Date: 9/23/97 6:57:33 PM
Folder 29?? What the hell? Didn't we just open 28??? In any case....
<<Have you guys started thinking about the latter half of the season yet,
specifically in terms of which way you'll go if you're renewed, or if you're
not? Any discussion about the series finale, whether it be this year or next
We haven't focused on the second half yet, we're just bringing episodes 11-13
into view. There's been no official word from the studio about a seventh
season, so for the moment we aren't making any firm plans one way or the
other. This will be a long, maddening wait, so get comfortable.
<<Is it safe to say that things will be as changed in the DS9 universe after
the opening arc as they were after "Call to Arms?" >>
The war against the Dominion will continue beyond the opening arc, but will
recede into the background for a time before moving into the forefront again.
<<Ira Behr mentioned that you're doing an episode that will revolve around
Morn? It was awfully hard to tell if he was kidding or not.>>
We're working on it this afternoon.
<<Do you have any plans to have Mr. Spock on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in
the future? Also, I've heard that some of the TNG cast would love to do
guest appearances on DS9. If that's true, why don't you accomodate them? If
we can't see the crew, why can't we just see the ship, the E-E? >>
No. Not true. No.
<<Any plans (or any plans to make plans) to bring Kasidy Yates around this
We've talked about it, but we probably won't be able to do it until the
second half of the season.
<<Is it true actress Penny Johnson has become disenchanted with the role, and
doesn't really want to come back to DS9?>>
<<Would you consider doing your Iotia story as a novel for John Ordover when
you finish your TV gig?>>
Hard to say. I've thought about taking a crack at a novel someday, but I
don't know if it would be this idea even if I did one.
<<When DS9 does end, do you anticipate taking a break from Star Trek, or
would you just as happily take on another project in Gene's universe?>>
Again, it's hard to say, but I have no plans to continue with Trek beyond DS9
<<Is it my imagination, or have the random occurences of "47" on DS9 been on
They've been cut down as we've kinda tired of this particular inside joke.
<<Do you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain?>>
I am grateful that my browser does not allow me to hear these messages
<<If you could recast *anybody* for TNG or DS9, *anybody* (even Tom Cruise)
who would you recast, where? why?>>
Could you possibly come up with a more loaded question? How about, "If you
could make a really public faux pas, what would it be?"
<<Do you think you could get Ira to shamelessly plug his book on Politically
I'll suggest it to him.
<< <Also, something about the Vorta we haven't seen since their first
appearance is their telekinetic abilities.> What happened to this ability,
and are you planning to show it again in the future?>>
We have no plans to use this ability again, and our internal logic is that it
was not an ability shared by the entire Vorta race, but something that was
specifically engineered by the Founders for that particular Vorta (or
possibly a whole subset of the Vorta).
<<Ron, do you still have some of your spec scripts that you sent in? >>
I only submitted one spec script and that was "The Bonding."
<<Can we expect to see LeVar Burton directing again this season? Avery
Brooks? Rene Au...Ah... Avoirdupois... Auberjonois... Odo?>>
LeVar, Avery, and Rene will all be directing this season.
Date: 9/24/97 6:34:40 PM
<<Given Bashir's deeply rooted opinion in DBIP that his parents didn't love
him and were ashamed of him so they had him enhanced, why didn't the Lethean
pick up on that when the Lethean tried to kill him. >>
"Distant Voices" was written well before we came up with the
genetically-enhanced backstory for Julian in "Dr. Bashir, I Presume." We
felt that this was a relatively minor kink in the established continuity
caused by the new backstory, and so we decided not to worry about it. Most
of Bashir's established backstory not only works nicely with the events in
DBIP, but is actually fleshed out and makes more sense in light of DBIP. So
on balance, a slight disconnect with "Distant Voices" is acceptable.
