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Ron D. Moore Q & A from AOL’s Message Boards
Dated 9903.26

Hello, everyone! Life has been exceptionally busy for the last couple of months, so you’ll forgive me for not coming here sooner. First and foremost, I am pleased and proud to announce the arrival of Robin Cooper Moore on January 26th and to say that both mother and son are doing very well. To say that Ruby and I are ecstatic would be an understatement and we would both like to extend our thanks and appreciation for the congratulatory e-mail messages we received from so many of you.

As for DS9, I can report that on Monday, March 26th, we will begin production on the final episode of the series. Today is the last day of shooting on the final episode that I had a hand in writing, which is named “The Dogs of War” for now. Rene and I co-wrote the teleplay on this one and it is with a heavy heart that I watch the last few dailies of scenes that I helped to craft.

As many of you know by now, the last nine episodes of the series are tightly interwoven and build to the finale and I think that you’ll be pleased to see many familiar faces crop up in surprising ways as we wend our way to the end. I just saw the first episode last night, entitled “Penumbra” and after you see it, I suspect you’ll want to hang around the next eight.

I’ll avoid getting soppy and sentimental about the show just yet (thank God for sedatives) but I will say that it’s been a magical experience for me and I approach the end with a taste of the bittersweet in my mouth. Now onto your questions:

Where an actor has to use colored contact lenses, (e.g. Dukat when he killed Jadzia, or Weyoun at any time), do the contact lenses interfere with his or her peripheral vision?

It depends on the lenses, but for the most part the actors don’t have that much trouble with them.

Haven’t we seen enough of the Vic and Ezri eps? What about the other characters we have grown to admire? Don’t use so much of DS9 precious time developing new characters to the extent we are currnetly seeing.

We like Vic and we like Ezri, so we decided to showcase them a bit in the last year. But don’t worry, you’ll see plenty of everyone in the last nine episodes.

How do you want DS9 to be remembered?

I’d like us to be remembered as the Trek series that dared to be different. We took chances in a franchise that has every reason to play it safe and spoon-feed the same old thing to the audience week after week. We challenged the characters, the audience, and the Star Trek universe itself. Sometimes we failed (sometimes spectacularly) but we never stopped trying to push the show into new directions.

The revelation of the “changeling disease” in Treachery, Faith . . . seemed to come out of the blue. Was this thought up over hiatus, or sometime last year?

I believe it came up early in the season and it played well into our plans for the end of the series, so we decided to incorporate it.

Is there anything you are deliberately going to leave unresolved at the end of the series?

Well, there are certainly plot threads that we made conscious choices not to revisit.

Will you be doing any convention appearances in the near future?

I’m not planning any.

I just got through reading Solow and Justman’s book Inside Star Trek, the Real Story. Any chance that you will put finger to keyboard and give us a peek at what really goes on after Paramount is no longer your employer? You can tell us, we won’t tell!

I’ve thought about doing a book after my Trek tenure is over, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get about to it or not.

I asked this question twice before and didn’t get an answer, so here goes again. I leafed thru an unauthorized book on the making of DS9 and recognized that many quotes attributed to you were comments you made on this message board. Did the author (I can’t remember his name now) have to ask your permission or AOL’s permission to quote you?

People usually contact me and ask permission before they use my quotes. I don’t know what the legal situation is, and I look upon it as a courtesy.

Do you know what Paramount is going to do with the standing sets (especially the massive Promenade) when the show ends? Its a shame a permanent museum can’t be established for sets that won’t be used again (hopefully they will, but you get my meaning).

Unfortunately, they will all be torn down and thrown into the trash. It’s a hard and cruel world…

Here’s one to stretch the grey cells way back with: what was it like on the set/ in the staff on TNG when Gene Roddenberry died? I had recently read that Paramount fired Richard Arnold and Susan Sackett the day after he died (that seemed abit cold) and I know GRs presence was not a daily-thing due to his health, but still I imagine it must have been profound. If you would share any personal and professional recollections? Thank you.

