dominion but that all the Jem'Hadar rebellions had been defeated. Regarding the depiction of the Jem'Hadar in the memo, Wolfe related, "It was pretty close to what actually made it to the screen." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, pp. 57 & 58)
The writing staff of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine realized the Jem'Hadar might be too similar to the Klingons. As a result, the team of writers was determined to ensure the Jem'Hadar had their own unique identity. To make them as different as possible from the Klingons, the Jem'Hadar deliberately had no honor nor any concern for glory, instead caring only about winning and killing. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, pp. 57-58) In Ronald D. Moore's opinion, this focus on victory without the pursuit of honor made the Jem'Hadar akin to "soldiers who've been in the field a long time." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 113, p. 67)
The Jem'Hadar's strong sense of loyalty was based on historical examples. "We used the model of the Roman legionnaire. We also thought about the British soldiers in India, who were really just doing it for the Empire or the U.S. Green Berets. That was sort of our model," recalled Robert Wolfe. "We wanted to go for something we hadn't seen before in Star Trek, which was the consummate professional soldier." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, p. 58)
Another way the writers tried to differentiate the Jem'Hadar from most of the other major races in Star Trek was by deciding to make them drug addicts. The writers did so primarily to demonstrate that the Jem'Hadar were fundamentally violent and were only just obedient to the Founders. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, p. 58) Ira Steven Behr remembered, "From the very beginning, when we first sat around and talked about the Jem'Hadar – even before we had a name for them – we talked about them being mercenary drug addicts." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 95) Behr continued, "We came to view them as junkies. We came to view them as slaves, as people who were almost not worthy of a name because there wasn't much personality difference between them." Consequently, Behr believed the Jem'Hadar were more like the Borg than the Klingons. He commented, "They were stripped of their humanity. Not because they were machines, but because the drug was their raison d'etre." (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 29, pp. 10 & 11)
Though all Jem'Hadar were envisioned as basically the same, the writers felt it was important for the aliens not to lose their ability of evoking fear. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 29, p. 11) At least in Robert Wolfe's opinion, the indomitableness of the Jem'Hadar helped make them different from such races as the Klingons, Romulans, and Borg. Said Wolfe, "We wanted people to understand that the more you got to know the Jem'Hadar the scarier they were, and the less you'd want to be around them." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, p. 58) Ira Behr echoed this intent, citing the Klingons and the Cardassians as alien species that the writers wanted to make the Jem'Hadar clearly different from. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 120) Whereas the typical science fiction attitude would have been to make the Jem'Hadar much less aggressive and no longer villainous or loyal to the Dominion if their addiction was broken, the DS9 creative team opted for a more unusual idea. "What we wanted to say was: 'If you break them of the addiction to the white, then you take away what little control anyone has over them, and they'll do what they always wanted to do, which is run around and kill everybody they can get to.' I'm not entirely sure that's just because of the genetic engineering," Wolfe mused. "I think the loyalty to the Founders was probably programmed in there, but I suspect they'd be difficult to reason with in any case." Wolfe additionally theorized that the Jem'Hadar were "very carefully" selected by the Founders, as the ideal candidates for what the Founders planned to use them for. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, p. 58) He contemplated, "The Jem'Hadar are basically killing machines and it's not their fault. It's the reality of who they are. They are another alien race I'm fond of because we worked really hard in creating them [....] With the Jem'Hadar, we sat down and tried to design from the ground up this race so they were fully formed from the first time we saw them. Usually that doesn't work, but this time it did." Behr found achieving the challenge of creating the Jem'Hadar resulted in them having a "complicated" backstory. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 86 & 106) He noted, "You can understand your enemy to death and this time we did not want to do that." (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 29, p. 11) Behr also said, "These are not the kind of guys you want to party with." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 120) He also described the Jem'Hadar as "the toughest guys in the galaxy." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 703)
According to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 153), it was Robert Hewitt Wolfe who invented the name for the species. Wolfe himself, however, stated, "We [the DS9 writing staff] named the Jem'Hadar together. We sat there with a 'Roget's Thesaurus' and looked under soldier. Jem'Hadar is a rank in the Indian army; it's first lieutenant or something like that." (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, p. 57) In fact, the name of this species comes from Jemadar, an Urdu term for armed officials of the zamindars (lords) later adopted by the British as a military rank. Fellow writing staffer Peter Allan Fields disapproved of the name, commenting it "sounds like 'mah-jongg,' or some kind of card game!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 153) However, comics writer Mike Johnson considered the Jem'Hadar as "The species with the coolest name in Trek." ("Top 50 Alien Species!", Star Trek: Ongoing issue #50, "Live Evil, Part 1")
The Jem'Hadar were scripted, in the teleplay for DS9: "The Jem'Hadar", to be bred by "the same people who breed the Tosks as gifts to the Hunters." The script also said, "The Jem'Hadar are genetically engineered soldiers. Unlike the Klingons they have no interest in honor or glory. And unlike the Cardassians and Romulans, they have no love of intrigue or politics. The closest twentieth century analogy would be the professional mercenary, but unlike mercenaries, Jem'Hadar don't fight for material gain and can't be bribed or negotiated with. They are the ultimate professionals. And they look scary, too." 
