On Friday the team behind What We Left Behind held a panel at Star Trek Las Vegas to give fans an update on the upcoming Star Trek: Deep Space Nine documentary. We have all the highlights.
Committed to 2018 release
It was acknowledged that the biggest question the DS9 Doc team had to answer was when will it be released. According to the producers, they remain committed to releasing it in 2018 “for sure” on Blu-ray and DVD to campaign backers and those who pre-order the Blu-ray/DVD Combo set, which will remain available to pre-order on the official site up until release.
They are also looking to sign with some kind of distributor for a later, wider release, possibly with a streaming service. Producer Ira Steven Behr said a theatrical release was unlikely, however they remain committed to doing premiere screenings in Los Angeles, New York and London, but didn’t offer any dates or details.
Editors Luke Snailham and Joseph Kornbrodt gave an update on the status of the doc and what they mean when they reported it was “picture locked” last month saying that the “story is in place” and that the run time is set for about an hour and forty-eight minutes, not counting credits. What remains to be done is the process of replacing clips of Deep Space Nine in standard definition with new clips remastered in HD, color correcting, sound mixing and music.
It was noted that the editing is taking place on the Paramount lot, right across from the original DS9 stages. Ira quipped how strange it is for him to go to work every day right across from Stages 17 and 18, adding “there is a beautiful symmetry” to it.
Brooks is watching over the doc, just not doing a new interview
It has already been reported that Deep Space Nine star Avery Brooks did not record a new interview for the doc, although he does appear in archival interviews. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t involved. Ira explained:
Avery is done talking about Deep Space Nine. He has said everything that he wanted to say, not just in terms of the doc, but in coming to conventions. I would love it to change, I would like him to change his mind, but the amount of conversations we have had in terms of having him participate just finally ran its course…He is very involved. He questions [producer] Dave Zappone all the time. He wants to know how it is going, who have we talked to, who have we not talked to. So, he is watching over the doc.
Zappone also confirmed that he speaks with Brooks weekly, adding “Avery and I have long, interesting discussions. I have to say he has been fully supportive and he is looking forward to seeing this film.”
They also showed a clip from the doc, which emphasized how this all worked. The segment focused on the relationship between Brooks and Cirroc Lofton and how they bonded playing father and son on the show. The clip featured old and new interviews along with segments from the show, which, as pointed out by editor Joseph Kornbrodt, were remastered in HD.
It’s about family
According to the DS9 Doc team, the clip shown was also tied into what they saw as a theme for the documentary, as explained by producer Kai de Mello-Folsom:
We’ve done our best to include as many people in the film as we can. We have done 40 or 50 interviews at this point…We are mere mortals and can’t get to everybody who was involved in the show. But, these guys editing the film have tried to keep the stories about family. One of our big themes throughout is about family.
Ira Steven Behr also talked about how there is a strong emotional element to the film:
We did about 120 hours of interviews with cast and crew and ancillary people involved with the show…I could not believe how emotional people would get…It’s the 25th anniversary and most people don’t get to do a victory lap for the work that they have done and this doc is kind of a victory lap. When people sit and start talking about how much effort they put into the show and how much it means to them in retrospect, people got very emotional in the interviews. I am not just talking about actors, who can turn it on and turn it off. I am talking about crew people. It was an emotional time doing all of this. That was the biggest surprise, how much the show lives on in all of us.
Writer’s Room segment details
It was revealed that the segment of the documentary based on a reunion of the DS9 writers room will be about 18-20 minutes within the doc. The segment features DS9 writers Ira Steven Behr, Ronald D. Moore, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Hans Beimler and Rene Eschevierra breaking the story for what would have been the first episode of an eighth season of Deep Space Nine. They have also hired an animator to illustrate parts of this notional episode.
Behr described what it was like shooting the writer’s room reunion:
It was an amazing day. It was an unbelievable day. It’s not like we hadn’t seen each other individually, but to get us all in a room together…What you see, is what happens that day. It wasn’t like we talked ahead of time and came up with ideas, so that we look good. We all had thoughts, but what you see is what happened that day.
While the room segment will be cut down for the doc, with six hours of footage, the team are hoping to find a way in the future to release it in full, to show the intricacies of the writer’s room process.
The team also noted that the Blu-ray and DVD releases will also feature “a lot” of special features, with Behr noting “you will be pleasantly surprised.”
Holding out hope for release of DS9 in HD
As is inevitable at one of these events a fan asked if Deep Space Nine would be remastered and released in HD, like The Original Series and The Next Generation. Ira empathized, but also noted there is a reason it hasn’t happened yet, saying:
When I see some of the clips in standard def, especially from seasons one and two, and then I see them remastered, it’s like “Holy…fill in the blank.” It’s a crime…I can’t look at them in standard def. But the fact remains, it is expensive as hell to remaster these films, to remaster the special effects.
However, he later offered a ray of hope, noting that that CBS has been very helpful on the project, and that if the documentary proves successful and popular, it might spark some interest:
If it does well, if the support the support is as big as we hope it is going to be since 2013 when the tied seemed to have turned about Deep Space Nine. If the powers that be see that people are paying and want to see this doc, maybe they will decide “Hey, let’s roll up our sleeves and do the work that is necessary.”
Living Deep Space Nine
Ira concluded the panel, but giving a heartfelt thanks to the fans, saying:
When we were doing the show, at the time we were not feeling the love. For seven years we were not feeling the love. What I used to tell the writers is we were doing the show for ourselves and to really understand Deep Space Nine, you had to live Deep Space Nine. It wasn’t a show you could come to and half-ass. You had to really watch it and really follow it. This is the nineties, before TV became what it has become. And I said that’s good, we live it, we are the ones that understand the show. And I just wanted to say that twenty-five years later to be around you people and to walk around this hotel and constantly meet people who suddenly live Deep Space Nine. So, from me to thee, thank you all.