EXCLUSIVE: Ira Steven Behr Reveals Details About Deep Space Nine Documentary Coming Soon

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine showrunner Ira Steven Behr today revealed that he has been working on a documentary on DS9 for several years that explores what the show was really about and its lasting impact on the Star Trek franchise and culture. After the announcement, TrekMovie secured an exclusive interview with Behr to further discuss the project, which he hopes will be out in 2017.

During the first Deep Space Nine panel at the 50th anniversary convention, showrunner Ira Steven Behr revealed that he had been working for years on a documentary that explored what DS9 was really about, and what its lasting impact has been on the Star Trek franchise and culture in general.

As part of the documentary, which is currently being edited, Behr brought together the DS9 writing staff and gave them one task: break the story for the first episode of season eight.

Nicole DeBoer learns from Ira that her character will get a story in “season eight”

Behr commented, in an exclusive interview with TrekMovie, that the writers still had the same chemistry they had when they were making DS9. The writers even went on to map out some of what they would like to do later in a notional season eight, even though they were only tasked with coming up with the first episode.

For all of Behr’s comments on the documentary, see TrekMovie’s interview below:

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Well, well … maybe we will note this interview as the first little step towards a ds9 revival? would love that.

Yes. . . Yes I would too! I’ve been waiting for a good Trek for a long time and a return of my favorite incarnation of Trek would be very welcome . . . (and overdue)

I am ready to give up everything paramount puts out. you have made 100s of millions of dollars off of star trak, and you claim it’s too expense to release ds9 in hd. as a true fan who got every episode of tng and enterprise. i fell you care nothing for the fans. boycot is my only option. give the fans what they want or your cash cow dies.

DS( was truly an underrated Star Trek show.

Commentary, typo, or both?

Still my favorite show out of them all. Can not WAIT for the documentary.

This is wonderful news! Perhaps the next Star Trek movies should be set in the DS9 universe. There is so much left to explore.

Oh the guy still has his blue beard. :)

He’s the epitome of ‘Hollyweird’.

There’s nothing wrong with it, and it harms no one. It’s hardly some self-destructive vice. But beyond that, there’s a reason for it.

He answered the question ten years ago:


Q: What is the reason for your blue beard?

Behr: There is a story. When we did the first season [of The 4400], it was a miniseries. And they were, let’s say, trying to save money, and they would not put us in a studio. They would not get us offices anywhere, as it turned out. So, well, where the hell are we gonna go? You know, we gotta write six episodes… So they put us in Viacom Productions on Wilshire and Westwood, and so suddenly you have this writing staff with all the corporate suits. And it pissed me off, it really did. And we’d be sitting in the offices, and there was a window on my office, and it was frosted, but there was a little bar of clear glass, and every day I’d look up and there’d be eyes staring at me, looking in, I swear to God, and people would come in and go, “How’s it going? How’s the scripts going?” I’m going, “It was going great, until you just interrupted me!” So, I got more and more unhappy with the conditions that we were working under, and I came home one day and I talked to my wife and kids and said, “You know, I gotta remember, I’m not them and they’re not me. How do I keep remembering that?” And my wife said, “Blue your beard.” And my daughter said, “Yes yes yes yes yes!” Of course, I had once met Billy Connolly, the comedian, and he had these long ringlets of hair and this little imperial beard; he was like Wild Bill Hickok, and I said, “Boy, you look awesome, you look great!” And he said, “I used to want to be the most famous comedian on the planet, now I just want to be the coolest dad at The Oakwood School.” [Ed note: Oakwood is a Los Angeles private school] And I said, “Wow, that’s something I have to remember.” And then I decided, hey, Campbell Hall, where my kids go, is even less cool than the Oakwood School, so I could probably be the coolest parent there easily! And at the beginning when I walked in the first time to Jeff and all these people, it was like, “What is going on!?” And it just could not have been better. Now of course they’re used to it, and it’s a big joke, and it’s lost its impact. But my kids like it…

Does this guy have eyes? He always sports dark glasses

DS9 Executive Producer Ira Steven Behr revealed how his habit of always wearing sunglasses started. “Five years after I graduated from college, I met a girl who I had gone to school with on a New York City subway train. We said hello and about the first thing she said to me was, “Boy I really hated you back in those days. You used to walk across campus wearing these mirrored sunglasses, ignoring everyone.” “I don’t think I saw your eyes for four years.” Now you have to understand, this is a person I thought liked me. I haven’t taken my sunglasses off since. I don’t know what it means.”