At first, the Jem'Hadar were described by Robert Wolfe as having quite a different appearance than the lizard-skinned creatures they became. "In the original memo," he said, "what I actually envisaged – I overstepped my bounds a little bit – were creatures that would wear no clothing, because they would have armor plating over their entire bodies." Wolfe imagined the protective plating was organic and would, due to having a kind of internal crystalline structure, absorb or reflect phaser fire. As thought up by Wolfe, members of the species would meld items of equipment, such as holsters, onto their bodies. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 13, p. 58)
Rick Berman was initially concerned that the Jem'Hadar, with their rhino-like appearance described as such from the get-go, might look too "comic-booky." That was never a considerable danger, however. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 154)
Before designing the look of the Jem'Hadar, Makeup Supervisor Michael Westmore was told to "design something that was tough, that they could shoot at but they couldn't hurt, they were indestructible, as an army they were unstoppable, and they would have thick skin." (Michael Westmore's Aliens: Season 5, DS9 Season 5 DVD special features) Therefore, DS9's makeup department sought to give the Jem'Hadar a look that portrayed toughness and resiliency. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 140) Westmore himself likewise wanted the species to have an appearance that would enhance their strength and aggressiveness. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 103, p. 16) The writing staff and Westmore didn't go through many experimental design stages, since the writers knew they wanted "a very tough character that had hide like a rhinoceros," as worded by Westmore. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 3) The rhino was an appropriate source of inspiration, as it is one of the toughest-looking animals in the jungle (if not the toughest). (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 140)
From the writers' simple description of how they wanted the Jem'Hadar to look, Michael Westmore started his work on the species. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 3) The original concepts for the Jem'Hadar were based on the premise that they were all clones and were, therefore, identical in appearance. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 140)
Beginning with the notion of giving the aliens "a rhinoceros hide that had folds in it," Westmore also gave the Jem'Hadar a nose like a rhino's, though without a horn. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 154; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 3) He remembered, "By taking the rhinoceros skin and using that, especially with the type of nose, then the wrinkles, the heaviness, the folding of the skin, all this became part of the Jem'Hadar and I was still fascinated; I had to get the horn in, somewhere." (Michael Westmore's Aliens: Season 5, DS9 Season 5 DVD special features) Westmore feared that, if he put a horn on the end of the Jem'Hadar's nose, he would make each of the aliens look too recognizably similar to a rhino with its large horn, which is really an enormous outgrowth of hair from the nose. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 154; Michael Westmore's Aliens: Season 5, DS9 Season 5 DVD special features; Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 3) Westmore therefore included the horn in a different way. "I took what would be the horn and turned it into a hairstyle!" he exclaimed. In essence, the hair at the back of the head was made to be horn-shaped and extended down to a horn at the back of the head. "I pulled all those little elements together using the rhinoceros as reference," Westmore noted. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 3)
Michael Westmore additionally incorporated elements from dinosaur skin, due to it – like the rhinoceros hide – looking heavy. (Michael Westmore's Aliens: Season 5, DS9 Season 5 DVD special features) The combination of rhino skin together with dinosaur-like aspects was motivated by Westmore's interest in giving the aliens a sense of visual "toughness and ruggedness." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 3) The aspects of the Jem'Hadar that stemmed from a combination of the two influences included not only the scaly structure of the body but also the rolls of scaly skin that run down the neck. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 140)
