Ron D. Moore Q & A from AOL’s Message Boards
Q: This is not directly related to DS9, but what are the most frequent questions fans have asked you regarding DS9? Perhaps you could list the top five?
1. Will we be seeing Tom Riker (or Kai Opaka, Ensign Sito, Mrs. Troi, any TNG or TOS character) this season?
2. How long does it take to write/shoot an episode?
3. Is Kira getting a promotion?
4. Will this be the last season? (Asked every season)
5. What was Worf (or any alien) saying and why didn’t you subtitle it?
Q: Will we get to see the new Dax do some Klingon fighting with Worf in the holodeck?
A: I’m not sure if we’ll be doing this or not. At the moment, it’s not clear how much the new Dax will have to do with Worf at all this year.
Q: What you missed then and, I think, miss over the issues being discussed this week on this board, is that this isn’t a matter of proving this or that with the strength of one’s position. This is about what a whole lot of women *think* about the way you guys are writing women. This is about how we *feel*. It’s not something that we can prove like a mathematical theorem. It’s something about perception and emotion; it’s about what we know about women and what we can stand to watch with women we respect and admire.
A: I won’t argue with your feelings; you have every right to feel anything you want. However, given the fact that I do not share those feelings, I think that you do, in fact, have to prove your position in order to make any headway. You can’t debate a feeling or an emotion. For example — some people feel very, very strongly that flag burning should be outlawed and that this prohibition should be written into the Constitution. I happen to believe that this is an emotional overreaction and reflective of a fundamental misunderstanding of the meaning of free speech in a free society. I can acknowledge the deep and very real feelings of people who see the flag burning as an insult to the memories of those who died in its service while at the same time demanding that a debate on amending the Constitution not be reduced to arguing about who is more patriotic or who’s a “real” American. Feelings cannot be denied, but they can sometimes be misguided or even vile. Who would argue that hatred and racism are based in real feelings and emotions? And yet those passions do not, and should not carry the day in reasoned debate. So, I’m sorry to keep arguing with you, Catbyte, but I’m not going grant your position more credence simply because you feel strongly about it. And as far as the “many women on this board feel the same” argument, I’ve said before that I’m not counting heads and the recent revelation that four people on this board supporting your view were actually only one person using four different screen names is only one illustration why.
Q: I think these things probably also matter to the rest of the writers, but the question is how much do they matter, and how much are you affected by the money powers’ insistence on delivering that precious young male demographic? If you aren’t affected by that necessity, and you all do care about how women are portrayed, why, then, do we get stuff like the way Kira and Dax behave in relationships, which is completely out of the characters that you all spent so much time and effort developing? Or the incredible and out of character passivity of Kira fourth season?
A: I’ve said many times that I have never, ever had a meeting with the studio about appealing to the “male demographic” of the show. Nor has anyone else on the staff. The studio has done loads of market research on the show, but to date, we’ve never changed an episode or tailored a story to attract more men. I’ve also explained several times that we do care about how women are portrayed and that we simply don’t agree with your assessment that Kira and Dax were out character in the 4th season or that they’ve been behaving inappropriately in their romantic relationships.
Q: I know that the basic story outline of “Tears of the Prophets” was completed before the decision was made to kill off Jadzia Dax. So my question is this: what was this original outline? How did it differ from the version we saw?
A: In the original outline, we had included a Garak-Kira storyline which had them going off to the Badlands in an attempt to find and intercept Dukat. Garak had been obsessively looking him for months and then got a lead on his movements which suggested he was in Dominion territory and might be crossing back over the border soon. Garak and Kira go out to the Badlands to lie in wait for him, but in the end they are tricked into capturing the wrong ship, allowing Dukat to slip past them and arrive on DS9. We dropped this story because ultimately it went nowhere and served only to make our heroes look bad. Another difference was that Dukat was originally going to steal an orb from the temple on DS9 and use it to kill the Prophets. A small squad of Jem’Hadar soldiers attack the station, causing chaos and giving Dukat time to get into the temple. Dax realizes that the attack is really a diversion and she races to the temple, finds Dukat and a few Cardassians attempting to take the orb. But she’s outnumbered and soon disabled. Dukat executes her as retribution for the death of Ziyal, hoping to cause Sisko the kind of grief he has already experienced. This story was the subject of much wrangling among the staff, Michael, Rick, the studio, and just about everyone involved. In the end, we decided that the diversionary raid wasn’t working and that it was hard to get Dax in the Temple by herself or even with only a couple of Starfleet security guys — if she thinks there’s something really going on, why not take 20 guards with her? Also, the execution angle was dropped as too brutal and that she should at least go down with a phaser in her hand.
