rdm980717

Ron D. Moore Q & A from AOL’s Message Boards
Dated 9807.17

Q: I had posted a question several weeks ago about the size of the “super powers” in the Star Trek universe. It was established that the Federation was 150 member planets and over X,000 light years. We know that the Dominion is darn near the entire Gamma Quadrant. On Voyager and TNG, we know that Borg Space is vast(Yet not quite as big as the Dominion, which doesn’t make any sense). But what about the other great empires of Trek? How big is the Cardassian, Romulan, Ferengi, and Klingon Empires?

A: The Cardassian Empire is sorta big. The Romulan Star Empire is relatively big. The Ferengi Alliance is pretty big. The Klingon Empire is really big.

Q: By your own guesstimation, how many planets and light years do each occupy? And what do they rank from largest to smallest in size?

A: The Cardies and the Roms have quite a few planets scattered throughout a lot of light years, while the Ferengis and the Klingons have a whole bunch of planets spread throughout a chunk of light years.

Q: Does the writing staff have plans to follow up on the divisions between the Alpha and Gamma Jem’Hadar suggested in “One Little Ship?”

A: We’re talking about it, but don’t have a storyline yet.

Q: At this point, even if you haven’t settled on the exact details, does the writing staff know how DS9 will end? And, if you do know, is that ending firmly set, or will you permit story developments, as season 7 goes on, to dictate how the show will end?

A: We know how we want the show to end, but we’re leaving ourselves room to find things along the way as the season develops.

Q: Could you share with us a bit about the process you went through to cast the new Dax? What’s the starting point? Are you there for the auditions? Do you make them read with other cast members to see how they play off each other? How/why did you decide to go with the actress you chose?

A: We sent out a casting call to all the agencies in town, telling them the parameters of the role. They, in turn, submitted the names and headshots of actresses to our casting office, who then sifted through them and weeded out the ones we wished to read for the part. Ira and Hans wrote up a scene for the new Dax character to read in the auditions (elements of which would find their way into the first three episodes). The casting was done by Ira, Rick Berman, our casting directors, and a couple of representatives from the studio. She didn’t read with any of the cast members. I’m happy to report that I just finished watching dailies from her introductory scene and she’s Wonderful!!! We couldn’t be happier with her and I think she’s going to bring a fresh new quality to the show in its final season. (Sorry, but they still won’t let me release her name. I think they’ll make the official announcement on Wednesday. Did I say that she’s great?)

Q: Just wondering – did anybody else think it was ludicrous that Kira agreed to live with the O’Briens when she was pregnant? And when she fell in love (temporarily) with O’Brien?

A: No one that I know of, you must be really odd. (Oh, relax — it’s a joke.)

Q: I have a question about Dax’s death. I know you’ve already explained that there was no funeral because there would be a new Dax – but this new Dax is not Jadzia, and I think it would have been better if you showed a funeral for Jadzia, while making it clear that the symbiont would go on. It has occurred to me that when you watch the show, you don’t see Jadzia Dax, you see Terry Farrel, an actress you know, reading lines you’ve written for her, whereas when we watch it, we see Jadzia Dax. And since you know Ms. Farrel is going happily off to a new life, you are’nt mourning her loss, and it must be hard for you to understand that we are mourning Dax. We knew her for six years. Anyway, my question is, when you’re dealing with a major decision like that, do you run it by fans of the show first (not us, I just mean, people you know who like the show, but are’nt involved in the creation). If not, could you? Because I think the fans and the producers/writers see the show from an entirely different perspective, and it might help if you got a fan’s perspective before you filmed something like Dax’x death, sans funeral.

A: You have to remember that we’re fans of the show too. We love the show and the characters every bit as much as you do — hell, we live with them every day! We don’t look at Jadzia Dax as just Terry Farrel anymore than we look at the Defiant as just a bunch of wood and plastic. If anything, we tend to forget that these characters are not real people. (I’ve discussed the decision why we chose not to show Dax’s funeral in a previous posting.)

Q: Will the new dax be very-well-adjusted ?

A: No.

Q: What has happened is a continual thoughtlessness in regards to women in trek. There is no one on DS9 to champion for the women, Ron admitted that no one on the show can write women or understand them very well.

A: I don’t think I ever said that no one on the show can write women. I believe I did say something once about not being as sensitve to sexism as a woman because I haven’t experienced that form of discrimination, but that’s not the same thing as saying that I can’t write female characters or that I’m “thoughtless” in how I portray them. Not to blow my own horn, but I did write “Rejoined” and “Darkness and the Light” and I think I wrote both Kira and Dax pretty well. For a man.

Q: The point is that if sexism and racism did’nt exist, the shows would naturally have a number of women and minorities representative of the population of this country. We should’nt even have to argue this point.

A: Well, if you’re contending that the only reason that the percentages of Asians or Hispanics on Trek don’t reflect the US population is because we’re all racists, then I think you do have to argue the point and I think that you’re wrong. The same applies to the percentage of women on the show. Look, I think that there should’ve been more female characters in DS9’s original cast, but that’s not the same thing as saying that the percentage we have now is inherently sexist. It’s a choice, a choice you can say reflects some kind of innate preference by the men who created the show for male characters, but that doesn’t mean that choice is driven by a sexist impulse any more than choosing to create a show about white people (like “Seinfeld” say) is driven by a racist impulse.

Q: People have been complaining about these issues for years, and its the fact that we don’t see changes on the show that leads us to start the number counts and the analysis of women’s roles that you find to be “ridiculous” (and no, I did’nt post the questions you responded to, but I agree with them, for the most part). And the fact that people care enough about the issue that they’ll spend time examining each episode just helps their argument. I’m not trying to be rude, its just that I think you are writing off some valid concerns as “ridiculous” because you don’t like the way they were presented.