I know there are those who will (vehemently) disagree with this premise, who
will say that continuity is *the* most important aspect of the series. I've
never seen it that way. I think that while continuity is important, I don't
feel that it should be such an overriding concern that it becomes a detriment
to good story telling. This is fiction. We should be allowed to make
changes and adjustments from time to time even if it means contradicting some
small part of the established backstory. MASH had the Chinese invading Korea
at least twice over the course of the series (and possibly thrice) and I
never felt that it had destroyed my enjoyment of the show. There are three
different versions of how the Odd Couple actually met and I remember thinking
they were all equally funny. Richie's older brother Chuck vanished from the
entire lexicon of Happy Days after the first season and I never missed him.
Yes, yes, I know we're talking about Trek here, not some sitcom, but even so,
some elements of the Trek backstory are simply more important than others:
Scotty comes out of the transporter and expects to see Kirk, and this is
later undercut by the events in Generations. So what? Does that one line
have to be written in stone for all time? Was it even that important in the
episode itself? Does a reference to Picard commanding the Stargazer for 20
YEARS really have to guide and inform his character throughout the series?
Does Kirk's reference to the United Earth Space Probe Agency mean there can
never be a UFP? If Sisko implies that his father is dead in one episode,
does that mean we can't see Grandpa Sisko in a later show? In my opinion,
those are judgement calls on the part of the writers and producers. It's our
job to decide whether some established bit of backstory is important or not
and sometimes we just have to make a change and move on.
<<Given the severe nature of Bashir's disabilities - couldn't tell a house
from a tree, a cat from a dog, etc. - why wouldn't he have been eligible for
a legal procedure?>>
Bashir makes the statement that the genetic enhancement of human beings is
illegal in the Federation for any reason other than the correction of serious
birth defects. We must therefore assume that whatever Bashir's problem, it
was not considered to be a genetic birth defect. His actual condition is
kept purposely vague in the episode, and we don't know whether this learning
disability was something that might've been treatable with conventional
educational and/or medical treatments in the 24th century. In fact, Bashir
himself makes the point that his parents jumped too quickly to genetic
engineering, and that he may have turned out okay without the tinkering.
We'll never know. The Federation certainly has a hardline attitude on this
issue -- in fact, you could call it harsh -- but the prohibition on human
engineering has its roots in the cataclysm of the Eugenics Wars, and viewed
in that context, I think it's reasonable to see why they would put such
strictures in place.
Date: 9/24/97 6:59:33 PM
<<If Bashir was a changeling, then HOW did he manage to miss the detection of
damage to the [baby] changeling [in "The Begotten"]? Did he really miss the
damage? Or did he intentionally destroy the baby changeling?>>
I don't think the Bashir-changeling missed the damage to the baby, and I
don't think he intentionally harmed it. More likely is that the damage could
not be repaired and he simply let events play themselves out.
<<Have you ever thought of having a race that is patterned after the Bushido
I've always thought of the Klingons as having something like Bushido, but I
would hasten to add that my knowledge of Bushido is a fairly superficial one,
so the Klingons may not be the perfect metaphor.
<<Also, why don't we see cultures with polygamous relationships instead of
just one mate?>>
No particular reason. We just haven't worked that wrinkle into the mix yet.
<<Do you ever find that all this bickering produces anything useful? For
example, I've noticed lots of political discussions here along with opinions
that may or may not be shared with anyone or everyone...if you read something
that makes you want to express your own unique opinion about a subject (such
as assisted suicides, or other things that you want to say)do you ever
consider using such topics as storylines? >>
I find the discussions here to sometimes be an interesting diversion. Not
everything engages me, so there are some arguments/bickering sessions that I
pay attention to and some that I don't. I think it's fair to say that the
messages posted here have as much influence in my thinking as anything else.
It all goes into the mushy recesses of my brain and churns around with the
rest of my life experiences which then end up on the written page.
<<Will the 6th season have as many comedic episodes as there were in the 5th?
