STLV17: ‘What We Left Behind’ Team Give Details On The Star Trek: DS9 Doc And Set Release Target

On Sunday at Star Trek Las Vegas, the team working on the Deep Space Nine documentary What We Left Behind took the stage to give eager fans an update. On the panel were: Ira Steven Behr (Executive Producer), David Zappone (Executive Producer), Joseph Kornbrodt (Producer), Luke Snailham (Editor), Kai de Mello-Folsom (Producer), and Adam Nimoy (Director).

As a gag, some of the team came out in “Ira Steven Behr blue” goatees, which they had applied right before going on to surprise Ira.

Ira Steven Behr, Joseph Kornbrodt and Kai de Mello-Folsom at Star Trek Las Vegas 2017

Deep Space Nine finds a new audience

The panelists discussed how when Deep Space Nine was on the air in the 90s it was often considered the “redheaded stepchild” of the franchise, but more recently it has begun to find a new audience. The younger Trekkies may not be aware of the label, and modern TV is more serialized now.

“Thank God there was no [modern] Internet when we were doing Deep Space Nine because the negativity would have been so overwhelming.”

Behr spoke about how he was called by DS9 star Avery Brooks a few months after seeing him in person, and he enthusiastically told Behr about the positive new wave of appreciation for DS9 on the internet. This newfound popularity became Behr’s inspiration for doing the documentary. Initially he saw it is a nice way to celebrate the show for the actors and production staff and to showcase all their hard work. However, he came to realize the documentary wasn’t just for the actors, but also for the fans.

[DS9 was] a show that lived its whole life not only in the semi-darkness of the franchise, but also being told constantly that it was a dark show with dark themes, but it’s really a show about love and family.

The team now sees the documentary as a celebration of Deep Space Nine as a whole, and something fans will enjoy, whether old or new.

Brooks involved with documentary

As discussed in Behr’s recent interview with TrekMovie, notably absent from what we’ve seen of the documentary is Captain Sisko himself, Avery Brooks. However, the team assured the Las Vegas crowd that even though Brooks did not record a new interview for the documentary, he is still very much involved. He has given his full support to the project, and has seen quite a bit of the footage they’ve gathered. The producers have been working with Creation and have secured the footage from the big Deep Space Nine 20th Anniversary panel at STLV in 2013, as well as the interview he did for The Captains documentary (which David Zappone also produced), and they have also been working with CBS to get access to all the archival material in their vaults. So Brooks will be in the documentary, just no new interviews, as he feels he said all he has to say on the subject of Deep Space Nine.

As it turns out, Brooks influenced a key portion of the documentary. During his conversation with Behr, he pushed him to do something beyond the typical “talking heads” documentary. This got Behr thinking about “putting the band back together” to “break” (i.e. lay out the story beats) a hypothetical Episode 1 of Season 8.

Brooks at Star Trek convention in 2012

The season 8 writer’s room feature

One of the key extra features for What We Leave Behind will be an extended look inside the DS9 writer’s room, with a hypothetical discussion about the first episode of an eighth season for the show. In Vegas, Behr discussed how he got the original writing team into a room, and asked them not to think about it ahead of time, to just break the story like they did when they were in the trenches cranking out episodes in the ’90s.  He told them to watch the final episode, so they all remembered where all the characters had ended up.

It was an unbelievable 6-7 hours being together, it was like the years just melted away… You’re going to see the pure first thought, best thought, you’re going to see people arguing.

Thanks to the huge success of the Indiegogo campaign, they will make the entire writer’s room session (~7 hours) available to watch as an extra online. Parts of it will still be woven into the documentary (as initially planned), but for people who want to be in the room and see how a writer’s room works, you’ll be able to watch it all. 

Ira Steven Behr at Star Trek Las Vegas 2017

Deep Space Nine in HD

The team spoke about getting clips from the show into high definition for the documentary, as this is a highlight of the Indiegogo campaign, where one their later milestones was getting enough donations to to work on remastering selected scenes for use in the documentary.

DS9 in HD as seen in TNG “Birthright”

As has been talked about before, remastering is a big process, and very expensive. All original 35 film needs to be found and then scanned in and re-edited as they were in the original episode. Anything CGI may need to be remade from scratch. Behr said they’re working with Mike Okuda, and are feeling positive that they’ll find the footage for the clips they want use. The team found that some of the CG assets from the popular and starship-heavy Season 6 episode “Sacrifice of the Angels” exists and will be re-rendered for HD and shown in the documentary.

Original SD rendering from “Sacrifice of the Angels”

Plan to deliver for DS9’s 25th

The team announced that they have done over 100 hours of interviews over the past 5 years, and director Adam Nimoy says that they have a roadmap of where they want to go with the documentary, with an eye on having it ready around the time of the 25th anniversary next year (2018). 

