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.