I remember that day very well. Michael Piller called the entire staff down into his office and made the announcement that Gene had died and then we all sort of drifted off to our own offices to reflect on his passing and what it meant to each of us. Joe Menosky eventually wandered into my office and we had a long quiet talk about Trek and what it meant to us in our youth and how odd it was to find ourselves now writing the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Gene hadn’t been in the office very much for several weeks at that point, and everyone knew his health was deteriorating, so it wasn’t a shock when he passed away, but it was a blow. There was an almost palpable sense that a milestone had been passed and that nothing would ever be the same again.

Question: Any regrets in doing away with Worf’s brother Kurn?

Not really. If we’d had other stories for Kurn, I’d feel differently, but I didn’t have anything else to say about the character.

In my search for screenwriting software I have come across an ad for “Scriptware” that advertises that it is used by the writers of Deep Space Nine. I was wondering if that is true, and what is your opinion, rating, of it? Is there another software package out there you like and prefer to use ?

We stopped used Scriptware a year or two ago. We found that it had problems with keeping up with all the revisions and changes required on a TV series — which is not to say that a freelance writer couldn’t find it perfectly acceptable. At the moment, we’re using a program called Final Draft and we’re very happy with it.

Any chance of us getting a nice, juicy Odo/Kira episode as part of that wrap-up?

There is an Odo/Kira storyline running throughout the final nine.

What are your son’s stats, birthdate, time? We want a complete resume with photo.

Robin was born at 7:30 am, January 26, 1999. Contact his agent for headshot and resume.

Were you on the set during the actual shooting? Did you have a speaking part? Was this your first directing role?

I was onset during the shooting, but at the last minute, my directing assignment was taken over by a Dr. SomethingOrOther.

What alternative names did you consider? Did you ever consider names such as Kahvis, Luv, Klincat, Crambam, STFC? James Tiberius Moore has a nice ring to it.

For one insane moment, the word “Tiberius” did leave my lips as a possible middle name. It was met by a…. less than enthusiastic response.

Are you and your collaborator planning any sequels? Or is it too premature to comment?

The sequels are tied up in a merchandising rights dispute. I’ll get back to you.

Ron, whatever happened to the Alpha Jem’Hadar ? That was an interesting plotline you guys thought up in “One Little Ship”, but we’ve heard nothing about the Alpha J’s and their friction with the Gamma J’s since.

We dropped the ball on this one. It sounded like a cool idea at the time and we kept telling each other that we’d follow up eventually, but it just kinda got away from us.

Since there are no plans currently for a DS9 movie, miniseries, etc. when the series is over… If you had to come up with some new plot for the above mentioned, what would you like to see on the screen.

To be honest, I’m not rooting for another DS9 movie or miniseries or whatever. I think the show should be allowed to end its story in our finale and then be left alone.

How can there be a “real” 24th century Mirror Universe counterpart to an “imaginary” 1962 holographic character?

I give up. How?

Didn’t we see a klingon ship decloak in an earlier mirror universe episode?

Yep. This is what’s known in Hollywood as a “Mistake.” The decloaking ship in the earlier Mirror episode was sort of a throwaway — an optical that was thrown in, but which really didn’t have anything to do with the story. As a result, the decloaking shot didn’t stick in anyone’s mind when we were reviewing those shows and talking about the established stories. Unfortunately, no one on the entire production remembered that one shot until the episode was in the can. Oh, well…

Ron, I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciated the dedication at the beginning of the final Mirror Universe episode to Jerome Bixby. Was that your idea, and did many other staff members even know who he was?

We all knew who he was and we were all saddened by his death.

Do you feel you’re looked at as just a science fiction writer, when you probably consider yourself just a good writer?

I think I’m looked at as that guy who’s working on that Trek show.

I was wondering, what would you consider DS9’s strongest and weakest episodes so far this season?

Strongest: “The Siege of AR-558”, “Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang”, “Inter Arma, etc.”, “It’s Only a Paper Moon”
Weakest: “Covenant”, “Prodigal Daughter”

Now that the season is probably planned to the end, are there any DS9 stories you wanted to tell that you will not be able to tell due to lack of time?

There was a story about Klingon Hell that I wanted to do and an episode that revolved around doing an entire day at Quark’s. And the DS9 Musical, natch.

