Ron D. Moore Q & A from AOL’s Message Boards
Q: Over in the Babylon-5 area of AOL someone asked JMS since Deep Space Nine was wrapping up production this season would he be inclined to hire some of DS9’s writers for his new series Crusade. JMS replied, “It’s not a kind of writing that we tend to do.” …Now, I interpret this to be a not-so-veiled insult, and I know Joe feels a deep hatred for Paramount Pictures, however, are you, Ron, surprised that he seems to feel animosity towards DS9’s writers personally? Do you worry that this could, in some form, lead to him attempting to put some type of professional black mark or stigma on you guys crippling your attempts to find work after DS9 stops production?
A: First, I know JMS (if not well) and I doubt that he’s out to blackball DS9 writers or that he’s got some deep hatred for us personally. He’s always had a beef with Trek, but I’ve never heard him badmouth us as individuals. And I ain’t sweating it in any event.
Q: Will we be seeing Keiko or Kai Winn any time soon? Will we ever see Shakaar again?
A: We have plans for Winn, but nothing for Keiko or Shakaar at the moment.
Q: Does James Darren perform Vic’s singing “live” or is he lip-synching to recorded material?
A: Jimmy pre-records his songs and then lip-synchs to them on the set.
Q: Did Damar kill Weyoun 5?
A: If he didn’t, he’s a very lucky man…
Q: If you can reveal them, what are some of the questions/storylines that you would like to resolve during DS9’s final season?
A: Clearly the Sisko/Prophets storyline demands resolution, but other than that I’d rather not give anything away.
Q: What religious traditions have the writers/staff been drawing on for the stories involving the Emissary and the Prophets?
A: Judeo/Christian, Buddhist, Greek mythology, Native American beliefs, Hindu, among others.
Q: Did you initially consider the Prophets as the “major” players that they seem to be now?
A: When I first came aboard, the Sisko/Prophet arc was being pushed into the background somewhat, but it’s such an intrinsic part of the show that we soon found ourselves going back to it.
Q: You have stated that, this being the final season, you probably don’t need to worry about attracting new viewers to the program. If a new viewer would want to understand the final season, which previous episodes do you see as necessary for getting him/her up to speed?
A: Yikes. Where to start? Probably “Emissary” “The Search” “Rapture” “Call to Arms” the six episode war arc from Season Six…. geez, even that barely scratches the surface. I really don’t know how many episodes it would take for the novice to become even remotely comfortable with the show.
Q: I’m not sure if this has been asked yet, if so, I’m sure I’ll have 12 responses from everyone here answering it for me. If not…here goes…are there any plans for a follow-up episode to “FBTS” (which I saw last night for only the 1st time) this season?
A: Can’t give away all the secrets.
Q: The Sara-Prophet referred to the pagh-wraith within the wormhole as “Kosst Amojan.” Is that supposed the same wraith that possessed Jake during the Reckoning? If so, how’d he get from DS9 to inside Dukat’s dolly in “Tears…”?
A: I don’t believe they are the same pagh-wraith.
Q: Will we see the Orb of the Emissary again, and perhaps learn what makes it so special?
Q: What are the chances that a few members of the recurring cast won’t survive the season? (I’d like to see the war take a mortal toll on our friends at some point…)
A: Depends on how much the actors annoy us at the end of the year.
Q: I’ve been involved in a particularly assinine argument in one of the episode folders over the episode “Rapture,” and I figure you might be able to put an end to it. Here’s my question: was it your intention that Sisko was utterly under the control of the Prophets in this episode, or was he merely receiving their visions and still acting of his own free will?
A: He was gettin’ the visions and then doing his own thing.
Q: What’s the status on the pile of spec scripts you guys still have? Are people still reading them and writing treatments? If so, what happens to the treatments? Are the comments being forwarded to Voyager, as someone once indicated?
A: As far as I know, the specs and the coverage will be forwarded to Voyager.
Q: You mentioned that you thought the season was going very well in general, but what did you think of “Once More Unto the Breach” in particular?
A: I liked it, but didn’t love it. I thought that Act Five wasn’t as satisfying as I’d hoped. I also miss a Quark/Jake scene that was cut and which would’ve made the B-story a little more of a story (it had Jake acting as bartender to Quark for a change while the latter bitched about his rotten luck in life and love. It also explains why Jake was there in the final Quark scene.) Overall, I think the show worked, but could’ve been better.
Q: Mr. Moore a few weeks ago I watched “The Trouble with Tribbles” on the Sci Fi Channel. After viewing the episode I was a little upset that there was no mention of “Trials and Tribulations” in any of Will Shatner’s anecdotes that were scattered throughout the show. How could there be no mention of perhaps the greatest TOS tribute by one of the modern Trek shows ?
A: I very much doubt that Bill saw the show.
Q: Great job by all concerned on “The Siege…” Two questions: did the scriptwriters indicate that the instrumental version of Vic’s song should play behind the climactic battle scene? Or was that something that happened in post?