I love DS9.

The day DS9 comes out on Bluray is the day I can truely vanish into my favourite installment in the Star Trek legacy. DS9 had integrity, had respect for the established continuity, it was thrilling, surprising, and most of all, I genuinely cared about this family of crew members. I know a bluray release is unlikely when we consider the cost of a restoration but I continue to hope. This documentary has be excited. Sisko’s return should have not been left as so ambigious, Jadzia’s image should have featured in the montage… Those are my only two low points. Dukat and then the equally complex and deluded Kai Winn… It was a masterful series. Avery’s acting, Nana’s infectious energy on screen…. Best Star Trek series, the one that really fleshed things out in my opinion.

Completely agree.

Very disappointed to hear that Avery did not want to contribute to the documentary… Always hoped we’d see the return of the Sisko one day.

As much as I loved Beyond a true 50th anniversary movie should have found a way to include all of the captains… Ahhh the wishes of a deluded fanboy lol

Personally, I would not want Sisko to return. His story is finished; he’s one with the Prophets. I think Kira Nerys’ story she be told.

Avery Brooks has gone a little (wakky) mad. He came across as eccentric during his time working as an actor on DS9. I don’t think it would be a good idea having him contribute to the documentary as he is clearly in bad mental state, sadly.

REGARDING AVERY’S MENTAL STATE: Anyone reading these lazy comments about Avery Brooks’ mental health and that he’s gone “wacky”… Don’t buy it. Yes, he was bananas on the William Shatner Captain’s documentary, but watching recent Star Trek convention appearance videos on YouTube, you’ll see that he’s totally together, wise as an old oak tree, very musical, and incredibly coherent and interesting. One clip I watched of him from just last year, he was making fun of the cheesier episodes in the early seasons of DS9. Seems really down to earth and not intimidating or strange at all. He’s an intense actor, that delivered the goods for seven seasons. I love TNG, but the cast were painting by numbers – DS9’s cast (with the exception of Jadzia) were really strong actors and portrayed their characters with depth and conviction. It didn’t seem like the most ‘fun’ set to be on, or the actors were the jolliest bunch – but if Avery is such a wack job, how is her a professor at a University, and how did he deliver the goods for 7 seasons? I’m sad he didn’t contribute to Ira’s documentary – but Avery was very vocal at the time about *NOT* wanting Sisko to abandon Casidy Yates. He didn’t like the message it sent out he said. And I agree with him. “Maybe I’ll arrive tomorrow, maybe next year, maybe yesterday” was too vague, and hearing so-called fans say ‘forget Sisko, he’s with the prophets’ is cheap. Imagine saying that about an unresolved story-line for Picard, etc. Bottom line – Respect Avery Brooks. He might not conform to your cookie-cutter ideas of what a Trek personality should be, but his strengths helped carry DS9.

One thing I learned from Ira last night is that Avery was a massive inspiration for him to do this project. For the 20th anniversary of DS9 airing in 2013, Avery told Ira how amazed he was that new fans were discovering and developing a new love and appreciation for DS9. That’s what got Ira interested in what was so special about this show that they devoted seven years of their lives to that sees it grow stronger over time. Avery’s amazement fueled that curiosity in Ira.

I feel that we shouldn’t rush to judgement about why Avery didn’t do the doc. Nor should we speculate about his health due to an interview from years ago. The fact is that he’s one of the finest actors to join Trek, but he’s also a person with a family like all of us. Please, please don’t speculate or judge when you don’t know the man.