Q: Will we see Costimojin the Pah’Wraith and his Prophet friend from “The Reckoning” during season seven?
A: Quite probably.
Q: We will be getting an episode that finishes up the Mirror Universe Saga, though, won’t we?
A: We’d like to do one more Mirror Universe story.
Q: In “The Maquis”, Dukat tells Sisko that he was in command of Terok Nor for almost ten years. But in “Wrongs Darker than Death or Night”, we learn that he was Prefect of Bajor for closer to twenty years. Should we assume that someone else commanded the station for the first decade of Dukat’s administration of Bajor, or do you guy have another explanation for this seeming contradiction?
A: The point we latched onto was that Dukat could’ve been Prefect without technically being in command of Terok Nor. Also, we theorized that the construction of the station could’ve taken a very long time and that would explain why there was no actual commander before Dukat.
Q: Ya don’t like Fargo?! How could ya not like Fargo?! Which is to say, why exactly did you “loathe” such a wonderful film? 🙂
A: I thought “Fargo” was vile. To me, it was a mean-spirited film with an ugly heart. It did not poke gentle fun at its characters and their foibles, it mocked them and ridiculed them. The people in Fargo were held up as stupid, low-class idiots. Everything from their accents to their eating habits were savaged and I felt it was done without any purpose except to get a cheap laugh at their expense. I also thought that the only redeeming quality to the film was the perfomance of Frances McDormand, whose innate dignity shown through even though I don’t think it was the intent of the film makers. Now, I happen to like and admire the Cohen brothers as a rule, but this film left a very bad taste in my mouth and I’ve been somewhat appalled at the critical raves its received.
Q: I have seen a couple of questions posted about Majel Barret, inquiring whether she would still be contributing to Star Trek. I am a fan of hers and would also like to know if you have any news you can share?
A: Majel still performs the voice of all Starfleet computers for us, but that’s about it. I believe she’s also very busy working on “Earth: Final Conflict”.
Q: Any big plans for Kai Winn this year?
A: We’ve got some ideas…
Q: Like Deanna in Next Generation and 7 of 9 or Kes is Voyager, will the new Dax be focused on having sex appeal, character development, or both? Or at least try to have both?
A: Her contribution as a character was our first and primary concern in creating the new Dax. Rom gives us all the sex appeal we need.
Q: Dukats inner demons in the episode Waltz are an interesting and unusual way to show the characters inner conflict, Damar serving to reassure his faith in himself but Kira and Weyoun displaying his huge resources of self doubt… I couldn’t help but feel however that the use of these voices became a bit heavy handed when Dukat held conversations with them and fired phasers at them, as though they were external forces rather than in his head. Was there a reason you made his inner demons so physical to Dukat rather than simply having Dukat talk to Sisko while his demons whispered in his ear. I feel that this may have been more plausible.
A: The first phaser shot at Weyoun was to demonstrate two things to the audience: first, that Weyoun wasn’t really there; and second, that Dukat was dangerous. The second time he used the phaser to shoot at Kira was to demonstrate to Sisko that he was dealing with a man who was not only delusional, but who might easily kill him at any moment. I agree that having him fire at the phantoms was pushing it a bit, but I felt that it injected some jeopardy into a very talky drama and that it was within the parameters of Dukat’s state of mind.
Q: In the episode “Starship Down,” Sisko says that the Defiant wasn’t built for atmospheric flight. However, when I was looking at the Defiant ship schematic in the Captain’s Chair CD-ROM, the ship had landing gear! Why such a discrepancy? Also, any plans to see the Defiant land?