A: This was something suggested by the composer and one of our post-production producers — Terry Potts. It was a great way to go and really made a huge impact on the episodes.
Q: And a possible (minor) nit-pic: how could Doctor Bashir take a holographic recording out of the holossuite? Or can Vic somehow interface with “normal” matter?
A: We’ve always fudged this line regarding the holosuite. Clearly there are some items that are removed from the holosuite from time to time and the only explanation I can think of is that the computer sometimes replicates actual matter in the suite so you can walk off with it.
Q: Was the Borg Queen’s line as the quantum torpedoes bore down on Cochrane’s ship “Watch your future’s end” or “Watch your futures end?”
A: It was……… “future’s end.” Thank you, thank you all, you’re too kind.
Q: In “The Siege of AR-558” when Sisko was down and the Jem’Hadar about to kill him — what happened??? Who/what saved him?
A: This was deliberately left to the viewer’s imagination and we never discussed what actually happened to him.
Q: Regarding “Seige”, I LOVED the use of Vic in this one. In every famous battle, there’s always music which reminds people of home and what they’re fighting for. Having Vic singing the WWII love song “I’ll Be Seeing You” just before the battle was VERY effective.
A: Choice of music — yours or Dennis’ or Jay’s?
A: Ira and Hans made the final decision based on consultations with Jay, Terry Potts, and Jimmy Darren.
Q: If a past original cast member of any Trek series came up to the excutives and said, “I would be will to play my character again on DS9.” Would you the writers say that you don’t have any plans for the character or would you actually write a story centered around the character?
A: We’d certainly discuss the possiblity, but at this point I doubt very much that we would work a TOS character into the show.
Q: Was just watching the episode “Relics” tonight and it made me think of a few things… Theres a lot of talk that there was a scene that was not only scripted but filmed that featured Scotty and Troi in a counseling session. Is there any truth to this? Any idea if that footage, if it exists, could be reedited into a “special edition”? How do you feel about the final product of this episode and would you do anything differently today?
A: We did shoot a Scotty/Troi counseling scene and it was quite nice, but we had to cut it for time. It basically has Troi coming to counsel Scotty, and at first he’s very friendly to her, but then realizes she’s a therapist and gets pissed that Geordi thinks he’s crazy. It was this scene that sent him to Ten Forward to get a drink. I haven’t watched the episode in several years, so I really can’t tell you what I think of it today.
Q: Second question. Picard mentions the Stargazor being his first captaincy, and it made me think about his other captancies. Imagine my surprise when the only ones I could think of were the 2 Enterprises. According to the ST Encyclopedia, there is a gap of some 8 years (between his time on the Stargazor and the Enterprise) where his history seems to vanish. Has there ever been any thought as to what his activities were in this period? Was he perhaps a captain of another ship, or was he given the glorious duty of having a desk job?
A: We all kinda scratched our heads at this one too. No one on the TNG staff had a clue what Gene (or whoever) had in mind with this particular piece of Picard’s backstory.
Q: Were you at all involved with Insurrection?
A: Not a bit — so please send your movie queries to Michael Piller.
Q: Will there be a follow up to Nog’s injury in “The Siege of…”?
A: Yes, in “It’s Only a Paper Moon.”
Q: Will any events (such as Worf’s absence) be mentioned from “Insurrection” in DS9?
A: I don’t think so.
Q: Was it coincidence or was it deliberate that you chose to air Covenant the first week of Advent (with the “miraculous” birth) and the month commemorating the 20th anniversary of the mass suicide at Jonestown, Guyana?
A: Although we talked about Jonestown quite a bit during the story developement, none of us were aware that the anniversary was coming up.
Q: Any plans to show the Ferengi in more dramatic light sometime this season?
A: Maybe. We’re juggling some Ferengi ideas right now.
Q: Will the Orion Syndicate reappear before the end of the season?
Q: So Ron, how do you all do that throw back effect? as seen in The Reckoning, Shadows and Symbols and a few others?
A: It’s called a “ratchet” and it’s basically a long cable that is attached to a motor on one end and a harness worn by the stuntman on the other. When the cue is given it simply yanks the stuntman across the room. Later in post, we digitally remove the cable from the film.
Q: Ron, I’m a big DS9 living in the UK. I was wondering how much of the early series plot threads are going to be revisited before the series end. For example, Sisko was charged with returning the 9 orbs to the bajorans (and he’s found a few of them over the years) but will this be significant. Kai Opaka – Is she still alive in the G.Q and was her brief hallucenogenic appearance relevant in season 5? And what of such “minutia” as Sisko & Kassidy, Dukat, Section 31, and MOST importantly, what about Morn – Will he have the ‘last word’?!
A: I’m afraid I can’t answer which stories we’re resolving and which we’re not. You’ll just have to wait and see.
