Today at the Las Vegas Star Trek convention some of the team behind the Star Trek: The Next Generation in HD project held a panel where they talked about the project and revealed some details on the Season 7 Blu-ray release. They also answered questions about the possibility of Deep Space Nine and Star Trek The Animated Series getting remastered in HD. Get the full report below, including Mike Okuda talking about how Gene Roddenberry ensured he didn’t switch teams to go work for George Lucas. [UPDATED panel photos]
Star Trek: TNG in High Definition Panel
The "Star Trek: The Next Generation in High Definition – The Final Voyage" panel consisted of visual effects consultants Mike and Denise Okuda, producer Roger Lay and TNG-era director Jim Conway. They spoke a lot in general about the process of bringing TNG into HD, which has been covered here at TrekMovie extensively, but there were some interesting new tidbits.
Details on Season 7 Release
Roger Lay confirmed our earlier reporting that the CBS Digital team are in their "last couple of weeks" before they wrap up work for Star Trek: The Next Generation. Mike Okuda admitted that after working on both the original series and TNG remastering project, he was suffering some "separation anxiety." Denise added that there was a "little bit of melancholy, but it is exciting too because of ‘hey, what’s next?’"
They also outlined three of the special features that will be in the Season 7 release including a "2-hour feature-length documentary closing out the storyline of TNG." There will also be a featurette which will "take the viewer into the process" of making TNG and allow you to "understand the machinery of making weekly television," which will include director Jim Conway, producer David Livingston, and director of photography Jonathan West.
Another featurette included in Season 7 is a "home movie" secretly shot by the Okudas in 1994 shortly before the sets were destroyed after TNG wrapped. Mike Okuda noted "you are not supposed to wander around the stages…and you are certainly not supposed to bring a camera. One day we did."
Based on the discussions during the panel, they seemed to indicate that the 2-episode length series finale "All Good Things" will be the featured episode to get the stand-alone release treatment for S7. Specifically it was revealed it will get a new special commentary and that CBS planned in advance to give it special attention. Okuda noted…
Mike Okuda: By the seventh season of Next Generation at Paramount we were a well-oiled machine. But at the same time the CBS team is an even better well-oiled machine. So episodes that are fairly complicated, they are going "yeah, we can do that." So it is just a pleasure to see them tackle this work. The final episode of Next Generation "All Good Things" – which is a feature film in itself – they said "this is going to be a huge project, so we are going to start early on that one so we can get it right."
Deep Space Nine in HD? TAS in HD?
During the Q&A portion of the panel, one fan asked "when are we going to get Deep Space Nine [in HD]"? to a round of applause from the audience. Okuda was careful in his reply, saying:
Mike Okuda: First of all, we love Deep Space Nine. Second of all, if you look very carefully [pointing into the audience] there are executives from CBS out there. So please understand when we say "we aren’t allowed to say anything about potential or future projects."
Producer Roger Lay added…
Roger Lay: We all love DS9 and its holy mission. Hopefully these TNG Blu-rays keep selling. And if you guys love the show please support them and pick them up. And hopefully we will move on to the next show.
Another fan asked if the Star Trek: The Animated Series might also be remastered in HD, to which Okuda said…
Mike Okuda: We would love to see [Animated Series in HD] happen. Who knows?
Space station Deep Space Nine seen in Season 6 TNG Blu-ray set
Okudas on resisting temptation to give Star Trek the George Lucas treatment
While discussing the detailed process that they take in remastering TNG for HD and remaking the visual effects, Mike Okuda and Denise revealed that he sometimes has difficulty suppressing his inner George Lucas, but his wife helps keep him in check…
Mike Okuda: As much as a lot of us complain about what George Lucas did to the Star Wars pictures, I have to tell you that the temptation to revisit your work and redo it is overwhelming. There are some places where we asked CBS to make minor tweaks but for the most part we want to do what Dan Curry did – what Rob Legato did. Get your heads into the minds of the original artists. There were so many times I thought "I think we could do that better" and Denise would say…
Denise Okuda: …That decision was made 25 years ago, let’s move on!
Okuda on how Gene Roddenberry kept him from joining Lucas in the 80s
Another interesting moment came from when Mike recalled how he started working on TNG and the role [Star Trek and TNG creator] Gene Roddenberry played in keeping him in the Trek family…
Mike Okuda: My first Star Trek was actually Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. A couple weeks before the premiere of Star Trek IV the announcement came for Star Trek: The Next Generation, so I immediately called Roddenberry’s office and he said "we were not making any decisions." But then I flew over to Los Angeles for the opening and at the screening Gene came over to me and said "hi" – how cool is that? He asked what I was doing and I told him I was going to visit some friends up at Industrial Light and Magic and he said – in his typical way of making you feel welcome – "I hope before you make a decision you will give us a chance." A chance to work in Star Trek? Yeah, I think I will take that.