The ring of small horns encircling the Jem'Hadar face and on the crown of the head likewise had multiple sources of inspiration. Michael Westmore arrived at that design by studying the faces of various reptiles, including both long-extinct dinosaurs and present-day lizards. "I used a horny toad as reference for that," he explained. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 3) Again, the rhinoceros served as an influence, too. "What makes Star Trek so interesting is that you give the [Jem'Hadar] creature the same feel and meanness [as the rhino] by putting little horns all around his face," Westmore related. "It makes them dangerous – if you bump into one, you're going to bleed. So you know automatically that you never get close to the Jem'Hadar." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 154) The horns atop the head were also inspired by a triceratops. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 29, p. 18) Thus, the top of the Jem'Hadar head, in general, was based on a triceratops or a similar type of dinosaur, having a bony head reinforced with hard plates. (Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, p. 140) Hence, whereas numerous versions of a rhinoceros horn ended up being placed around the Jem'Hadar heads, the top of their heads was more akin to a dinosaur. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 103, p. 16)
Michael Westmore observed that, though the horned toad and rhino are animals familiar to many humans, they were merged to become a new-looking design. Westmore felt the result seemed realistic, as if it could be created via mutation on Earth or another planet. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 3)
The full-facial prosthetic masks used for the Jem'Hadar involved a lot of latex. Wearing the masks was considerably difficult for the required actors. "Some actors just get lost in the makeup, while others pop right through it [with their performances]," said Ronald D. Moore. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 268)
During the development of "The Jem'Hadar", the DS9 writing staff tried to depict the Jem'Hadar as "these guys [who] are not to be taken lightly," as expressed by Ira Steven Behr. Robert Hewitt Wolfe related, "We wanted to show the long-term fans how dangerous these guys were." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 154) Wolfe and Behr realized the Jem'Hadar were indeed being portrayed as "tough", upon the pair of staff writers viewing dailies from the episode. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 79)
In "The Jem'Hadar", although the simplest and most effective way to create the effect of the Jem'Hadar shroud would have involved blue screen for the Jem'Hadar foot soldiers, this wasn't doable within the episode's filming schedule, which lasted seven days. "I also considered dressing doubles for the actors in blue or green suits," stated Glenn Neufeld, "but there was no time for that either because we would have had to stop everything to place the doubles in exactly the same position as the actors." The live-action footage of the actors playing the soldiers was filmed normally, then rotoscoped out by Patrick Clancey at Digital Magic. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 108)
Even when "The Jem'Hadar" had been the only episode to have featured the species, it was probable that the Jem'Hadar would reappear many more times. "The Jem'Hadar are very antisocial lizards," Glenn Neufeld laughed, "Which probably means we'll see quite a lot of them!" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 25/26, No. 6/1, p. 108) With hindsight, Ira Behr noted, "We were very nervous at the time, because we were really gambling with the Jem'Hadar. We were saying this is going to become a big part of the show." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 90)
In "The Abandoned", the DS9 writing staff wanted to continue developing the Jem'Hadar, such as establishing their drug addiction, without once again featuring them merely as combatants against Starfleet. Ira Behr recollected, "What we wanted to do is keep the Jem'Hadar alive [....] We wanted to do a Jem'Hadar show that didn't live or die on whether we could beat the Jem'Hadar in a fight. That's one of the problems of keeping the Jem'Hadar alive; once you beat them in combat – once you really nail them – are they the same villains they were?" (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 95) Behr answered, "They lose their ability to strike fear in your heart if you're able to kick their ass too quickly." Regarding the idea of portraying the Jem'Hadar as "drug-addicted villains", Behr stated, "We really wanted to play that out, so we gave the Jem'Hadar some backstory." Robert Wolfe offered, "They started off as nice makeup, and we wanted to use them again." Agreed Ronald D. Moore, "['The Abandoned' was] an important [episode] to tell things about the Jem'Hadar that were different than we had dealt with before." René Echevarria felt the Jem'Hadar are shown as tragic in "The Abandoned", because "we see that there is no turning this type of creature." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 85 & 86)
