Tony Todd, who portrayed Worf's brother Kurn, was cast as the older Jake after it was deemed too difficult to make Cirroc Lofton appear to be in his seventies. He revealed that when filming the episode, he was mourning his aunt, who raised him as child, and had died only three months before. "This script got me out of my shell. It's like she was whispering to me 'Go back to work.' ... Doing this was as close to heaven as I can imagine."
Writer Michael Taylor based the concept of a fan visiting a reclusive writer who hasn't published in years on the famous 1980 interview given by J. D. Salinger to a high school student who simply turned up at his door.
Kira wears a new uniform from this episode onward. The shoulder pads of the old uniform have been reduced and the neck opened. The color is also a little darker and Kira now wears high heels. According to costume designer Robert Blackman the new outfit was "more body conscious". However, although actress Nana Visitor loved it, it wasn't popular among all of the fans, and it gave rise to an Internet campaign to return to the old uniform for fear that this one was an effort to turn Kira into a "Baywatch babe."
Many fans of Deep Space Nine have also counted this among their favorite episodes; in a 1996 issue of TV Guide, it was voted the best Star Trek show ever. TV Guide called this result a "shocker", surprised that "the least popular incarnation of Star Trek has produced the most popular show".
Although this episode aired the week before "Hippocratic Oath", it was actually filmed after it. The reason for this was that after "The Way of the Warrior" wrapped, the next episode scheduled to go into production was "The Visitor", to be directed by Rene Auberjonois, followed by "Hippocratic Oath" to be directed by David Livingston. However, a last minute change in Colm Meaney's film schedule meant that "Hippocratic Oath" now had to be shot first so that Meaney was available. As such, the episodes switched position in the production schedule. It is worth noting however that although the episodes switched weeks, the directors didn't, so Livingston ended up directing this episode and Auberjonois directed "Hippocratic Oath".
After this episode aired, there was much online speculation that writer Michael Taylor must have been a pseudonym for Michael Piller and Jeri Taylor. Both were known for writing emotionally driven stories with a lot of heart, but no one had ever heard of freelancer Michael Taylor, and some fans assumed that the producers were playing a joke on them.
O'Brien was to also appear in the scenes set in the future, unfortunately Colm Meaney was unavailable. Rene Echevarria was disappointed that Meaney was not available and that other scenes in the future had to be cut.
The character of Nog held the Starfleet ranks of Commander and Captain, and commanded the USS Defiant NX-74205, outranking both Julian Bashir and Jadzia Dax, both of whom were Lieutenant/Lieutenant Commander when Nog in the original time line was only a cadet.
Either, in this alternate future, the Takarians of the Delta Quadrant had progressed far beyond a pre-Bronze Age-level culture (enough so as to develop interstellar spaceflight and, thus, ship Takarian mead to the Alpha Quadrant). Or the script writers misspelled the word.
It was also nominated for a Hugo Award for "Best Dramatic Presentation," which was won by the Babylon 5 episode "The Coming of Shadows". "The Visitor" was also up against Apollo 13, Toy Story and Twelve Monkeys for the Hugo Award.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
It is interesting to note that the Dominion War did not happen (as of the 2390s anyway) in the alternate time line. Nog states that "I think they (the Klingons) were happy to have us test the waters in the Gamma Quadrant after all these years - find out how the Dominion would react to ships coming through." This also accounts for the appearance of an elderly Jadzia Dax in the future, as her death had not been planned at the time.