Q: I was recently re-watcing “The Emissary” with Sisko’s first encounter with the Prophets. Those wormwhole aliens seemed pretty cluesless as to who and what Sisko was and Sisko spent a large part of the pilot educating them on humans and linear time. However, in “Shadows and Symbols” it was explained that basically the Prophets “planned” Sisko’s birth so that he could be the Emissary — seemingly having a pretty good grasp on linear time and humans (at least human reproduction). What gives?
A: When Michael wrote “Emissary” he clearly had no idea where the Sisko story would be heading in later years. As we’ve worked on Sisko’s relationship with the Prophets, we’ve tried to keep it in line with what was established in the pilot, but we’ve also felt the need to massage part of it. As things stand now, they clearly they knew more about him than they were letting on in the beginning.
Q: Will we be seeing our dear friend the Nagus before the end of the series? And how about any of O’Brien’s much mentioned family (his brothers, sisters, etc.)?
A: You’ll be seeing the Nagus in “The Emperor’s New Cloak”. While we might see Keiko, Kiryoshi, and Molly again, we have no plans for other O’Brien family members.
Q: Why have there never been any English characters on Star Trek? We’ve had Scotsmen and Irishmen, Russians, Chinese, Japanese and even Anglo-Indians. We’ve even had a New Englander (Captain Janeway, who is very reminiscent of Katherine Hepburn) and, for goodness sake, an English actor play a Picardian. But never an Englishman play an Englishman (unless, of course he was trying to be a “cold” and sinister alien. Most of the Romulans sound like Whitehall civil servants). Is this just an oversight on their part, or yet another example of the Hollywood establishment paying lip service to “political correctness” while indulging in the same old bad habit: peddling racial stereotypes to placate their American audiences own, antiquated preconceptions (some of which seem to be very stubborn in their persistence). If you take a careful look at all the non-American characters you will see that a great many of them belong to national groupings which tend to preponderate in the composition of the modern American population. I’m surprised we’ve had no Italians so far (perhaps they have, but none spring to mind immediately). Now, don’t get me wrong. Coming from Jersey in the Channel Islands, I can’t say I’m overly fond of the English myself. But that’s not the point. Racism is racism. Hollywood constantly consolidates these bigotries rather than challenging them. Why ? MONEY. In the risky business of film and television production they’d rather hedge their bets by kow-towing to these prejudices rather than add to the risks by confronting them. And the latest slur ? Guess who they’ve cast as the voice of Ramses II in “Prince of Egypt” ? Yes, you’ve guessed it – an Englishman, Ralph Fiennes. I don’t know what’s more offensive, the perpetuation of the “cold and evil” stereotype, or the fact that English actors are only too willing to be paid to sustain them.
A: Nice to see that so many of you have so much leisure time on your hands.
Q: will we be seeing more of Weyoun 7 before the end, and can you tell me approximately when?
A: Yes. He’s in episode 17, which is still officially untitled at the moment.
Q: re “Treachery, Faith and the Great River”, did the production team use different make-up on the two Weyouns?
Q: Was the “termination implant” idea taken from Keevan’s comment that the Vorta are supposed to commit suicide if captured?
Q: Mr. Moore my latin is a little rusty , and there is some debate about it on the DS9 boards, could you give us the translation in Latin of “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges” that you were shooting for ?
A: I first saw the quote as “Inter Arma Silent Leges” on the bookjacket of William Rehnquist’s new book on Lincoln and habeas corpus (which I didn’t buy, but might at some point). There it was translated as “In times of war the laws fall silent.” I really liked the quote and it happened to fit in perfectly with the Section 31 show was I writing. I then went to Joan Pearce, our research consultant on the show, for help with getting the quote right and she turned up “Silent Enim Leges Inter Arma” which she translated as “Laws are silent in time of war.” Based on my discussions with her, I discovered that the word order in Latin is flexible and that “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges” was acceptable as was the translation “In time of war, the law falls silent.” I chose this title and translation because of word rhythm and dramatic construction. (The quote is from Cicero in “Pro Milone” Chapter Eleven.)
Q: Is there any truth to the rumor that Tom Riker actually works for Section 31? When will we be seeing Tom again?
A: No and I don’t think we’ll see Tom again.
Q: Do you have any idea why DS9 is re-running episodes from season 6, during season 7?
A: I have no idea how they choose the episodes for reruns, and I’m always a bit mystified by their choices.
Q: What do you want for Christmas?
Q: When did the production-staff first come up with the idea of the Dominion threatening the Alpha-Quadrant? At the beginning of the series, during the second season? Has it always been planned to end up in the war we’re seeing now?
A: The whole Dominion thing was something Ira, Robert, Peter, and Jim came up with sometime during the 2nd season. We didn’t really settle on the Dominion war until the 5th season.
Q: Unlike TNG or Voyager, on DS9 episodes stardates are only seldom mentioned. Who’s responsible for the decision whether to mention a stardate or not, anyway? The entire staff, only the writers? If so, why are dates that rare especially on this show?
A: It’s up to the writer. Generally, stardates are only mentioned in logs, and we’ve gotten away from doing log entries for whatever reason.