It's hard to say at this point, since more than half the season has not been
planned out. I think we'd like about the same mix of comedy this year as
<<Is the female changeling actually the leader of the Dominion or does she
share rule with her people? That is, is there a parliament? Or is it queen
The Great Link rules the Dominion and I think the Female Shapeshifter has
said that there is very seldom any dissension in the Link. She is not the
leader and presumably they all share power jointly.
<<Which leads to my first question..... Did DS9 receive any Emmys especially
[Trials and Tribble-ations]?>>
We were shut out at the Technical Emmys and I think we were robbed. The
Academy in its infinite wisdom decided to award the visual effects award to
"The Odyssey" over DS9. Setting aside the fact that putting a multi-million
dollar MINISERIES up against a single one hour episode is preposterous, I
should also point out that according to the rules, there could have been more
than one award given in this particular category. In other words, there was
no reason why they had to choose one over the other. The VFX team did
extraordinary and groundbreaking work in that episode and they should've been
recognized for it. The same goes for the Art Department, which had to
literally recreate the look and feel of a series that's been gone for thirty
years without the benefit of ANY blueprints or guidelines, and then seamless
blend it into actual footage from the original episode. The artisans and
craftsmen on our show deserved those awards and the entire producing staff
felt that our "team" had been slighted.
<<So, Ron....did you like "Sub Rosa"? >>
I kinda liked it. I thought it was good to try a different genre on TNG and
mix things up a little. It's not a perfect show by any means, but I'm glad
we did it.
Date: 9/24/97 7:26:10 PM
<<The green shirt Kirk wears in T&T (and most of the second season) is a
casual variant; it looks green on film because it's a different material from
the velour of the regular shirts, which actually was green, but photographed
I've read this thing about the TOS command uniforms actually being green
before, but I'm not sure that it's true. I know for a fact that the command
uniforms we used in T&T were actually yellow and that they were supposed to
be exact matches to the old uniforms. Also the various Kirk tunics that have
surfaced over the years in auctions always seem to be yellow. Maybe it's
just a subjective matter of what you or I may see as yellow or green.
<<do you prefer writing your own teleplays from scratch or developing one
from someone else's story? How long would you say it takes to script an
I've had good experiences both ways. Sometimes starting from someone else's
story gives you a new approach to material that you may not have thought of
on your own, and yet there's still something deeply satisfying about that
sole "Written by" credit. The time it takes to develop a script from an
initial premise varies widely, depending on our time constraints and how
problematic the material is. Ideally, you want 5-7 days to write the initial
story, 3-4 days to break the show with the staff, and then 2 weeks to write
the first draft.
<<Are you as surprised as I am that [Dukat] has received so much *positive*
Yes. I think we all are. It's one of those cases where the actor and the
role are perfectly matched and the audience just responds to the fusion of
actor and material in ways that no one anticipated.
<<Data says that the three converging tachion beams all are coming from the
Enterprise. But in the future, the tachion beam came from the Pasteur.
Picard even says as much to Adm. Riker.>>
This is an error that no one caught until the episode was on the air. And
who caught it first? Rick Berman's ten year old son. Kind of humbling.
<<After the Pasteur blows up, the Ent-D+ goes back to try to see the anomaly
forming. But since it travelled backwards through time, wouldn't the anomaly
have first appeared just before the Pasteur went ka-boom? As is, it seems
like it's travelling forward in time in the future, but backward in time
This sounds like a good question, but to be honest I don't remember the
details of this piece of tech and I can't bring myself to trudge through the
script trying to recreate our thinking at the time. How about just, "I hate
temporal mechanics," as an answer?
<<I don't suppose you could drop any hints about what your episode concerning
Dr. Bashir's genetic background is about??>>
Let's just say he's not alone.
<<Whose idea was it to have Data pronounce Futile different from the Borg's
way of saying it? I liked the effect.>>
I think this was a choice made by Brent.
<< if Paramount does not [give DS9 a seventh year], will you have enough time
to give the show a smashing finale a la "All Good Things..."?>>
I certainly hope so, and we have made it very clear to the studio that we
need ample warning before wrapping up the series.