Avery Brooks found analogies between the Jem'Hadar and contemporary teenagers, which Brooks found useful while directing "The Abandoned". He commented, "For me, it was [...] to some extent, a story about a society that is responsible for the creation of a generation of young men who are feared, who are addicted, who are potential killers." However, the similarity between the alien species and young men of the 20th century was merely metaphorical, Brooks admitted; the Jem'Hadar were conceived as the intentional creation of a species with calculated plans, whereas the then-modern male youths were the product of an uncaring society. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 180) Ira Behr and Rene Auberjonois nevertheless agreed with viewing the Jem'Hadar in the same analogous way as Brooks. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 29, p. 12; Starlog, issue #222, p. 30) Auberjonois offered, "It really feeds into a very contemporary problem that we're facing in our society and our culture, with kids on crack, and what that does to them. That's the way Avery approached it, and I thought that was very moving." (Starlog, issue #222, p. 30)
The use of actors wasn't the only method involved in depicting Jem'Hadar on-screen. In "The Abandoned", a shot portraying a Jem'Hadar teenager leaping through Odo's morphed body was rehearsed with a stunt person playing the part of the teen, who was then portrayed by a stand-in for the actual live-action footage. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 182)
At the conclusion of DS9's third season, Ira Steven Behr felt "deepening the Jem'Hadar" was an important goal for the staff writers to keep in mind for the next season. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 115)
In the development of fourth season episode "Hippocratic Oath", the idea of reusing the Jem'Hadar originated in a story pitch by freelance writer Nicholas Corea. "He had been working on a story about the Jem'Hadar and their drug addiction," explained Lisa Klink. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 102) Corea's pitch specifically dealt with a group of Jem'Hadar who wanted to free themselves from the addictive ketracel-white. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 266) When Corea's plot idea was merged with a story Klink had suggested about an alien race imprisoning Dr. Bashir, the Jem'Hadar were instead reused. "So that became the alien race Bashir was dealing with and we took it from there," said Klink. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 102) Remembered René Echevarria, "Somehow we realized that it could be about the Jem'Hadar and freeing [...] them of their drug addiction." Even after the idea of including the Jem'Hadar was decided on, the species became even more central to the installment. Ronald D. Moore remembered, "We [...] decided to make it more of a Jem'Hadar-specific episode with the drugs and this and that." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 106 & 107)
From the perspective of appearing as Goran'Agar in "Hippocratic Oath", Scott MacDonald found the Jem'Hadar to be notable villains. "These guys are the ultimate warriors," he observed. "They're sharks. They just swim through the galaxy and destroy." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 3)
Ira Behr and Ron Moore were slightly disappointed with how the Jem'Hadar were written into "Hippocratic Oath", though Behr liked the performances of the actors playing the Jem'Hadar in that installment. "The Jem'Hadar themselves did not quite make it for me," he complained. "I thought the potential was there; it just wasn't really achieved. It left me wishing that the Jem'Hadar had been a little more clear in terms of who they are, how they are and how they reacted." Moore expressed, "The Jem'Hadar blended out between themselves. Part of that was the makeup, part of it was maybe the final polish on the script. They didn't come off quite alien enough, yet it was hard to tell them apart." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 106 & 107) Moore also complained, "We still didn't get a sense of the group as a people." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 113, p. 67)
In both "The Abandoned" and "Hippocratic Oath", the Jem'Hadar were used in a traditional Star Trek way, compelling the audience to move beyond hatred and fear to instead look upon even the viewer's most despised enemies with insight and compassion, realizing they're more sophisticated than merely a "faceless evil." (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, paperback ed., pp. 202-203)
The spotlight on the Jem'Hadar in "Hippocratic Oath" was a contributing factor (along with an intense focus on the Klingons in season four opener "The Way of the Warrior") in the design of the Breen in "Indiscretion", the fifth episode of DS9 Season 4. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 277) Moreover, as they were dissatisfied with how the Jem'Hadar are portrayed in "Hippocratic Oath", the DS9 staff writers altered the species for future appearances. "Since then we've done some adjustments to their makeup; we've gone a little bit into their backstory. I think we might eventually do even more adjustments to their look," Ira Behr reckoned. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 106)