More to Come
TrekMovie has more coverage from Friday at Star Trek Las Vegas Convention coming up, including 2 panels on Deep Space Nine so stay tuned to TrekMovie all weekend long.
Great article, I remember reading about Okdua in Starlog decades ago before he it big. In fact, I think it was an issue from 1979 about ALIEN. What a career he and his wife has had, must admit I’m a tad jealous :)
Looking at TNG shots.
Patrick Stewart certainly did a masterful job in elevating the material of each weekly script.
Good sign for DS9 hd they did not say no
1 – You may have read about okuda in Starlog’s sister pub, CINEMAGIC. HE was a winner or runnerup in their short film contest, a film that includes the credit ‘fx NOT by Doug Trumbull.’
I hope they do DS9 in HD and remaster the FX. Would love to see the Fleet Battles remastered and with better RX.
^^ That’s exactly why it’s never gonna happen. Who’s gonna pay for remaking all those CGI-heavy scenes in later DS9 seasons with high fidelity? It’d cost tens of millions.
Any idea whether the hour-long TV special that accompanied “All Good Things…” will be included? It was released on videotape and didn’t make it to DVD I think.
It was hosted by Jonathan Frakes, called “Journey’s End – The Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation”.
Producer Roger Lay: “Hopefully these TNG Blu-rays keep selling.”
Didn’t Roger Lay get the memo? It doesn’t matter if the TNG BluRays sell well or even bring in enough money to purchase all of South America. Sales are not a factor in CBS wanting to bring Deep Space Nine to BluRay. I hate it when people come up with these unrealistic expectations that when something is successful that means the studio will want to produce more. That’s nuts.
What he should have said was “I hope these TNG BluRays don’t sell well at all so that the sales numbers don’t distract CBS from wanting to make Deep Space Nine BluRay.” THAT is how you do it.
TAS with GOOD animation?? Wow!
DS9 is a must, it has to happen. If TNG introduced us to the 24th Century, DS9 really explored it in great detail so to see that in HD would be amazing… I’d also love to see them not use the stock footage used for the Dominion War but to create new CGI for some of the shots that were really overused.
TAS in HD would be awesome as well but I’d want to see modern animation replacing that of what was done in the 70’s. Whist I’m all for preserving the original artists work, in this instance I’d love to see this modernised and re televised on a Kids TV network
“Star Trek: The Animated Series” in Hi-Def? Sounds good to me. I’m also hoping there would be a Hi-Def version of “Star Trek: The Motion Picture – The Director’s Edition.” Let’s hope Paramount would commission CBS Digital to recreate the “Director’s Edition” visual effects as well as fixing the errors and adding newer VFX.
TAS didn’t exactly have the most detailed or sophisticated animation, so remastering this into HD sounds a bit pointless to me, to be frank… But if they do it, they should fix that garish pink-heavy color scheme of some stuff in there, like the Kzinti uniforms or the tribbles!
Why, oh why, couldn’t those four godawful TNG movies have been half as good as All Good Things?
“That decision was made 25 years ago, let’s move on!”
Shame there was no one to say “this decision was made 40 years ago, let’s move on!” when they were imposing their arbitrary design decisions on the work of somebody else. While most of the job done was perfectly fine, I still fail to understand why it was necessary to change a single detail of black-on-white digital clock into yellow-on-black digital clock; or, why it was necessary to change all the primary-colored planets into silly Earth clones that look like a product of cheap Photoshop plug-in (LunarCell, anybody?).
You can watch TAS in HD on Netflix.
#10. CmdrR – August 2, 2014 , 12. DonDonP1 – August 2, 2014
It’s a mixed bag.
On the one hand my art historical side would like the extremely unlikely to be true, that all the original cel artwork is still discoverable to be cleaned up and rescanned in hd; on the other, to give a new animation team a crack at re-realizing the animation would be interesting too.
A cursory look seems to indicate CBS owns all the rights, so new animation may not involve as many legal hurdles as I originally surmised in the previous paragraph.
On pages 94-95:
of BROADCASTING, February, 13, 1989, it indicates that Westinghouse pretty much gutted the animation division before selling essentially its library to L’Oreal. It would be a pleasant surprise to discover that any significant art or 35mm film prints of TAS survived any of that. There’s a chance CBS has physical custody of the film masters. It really all depends on what kind of archiving then Paramount Television suits thought a short-lived Emmy winning kids’ cartoon series was worthy of.
#15. Paul – August 2, 2014
I’m sort of with you on the clocks. I could have understood rescanning them to make them look more like a computerized display simulation of a retro-analog clock with the digits flipping more precisely than was ever possible in the analog’s heyday. I mean my “digital” computer “desktop” can display time in all sorts of pseudo “analog” fashions.