Date: 9/24/97 7:37:43 PM
<<I'm curious how story assignments get handed out on DS9. If you come up
with an idea, are you always the one to write the script? I remember reading
that you didn't want, and yet got anyway assignments like "Rascals" and
"Ethics" on TNG. Are you high enough on the pecking order that you can turn
down an assignment, or can Ira say, "Do it" and you will?>>
We try to give people the assignments that they want if at all possible and
keep them away from the shows they're not interested in. Sometimes it's not
possible due to time constraints or the unexpected shifting of episodes due
to actor availability, budget, or directing considerations (all of which
frequently happen). I have a bit of pull regarding my own writing, but I'm
certainly not above rewriting some else's work or taking on an episode that I
may not have volunteered to do given a choice. When that happens, I try to
invest myself in the story and just make it the best possible script that I
<<As I recall, the gist of the question was, wouldn't it be a good idea to
end Trek with a great-big, whiz-bang, all-stops-pulled extravaganza featuring
all things Trek, plus the kitchen sink, and then put the franchise on hiatus
for ten years in order to allow demand for product to build again?>>
This is not what I would recommend to the studio. I'd let the TNG movies
continue (although I would space them a little further apart), let DS9 and
Voyager run their courses, and then wait a couple of years before starting
any new Trek series.
<<The whole "Spock on Romulus" thing has been going on for years now. Is
there any talk at all of resolving Spock's story at some point? >>
We're not interested in revisiting this storyline.
<<A while back (probably about ten folders) you replied in jest that you
would work on a new Star Trek series if it was set on the Klingon Homeworld.
As a co-executive producer, do you feel that such a series is feasible??
Would this hamper the writing process (Klingons seem to suffer from less
interal conflicts?? Would the cost of makeup for the regulars (not to
mention the strain on the actors) make it to expensive per show?? >>
I think it's a viable concept. I think you could off-set make-up costs by
decreasing opticals and staying mostly on the planet. It's just a notion.
<<I see in a recent newsletter that you did the 2nd ep.or 3rd. "Point of No
Does it take us back to Earth?>>
There is no such episode with that title.
<<Have you ever thought about bringing back the character of Captain Ben
Maxwell to Deep Space Nine?>>
It came up a long time ago, but we never pursued the idea and I don't think
<<TNG's "Rightful Heir" involved the return of the Klingon's "Christ,"
Kahless, and the political mechanisms surrounding his return. Ron, was it
your intention to write a religious allegory, or was that just something that
naturally manifested itself in what was to have been a political story? >>
It was very much a show about religion and faith. The political machinations
were just plot to justify doing the episode.
<< I just read a rumor that DS9 will be adding a new recurring character to
the show: <Admiral Jason Kittridge, the head of 'Starfleet Command'. He will
be playing a major role
in dictating policy which causes nothing but headaches for Sisko, and will be
the episode "For Tomorrow We Die"> Can you confirm or deny?>>
There is no such character and no such episode.
Date: 9/24/97 7:39:13 PM
<<In the original series, AMOK TIME and SPACE SEED were both defining
episodes in Star Trek canon. The first established the existence and
background of Vulcan mating rituals, and the second introduced a major
historical figure from the 20th century (within the context of the Star Trek
universe). And then, Voyager presented us with FUTURE'S END and BLOOD FEVER,
in which many of the established facts from these corresponding TOS episodes
were simply thrown out the window. Suddenly there are (and were) no Eugenics
wars to make Khan possible, and the Kal-if-fee is no longer a fight to the
death. In my view, this changes the idea of some backstory elements being
"more important than others," to NO backstory element being important.>>
Before everyone jumps in here, I'll say it again: I DON'T WORK ON VOYAGER,
and I won't get involved in an argument about what they did or why. Find a
DS9 or a TNG example to make your point if you want my response.
That was our internal thinking, but we didn't want to come right out and say
it in the episode.