Midway through DS9 Season 4, Bashir actor Alexander Siddig felt the Jem'Hadar could be scarier villains. "I don't think the Jem'Hadar [...] have gotten to first base with regard to being a serious threat," he commented. "I don't think anybody bites their nails over them." (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 15, p. 24)
Although Goran'Agar says (in "Hippocratic Oath") that his crew has "eaten the same food" that he has consumed, later season four episode "To the Death" established that Jem'Hadar don't eat, sleep, or have sex. This apparent continuity error was simply due to the writers forgetting about Goran'Agar's remark when they were working on the subsequent episode, though Ira Behr preferred to regard the earlier line as an example of Goran'Agar being "metaphorically stupid, as the Jem'Hadar so often are." He stipulated, "There's a price to being a Jem'Hadar (not eating, sleeping, nor making love)." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 268 & 494)
The writers who worked full time on DS9 were very eager to further develop the Jem'Hadar in "To the Death". Relaying what Ira Behr once told him, Actor Jeffrey Combs stated, "They were kind of exploring the Jem'Hadar to see what those characters were like and where they could go with them." (Star Trek: Communicator issue 123, p. 65) In fact, the opportunity to provide more information about the Jem'Hadar in "To the Death" motivated its production. "Part of the meta reason for doing the show, other than just having a good time, was to bring the Jem'Hadar to life," noted Robert Hewitt Wolfe. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 67) Wolfe even went as far as saying that giving the Jem'Hadar more dimension was "our main purpose in 'To the Death'." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 347) He explained further, "We wanted to spend some time with some Jem'Hadar who weren't screwed up, because the two times we spent any time with the Jem'Hadar was the kid who's so young and doesn't know what he's feeling ['The Abandoned'] and also the ones in 'Hippocratic Oath'. So we wanted to show what a functional Jem'Hadar society is, because we know so much more about them than anyone else does and we wanted to get some of that information out there so the audience could understand them a little better." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 120) The writers meanwhile wanted to retain the scariness of the Jem'Hadar, too. "Our intention was to show that the more you learn about them, the less you want to be around them," Wolfe specified. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 347) During the development of "To the Death", René Echevarria had some concerns that the Jem'Hadar might not be sufficiently interesting. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 120) However, the episode's writers thoroughly thought through how they wanted to represent the species and its coalition with Starfleet. Wolfe recollected, "When we were talking about 'To the Death', we talked about twenty different missions the Jem'Hadar could go on with Starfleet [including one that involved killing Gowron because he was actually a renegade Changeling]." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 121)
The writers knew that making the Jem'Hadar seem realistic would require an actor who could, as phrased by Wolfe, "really give these guys some depth." He also believed that Clarence Williams III – the performer chosen to play "To the Death" Jem'Hadar First Omet'iklan – managed to do that. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 28, No. 4/5, p. 67)
While preparing to direct "To the Death", LeVar Burton found himself having to undertake some research about the Jem'Hadar, as he had never encountered the species before. "I had to look at previous episodes to understand who they were and what their relationship to the Founders is," he admitted. The large quantity of Jem'Hadar-playing actors on location, all of whom required heavy makeup, challenged Burton during production. "We had twenty-five Jem'Hadar stuntmen who had three-o'clock makeup calls," reflected B.C. Cameron. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 347 & 348)
The portrayal of the Jem'Hadar in "To the Death" was altered by the editing of the installment, as some fight scenes were cut. "In the first edited version, fifty-two Jem'Hadar had been killed," reported Stunt Coordinator Dennis Madalone. Ten of these had been killed by Dax, whereas seven had been killed by Sisko. "But when the censors got hold of it, they took out thirty-two Jem'Hadar deaths," Madalone concluded. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 348)
