Ron D. Moore Q & A from AOL’s Message Boards
Dated 9808.05

Q: Did the Feds ask the Ferengi Alliance to join the fight against the Dominion? Was that really the nature of Nog’s aborted mission to Ferengar in “The Valiant,” as suspected by Jake? Either way, will the Ferengi join the war effort next season?

A: The Feds were making the first overtures to the Ferengi Alliance as to joining the fight, but we’re not sure if they’ll actually enter the war this season or not.

Q: Right now it doesn’t look like there is a future for DS9 beyond the series, but is there any way that we can help Paramount change their mind? A lot of fans want a movie, or at least a tv mini-series. Will letter writing help?

A: Polite letters to the studio always have an influence on the executives, so be my guest.

Q: I have a bet with some friends of mine: I bet that the baseball in Siskos office is a changeling! I also bet that the next time Sisko takes the Baseball it will transform into a Changeling that beats him up because he was touched every week since the first season…. What are my chances to win that bet?!?!

A: This has been a standing joke around here for a long time — but I wouldn’t count on winning that bet.

Q: Last year I heard a rumor from a friend of mine that ID software, to promote it’s new game Quake II, offered to foot the bill for an episode in which Worf and others are traped in a holosuite program of Quake II. Is there any truth to this rumor or has there ever been any consideration of having a real 20th century video/computer game appear on a holosuite/deck?

A: I’ve never heard this story and suspect that it’s just a rumor, although many, many ideas for cross-promoting various products on the show are submitted and they’re almost always rejected out of hand.

Q: Is there a chance, since VOY has pratically ignored their existence, that there will be a final Maquis episode in season 7? — a reconciliation, a remaining cell–the possibilities are endless!

A: It’s possible, but we don’t have a Maquis show on the board yet.

Q: I was wondering if there are any plans for some DS9 specials before the end of the series. TNG had a viewer’s choice marathon and the special “Journey’s End: The Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation”. Any chance we’ll be seeing anything like that?

A: I haven’t heard of any plans for something like this yet, but it could still materialize.

Q: 2 years ago DS9 debuted in second run syndication around the country, but the LA station that had the episodes, UPN’s KCOP 13, yanked the show after a month, due to what I assume were low ratings, opting instead to show reruns of “Martin” and “Mad About You.” Are you privy to any information about whether or not DS9 reruns will get a second chance in the LA market?

A: I haven’t heard anything — we’re not kept in the loop about affiliate decisions and we usually find out about timeslots and so on by reading the newspaper.

Q: Do you think that the studio gave a decent effort in promoting DS9 in the “big” Emmy categories, such as writing? The lack of recognition for Trek series is nothing new, so how hard does the publicity dept. really try?

A: This has been a constant source of irritation on the part of the writing/producing staff for over ten years. We’ve never felt that the studio has really pushed any of the Trek shows for Emmy consideration in any of the categories and we bitch about it every year. In my opinion, the fact that Patrick Stewart failed to get a nomination for TNG but did score one for “Moby Dick” has less to do with any difference in the quality of his work than it does with the fact that TNT agressively pushed MD for consideration and actually sent out viewing cassettes of the mini-series to members of the Academy (something that Paramount has never done). In defense of the studio, I will say that Trek is not singled out and that they treat us just like they do all their series. But it’s still very annoying.

Q: I heard there was a good chance the next series will be about the Kligons and will take place on the Klingon Home World! Is there any truth to this?

A: Nope, it’s just a rumor.

Q: Will there ever be a mention of the Q for the rest of the series?

A: Possibly.

Q: Do Bradley Thompson and David Weddle split up their pay or are they legally two individual writers?

A: Under the terms of the WGA contract, a “team” like Bradley & David (and you can always spot a team by the use of “&” in separating the names) are considered to be one writer in all matters. Therefore, they split all payments 50/50.

Q: In the days of the Original Series there was some talk of shows being delivered to the network the night before they aired and special effects finished too late for inclusion. Do these kinds of things still happen, or are you never really behind schedule on the production end of the show?

A: We’ve taken things right down to the wire, but never missed a deadline or failed to include some effects on time to my knowledge.

Q: If I remember correctly, one magazine reported, you (the DS9 producers) wouldn’t let Rick Kolbe direct another DS9 show because he took too much time shooting “Our Man Bashir”. What is the real story behind this? Obvisouly, he didn’t do another one for almost two years. (He did a few VOYAGER’s.)

A: Rick was not “banned” from DS9. He was busy on Voyager and other projects and the scheduling didn’t work out.

Q: Have you approached David Carson about doing any more shows? Do you know what he’s been up to?

A: I haven’t heard from David in quite a while and I’m not sure what he’s doing.

Q: What is a typical comment you get from Rick Berman after reading a first draft of yours? What would be typical comments of Michael Piller and Ira?

Rick: “I just have a few notes…”
Michael: “I have notes…”
Ira: “Here are my notes…”

Q: The Rene scene in Picard’s quarters at the beginning of Generations was very gutsy, I thought. It seems to me that Patrick regrets having done it (he having alluded to it in a few interviews done for First Contact) because it somewhat significantly cut down the hero aspect of Picard, which you all obviously thought clever to more emphasize in Contact. What were you going for with the scene, not in terms of the story, but in terms of the movie franchise? Was it Patrick’s choice to cry?

