First Founders' homeworld Edit
The first Founders' homeworld was an M-class rogue planet located in the Omarion Nebula. The Changelings who would become the Founders of the Dominion withdrew to this planet thousands of years ago to escape persecution by the solids.
In 2371, Odo experienced a mental compulsion that led him and Major Kira Nerys to the planet after the USS Defiant was captured by the Jem'Hadar. The crew of the Defiant was also brought to the planet and subjected to an experiment by the Vorta to gauge their level of resistance to a Dominion invasion. (DS9: "The Search, Part I", "The Search, Part II")
Thirty percent of the planet's crust was destroyed by weapons fire from warships operated by the Cardassian Obsidian Order and the Romulan Tal Shiar later in 2371, during the Battle of the Omarion Nebula. The Founders had previously evacuated the planet, and deliberately enabled the attack so as to ambush the two intelligence agencies and render them incapable of resisting the planned conquest of their respective empires. (DS9: "The Die is Cast")
Second Founders' homeworld Edit
The new Founders' homeworld was located at secret coordinates deep in Dominion space. The Great Link appeared to cover much of the planet's surface, leaving very little landmass.
The Defiant was guided by the Jem'Hadar to this planet in 2372, when the Founders forced Odo to return to the Link to face judgment for killing another Changeling. (DS9: "Broken Link") Odo again returned to the planet in 2375, after the end of the Dominion War, to cure the morphogenic virus infecting the Link and convince them that the solids did not pose a threat to them. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")
Background information Edit
During the first two seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, viewers were left to wonder where the Changeling character of Odo had come from. The actor who played him, Rene Auberjonois, wanted this question to remain unanswered and mysterious, though he was happy with how the answer was revealed. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 32, Nos. 4/5, p. 40)
Upon devising the first Founders' homeworld, Ira Steven Behr and his writing staff on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine wanted to create a planet which was extremely strange and mysterious. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 168)
Much effort went into depicting the first Founders' homeworld. "The optical shots that were involved in our first view of the Founders' planet were very complicated," admitted Producer Steve Oster. "There was a lot of interfacing between what the director was planning and what the Art Department was doing. The planet needed to be fairly dark in order for us to see the glowing, gelatinous sea that makes up the Great Link." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 168)
A miniature created by Model Maker Gregory Jein included part of the planet, portraying the area surrounding the Great Link. First, his team constructed a perspective landscape, which was ten feet long and twelve feet deep. "Greg had to build the miniature three weeks before the actual set was built," laughed Special Effects Supervisor Glenn Neufeld. The physical configuration of the landscape model was influenced by a visit to the cave set – which was later to be utilized for representing the planet – and multiple sketches provided by the art department. The illustrations gave Jein an impression of "a lot of weird colors and rocks." Next, he started carving urethane foam into artificial rocks and painting "funky florist flora with wild colors so it looked like an alien glade." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 168-169)
There were subsequent problems with the set used for the first Founders' homeworld, such as with its extremely bright colors. "We went to the set one day, expecting to see it looking one way, and it didn't," remembered Glenn Neufeld. "So we ran to the phone and told Greg, 'You know those purple and yellow trees? Well, paint them orange or rip them out. We don't care which!'" The DS9 producers were ultimately disappointed with the planet, Behr thinking "the dark planet with the weird things on it" turned out to be a "set [that] never worked" and actually "sucked!" (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 169 & 168)
With the first Founders' homeworld having been destroyed in DS9 Season 3 installment "The Die is Cast", the possibility of depicting a new homeworld for the species in the third season finale, which Paramount insisted not be a cliff-hanger, was ruled out by the DS9 writing staff. "We knew that for just one episode, we couldn't justify building the sets for the Founders' planet," explained Robert Hewitt Wolfe. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 250)
The second Founder homeworld was planned out in sketches by John Eaves, dated September 1996. One of these illustrated the planet as being lush with forest land, also having crags in the distance, and ornate pillars towering over the the greenery. Another of the sketches showed the Founders' homeworld much as it eventually appeared, with a rocky isle surrounded by the ocean-like Great Link. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, pp. 356 & 355)