Thanks, John Duchak and obviously Ralph Daay, for setting the record straight on Avery Brooks. I get so angry at idiots in the shallow depths of the sci-fi community who laud the commercial trash of J. J. Abrams and buy into the phoniness of William Shatner, but disrespect Avery Brooks. The man might be slightly pretentious and I’ve witness at a convention in person his amusingly contrarian responses to fan questions, but he’s being true to himself and has the courage to show his true colors, unlike all the other very Hollywood captains; based on how he’s been said to treat others, Shatner has to be the most despicable actor in all of Trek history. I thought Avery Brooks was so neat in that doc; yeah, he didn’t talk enough, but some of that could be Shatner himself, who’s very shallow.

I really can’t wait for this documentary, provided it delves deeply into the political aspects of “Deep Space Nine” — themes that were further explored in Ronald D. Moore’s “Battlestar Galactica” and Ira Steven Behr’s show-running of “The 4400” and a few episodes of “Alphas.” I also hope they interviewed writer Peter Allan Fields, who did amazing work in those first two seasons, especially with Odo; I have no idea what he looks or sounds like, and I’d love to hear from him, beyond reading what Terry Errdmann and Paula Block wrote in the “Deep Space Nine” Companion. To Behr, I’d say, the heavier the better. For stuff that doesn’t fit in the documentary itself, I have one term for you: deleted scenes! Please!

Avery Brooks was the worst thing about DS9, his acting was not very good & his characterisation of Sisco was remote.
And in my experience in conventions, rude & mildly Homophobic.

Brooks could act better than Shatner.

Thanks man

I’ve not been able to watch the show Shatner made about the captains of Star Trek, but I did hear that Brooks came across as a little. . . . “Off” for his segment.

I’ve met him since the show ended and since Shatner’s doc. He’s not crazy, he’s just happily settled into being an eccentric professor-type with a bit of a DGAF attitude. It’s fun.

Hi Jay, Then I guess we’re both ‘fan boys’. It’s crazy, if you say anything marginally negative about the JJ-films you get shot down. But we’re all supposed to be Star Trek fans… And yet we all have to pretend 50 years of Trek didn’t happen, that we have no emotional connection to those storylines or even actors… We just have to say ‘wow… So happy Trek is more accessible to the masses’. Personally, I think they could do both.

I loved (SPOILERS) the photograph of the Prime TOS crew in Beyond, but why instead the story didn’t feature some sort of multi-universe anomaly, where we could catch a glimpse of all incarnations of Trek…. The Rikers on the USS Titan, or Sisko sitting out on his Bajoran terrace playing with his young child, as Cassidy Yates smiles on. Show Data is restored from B-4. The Enterprise-E… A cameo from Shatner.

Perhaps it would of been expensive to have paid all those actors, but for silent cameos, just flashes of scenes, like a montage – would of been wonderful. Instead the death of Nimoy and Anton took centre stage on the emotional front. I think there should of been a 50th Anniversary sign off at the end of the film, like the ending of the disastrous ENT ‘These Are The Voyages’.

Star Trek Beyond had an opportunity – it would of made no more or no less money if it had given the fans something more. But it didn’t. Because it’s it’s own thing and didn’t want to ‘share’ the spotlight.

So Star Trek: Discovery is going to be about the USS Discovery, and it’s looking very much like it’s set after ENT and before TOS.

I know, I’m rolling my eyes too.

New stories, in our Prime Universe, post Nemesis is what everyone wants…. But god forbid it was that easy. No, let’s reinvent the wheel and apologie for 50 years of glorious story-telling.

Agreed. Of all the Trek series, this is the one I would definately buy on Blu ray.

When I first saw that picture, I thought, “What’s Jackie Earle Haley doing there? Is there going to be a Bad News Bears tie-in?”

The Bad News Beards

Had hopes for the show, lotso f good characters…but they spent way too much time exploring Bajoran politics and religion, and not near enough time exploring the uncharted worlds on the other side of a conveniently placed, yet rarely traveled, wormhole.

Oh, I have to disagree. The exploration of all that is and was Bajoran is what gave the show its heart. Much of what happened to Bajor has happened to smaller degrees on Earth. I suspect the minor history lesson’s involved were intentional.

This is ABSOLUTELY A-MAZ-ING!!! I can’t wait to see this….I hope my favorites are in it….Garak, Odo and Quart!

