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Date: 4/7/97 1:24:50 PM
<<I was wondering if you would like to comment on the recent tragedy of the
Heaven's Gate mass suicide, and the fact that the media has made much of the
fact that many of the cult members were TREK fans.>>
I don't have much to say on this subject except that making the Trek
"connection" is just an easy angle for a reporter to take when he's run out
of ideas for a story. Trek has been around for a long time and I think most
people know that it's not advocating mass suicide by its fans. I'm sure
they'll keep playing the "connection" in the media for a while, but I think
it'll run its course and fade out in time.
<<I was recently bothered by a local station promo for "Sci-Fi" Sunday, KCPQ
(Los Angeles's) showing of back to back episodes from all four Trek series.
It featured the row of Captains, saying a line that introduced them by name:
"I'm John Sheridan", "Kirk here." "This is Jean Luc Picard" "I'm Kathryn
Janeway." When it came time to do DS9, we got "I am Worf.">>
We were pretty annoyed as well. Unfortunately, the marketing of the show is
completely out of our hands and all we can do is scream and yell about it.
<<Twenty years from now will you re-release a digitally enhanced version of
First Contact with several minutes of previously cut scenes? :)>>
Yes, and you will finally see a new computer-generated Data/Borg Queen sex
scene as we had always intended it to be seen, but the technology of the day
limited the number of limbs and other fully functional apparatuses that they
would've had at their disposal.
<<Who is your favorite character on DS9?>>
I get this question all the time, but the truth is I don't have one. I've
never really had favorite characters among the casts, usually just favorite
episodes or favorite scenes. Each character is interesting depending on the
situation and if I'm doing a Kira show, she'll be my favorite character for
that show, if it's an Odo show, my favorite is Odo and so on. Even my
choices for favorite episodes change depending on when you talk to me.
There're a lot of TNG episodes I haven't watched in a long time, so the
current crop of DS9s are my current faves -- Our Man Bashir, Darkness and the
Light, Trials & Tribble-ations, Die is Cast, and the unseen Soldiers of the
Empire top my list today, but ask me in six months and I'll probably give you
<<Do you have any desire to ever write prose, or is TV and film your
exclusive genre of choice?>>
This is definitely something I want to try my hand at someday. But the
committment of time required to write 200+ pages is a little daunting so I
don't think I'll be doing it any time soon. But to write a real, solid,
tangible book that you can hold in your hands.... it's very tempting.
<<Speaking of prose, do you think we'll ever find out what Jake's novel
Anslom is about?>>
Maybe. It's supposed to be sort of autobiographical, so we know that much,
but I don't know how much more we want to reveal. It's probably more
interesting the less we know about it.
<<YOu say we could see some physical changes to DS9 next season, what type?>>
I don't know yet, and again this is just speculation on my part -- we don't
have any definite plans at the moment.
<<IS the Season Finale a Clifhanger and do you have a title yet?>>
The title isn't set yet and while it's not technically a true cliff-hanger,
it does set the stage for a very interesting season 6.
<<How about a line or 2 about what happened to the NHL in the 24th!!!!!>>
It is alive and well on the Klingon Homeworld -- KHL.
<<Will we see the Female CHangling again?>>
<< DO you plan to have Nog come back to DS9 after he graduates, as a regular
I don't think Nog can plausibly graduate from the Academy in the time left
for the series, but you'll definitely be seeing more of Nog this year and
<<Well we see Earth again?>>
Not until next year.
Date: 4/7/97 1:49:04 PM
<<IN "Homefront" the President said he never sought this position. DOes this
mean the Federation president is Appointed? Why no election? And why does
the Federation President put Earth into a state of Emergency? Does earth not
have it's own Government like all the other members of the Federation?>>
We assume the Fed President was duly elected, but that he reluctantly was
induced to run for the position. As for the Earth Govt vs. Fed Govt issue,
this was something we wrestled with in the story break. We wanted to tell
the story of an attempted military coup of the Federation and that meant
dealing with the Fed president. However, that meant the troops "in the
streets" had to be on Earth and that Earth itself had to be under martial law
since the Fed is headquartered on Earth. We discussed having the Prez
"federalize" the Earth defense forces or supercede the authority of an
indigenous Earth Govt, but the story kept getting too complicated and we
didn't want to start mentioning all these other players and organizations
that we weren't going to see. So in the end, we skirted the issue of who
actually governs Earth. Personally, I think there is an Earth Govt that
operates like more powerful versions of States do in the US system, but this
is all VERY murky water. Gene was pretty smart back in the 60s when he
decided not to discuss the exact outcome of Earth's political/social/economic
future and we've come about as close to doing just that as I think we should.
<<Could you give us the names of the current DS9 runabouts please.>>
I THINK we still have the Volga and the Rio Grande, but don't hold me to
that. As for the total number of Runabouts on the station, we keep that
purposely vague so we can show as many or as few as we want.
<< It has seemed to me that DS9's defenses aren't nearly as powerful as I'd
I don't know about that. The defenses we saw in "Way of the Warrior" were
<<Was Doctor Bashir's genetic past part of the character's original
backstory? What do you see as the longterm effects of this change?>>
No, this was something I came up with specifically for "Dr. Bashir I
Presume," and while it wasn't part of the original backstory, I felt that it
explained quite a few things in his character rather elegantly. We haven't
charted out the future implications of this revelation, but we do intend to
keep playing his genetically enhanced status next year.
