Over the weekend TrekMovie reported on the Star Trek: TNG reunion event at NYCC, which included a comment from Marina Sirtis about how Gene Roddenberry would have felt about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Today DS9 co-creator Rick Berman responded to Sirtis’ assertion. More details below.
Berman Responds to Marina Sirtis Comment About Roddenberry and DS9
As TrekMovie reported, cast members from Star Trek: The Next Generation gathered at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, NY on Friday, October 10th for a question-and-answer event. One audience member asked the panel of actors how Star Trek changed following series creator Gene Roddenberry’s death in 1991. In response, Marina Sirtis offered the following regarding Roddenberry’s opposition to the concept for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
“The truth is that if Gene (Roddenberry) was alive- had been alive- DS9 would have never been made, because he absolutely said “no” to it when it was presented to him. He said ‘Star Trek is about exploring space, it’s not about a hotel in space.’ So, it would never have happened.”
Rick Berman continued to guide Star Trek: The Next Generation following Roddenberry’s death in October of 1991, and he also co-created Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with Michael Piller, which premiered in January of 1993.
Presumably in response to Marina Sirtis’ statement from last Friday’s event, Berman tweeted the following today:
Contrary to a comment from NY Comic Con, Michael Piller and I pitched our ideas for DS9 to Gene, and he gave us his enthusiastic approval.
— Rick Berman (@berman_rick) October 13, 2014
Further elaborating on this point, he also said the following:
@_TheBubble_ We pitched the concept and characters. We didn't lay-out 7 years of story arcs. It was far too early to know where it was going
— Rick Berman (@berman_rick) October 13, 2014
Deep Space Gene?
Rick Berman offered a somewhat different account in an interview he gave on May 31, 2006, conducted by the Archive of American Television, which is part of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. TrekMovie reported on this wide-ranging interview in 2009 [click here to see video]:
"When Gene died, both Michal Piller and I were involved in creating and writing Deep Space Nine, and we never really got a chance to talk to him about it because he was quite ill at that point. But even with Deep Space Nine and later Voyager, and Enterprise I felt it was important that as long as something had the Star Trek name on it that it stayed true to Gene’s belief of what Star Trek was all about."
In Pocket Books’ "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion" (published in 2000), Rick Berman similarly stated that he and Roddenberry did not discuss ideas related to the show:
"I really never had the opportunity to discuss any ideas with Gene [Roddenberry]. This was very close to the end of Gene’s life, and he was quite ill at the time. But he knew that we were working on something, and I definitely had his blessing to develop it."
Based on statements from both Sirtis and Berman (from today and through past interviews), it is unclear what Roddenberry knew and thought of Deep Space Nine. Berman stated today that he shared concepts and characters with Roddenberry, but Berman’s previous statements characterize this matter differently. Also, whether Roddenberry could have stopped Deep Space Nine from going into production (which Sirtis implied from her appearance last Friday) is unlikely, as Roddenberry’s objections to previous Star Trek films (including 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country) went largely ignored. This point is worth noting: even during his lifetime, Roddenberry did not own or control Star Trek. Ultimately, his was a significant voice, but not the final say.
However, the gaps in the record remain: what specifically did Roddenberry know about Deep Space Nine? If Roddenberry knew of ideas and/or characters, were they relevant to what became the actual series? And finally, what did Gene express to others about those ideas? Having these answers will hopefully settle the contradictions discussed above.
Rick Berman, Gene Roddenberry, Michael Piller and cast celebrating the shooting of the 100th episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (“Redemption, Part 1”) in April 1991 – six month before Roddenberry’s death.
For fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, none of this may really matter. If you like the show, will that really change based on what Gene Roddenberry may have said about it a year before it went into production? On that note about fans of the show, Berman had one more tweet today, noting the contribution of two of the key producers (and the writers) for DS9.
For those of you who loved DS9, you can thank Ira Behr, @RonDMoore, and an amazing team of writers
— Rick Berman (@berman_rick) October 14, 2014
Rick Berman: TrekMovie Reader
The NYCC article isn’t the only TrekMovie piece Rick Berman has been reading lately. On Friday Berman sent out a tweet pointing to our exclusive interview with Nick Meyer (see below).
Nice piece on Nick Meyer at http://t.co/39vkSrEZRJ. One of the best directors and writers around (screenplays and novels) A remarkable guy.
— Rick Berman (@berman_rick) October 10, 2014
POLL: DS9 Roddenberry Trek?
Do you think DS9 fits in with Gene Roddenberry’s Trek? Vote in our new poll and sound off in the comments below.