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Is Rick Berman Holding Up New Trek? September 12, 2006

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Rumor,STXI Status , trackback

Recently some video popped up of Garrett Wang (VOY: Ens. Kim)talking at a con about the future of Trek and long-time Trek producer Rick Berman‘s place within it. Wang said of Berman "his contract is almost up and Paramount is waiting for that contract to end before they proceed with the next Star Trek television creation, because they don’t want him there anymore". Marina Sirtis (TNG: Cmdr. Troi) is also on the video and appears to be agreeing with Wang’s assessment. This meme is something that has been seen around fandom and is something that TrekMovie.com has heard from a few Trek insiders, but more as a ‘rumor’.  When TrekMovie.com contacted a studio source who is working on Trek XI about this, the source said it is not true and and made it very clear that Rick Berman does not (and will not ever) have anything to do with Star Trek XI. TrekMovie.com has also confirmed with CBS that Rick Berman has nothing to do with Star Trek Remastered. It is true however that Rick Berman’s contract ends later this year.

So there you go, it is just a rumor right? Well maybe not.
Firstly although Berman isn’t attached to the new Trek Remastered project, it is not really a ‘new’ Trek project like a new show would be. Plus TrekMovie.com has learned that technically Star Trek XI does not really ‘exist’ and has no budget and not staff. Don’t panic, but technically Star Trek XI has not been ‘greenlit’. All work being done to date are people who already work at the studio or under the Abrams/Bad Robot blanket 5 year deal. As reported here, the script for Trek XI will not be complete until the end of the year, with a first draft by the end of October. Paramount say that Trek XI will not get the full ‘greenlight’ until the script is done (or done enough). And the time for the official greenlight for Trek XI just happens to fall in the same timeframe as the end of Rick Berman’s contract. Is it a coincidence?  Maybe. Does it really matter? Not really. Trek XI will be made earlier than anyone would have thought possible, and so far TV Trek is just starting it’s second season off the air. It is doubtful that CBS would have brought Trek back to TV so soon after Enterprise and by next year’s pilot season the whole Berman thing is moot. One thing is for sure, everyone associated with Trek inside and outside of CBS and Paramount are very upbeat on JJ Abrams and ‘the new regime’ in charge of Star Trek. Read into that what you wish.

Berman’s last gasp – Star Trek: The Beginning
Although Rick Berman will have nothing to do with Star Trek XI, that isn’t for a lack of trying. Berman had talked often duing 2005 about producing an 11th Trek film. The film, to be called’Star Trek: The Beginning’, went as far as the script stage and was written by Band of Brothers writer/producer Erik Jendersen. Reportedly the film was to be set shortly after Star Trek Enteprise, but have a totally new cast. The setting was a gritty war film covering the landmark ‘Romulan War’ (something often referred to in Trek but never seen). However, earlier this year Jendersen stated that the project was dead and that was that for Berman and Trek movies.
 

Hear Berman (along with VOY’s Mulgrew) talk Trek with NPR

 

vid courtesy of Youtube user jedi58

Comments

1. DB - September 12, 2006

Anything Wang says about the folks who used to sign his checks ought to be taken with a grain of salt.

2. Anthony Pascale - September 12, 2006

of course, but I have heard it from others. However, as I said there is very very very little likelyhood it would have mattered. Or are we to believe that there were new shows and movies that Para or CBS wanted to put into production in 2005/2006 that they couldnt because of waiting out Berman. I hope that Trekkies dont think that the day Berman walks off the lot that CBS is going to announce Star Trek The Next Next Generation

3. Norm - September 12, 2006

As as Berman’s out I’m happy. Its long over due!

