This week the long-awaited Star Trek: Deep Space Nine documentary What We Left Behind was finally released to the general public. The DS9 Documentary panel at Star Trek Las Vegas offered up details on the release along with more insights into the making of the documentary, and more.
What We Left Behind available now on Blu-ray and VOD
Backers for the crowd-funding campaign have already received their copies but this week (August 6) the retail version of What We Left Behind was released by Shout! Factory, including 47 minutes of deleted scenes and other special features. You can pick it up on Amazon right now for $21.01 (Blu-ray) or $12.69 (DVD). It has also been released on Video-on-Demand via iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and all the major on-demand sources.
It was also announced that What We Left Behind is being released digitally around the world. TrekMovie followed up with Shout! to get the details. What We Left Behind is now available on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay, Xbox and Playstation in the United Kingdom. It is also available on iTunes in Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czechia (Czech Republic), Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Sweden. The doc will be released later this year on iTunes in Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, and Spain.
The STLV panel also revealed there will be a 4K digital release at some point in the future. As of now, there is no information on a streaming release (on a platform like Netflix, Hulu, or CBS All Access).
Avery Brooks is very happy with the documentary
The journey to release of the documentary began seven years ago at Star Trek Las Vegas with the first set of interviews being recorded at the convention. At the STLV 2019 panel producer David Zappone talked about how he first met Deep Space Nine star Avery Brooks working on his earlier Star Trek documentary The Captains and the follow-up, The Captains: Close-up. Zappone talked about how that led to collaborating with Brooks on What We Left Behind, but also explained why Brooks did not appear on camera for this one:
Avery and I spoke regularly during this entire process… After we did The Captains: Close-up, after he saw that half-hour he was so moved and so pleased, he felt there was nothing more he had to say. He felt that captured his time in Star Trek and was comfortable to essentially say “that’s it, that’s all I have to say.” However, he was supportive to Ira and myself. We would send him footage. He would give us notes. So, he just didn’t feel the necessity to appear on screen, but was truly a part of the process behind the scenes.
However, Zappone revealed that he did speak to Mr. Brooks for an hour while he was driving to Las Vegas:
I can say he is very happy with [What We Left Behind] and the ultimate compliment was he said “I am going to watch it again.” And he watched every bit of the special features.
Weaving a documentary that isn’t a traditional documentary
One of the dictates from Avery Brooks to the team making the documentary was that it should not just be talking heads, which lead to the idea of reassembling the writers’ room to break a “season 8” story. That also lead to having parts of that story animated. Zappone talked about how putting all of it together became the biggest challenge:
The hardest part was figuring out how to weave the interviews with the season eight new episode and how do you keep that momentum going for almost two hours and how do you transition out of the writers’ room back into the interviews and make it feel organic. We had a war with all the different sections of the film and constantly moving things around. That was the biggest struggle creatively.
Producer Kai de Mello-Folsom described how director Ira Steven Behr solved the flow issue:
Ira’s whole thought on how this documentary should flow is you should never think about what’s coming next, you should always be surprised by what’s happening. His feeling was, this can’t be a traditional documentary.
de Boer would love to play Captain Dax
That season eight story featured Nicole de Boer’s Ezri Dax as a Starship captain. The actress talked about how seeing that was a dream come true, and she is ready if called to play the part:
That would be amazing. I would love it. I loved that Ezri and Bashir are together. I’m ready to be a captain. I’m just digging it. When do we start filming? I’m ready!
Using original dailies for a couple of scenes
One of the most exciting features of What We Left Behind is the including of 22 minutes of footage from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in HD, including some special effects shots. The HD work alone took five months and was expensive and time-consuming. But there were a couple of scenes that didn’t get remastered.
Answering a fan’s question about why one of the scenes remained in standard definition, producer Kai de Mello-Folsom noted that there was an artistic reason:
We had to be particular with the scenes we were requesting in HD, it is an expensive and time-intensive process. We made the decision that there were a couple of key sequences that we had from dailies, which were essentially a VHS tape that Ira saved for many years, which is the raw camera roll from the day they film, it is not edited. There is a great scene with Jimmy and Avery singing together. Instead showing it as it was in the show, which is cutting back and forth between people’s reactions and them, it was so interesting for us to just to see them perform it and stay at one angle. So, that scene in particular is from a daily, it is not from the show. We made the decision to show it as Ira saw it for the first time, which is unedited and in that VHS format.
More to come?
The long journey of What We Left Behind has culminated this week with the release of the retail digital and Blu-ray sets, but it may not be the end. It was noted during the panel that there are hundreds of hours of unused interviews as well as many more hours of never-seen footage from Deep Space Nine. There is also almost seven hours of footage from the reassembled writers’ room.
de Mello-Folsom suggested there may be more to come from the DS9 Doc team saying:
We can only include so much on the disc sets…who knows, hopefully, in the future we will be able to release some more of it.
More STLV to come
The TrekMovie team was in Las Vegas to bring you all the news, so check back soon for more articles from the convention. Check out all of our coverage on STLV.