Ron, if you were offered the chance to write a script for a DS9 movie with a nice budget in a couple of years, would you take it?

Uh… let me think. Yes.

I thought the choice of the song at the end of “Badda-bing, Badda-bang” was rather interesting. Did you intentionally choose that song as a subtle hint as to what awaits us in the last 10 episodes of the series?

You betcha.

Was the first song Vic sings an original composition? I didn’t recognize it, and I have always considered myself to be one hep-cat, Daddy-O!

Yes. It was written specifically for the episode.

How do you feel about the charges on the episode message board that 60s racism was addressed yet 60s sexism went unchallenged? I gotta admit, I think this time the chicks have a point! Anybody else see the hood ogle Ezri’s ass, fer cryin’ out loud?!?

I think it’s a silly charge and a silly argument. Were any of our female characters humiliated, degraded, abused, etc. during the show? No. I’ve scanned over some of the objections, and in my opinion, it’s political correctness run amuck. So they dressed in period outfits. So Kira vamped a bit. So what? Can’t we just enjoy the show without engaging in a tiresome debate about hidden messages that can only be seen if you have an agenda and you’re searching for them?

Where was the forgotten regular, Jake?

Jake definitely got slighted and I wish we’d found more for him to do.

I read on one of these boards (think it was the latest ep folder, but I’m not sure), that in “A Fistful of Datas” Deanna was originally supposed to be a dancing girl from the Saloon, and this was changed to her role as “mysterious stranger” (which was great. I really liked that ep). Is this true, or trek legend?

True.

One question, who comes up with the references to Xicano history? First a ship called the Malinche. Then Cortez. Now all the references to the Alamo. All these show Mexicans in a disgraceful way. Malinche was the traitor. Cortez was the conquistador. Ask Xicanos about the heroes who stole Texas from Mexico. I do not think there is a nefarious plot to disgrace la raza but it can make you wonder.

All I can tell you is that Hans Biemler is Mexican and that he’s the one who named the ships Malinche and Cortez and that he’s into the Alamo as well.

just how many times did the staff watch “Robin and the Seven Hoods” while making this episode?

Not once. We watched “Ocean’s Eleven.”

Can we expect a final appearance (or song) from Vic in the final episode, or have we seen the last of him?

Vic will sing again.

Also, who initially thought of Jimmy Darren? A great choice and nice sci-fi tie-in (The Time Tunnel).

That was Ira’s idea.

I saw Chase Masterson at a con here in Knoxville* Sunday. She indicated that she had just gotten the call to appear in the final (sniff!) three episodes. Will we also get to bid a final fare-thee-well to Keiko and Molly and Yoshi?

Yes.

Are we still getting one last Miles and Julian show or did that fall by the wayside?

They will share one more adventure.

Will we ever get to see the Alamo holo-program? The Alamo seems to be mentioned in almost every recent DS9 episode and it’s got me darn curious about what that might mean for DS9’s future! I’m also curious about why Julian and Miles would be so fond of continually replaying such a hopeless battle, especially since everyone on their side is supposed to die! Another poster speculated that they could have somehow (perhaps by cheating) figured out to win. Might this be the case?

We’re not going the see the program — it would be hard to deliver the goods on a TV budget.

“Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges” First off, incredible episode. Possibly best of the year! In the long run I’ll be forever torn between it and “The Siege of AR-558.” You should be very damned proud of it. All the while I was watching it, I kept getting more and more envious- while we can speculate, conjecture, and throw out theories all we want on these boards, it all means nothing in the Trek universe- you, on the other hand, create Trek canon. And I truly believe there isn’t a writer alive who creates it better. Before my post becomes too Americanized, On to my question: I nopticed this was the first use of an Intrepid class vessel in your series. Was this made possible by the fact your good buddy is Executive Producer over there, or did they still owe you for borrowing the Defiant class for “Message In A Bottle”?

First, thank you very much. Second, I did call Brannon early on to see about the availability of the Voyager sets and it just so happened that they were planning to be off those soundstages during the time we needed them, so it worked out.

Are Dax and Bashir going to move over to Voyager? I read it in a British rumor mag, and I was shocked. Is this true, or just nothing but a rumor?