I won’t be transferring my TNG into blu-ray any time soon. I would rather start with DS9 and VOY. I was introduced to Star Trek through those shows and they hold a higher place in my own world. And I find TNG to be dry and a little boring, bland characters, but not as bad as ENT. I got TOS on blu-ray as a Christmas present and I don’t like all the remastered footage. I agree with 15 on the cheapness of some of the planets. But, I do hope TNG Bluray is successful for others who like it; but it will probably be next to last of the series I transfer to blu-ray. I rather invest elsewhere. Until then, I will stick to my DVD collection.
HD does little for line work in animation. The colors may pop more, but the trade off is you have to suffer through every little speck of dirt and dust on the animation cel. Unless it goes though. Digital restoration, to remove those floating specks, I don’t see the point. And I have little desire to see Ds9 in HD…like its brethren in the Berman domain…considerng the 100s and 100s of hours produced, there was very little “great”, just a handful of “good”, and sadly, enough “mediocre” to play, uninterrupted, for weeks. I purchased thes “best of” TNG bluray, and I would do the same for Ds9, but I won’t be purchasing entire seasons.
#20. Jonboc – August 2, 2014
Most of the “art” in limited animation cartoons is reserved for the background setting so I would find some value in seeing the brushstrokes of those. However there was so little animation in TAS that it was often difficult to discern whether the characters where a part of that as well.
If CBS turned it over to MacFarlane to re-animate, I suspect he could come up with something reasonable with its feet in both worlds of the art of the past and the animation of now. However, I can’t imagine him taking it on without CBS giving him firm backing to launch a continuation of the animated series.
@19: Interesting. I rather feel the opposite way. DS9 and VOY are hardly more than footnotes for me theses days… TOS + TNG is the Star Trek I love, ENT was a nice attempt at recapturing this spirit but fell flat during its first two seasons. I’m glad that each and every episode featuring a ship called Enterprise is now available in HD. I’d love to see some episodes of DS9 on Blu-Ray, but I’d rather do a selection of highlights than a complete overhaul in HD… The Dominion War, the episodes featuring Tribbles, Klingons and Mirror Universe TOS references and some thought-provocing highlights such as Duet, The Visitor or Far Beyond the Stars…
The rest… I dunno… DS9 never was my favourite show, and in retrospect it’s even less appealing… too dark and gloomy to be true Star Trek but not sinister and brooding enough to compete with stuff such as NuBSG or Game of Thrones. It tried to be a bit of both and that never really worked. The Ferengi comedy s*cked…
I’d like to see VOY on BD though… although far from being my favourite Trek show, it had a couple of really stunning visuals and those might work if redone in HD… But I guess that’ll never happen…
My bet is we’ll get SOME of DS9 for the 50th anniversary, some highlights but never the entire show.
As for TAS… easily done… it was produced on film, so no big deal to transfer it to BD… If they could do it with the 60s Batman show, anything may happen!
TAS re-mastered… YES! CG animation… YES!!
#22. Smike – August 2, 2014
I hope CBS has the film masters. When Westinghouse sold the Filmation library to L’Oreal most of the only things that survived their French tenure there were PAL transfers.
“That decision was made 25 years ago, let’s move on”
Denise Okuda is a very smart lady!
I got confirmation on Trekcore’s Facebook page that the 1 hour long TV Special, Journey’s End: The Saga of Star Trek: The Next Generation, will be included as a bonus feature on the Season 7 Blu-Ray
Will we get a single disc release of “All Good Things” on Blu Ray?
I’ve put off getting the TNG season sets on Blu, but I’ve still been buying the individual releases.
@26. Calculon – Much appreciated!
My belief is that the team that remastered TOS did an excellent job. One could always quibble, but I think their CGI took the one element of TOS that was lacking, the production values, and raised them up to the same quality level as the writing, stories and characters. And I think they did it very tastefully.
For me, far and away the coolest thing that could be done in Trek, would be to re-animate TAS. For me, the original series will always be the greatest and TAS is the closest thing there will ever be to a “fourth season.” If they find the right blend of remaining true to the original TAS designs while vastly improving the animation, the result could be very exciting to an old Treker like myself!
#29 I agree. I would love to see TAS re-animated.
I too, would not only love to see TAS re-animated but using the musical scores from TOS instead of the cheesy filmation music & static/minimal animation that was used in everyone of their ’70s shows. I
t would be great to have the option of hearing the TOS scores/dialogue on an alternate audio channel instead of the orginal as a bonus. – Just a cool wish & I would buy it in a second.
That was: “It would be great…..”
here is a bit older but still interesting interview about the CGI files for DS9.