Any fan of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine remembers the episode of “If Wishes Were Horses.” The episode is memorable because it deviates from the series’ regular science fiction vibe in favor of something a little more fantastical.
In this episode, Chief O’Brien reads the story of Rumpelstiltskin to his daughter before putting her to bed. A few minutes later, she gets out of bed to tell her dad that the creepy little gnome is in her room. While this may just seem like a child’s wild imagination at work, he actually was in her room. Turns out, he was actually an alien in the form of Rumpelstiltskin, who traveled through a wormhole and ended up in DS9.
The original character wasn’t going to be the fairytale dwarf, though. The original draft of the episode featured a leprechaun instead. Memory Alpha stated that the script described a “tiny man, complete with green suit, three-pointed hat, large buckled shoes and carrot red hair… in short, a classic leprechaun.”
Colm Meaney, who’s of Irish descent, said, “Using caricatures or cliches of any nation is not something Star Trek is or should be into.” He remembered being annoyed at how Irish people were portrayed in the Next Gen episode "Up the Long Ladder" and didn’t want the show to make that mistake again.
This isn’t the first time the franchise was sensitive to portrayals of different ethnicities. According to IMDb, in The Original Series episode “The Naked Time,” Sulu’s alternate personality was going to be a Samurai, but George Takei wanted to avoid stereotyping Japanese people, so they chose to make him a Frenchman instead.