<<Again, he ignores my question. Ron discriminates against Romulans and
Ferengi alike! I guess I'll give up here, too, since it's obvious he's not
going to listen to me.>>
Oh, come on. Don't pout. What was the question again?
<<Quark has taken back stage the last few seasons with the development of the
Dominion. Will he ever be more involved in the Dominion centered shows? >>
He'll definitely be involved in the machinations leading up to the retaking
of the station and we have some other plans for Quark and the Dominion for
later in the season.
<<Also, why doesn't anyone ever remind Starfleet that it's been ignoring the
Prime Directive for a long while? It seems to me that the Founders have
reason to believe that they can't trust StarFleet when StarFleet personnel
swear to uphold the Prime Directive even if it costs them their lives, yet
Bashier takes it upon himself to cure the Jem Hadar of their addition and
other Federation personnel keep trying to impose their values on the galaxy.
The U.S. has policies that discourage trade with nations that violate human
rights, but the Federation is NOT the U.S. >>
We read the Prime Directive as prohibiting interferring in "primitive"
societies that have not yet developed warp drive, which is what I believe the
intent of the PD was orginally.
<< there are a lot of similarities between the Borg and the Founders. Aren't
you guys a little concerned when the two greatest Star Trek villians are so
much alike? Are we going to learn enough about the Great Link to see the
differences between this and the Borg link (i.e. collective)? >>
We see them as very different, and yes, we hope to be showing you more about
the Dominion this year and how it differs from the Borg in many important
<<Which only goes to prove that [maintaining some kind of] continuity is not
the enemy of the writer, and can actually provide some wonderful
opportunities when not dimissed out of hand because it's inconvenient to
adhere to an established backstory.>>
Well, that's quite a twisting of what I said. I went out of my way to say
that I felt continuity *is* important, never said it was the "enemy of the
writer" and never implied that we "dismissed" anything out of hand because it
was "inconvenient." Go back and read it again.
<<Five years ago, Trials and Tribble-ations would've been impossible to do.
Now, almost anything you can imagine is possible to visualize on film. Are
there any stories that, a few years ago, you thought couldn't be done but are
Nothing at the moment. T&T was a VERY expensive episode and it would have to
be an extraordinary show for us to consider that kind of effort again.
Date: 9/24/97 10:03:35 PM
<<As a writer, I find it hard to believe that you so cavalierly slough off
continuity, as you seem to here. While in the case above [Relics], I find it
a realitively small incident, but over all, it seems odd that you would brush
the errors aside so casually. As you know, writing is art as sure as painting
or composing, and every error, every tiny mistake, stands out to cut it down.
Usually to the artist it is magnified.... in this case, I suppose it's more
important to the fans. Weird......Reading your entire post, I have to wonder
how you and the other writers and producers would treat all these
adjustments if Star Trek were your own creation. I've never met an artist so
willing to ignore the established history of her own show. >>
Oh, give me a break. If all you can glean from my posting is that I have a
cavalier attitude, then you're just not paying attention. Of course we care
about the continuity of the show! How else do you think that a franchise
spanning three decades hangs together so well that entire books can be
written about "The History of the Future"? If you stop and think about it
for a moment, you'll see that it's nothing short of amazing that Trek's
continuity is so tight after so many years and so many different people
involved in bringing it to life.
But not everything said or mentioned on screen is of equal weight and
importance, anymore than every single utterance in your daily life is of
equal importance. You even admit that that Scotty/Kirk thing in "Relics" is
a small thing, but want it treated as if it were a big thing. It's not.
It's one line in one show that provided a cute moment, but had no impact on
And finally, it is absurd to suggest that we don't care about the show
because we didn't create it. Just because we don't worship at the altar of
Established Continuity the way you want us to is no reason to accuse us of
bad faith, which is basically what you're saying. I try not to take
criticism on this board too personally, but I won't stand for that. A lot of
people put their entire creative energies into this series week after week,
and for you to suggest we do otherwise because it's someone else's creation
is a cheap shot.