A: We wanted to push the character to the emotional edge, to show a man faced with the stark and brutal reality of death when it hit close to home. The crying was in the script, but it was definitely done with Patrick’s approval and support.

Q: How much time do you actually spend writing compared to all the other production duties you have, and for how long do you usually write at a time? Does it take the force of discipline to make you sit down in front of the keyboard, or can’t you wait to start writing?

A: I’d say I spend about half my time writing and half my time discussing other stories, giving notes on scripts, attending various meetings, etc. Nothing is as difficult to face as the blank screen on the first draft, but after that I seldom dread sitting down at the keyboard. I love to do the work, even when it’s difficult — sometimes especially when it’s difficult.

Q: Why don’t you all do cameos like Robert?

A: We’re conspiring even now…

Q: Have you ever discussed dropping the hooks before fade-outs? (I probably needn’t tell you that they tend to look silly in most foreign countries, and even in the US there are few shows hanging on to this kind of style. (Of course, it’s Star Trek tradition, but that doesn’t mean you can’t back-pedal them a bit.)) Are you in favor of “hooking”?

A: It’s so ingrained into the format that we’ve never discussed dropping it. Personally, I’d rather lose the five act structure, go back to four acts, and give us those few extra minutes for the drama instead of commercials.

Q: And, to wrap this up, did you still learn a new lesson on DS9 last year?

A: I learn something on every script I work on and every show we produce.

Q: I was wondering if Sisko or anybody else knows that Dukat payed a visit to the station during Tears of the Profits and was responsible for Jadzia’s death?

A: Yes, they all know it by now.

Q: Also, is it assumed that if Kai Winn did not stop the battle in The Reckoning, the Pah-Wraith that inhabited Gul Dukat wouldn’t be around?

A: I don’t think so. The pah-wraith that inhabited Dukat was trapped inside that Bajoran St. Nicholas figurine on Cardassia and probably wouldn’t have been affected — but I could be wrong on this, I wasn’t deeply involved in the theological discussions on “Reckoning.”

Q: Can you release any knew infomation about the new Dax? Will she be a science officer? An experienced member of Star Fleet or a newly graduated cadet? Also will she be prohibited from having any sort of relationship with Worf because of their past marriage?

A: I’m now told that the official release of information on the new Dax character has been pushed to August 17th. I haven’t got the faintest idea why.

Q: I’ve also been wondering where the Star Fleet officers on DS9 get money to use at Quark’s or Garak’s or the rest of the shops on the Promenade. Since there is no money in the Federation, how do they pay their bar tabs???

A: There is a secret slush fund operated by Star Fleet captains all over the galaxy to handle just such problems.

Q: I have a question about the recent episode airing order: Why wasn’t “Far Beyond the Stars” aired? They can rerun “Who Mourns for Morn?”, but hey can’t rerun “Far Beyond the Stars”?

A: I believe “Far Beyond…” is being held to rerun just before the rerun of the season finale.

Q: Was Thomas Riker working for Star Fleet Intelligence when he commandeered the Defiant?

A: No, he was definitely working for the Maquis.

Q: Ron, the following post was made by Babylon 5 Creator, JMS. He is responding to why the new B5 movie, Thirdspace, was made. He makes some comments regarding Star Trek that I find interesting. I was wondering if you have any kind of response to the views that he has in this post?

JMS: This is why there is so little divergence in the Star Trek shows; the studio has learned that it has to more and more narrowly define what constitutes a Star Trek story… and in time it becomes so narrow that you can’t do much of anything new in it. What the hell is the point of HAVING your own show if you can’t from time to time go out and just do a story that’s completely off-base, just for fun, just for yourself? If nobody watches it, then you’ve got a problem…but in fact this came out to be the 5th highest rated cable movie of the week, so by gosh a lot of other people liked it as well…. The moment you lose the ability to change the format and play and tip-over the whole thing, and do totally arbitrary things because they please you…you may as well find yourself a comely shroud, because creatively you’re dead.

A: I have two reactions: first, I will politely disagree with JMS about the studio narrowly defining Trek. The greatest strength of DS9 these days is that it does not follow the tried and true path of TOS and TNG. We like to push the format and the concept of the show around and it is precisely this effort which has made DS9 a unique voice in Trek and science fiction in general. You don’t get shows like “Our Man Bashir,” “Far Beyond the Stars” “His Way” or “In the Pale Moonlight” by playing it safe and sticking with formula. Second, I completely agree with JMS’s philosophy about having fun with your show and not being afraid to do things simply because they please you as a writer. This is my philosophy as well and I’m glad to see that he feels the same way.

Q: In “The Magnificent Feregi”, how did the idea for the tricorder-controlled Vorta come into being for the exchange with Moogie?

A: This inspired/demented notion came up in the story break and we instantly loved it.

Q: Ron, just a quick comment/question on Dominion POW’s. We know that the Federation has held at least 2 Vorta as POW’s of the war. Now, what about the Jem’Hadar? I understand that if manage to capture them and imprison them, they will most likely die with the lack of white. Has this been thought of at all?

A: There are no Jem’Hadar POWs.

Q: I don’t know how often this has been brought up before, but what has become of Toral (son of Duras)? It would be interesting to see how he’s fared and maybe have him challenge Worf in some way.

A: We’ve talked about him from time to time, but so far haven’t found a Toral story that we like.

Q: Will we ever see a Breen ship or learn more about their culture?? Maybe even a Breen epiosode??

A: Maybe.

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