<<Why haven't you folks done more with the beings inside the Wormhole? >>
The wormhole aliens/Prophets have to be used sparingly or they'll become too
pedestrian. We don't have a good Prophet story at the moment, but I imagine
we'll be seeing them again next year.
<<Do you see any "special guest stars" from Classic or TNG showing up on DS9
How about our pals the Borg?>>
We don't have any plans for TOS or TNG guest stars next year. The Borg are
now part of Voyager's backyard and we'll leave them alone.
Date: 4/7/97 2:08:07 PM
<< You've taken a lot of heat about the death of Kirk. Lots of Classic fans
seem to think you did it because you didn't have respect for the character.
That's wrong, isn't it? If you could go back, would you do it again? Would
you do it differently if you could? And are you adamantly against his
My only regret is that the Nexus, and the events that played out inside of
it, were not as compelling as I'd hoped. I have no idea what I would do
differently, but I would've liked another crack at that entire sequence.
And yes, I did have a great deal of respect for Kirk -- he was quite
literally my childhood hero. I felt (and still do) that the death of Kirk
was an important moment in Trek and that this very human character should
experience the final act in every man's existence, namely death. Kirk had
never shied away from promoting and honoring the unique experience of being
human (indeed, that was in many ways the foundation of Gene's entire vision
-- the celebration of the human spirit). Therefore, it seemed that by
killing him, by letting him really play out the human experience, he would
become something greater than simply another comic-book hero that never dies
and is never really mortal as a result. I find vulnerable heroes more
compelling than teflon-coated heroes, and to me the death of Kirk made him
human, and in the end, more heroic.
I am very much against the resurrection of Kirk for that reason -- it would
rob the character of something very important: his humanity.
<<As I've said before, I think one of the best episodes of TNG I ever saw was
"Tapestry." Piller once downplayed it as a rehash of "It's a Wonderful Life."
I thought it was charming, funny, and revealing, of both Picard and Q. What
do you now think of it? Did you tell Piller to get stuffed?>>
I loved "Tapestry" and while Michael and I had several arguments over it, he
was the Exec Producer and could've simply forced me to do it differently. To
his credit, Michael let me do the show pretty much as I wanted to. I still
think it's one of the best things I wrote and one of TNG's finest episodes.
<< <Could you give us the names of the current DS9 runabouts please.>
I believe they are Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Limbaugh, and Kahvis.
No, those would be the names for the ships that clean out waste extraction
from the station on a weekly basis. (Okay, except the Kahvis. That's the
ship with the broken helm control. It keeps pulling to the right.)
<<Do I remember reading once that you were not happy with the TNG episode
"Rascals"? Why not? I thought it was a great story with some great acting
by the children. In fact, it is one of my favorite TNG episodes.>>
When Michael bought the premise I thought he was completely insane: An Away
Team rematerializes on the transporter as child -- with adult minds! I tried
again and again to bury this idea, which of course meant that I would get
saddled with the inevitable rewrite when the script came in. I just thought
it was a ludicrous idea and wanted nothing to do with it. That said, once I
got the assignment, the professional writer in me had to commit to the
material and do the best with it that I could, so I tried very hard to bring
humor and humanity to the proceedings, chiefly through the Guinan/Ro story
that I did end up liking in the end. I still cringe when I think of the
episode (the Ferengi capture the Enteprise in a couple of broken down Bird of
Preys???) but many people have told me how much they like it.
<<Also, was the DS9 episode "Hard Time" a dark counterpart to the TNG episode
"The Inner Light"? Were you thinking of the contrasts between the two
stories within the context of similar scenarios during writing and
Inner Light came up when we were working on the story, but I don't think it
was more than just a reminder to ourselves to keep the show as different as
possible from that episode. But you'd have to ask Robert if it influenced
Date: 4/7/97 2:20:57 PM
<<So, why does Robert H. Wolfe say that one of the plots in "Children of
Time" is ***"kind of"*** an O/K story? Or would that be giving it all away?
I'm afraid it really would give it away even if I gave you a one line
<<What are the real chances of having a Fan-submitted episode produced? How
many are produced on average in a season?>>
This depends on how you define "fan-submitted." If you mean a spec script
that we buy and produce, that hasn't happened in several years now. But
quite a few fans have submitted scripts and been invited to pitch, and then a
few of those fans have actually sold stories and/or scripts, and in even
fewer cases (like myself and Lisa Klink) those fans have gone on to become
staff writers. It's a very difficult nut to crack because of all the
competition to get in the door, but it does happen.
<<Was "A Simple Investigation" originally intended to occur while Odo was
still locked in humanoid form? .... I'm beginning to question whether TPTB
on DS9 really care very much about any of the more science-fictional aspects
of their universe, or whether the forehead ridges, spots, and "bedroom eyes"
of their characters are no more than identifying marks to help us keep
This was something we wish we had done while Odo was still a humanoid, but we
short-changed the humanoid arc by giving him back his powers so soon. We
didn't develop this idea until "Begotten" was already in the can, but we
liked giving Odo his first romance (aside from Kira) and decided to do the
show anyway. As far as the lack of sci-fi in the show these days, it's
probably fair to say that the writing staff tends to think of the show as a
dramatic series that happens to take place in a science fiction setting and
not vice versa. So sometimes we may not give that aspect of the series as
much due as we should, but we are aware of our tendencies and try not to
completely ignore the canvas on which we're painting this rather large piece.