Ron D. Moore Q & A from AOL’s Message Boards
Hi, and a belated Happy New Year to one and all. We’ve just begun shooting episode #18 today and we’re right in the thick of the last mad run for the logo. The last few shows are coming together really well and the writing/producing staff is pretty jazzed at this point. Also, I just wanted to say “thank you” to the many fans who’ve filled my e-mail box to overflowing with very kind words about “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” I was very proud of the show and it’s very encouraging to read comments from so many of you who were touched by the show. I don’t usually get this many responses to an episode and I just wanted to say I appreciate it and that I’m sorry I can’t response to each of you individually. Thanks again. Now on to some way-overdue answers —
Q: Ron, will we ever see a flashback to Ezri’s joining?
A: We don’t have one planned, but it could still happen.
Q: Weyoun 4 was sent into oblivion by the Jem Haddar. Weyoun 5 was sent into oblivion by a transporter (with, no doubt, a little help from Damar). Weyoun 6 sent himself into oblivion to save Odo. Heaven (or you) only knows what happened to the first three. So, is 7 finally going to be Weyoun’s lucky number?
A: I wouldn’t feel too secure if I were any Weyoun.
Q: I”ve also wondered how the actors know how long to pause when they’re talking to someone who isn’t actually there on the set – e.g. Jeffrey Combs talking to himself in “Treachery” or, for that matter, any of the actors speaking to someone on the comm screen. Does someone else fill in and read the lines, or is it all done in editing?
A: The other actor in question will usually stand off-camera and feed the lines to the actor on-camera, but sometimes this duty will fall to our script supervisor or one of the assistant directors.
Q: As a huge and long-time Jimmy Darren fan, I was wondering – would it be possible to arrange a DS9 Vic Fontaine album?
A: I think it’s a great idea and I hope that someone, somewhere, deep in the bowels of Paramount Licensing already has this in the works.
Q: In light of the decisions that you and the rest of the writing staff had to make regarding the end of the series, has Paramount finally given the answer that DS9 movies will probably happen?
A: There is no indication that any DS9 movies are planned.
Q: Don’t know if anyone has asked this recently but any episodes in the works for Louise Fletcher/Kai Winn? It would be ashame not to see her one more time.
A: You’ll be seeing a lot of Kai Winn in the future.
Q: So, how does it feel to watch a Dolphins game now that there is a Dolphin named Ron Moore?
A: It felt good while it lasted. At least we got beat by the World Champions (and probably the next Champs as well — although those Dirty Birds were pretty impressive yesterday!)
Q: Any chance of us seeing a TOS related trek series after DS9 ends?
A: As far as I know, there are no discussions underway for any new Trek series on the Paramount lot. (Or off the lot, for that matter.)
Q: Mr. Moore does Dukat appear in any of the next dozen shows ?
A: He will appear in several.
Q: Michael Dorn in an interview I just read said that he wants to direct one more ep of DS9, Do you know if and when he is on the schedule ?
A: At the moment, Michael is scheduled to direct episode #21.
Q: Do you know who is directing the finale yet?
A: We have someone in mind, but it’s not official yet.
Q: Are there plans to address Vic’s new status as a 26-hour-a-day program? Specifically, will there be ramifications as he begins to attain sentience? And if so, how might his development differ from VOY’s EMH?
A: We’re not going to play a quest for sentience with Vic. We decided that raising some questions about his abilities in “Paper Moon” was as far as we wanted to go, especially given the fact that Voyager already has a character on this sort of journey. Vic was designed with a certain self-awareness built into his matrix, but I was very careful in “Paper Moon” to keep him on the other side of the holographic line, so to speak.
Q: Did arrangements have to be made to pay Jack Palance, the estate of Alan Ladd, whoever the hell that annoying little boy was, Robert Stack, and so on for utilizing the old film footage? Or was all that stuff in Paramount’s film archives or public domain?
A: Yes, and it was a pain in the %$#. We had to drop several other film clips before settling on “Shane” because of the difficulty involved with getting releases from dead actors’ estates and so on. Although Paramount owns both “Shane” and “The Untouchables” we still had to negotiate payments to all the actors appearing in the clips along with the stunt players. (Interestingly enough, the writers and the directors weren’t a problem, they simply got flat fees and didn’t even get the chance to say no.)
Q: Are you guys gonna put Kira back in really high heels before the end of the season. It was the only time I really paid any attention to her character?
A: I knew it was only a matter of time before the “Bring Back Kira’s Heels Brigage” made a reappearance. I’ll get right on this.