A: The Defiant has landing gear? You have to remember that things like CD-ROMs and the various “official” manuals put out by Paramount are not done in conjunction with the writing/producing staffs and that the authors are usually simply extrapolating information based on what’s actually been seen on screen.
Q: I really liked the Akira, Norway, Steamrunner, and Sabre class vessels from First Contact. AS I understand it, all but the Akira were CG. Is this why we haven’t seen these new ships in DS9’s epic battles?
A: I could be wrong, but I believe all of those CGI ships are currently residing in the ILM computers and are generally unavailable to us without the expenditure of $$.
Q: How do most special guest star appearances work on a series like DS9? Do you have many “stars” coming to you asking for parts in Star Trek or do you seek out certain guest stars based on the parts in the scripts? Thanks.
A: We hear that so-and-so BIG NAME actor is interested in doing the show all the time, but we’ve found that when a solid offer to appear on this day for this much money is acutally tendered, that either the schedule or the offer (or both) won’t work.
Q: It’s time to divulge the biggest secret of all… what is your favorite Seinfeld episode?
A: I loved the “backwards” show, which was a very interesting concept and a hilarious show to boot. But “The Contest” and “The Soup Nazi” are my favorites.
Q: Will the new Dax be as important a character as Jadzia, or will she be more of a secondary character like Garak?
A: She’s a very important character and she’s a regular.
Q: Will the whole seventh season be tightly planned, like the war arc, with one episode leading into the next, or will there be the usual mix of individual shows and arc shows?
A: There’ll be a mix, with the later part of the season being more tightly plotted than the beginning.
Q: Now that the Worf and Dax romance is over (I think it has to be over because of the reassociation taboo), is there any chance you’ll drop the Kira and Odo thing too (I’m hoping you will).
A: Odo and Kira are doing just fine, thank you.
Q: Have you ever played any of the Star Trek Video games? If so, what do you think of them?
A: I think the last Trek video game I actually played was the old arcade game (Starfleet Academy Trainer or something) where you got to sit in the captain’s chair and shoot Klingons while trying to dock at varios starbases.
Q: Would you hesitate use the last three episodes of the season as one big series ending trilogy?
A: I wouldn’t hesitate at all.
Q: Any plans to see Gowron or Martok’s son Drex this season??
A: We’re talking about seeing them both.
Q: Is there a reason the shutters on the side windows and the redesign of the interior of the runabouts from season 5 onwards?
A: The plugs were put in the windows as a money-saving device. If you can see out the windows when the Runabout’s going at warp speed, we have to put up a blue-screen and matte in the stars. It costs a few thousand dollars for every shot (I’m not kidding) and so one of the first things to go in our production meetings is any unnecessary shot of warp stars.
Q: I was one of the many who read the script [of Generations] on the internet and I was pretty wowed by Soran’s character. I saw him as a very complex villain, someone I wasn’t sure if I could hate. He had lost so much because of the borg and seemed to be a man that did not want to kill anyone in his desire to get to the nexus and be reunited someway with his family. Sure, he was gonna wipe out the people of Veridian 4, which makes him quite bad, but in the script, he came off as a kind of tragic figure. Was that where you and Mr. Braga were coming from when you wrote Soran, and if so, how come that really doesn’t come out all that much in Malcom McDowell’s performance?
A: We did see Soran as a complex, tragic figure, but I’d say that any deficiencies in this area have more to do with the script than with Malcolm’s perfomance. I don’t think we gave him enough to play with to really bring the character into focus.
Q: Ron, is Brock Peters going to play Sisko’s father in the season premiere?
Q: In “One Little Ship” you had Nog covering for Worf int he beginning and I believe in a prior post you said you would explore the relationship between these two more, do you have any episodes in season 7 planned for them?
A: We’re working on a couple of notions for Worf & Nog right now.
Q: Also in “One Little Ship” when they were under attack by the Dominion we saw one guy fly from a console and nobody noticed and Kira went and took over, when Kira flew from the same console, Sisco was right over there to help her, I was wondering if you might, just for a sense of realism, have some of the main charectors help out a minor charector flying around.
A: Good point.
Q: Do you plan of having a future episode, or just casually mentioning, featuring Bashir’s father getting out the prison?
A: I think we’re going to mention it at some point.