DO IT! Do Season 8, 9, 10,… And let the others being remastered in HD!

Super excited about this!

The best of the Trek series when it comes to the writing. I for one, like some fans, would love to see a DS9 mini series or a made for tv movie. I think this would be a good way to go having reunion movies from the various Trek series.

DS9 was my favourite of all the Treks. I can’t wait to hear what they came up with for Season 8…wouldn’t it be awesome if that ever came to be.

‘kiss the girl, get the key. they never taught me that in the obsidian order’

Deep Space Nine was not STAR TREK.
Behr designed it as the Anti-Star Trek to Spite Gene Roddenberry.
It may be a good show in it’s own right but it’s not Star Trek but Behr should have just made his own rival show not violate Star Trek.

I might remind you that Rick Berman and Michael Piller created DS9. Behr didn’t take over as showrunner from Piller until the end of season three.

It did have a “anti-Trek” vibe to it at times. It shone a not too favorable light on TNG in couple instances, specifically the whole “we’ve evolved beyond that” and “we don’t use money” thing. Makes the TNG crew look like they bought into some kind of propaganda or something. DS9, to me, still suffered from elements I didn’t care for in TNG: too much technobabble and it felt too safe. It’s why I, a life long Trek fan, gravitated to B5 over DS9. Despite that shows shortcomings, it felt fresh and bolder than Trek. When DS9 started taking cues from it (some visual FX, and a large secondary cast they could take risks with) I enjoyed it a little more. Overall, it was still too safe for my tastes. I did enjoy it over the garbage that was VOY and ENT though.

“Anti-Star Trek” ??? Are you on drugs? DS9 was the most fan-boyish series, Trials & Tribulations??? That single episode did more to honor Gene’s vision than everything else put together. Episodes about aging Klingons from TOS, episodes fleshing out TNG stories, it was so TREK. Such too deep and nuanced for a lot of less, um, commited fans.

T&T honored GR’s vision? The same GR who seems to have hated all of Gene L Coon’s inclusions of levity, TRIBBLES included.

DS9 from s3 or s4 onward is the only TREK tv I’ve liked outside of TOS, but that one part of your post doesn’t support your statement.

DS9 was very much Star Trek IMO. It challenged what Star Trek was, sure, but thats what made it great because it actually EXPLORED what the values of Star Trek was suppose to be. It wasn’t always happy, happy joy joy and that was the entire point. Yes maybe things are better for us humans but the galaxy is still just as screwed up as it ever been. I dare you to listen to Sisko’s speech to Major Kira about Earth being a paradise but where they are there is no paradise. THAT’S exactly what Trek is, to be a better man in less than better circumstances. TOS did it every week. TNG less so but DS9 did it full blast and why I love it.