Not true.

Since [“Inter Arma…”] carried your sole writing credit, how much of it did you create from the whole cloth and how much was a product of the entire staff? This episode showcases how much your writing has matured in the last couple of years…No longer can you be easily described as “the funny guy” or “the Klingon guy”. Nice job! Like all the shows, the entire staff had input into the script and the final product owes a lot to their input. Why so much recasting of Romulans? Adrienne (The New Dax ) Barbeau was nice to see, but why wasn’t the other (BoP, where’s your magic list? Who was Cretak before?) actress utilized? And poor Procounsel Neral seemed to have really hit the skids since “Unification”! Send him off to that Son’a planet from Insurrection for some youth treatments, why don’t ya?

Megan Cole, who originally played Cretak was unavailable when we needed her, so we had no choice but to recast. And as for Neral… being Praetor ages you.

One thing “Inter Arma…” left me wondering about is this: We have seen, through the DS9 Siege Arc and afterwards, that Ross and Sisko seem to have an affinity for each other. After Ross’ actions in “Inter Arma…” I was wondering how Sisko will respond to Ross after he hears all the details from Bashir. Have you thought about that too? Any plans to follow up on that?

We did think of it, but never found the right moment to play it.

Ron, there has been a major rumor going around that Odo is going to be killed in the final episode, and that the writers are having diffuculties with the studio in doing this because the studio is interested in seeing a DS9 motion picture. Is there any truth to any of this at all?

Oh yeah, like I’m going to give away the fate of a major character. Keeping wondering and worrying…

I enjoyed the last Vic Fontaine episode and I had a question. It seems that Capt. Sisko is pretty “social conscious” as he expressed in a scene when asked about his helping out with Vic’s problem in the Holosuite. I was wondering if you let Avery Brooks input that fact about the older days with discrimination in Vegas or did you guys wrote those lines for him to say.

It was something we came up with in the room as we talked over reasons why Sisko may have been avoiding Vic’s.

It seems very hypocritical of the DS9 staff to be devoting so much time to Ezri Dax when Terry Farrell claimed that she never got any good roles. Ezri has, with Field of Fire, Prodigal Daughter, and Afterimage, three episodes that focused almost solely on her. Add into this episodes such as Paper Moon and The Emperor’s New Cloak which involved mostly non-regulars but where she was prominently featured, and I cannot help but think that this is an intentional attempt to “make up for lost time” with her. Considering what Farrell has said and the fact that this is the last season, can you really justify giving so many valuable minutes to an interim character that simply isn’t as important as a Sisko, a Kira, or an Odo?

Different character, different time. The character of Ezri simply had a lot of unexplored territory and that’s why we naturally starting doing more stories about her. But if you look over the Ezri episodes, I don’t think there’s a single one that could’ve been easily adapted as a Jadzia episode. And Ezri is more than just an “interim” character. She’s Dax, a character with important, strong ties to every other regular cast member and with a backstory stretching back to the pilot. She’s one of us.

I realize the character Neral had a relatively minor role in “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges,” but was there any effort made to bring back Norman Large for the role? He brought a really dynamic performance to the role when he played Neral in “Unification” and it would have been a nice bit of continuity to have him back in “Inter Arma…”

We did consider it, but decided to go in another direction.

I was just wondering if a “Best Of” show is being planned for airing just before the finale of DS9. I enjoyed it when it was done before the conclusion of TNG, and I think I would enjoy it even more before the final DS9. So, Ron, is such a show in the works?

No, but it would’ve been nice.

What is your response to Majel’s letter to the editor in the current Communicator?

I have very little argument with Majel (who wrote a letter saying that Gene would never have approved of having a continuing war in a Trek series). She’s probably right. It would’ve been very hard to argue Gene into going this way and maybe he’d have never gone for it. However, I would’ve still argued for doing the Dominion War with him and if he’d rejected it, I would’ve thought he was wrong. I respect Gene and his work, but I don’t think he was always right and I’m not going to pretend that I do. The Dominion War has been one of the better storylines we’ve come up with whether Gene would’ve agreed or not.

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