“We have a theme and we have a point of view, and we have a lot of discussion with Ira to try to distill what we want to say”

One final exciting bit is that the team says they’ve found a stash of alternate takes, deleted scenes, and actor audition tapes in the CBS archives, which they’re working to incorporate.

Adam Nimoy at Star Trek Las Vegas 2017

The future of DS9

In the Q&A portion a fan asked, thanks to all this interest, if somehow Deep Space Nine could come back in some form, perhaps as a table reading of season 8, episode 1. Behr said that new DS9 is unlikely. They had tossed around the idea of taking the pitch for season 8 episode 1 and animating it, and in fact Behr was offered a graphic novel adaptation but turned it down. He noted that what they have of the episode is a rough pitch, they didn’t actually write the script (with lines of dialogue, etc.). So for the foreseeable future the 7 seasons of Deep Space Nine and the documentary are all there will be of the show in the visual medium.

More Star Trek Las Vegas Coverage

Karl Urban talks Star Trek 4, Beyond, Judge Dredd and more

Marina Sirtis says Paramount threatened to replace her with Jeri Ryan in Star Trek Nemesis

Star Trek Film Academy at Original Series Set Tour Announcement

Patrick Stewart talks about Gene Roddenberry opposing his casting as Picard and more

Denise Crosby talks about her plan for ‘Trekkies 3’

Full videos from ‘Discovery’ actors and writers panels

Star Trek Online announces LeVar Burton to reprise his role as Geordi LaForge for game

Panel: Details and covers for first ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ novel and comic revealed

Interview: Sam Vartholomeos and Wilson Cruz

Interview: Mary Chieffo And Kenneth Mitchell

Panel: Actors Discuss Different Klingon Houses In ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ + First Image of Kol Revealed 

Panel: Writers Talk Technobabble, Timelines And How ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Is Telling Our War Story

Stay tuned for additional coverage of STLV.

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I don’t need new Deep Space Nine. The seven seasons are perfect as they are. I just want 1080p remastered Blu-rays of all seven seasons. That’s not too much to ask.


But your asking for a lot of money!

All we need is a wealthy Saudi prince. The cost of remastering the series in HD is like tip money for them.

Sure we can’t find an Exxon or BP Oil executive who was a long time DS9 fan? :)

As I backer I am proud to be be part of the project to some degree. Seeing all DS9 in HD would be paramount. If there an opportunity to back this, I would not wait a second, so hopefully this keeps execs at CBS thinking

Hopefully CBS does a full remaster. How will they continue to milk DS9 in syndication without an HD version? Especially with their own streaming platform. Perhaps they can make a deal with Netflix to help fund the remastering in exchange for a sweetheart licensing deal.

Syndication is a dying medium. Online is the future.

This is the key. We keep hearing that it costs too much to upgrade, but sooner or later the SD quality of DS9 and Voyager will have to be improved to keep up with advancing platforms and methods of distribution. So it seems to me that it would make sense to invest now so that the shows will have a longer lifespan.

The netflix deal idea isn’t a bad one. Let’s hope they find a way to make remastering DS9 a reality. The station alone looks beautiful in HD. I personally never noticed some of the detail on it. For example, the yellow sections really help to play up the contrasting colors of the station.

I also appreciate Ira saying the show was about love and family. He is right. Too often people who don’t watch the show tend to think it’s nothing but darkness and while that’s there the love is really what shines.

Yeah, it seems like a no-brainer. Regardless of expense, they sort of have to do it at some point or simply will not be able to sell or distribute DS9 anymore.

If they want Star Trek to continue to be a cornerstone of their own streaming plans AND Netflix still wants it, you have to deliver it in HD at some point.

Hopefully they eventually set a budget for it simply as a cost of doing business to maintain their catalog and look at the Blu Ray sales as gravy to help off-set the cost. If they price it correctly, they will sell.

nice idea, netflix of of Amazon prime

DS9 was so great. At first I was reluctant to watch it mainly because I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be as good as TNG. I was so wrong. It was different, but so good. I love all Star Trek, but TOS, TNG and DS9 are the ones who I really think of when I think of Star Trek, those three are the true classics for me, I know and love all their characters. Later Treks I like, but I was never so into the characters of Voyager and Enterprise as I was into DS9 and the previous. My only complaint with DS9 is that for me they dropped the ball a little with the finale, but that’s nitpicking.

Hoping they found the cut 30-45 seconds of the battle scene from “To the Death”.

I want the remastered Blu-rays of all 7 seasons, did you hear me CBS??? I WANT IT!!! :-)

Love to see a comic miniseries based on that first episode of season 8! IDW, please check into this!

Behr already turned down an offer to turn that first episode of season 8 into a comic.

I wish he hadn’t. A nice 64-page hardcover of Season 8 Ep 1 with art by the great Tony Shasteen would be awesome.

For those of us who have commented that exploring some other aspect, any other aspect of the Trek universe is rich with possibilities, DS9 is the evidence that a well thought out show can be successful. DS9+20 is something I’d watch if the original creative team were on board….