4. Magic_Al - September 12, 2006

My main beef with Berman was the straightjacket he purportedly put on the show’s composers, who seemed to toil under an edict that they NOT create the kinds of hummable leitmotifs heard on the original series and in the first 3 seasons of TNG when Roddenberry was in charge. (In fact, the instant of the baton passing from Gene to Rick is literally audible, coming mid-cliffhanger: the memorable “Borg” theme heard in TNG Season 3′s “The Best of Both Worlds Part I” is mercilessly squelched in Season 4′s “Part II”.) Ever after, such themes would be heard again only in brief moments of musical defiance or when a new composer was hired and scored an episode without first reading the memo. After a decade or so of Bermanized, theme-free underscoring, Trek was hour after hour of tuneless orchestral drone. The music got a bit more dynamic in later seasons of Voyager and in Enterprise, as the action quotient got ramped up in both shows, but the basic policy never changed. Great composers were at work the whole time, but they were denied the chance to do much more memorable work (not to mention the chance to sell a lot of soundtrack CDs) because Berman thought leitmotifs were cheesy, or something. So I do welcome the end of the Berman years on that score (pun oh so intended).

5. Spock34 - September 12, 2006

You neglect the fact that Berman did a lot for star trek, right, wrong or in different, 4 series & 4 movies. STNG was real good seasons 3-6. DS( was different, but cutting edge, in the begining. Unfortantly the DS9 became a comic book soap opera, the work years. Voyager was star trek lite and enterprise became unwatchable. As for the movies ST-VII was worse then ST-I. ST-VII was great & STIX & X where 2 hour ST-NG episodes.

Berman ran his course and after 20 years its time for him to go.

Star trek enhanced & ST-XI is breathing new life into the franchise. Maybe after the movie there could be a spin off series based on the orignal series using new actors to play the roles. Don’t expect Matt Damon to play Kirk on a weekly basis. But if the show is well written and hard worked like ST-TOS years 1 & 2, and about 5 episodes of year 3. Then the show will be a grea t success.

FYI – this was important to answer this topic and look towards the future of Trek.

Fan for over thirty years.

6. Anthony Pascale - September 12, 2006

Lets not turn this all into another ‘lets bash Berman’ fest

I agree that under Berman’s regime some of the best Trek ever happened. Unfortunatley most of that was in the early 90s. So it is time for a new regime.

some other sites were covering this rumor and I thought I should add my two cents and the info I have gathered.

bottom line is that this rumor is irrelevent even if it is true. Berman’s time is over, Abrams time is beginning. Berman did good things, and has made millions off Trek so no need to shed any tears for him

7. Wowbagger - September 12, 2006

I blame Braga for all Trek’s ills. Berman did too much good to be at fault for much more than failing to control Braga’s generally awful writing.

As an aside, I can’t help but read this article’s headline and think of New Coke.

8. Kreso - September 13, 2006

Uhm, whell, he did write one of the best (and IMO The Best) ST episodes ever – All the Good Things…
Not that I want to defend him, or anything =)

9. Arman Borghem - September 13, 2006

^No, he didn’t. That was Brannon Braga (and Ronald D. Moore).

Rick Berman always were more of a producer-type, while Brannon Braga was more active as a writer.

One can say many things about them both, but imo they gave us some of the best – and worst – of modern Trek.

10. MichaelT - September 13, 2006

It’s really easy to look at the timing of things and say “Hey…. a conspiracy… hmmm.” Maybe they are waiting for his contract to expire… but it’s just likely a coincidence. If they, CBSParamount, were that worried about him and gung-ho to get XI rolling without him, they could simply buy out the remainder of his contract.
And I seriously doubt that a new TV series is anything more than wishful thinking for Wang and Sirtis right now. The studio wil wait for the movie response before gearing up for Star Trek: (insert subhead name here)

11. Anonymous - September 15, 2006

@Arman. I know, I was actually replying to Wowbaggers post.

12. Anonymous - September 15, 2006

Yeah, actually, I think there’s more blame to go to Paramount than Berman on the “downfall” of Trek in recent years. Berman wrote some really good episodes and did some great stuff for Star Trek, especially in his early days running the show. Enterprise…was just a failure.

Actually, one thing I care about moreso than Berman is everyone ELSE who has been working on Star Trek for the past 15 years–the art directors, production designers,etc. I can imagine they might feel a little shoved aside if there is literally no one who made the shows working on the next movie. It would be a little weird if they push everyone aside, the star trek family was more than just the cast and producers, it was everyone who worked on TNG, DS9, VOY, and ENT.

13. Scott Gammans - October 29, 2006

Well I, for one, would like to see the script for “Star Trek: The Beginning” turned into book form. Pocket Books, are you listening??

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