Q: Geez, yet another episode with Vic Fontaine singing for 5 or 10 minutes of the episode. I thought that Nog’s recovery episode was pretty as is, but the fact that the writer(s) needed to rely on Vic Fontaine singing and instead of dialog with key characters suggests to me that Deep Space 9 has fallen and can’t get up. Perhaps its time to pull the plug and take the show off the air if the writers are more interested in filling precious air time with repeated Vic Fontaine songs instead of good writing. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge DS9 fan and like the Vic Fontaine character, but this Vic thing has been more overused/abused than the dang warp core breaches were on TNG. With the show winding down, shouldn’t the writers being tying up loose ends better than this. I mean there was not even a B-story in this Nog/Fontaine story, what’s up with that. Let’s get this show back on the road to success so its last season is not remembered as its worst!
A: It seems curious that some of you out there don’t consider song to be a legitimate tool of drama. The songs in “Paper Moon” weren’t just chosen at random, you know. If you listen to the lyrics, you’ll find that each one has something to say about the episode and something to say about Nog and his predicament. There’s nothing wrong with using music and song to tell part of a story. Using a balladeer or a crooner as a character within a tale may have fallen out of fashion in contemporary entertainment, but there’s actually a very long tradition in story-telling of having a character who comments on the drama through song. Having Vic show up occasionally and musically comment on our characters is a great tool and it was even nicer to be able to use him for an entire episode.
Q: First, congrats on an outstanding ep with Paper Moon! Despite a somewhat hokey premise, which I thought would get bogged down with way too much emotional baggage, you helped craft a wonderful story that takes ‘Get a life!’ to a new level. Additional kudos to Eisenberg and Darrin for their great performances! But… Being a martini aficionado (a habit developed after seeing The Thin Man in college, and long before the cocktail became once-again fashionable), I was horrified to see Jake carrying three highball glasses laden with ice to the table, claiming they were ‘martinis, two olives.’ Good heavens, man, have you no breeding?
A: I, too, worship at the altar of the Holy Martini and was somewhat horrified as well. Turns out they didn’t have the proper glasses on the set at the time… oh, well… even the best shows have some flaws…
Q: I’m really impressed with Nog’s ability to get Uncle Quark to run Fontaine’s program 26 hours a day. Did you writers talk about Quark’s profit motive in doing so? As a unique holographic near-life form, does Fontaine stand as an interplanetary attraction in his own right? Is Quark actually expecting to lose money on this deal? Does he have plans for promoting Vic as a full-time attraction? Did Nog find a way to get Fontaine’s program to run “in the background,” thus preserving the affected holosuite as a cash-cow for Quark’s? Or did Nog simply sign a long-term lease for the holosuite?
A: Although we did talk about Quark using/abusing Vic for profit, we eventually decided not to go that way. I think that Nog probably pays for the holosuite out of the same slush fund maintained by Sisko which allows O’Brien to pay off his hefty bar tab.
Q: Are we now done with Vic? Or are more twists in store?
A: We have one more full-on holosuite show involving Vic called “Badda-bing, Badda-bang,” which will be our last comedy of the year. After this one, it’s all-ahead full and driving for the finale.
Q: Do you think James Darren will now headline at Quark’s Bar at the ST Experience in Vegas?
A: Crazy. Hope someone from “The Experience” is reading this…
Q: I was just wondering what happened to Naran Shanker. He was a writer on TNG and one of the “young ones” like you and Brannon Braga. What’s he doing now?
A: Naren, I am happy to say, has done quite well in his post-Trek career. He did a brief stint on “seaQuest” before moving on to “The Outer Limits” and he’s been a writer/producer there for three or four years now.
Q: Ron would I be correct in assuming that when Mission Impossible 2 is made that this would be your first professional work (other than Trek) to be produced?
A: That is correct. I can’t wait to see how it turns out — but I’m very much aware that Brannon and I weren’t the only writers involved in this one and it’s hard to say at this point how much of our material will make it into the finished product.
Q: Mr Moore, It’s a shame that the episode Covenant wasn’t made and shown before the Heaven’s Gate incident, which claimed the lives of many Star Trek fans. I congradulate the DS9 writing staff on depicting religious cults in a more understanding (and hence, effective) manner than is usually given on television. Was the episode partly motivated by the desire to respond to the Heaven’s Gate incident, and hopefully prevent the participation of Star Trek fans in such incidents in the future?
