|Ixtana'Rax, a Gamma "honored elder" Jem'Hadar (2374)|
|Ikat'ika, a Gamma Jem'Hadar (2373)|
|Kudak'Etan, an Alpha Jem'Hadar (2374)|
Jem'Hadar were generated in "birthing chambers." Their growth cycle was accelerated, such that they reached full maturity only three days after emergence. They did not mate, and so their species had no females. (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. (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 lifestyleEdit
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 15 years of age. Few ever lived to the age of 20, and those who did were awarded the title "Honored Elders." To date, no Jem'Hadar has ever lived to the age of 30. (DS9: "To the Death")
Culture and tradition Edit
Although the Jem'Hadar worshipped 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 by his superior Vorta. 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 he considered to be 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 is 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 Edit
- 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")
- Melee Weapons: In close quarters, Jem'Hadar preferred the kar'takin. (DS9: "To the Death", "Sons and Daughters") They also carried combat knives. (DS9: "To the Death", "The Siege of AR-558")
- "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"
- "Extreme Measures"
- "The Dogs of War"
- "What You Leave Behind"
- VOY: "Flesh and Blood" (hologram)
Background information Edit
Conceptual origins and name Edit
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)
Robert Wolfe wrote about the Jem'Hadar in a memo which 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)
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) 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." 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 hypothesized. "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." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 86)
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)
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 says, "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." 
Physical design Edit
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)
When 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." Westmore based the basic design on a rhinoceros skin, but also incorporated elements from dinosaur skin, and he has compared the top of the Jem'Hadar head to a triceratops. (Michael Westmore's Aliens: Season 5, DS9 Season 5 DVD special features) "You start with the concept of the rhinoceros hide for the Jem'Hadar," he related, "and you give them a nose that's based on a rhinoceros nose, but without a horn. If you'd put a horn on it, viewers would say, 'Oh–rhinoceros.' But what makes Star Trek so interesting is that you give the creature the same feel and meanness by putting little horns all around his face. 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)
Episodic introduction Edit
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 seven-day filming schedule. "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) 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." The similarity between the alien species and young men of the 20th century was 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)
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)
Ikat'ika is the only Jem'Hadar to appear in more than one episode of Deep Space Nine.
Reception and aftermath Edit
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.