Ira Behr enthused about the episode, "It kind of restored my faith in the Jem'Hadar, and I think it really makes them interesting." Echevarria's worries were likewise nullified, he holding Behr and Wolfe responsible for having fleshed out the Jem'Hadar. "I think we learned some really fascinating things about the Jem'Hadar [....] [Wolfe and Behr] really did find some great, fascinating stuff about them," Echevarria remarked. "Finally we fleshed them out in a believable way that's a real important building block." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, pp. 119 & 120) While working on "To the Death", though, the writers came to the opinion the Jem'Hadar were a less interesting species to examine than the Vorta. (Star Trek: Communicator issue 123, p. 65)
Ira Behr was regretful about how the Jem'Hadar are depicted in DS9's fourth season in general. "I think that it wasn't until later in the [fourth] season [than 'Hippocratic Oath'] that [we had] enough backstory to understand where the Jem'Hadar are coming from," he reasoned. "We probably should have done 'To the Death' first and then 'Hippocratic Oath'. It would have helped." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 3)
Plans to further develop the Jem'Hadar in DS9 Season 5 were made. Ira Behr announced, "I think we're going to be doing stuff in the fifth season, both with make-up and costumes, that will help define the Jem'Hadar, make them a little more individual." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 3)
When the Jem'Hadar reappeared in fifth season installment "The Ship", members of the species were represented not only with Human performers but also, for Jem'Hadar corpses, dummies. "We used prop house dummies, like you would throw off a cliff. They're soft and kind of articulated," recalled Laura Richarz. "It was a joint effort between costume, makeup, and set decoration. Michael Westmore made new heads for them, complete with realistic glass eyes. Unfortunately, the feet didn't really fit in the boots. We had to make new ones so that the dummies wouldn't fall out of the boots when they were secured to the top of the set. We also had to remake the arms, because they looked too short hanging straight down. We added four inches to them." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 370)
While plotting fifth season two-parter "In Purgatory's Shadow" and "By Inferno's Light", allowing the Jem'Hadar to battle it out with Worf was one goal the DS9 writing staff had, an idea suggested by "To the Death". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 422)
During the writing of DS9 Season 6 offering "Rocks and Shoals", the Jem'Hadar were originally to have conquered an alien civilization, indigenous to a specific planet. The rulership of the Jem'Hadar was to have been opposed by their subjects, who began to be rallied against them by the series' regular characters, who had crash landed on the planet. When the native population was excluded from the story, the Jem'Hadar – marooned on the planet themselves – were instead in conflict with the crash-landed Starfleet officers alone. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, pp. 35-36)
The performers who portrayed the Jem'Hadar in "Rocks and Shoals" nearly collapsed, while the installment was in production, due to the heat of the episode's filming location. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 36) Those performers in particular suffered through the heat, finding it virtually unbearable. As can be seen in the episode, their eyes were "red from the sweat dripping into them from beneath their masks," noted Ira Behr. Phil Morris, who played Third Remata'Klan in "Rocks and Shoals", described how the performers cast as Jem'Hadar experienced the location shoot; "The hottest sequence of days in ten years. And we're out there in prosthetics and neoprene, the same stuff that dive suits are made out of." By the end of the day, many of the Jem'Hadar-playing extras were essentially insensible from the sweltering weather conditions. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 499 & 497)
Phil Morris viewed the Jem'Hadar as distinctly different from the Klingons, who often talked about how bad they were. "The Jem'Hadar are the baddest boys in the bar, so they don't need to talk about it," Morris opined. He also thought of the aliens as akin to samurai warriors loyal only to their feudal lords. "The Jem'Hadar are predisposed to have that loyalty; it's bred into them by the Vorta," he observed. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 497)
Visual Effects Producer Dan Curry thoroughly approved of the Jem'Hadar in "Rocks and Shoals". He particularly liked "their fatalistic attitude towards their own existence, and the Jem'Hadar soldiers knowing they were going to die and be betrayed by their leader." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 74)