A: The Heaven’s Gate incident definitely influenced our thinking during the development process, but the show was not designed specifically to be a response to it. The inspiration for “Covenant” grew out of our discussions about Dukat and his interaction with the pagh-wraith in “Tears of the Prophets.”
Q: I just wanted to say that I loved “Take Me Out… it was a superb episode and I loved the Sisko/Yates scenes. There seemed to be no chemistry between them back in “Sound of her Voice” but that was not the case. I also like the idea of showing our hero working together as team. I thought that the scene at the end when Kira throws Sisko the autographed baseball was one of the best in DS9 entire run. I was wondering if we were going to see Kassidy Yates again and what direction you were planning to take with her relationship with Sisko?
A: You will definitely be seeing more of Kasidy and her relationship with Sisko is going to take some interesting turns…
Q: In “Its only a Paper moon” was the flash back scenes nog had while going up the turbolift, and vic fontaines lounge, i noticed familar scenes from the siege ar558, and some new scenes, is the new scenes were they cut out of the siege ar 558 orignally then readded to its a only a paper moon, or were they made back up to suit the need for it.
A: The flashbacks which showed Nog being shot were lifted directly from “AR-558.” The sequences of Nog hearing Bashir tell him about his leg and listening to the Vic song were shot specifically for “Paper Moon.”
Q: Will Worf resolve his turmoil with Dax and hopefully develop some kind of functional relationship with Ezri?
A: There’s more to come between these two.
Q: Opaca told us way back in “Emmissary” that she’d meet Sisko again. Will she?
A: I don’t think so.
Q: Can we hear Morn talk? Please?
A: He talks all the time. Check the volume control on your TV.
Q: Are any Maquis still alive?
A: I’m sure there’re a few, but no organized group still exists.
Q: Will we see Section 31 again?
Q: Are there any plans for addressing what’s happening with Kira and Shakaar?
Q: Will we see the alternate universe again?
A: Yes, in “The Emperor’s New Cloak.”
Q: My question is, would there be any possible story line involving the alien race from ST:Insurrection (I forget their name) and their production of Ketracel white in the resolution of the Dominion War, such as a poisining of the white or a way to free the Jem’Hedar of its addictive properties?
A: We have no plans to follow up on this plot thread from “Insurrection.”
Q: How do you thing that [the new “Star Wars” film and the possible “Lord of the Rings” film] will influence Paramount’s decision to produce a tenth Star Trek feature? Do you think that it may be better to wait longer than the two or three years that Trek fans have grown accustomed to produce that feature? Or do you think that Star Trek can buffer the waves and hold its own against these two massive projects?
A: I don’t know how either project will affect the calculus of the Parmount executives, but if they asked me (and they won’t) I think they should hold off the next feature for at least three or four years and allow a hunger to build among the fans. Let them start screaming “WHEN are they going to do another film?!”
Q: You ARE aware that we never saw Jadzia’s family, aren’t you? You ARE aware that we never found out if Jadzia had a nickname, aren’t you?
A: I had wanted to do a story about Jadzia’s family for a long time, but we never had one that grabbed anyone’s attention. The story in “Prodigal” wouldn’t have worked for Jadzia, largely because the specific family situation would’ve rang false with her (I can’t see Jadzia having a similar relationship with her mother and brothers).
Q: Have you read the fan reaction to “Covanent” and the direction Dukat has been taken? Most of what I have seen are negative opinions and that Dukat has been reduced to a one note villain. What are your reactions to this?
A: I’ve read some of the comments, and I’m not happy with “Covenant” either, frankly. I don’t think we structured the show correctly and I think it’s the weakest one of the year so far. However, given where we’re going with the character of Dukat, “Covenant” was quite necessary for him and it’ll all make sense in the end.
Q: They just recently re-aired the episode featuring Ezri’s arrival. When she starts listing off her family, she says “parents,” giving the indication that she has a father and a mother. I don’t remember how this was dealt with in the recent episode where we met her family, but I don’t recall any mention of her father. Since part two of the season premiere would indicate she has parents (plural), does that mean her father is somewhere else? Or was this a mistake?
A: There was a line in “Prodigal Daughter” where Ezri refers to the fact that her father makes it his business to stay away from home for long periods of time because of some unnamed conflict with Ezri’s mother. However, the show was long and we cut the line in the editing process.
Q: Ron, I read on the boards that there was a scene in “To the Death” in which Weyoun somehow slipped Odo some virus that eventually resulted in his having to return to the Link in “Broken Link.” I read that this ended up on the cutting room floor. Is this true or just a wild rumor?
A: It’s just a rumor.