A: If I didn’t take these issues pretty seriously, I probably wouldn’t waste my time by reading these postings and bothering to respond to them. A long time ago, I admitted that I’d done Klingon women a disservice and that I’d try to repair that. Some of you may not have liked the way I did it, but I did it nonetheless. But I do find some of the arguments advanced here to be ridiculous and I have no compunction about saying that. If you don’t want your ideas challenged or debated by me, then don’t come here and throw around terms like “sexist” and “thoughtless” regarding a show that I have a great deal of pride in.

Q: I was wondering in the two parter “Homefront”/”Paradise Lost” was there any discussion about trying to make the President’s office look similiar to that of the President from Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country? I know the Ten Forward set was used for ST6, and by the time “Homefront” aired that set had been either taken apart, or used for Voyager.

A: The question did come up, but as you just pointed out, the Ten Forward set from Trek VI no longer existed, so we just kept the office in Paris and went for a different look.

Q: Has the cast already taken Season 7 photos?

A: Not yet.

Q: Mr. Moore – what you said about sexism issues is pretty much what you said about gay issues -you admit that you could better, but apparently have no plans to try. Is’nt Star Trek a show about people who try to do what they think is right in order to make the world better?

A: That is flatly untrue. I do care about keeping sexism out of the show and I will continue to do so. In regards to gay issues, I wrote “Rejoined” and I’m happy to leave that as my legacy on this subject in Trekdom.

Q: I have found the #1 question regarding Tears of the Prophets to be: What exactly was Sisko scrubbing at the end of the episode outside his father’s restaurant?

A: Let the word go forth they were clams, my friend, clams…

Q: Somehow, someway, for some bizarre reason, I care more about how women feel that women are portrayed on DS9 than how men feel that women are portrayed on DS9. And while some women are satisfied, there seem to be a lot more who aren’t.

A: Somehow, someway, for some bizarre reason I get the feeling that if I said I cared more about how men felt how men are portrayed on DS9 than how women felt that you’d be… upset. And this isn’t a democracy, I’m not taking a head count of postings to see if the negative female responses are outweighing the positive ones in order to decide if this argument have validity or not. You either carry the day with the strength of your position or not. So far, in my mind, you have not.

Q: Ask your wife, female friends and/or women around the studio about their perceptions of gender issues in Trek, and relay them back to us. I have the feeling it might be most enlightening.

A: Hey, I don’t live in a monastery. I do talk with women. On a daily basis. And I do solicit their opinions on the show. I’m a writer, for cryin’ out loud — I shove my scripts under the nose of anyone who’ll read them, I ask female interns what they think of the show, I talk to my mother-in-law about Kira’s heels, I even debate the issue with women who feel differently than I do. Don’t you get it? I am engaged on this subject. It does matter to me. I just happen to have a different point of view than some of you. Must I be pilloried for failing to have a sufficiently dogmatic view of this subject? Can’t we all agree that the show I write for espouses a belief in the fundamental priniciples of sexual equality and liberty and that we try very hard to live up to that ideal? If we can’t agree on that, I’m not sure what the hell good any of this debate is doing any of us and I have no idea why you’re watching in the first place.

Q: I don’t care if Martok and his wife only appeared in one scene together, that wasn’t my point. My point was, without that relationship, she wouldn’t have been on the show. That was essential to her character.

A: Well, Kurn wouldn’t have been on the show if not for his fraternal relationship to Worf, but that doesn’t mean he was defined solely through that relationship or that he was therefore a bad, sexist stereotype.

Q: Leeta – Dabo girl, heart of gold, wife of Rom.

A: Enough of the Leeta-bashing. I like Leeta, I like Chase, and I’m not going to apologize for having an attractive character who holds down a steady job (which is not hooking, by the way) could fall in love with a man who wasn’t perfect-looking after dating a handsome doctor and knows how to deliver a punchline.

Q: The male guest stars, who I also find are interesting characters, such as Dukat, Weyoun, have appeared in half a dozen episodes at least, and are central to the War Arc. No woman really is.

A: The fact that characters like Kai Winn showed up less frequently last season than people like Dukat has nothing to do with sexism and everything to do with the fact that the storyline we were working on dealt primarily with the Dominion war, not the politics of Bajor. We don’t plot stories with the goal of evening the representation of “female stories” with those of “male stories” and we’re not going to start. We build shows around our characters, first and foremost. Granted, that every year certain characters get more than others, but that has more to do with the vicissitudes of storytelling than with some innately sexist approach on behalf of the writers.

Q: I was just reading in the folder for Tears Of The Prophets that you killed…. hang on wait for it… that ‘you’ killed Dax because ‘you’ “hate women”. I was just wondering what your thoughts on this are.

A: Ah, yes… my true agenda revealed at last…

Q: I have a different kind of question for you. I have been reading this board for about a year now….and I have noticed a change in not only the number of replies you are giving but the tone of your responses as well. You used to answer 3 or 4 times in a row and you seemed a little “happier” in your replies.

A: Today may not have been the best day for this question, but here goes:

A: I’m not aware of being any less “happy” in doing this than a year or two ago. Some things here $#$ me off and some don’t. I don’t like having the show called sexist or racist or homophobic and I will defend it against those labels. That doesn’t mean I don’t listen, or don’t care about what you have to say. I’m happy to keep doing this as long as you’re happy to keep coming here. This board can be fun and it can be infuriating, but hey, I made the choice to do this and I haven’t regretted it. “Happy, happy, joy, joy, happy, happy, joy, joy…” ALL RIGHT? Now leave me alone!!

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