Trekboi August 7, 2016 6:03 am Deep Space Nine was not STAR TREK. It’s a valid point. DS9 turned out to be a great show in its own right, but it deviated about as far from “Star Trek” as a show could possibly deviate and still use the name. Here’s why: “Star Trek” was an (objective) concept-driven show, as opposed to a (subjective) character-driven show. In TOS, the characters are, for the most part, there to play out the moral or theme of the episode. And, after the episode is over, the reset button is pushed, and none of the characters’ experiences carry over into the next episode (again, for the most part; there may be a few minor exceptions to be found). For the most part, the premise of a TOS episode is centered around an objective concept, largely independent of the characters in the show. Some examples: A man has to choose between the woman he loves and the future of humanity, when he discovers that time-traveling carries the danger of altering history (“The City on the Edge of Forever”). A logical-to-a-fault starship officer finds himself in command of six, after their exploratory mission goes awry, and learns that there’s more to command than pure logic (“The Galileo Seven”). A man develops super-human powers, but his ambition and selfishness soon likewise grow beyond the bounds of his humanity (“Where No Man Has Gone Before”). All of these episodes, as with the vast majority of TOS, are about objective concepts or themes: the good of the many vs. self-interest; changing events in the past, even for the better, can adversely affect the future; logic is no substitute for intuition and people skills; power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. These stories are about the message, not the messengers (i.e. the characters). DS9 is largely the opposite. DS9 is more about the characters and their struggles than about objective concepts or themes. It’s hard to think of a DS9 episode that has a central theme that isn’t character-based. All of the Cardassian/Bajoran oppression/resistance stories, for example, are largely tied to the characters’ personal experiences. “Duet,” for example isn’t about a generic administrative assistant who is guilt-ridden about his people oppressing another culture. That story is about that specific character (Marritza) vis-a-vis Kira’s reaction to him (hence Duet). There’s not really an objective theme there, such as is typically found driving TOS episodes. All or nearly all of the Dukat episodes are character-driven, as that character drives much of the series. Sisko, Odo, Bashir & O’Brien, Worf, Quark, Nog, Rom…they all have series-long arcs. The stories featuring these characters are, for the most part, about these characters, as opposed to being about an objective concept that takes priority over those characters. Another major point of deviation with DS9 is in its dismissal, for the most part, of the science component of “Star Trek”. Both TOS and TNG had healthy doses of science underlying many of their stories—whether it was a story about a giant bacterium in space (TOS “The Immunity Syndrome”), a story about a gateway to an alternate universe (TOS “The Alternative Factor”), a story about the definition of life (TNG “The Measure of a Man”), a story about a space-time loop that causes events to repeat over and over (TNG “Cause and Effect”), and so forth. There are almost no such DS9 episodes that are centered around scientific concepts. And, in fact, so much less attention was paid to the day-to-day regular scientific component of DS9 that a few egregious mistakes made it to air; for example, “Explorers,” which totally forgets how warp drive—one of the most basic concepts of Star Trek—works on the most basic level. DS9 trades science for mysticism, which really is antithetical to “Star Trek” by definition. In DS9, we get the scientific term, “the wormhole aliens,” but everything else about them is magical. The show doesn’t dwell on, or even briefly explore, how the Prophets work their magic—they just do, and we suspend our disbelief and go along with the story. Because DS9 is ultimately not about “how” and “why” things happen in the cosmos. It’s not a show about exploring natural phenomena, “strange, new worlds,” or seeking out “new life and new civilizations.” DS9 is not about exploring things out there, but rather it’s about exploring within. DS9 is almost entirely about exploring the human condition. Hence the character-driven stories, rather than object-themed stories. And, yes, this does make DS9 rather un-Trek-like on a fundamental level. I read recently that a main point of conflict between Gene Roddenberry and Gene Coon was GR’s insistence that the TOS stories be object-themed and centered around a moral/message, as opposed to character-driven themes with arcs for Kirk, Spock and McCoy. Now, one may not like this… Read more »

DS9 was Star Trek and will always be Star Trek. Stop talking trash.

I can’t believe people say its not Trek. I loved how it showed a darker side to the federation and we got to see lots of different races on a regular basis.
I for one a looking forward to seeing this documentary.

I agree. How much more fanboyish could DS9 have been. Trials & Tribulations anyone??

I just find it funny TNG always got criticized as being too goody too shoe although it really wasn’t but then DS9 is just too dark and mean for people I guess. DS9 showed a true realism no other Trek show dared. In fact I thought Enterprise would be a big darker when it aired because it was the beginning of exploration and they were going to meet a lot of evil stuff out there. That finally did happen with the Xindi but thats what Trek is, yes to explore but to also face the worst of the worst. Think about all the early exploration on this planet and all the wars, disease, colonization, etc that happened because of it. Thats the side of Star Trek that was there but rarely talked about beyond a few episodes. DS9 showed a lot more of that and why it was such a fascinating show.

Bring back ds9 sound good to me, enterprise as well

DS9 is my second favorite Trek series after TNG, can’t wait to see the new documentary.

Ira, say “documentary”…. please.

I love DS9.

Well this has definitely piqued my interest. I love me some DS9 :).

With the beard already!

They ought to do an Animated DS9.

I’m a bit more curious if Weddle and Thompson were asked to help break that season eight premiere. They weren’t exactly freelancers, and it was Behr who brought them onto the staff as well. Are they just not in the area anymore?

And I kind of hope, though perhaps foolishly, that they remaster at least the clips they want to use for the documentary, even if they don’t do the whole series.