While choreographing shots in "One Little Ship", episode writers David Weddle and Bradley Thompson took turns at pretending they were Jem'Hadar, as they toured the sets of the Defiant and tried to determine where they could position a miniaturized runabout without it being seen. Thompson later remembered thinking, "The Jem'Hadar will see this but not this." René Echevarria, who had originally devised the story idea of "One Little Ship", was ultimately dissatisfied with the choice of antagonist, though. "I think the Jem'Hadar were the wrong villains for the show," he sighed. "We needed more comedic villains." Alternatives to the Jem'Hadar that the writing staff suggested during pre-production, by which time it was too late to replace the Jem'Hadar in the episode, included the Pakleds and Harcourt Mudd. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 530 & 531) The producers even had problems with some particular footage of the Jem'Hadar in "One Little Ship", regarding a scene in which Jadzia Dax, from inside the shrunken runabout Rubicon, first realizes the aliens are aboard the Defiant. "They thought it made the Jem'Hadar look too dumb," explained Gary Hutzel. This was because the producers felt the Jem'Hadar were too near the runabout to not notice it, an opinion that resulted in Hutzel consulting Digital Muse, who changed the shot so that the runabout was further away from the Jem'Hadar. Scenes in which, deliberately, the aliens reacted to the runabout were choreographed by Hutzel himself, issuing careful instructions to the performers playing the Jem'Hadar. "I'd say, 'I'm going to do a count. You hit here, here, here roughly on these marks, and at this point, pause, turn, turn the other way.' It allowed the actor to interpret the scene, and of course that always works out for the best," he remarked. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 42)
By portraying multiple Intrepid-type escape pods ejecting from the USS Valiant during a battle with a Jem'Hadar battleship in "Valiant", Visual Effects Supervisor David Stipes believed the Jem'Hadar were depicted as fiercer than if there had only been one escape pod ejected. "It makes the Jem'Hadar even more ghastly," he observed. "They're just massacring innocent people, which is of course what they do." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 30, No. 9/10, p. 57)
A story that DS9's writing staff toyed with, during the sixth season of the show, concerned a Jem'Hadar cloning hatchery, and a Starfleet mission to sabotage it. Using this plot concept as a starting point for a potential installment of DS9 Season 7, Production Assistant Philip Kim imagined and pitched a story that involved a threat to the Jem'Hadar; according to Weyoun, they were to be replaced by a new, far more effective Dominion race of warriors named the Modain. However, the danger to the Jem'Hadar turned out to be a lie, in the course of the story, which was thereafter rewritten as the seventh season entry "Treachery, Faith and the Great River". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 617)
Throughout the series, the Jem'Hadar remained extremely aggressive. They were also deliberately portrayed as consistently lacking individuality, so the audience was never really given an opportunity to become very familiar with any individual members of the species. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 29, pp. 11 & 10) Stated Ronald D. Moore, "The Jem'Hadar in a lot of the episodes tended to kind of bland out. Sometimes it's hard to differentiate between them." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 120) In fact, Ikat'ika is the only Jem'Hadar to appear in more than one episode of Deep Space Nine.
The ultimate fate of the Jem'Hadar was left unclear on the DS9 television series. As Ira Behr liked leaving some things for the audience to figure out, what happened to the Jem'Hadar following the Dominion War was left as one of these unresolved plot points. (Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, issue 29, p. 13)
Reception and aftermath
Director Kim Friedman noted, "I like the Jem'Hadar, although they're only the foot soldiers of the Dominion. They weren't the Borg, but they were good." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 76)
Two special effects face make-up lots for a Jem'Hadar were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay.  . Other Jem'Hadar-related artifacts sold at the auction included a special effects gloves lot,  a prop pistol,  and a knife. 
The Jem'Hadar are a central focus of the "Victory is Life" expansion of Star Trek Online, which allows players to create Jem'Hadar characters serving in Odo's Vanguard Fleet in battle against the Hur'q. Jem'Hadar characters initially require ketracel-white (obtainable by mission rewards, or from the Vorta Loriss on DS9) to function; after the mission "Home", their dependence on white is removed as a condition of the Dominion joining the Alliance (the coalition of Milky Way powers led by the Federation, the Klingon Empire, and the Romulan Republic), though Jem'Hadar characters can still benefit from its effects in combat.