STLV19: ‘Star Trek: DS9′ Doc Team Talk Blu-ray/Digital Release, Avery Brooks’ Involvement, And More

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.

Avery Brooks being interviewed by William Shatner for The Captains (2011)

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.

DS9 Doc producers David Zappone and Kai de Mello-Folsom at Star Trek Las Vegas 2019

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!

Image of Captain Ezri Dax from What We Left Behind

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.

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*GROAN* That means they plan on milking the DOC with SPECIAL EDITION and DIRECTOR’S CUT EDITION and whatnot. Stop the madness.

From that I’d assume you’d be happier if it had just been a dump of hundreds of hours of unedited material? I do hope you also weren’t one of those voices a few months back whining on end about why this was taking so long.

Is the US Blu-Ray region free or locked? Does anyone know?

It’s locked. Right now there is no retail disc release outside of Region A. Only the digital release.

The special backer edition disc set was region free. Shatner’s team bought up the last copies of them from the documentary team at STLV and is selling on his webstore. Not sure if they ship internationally.

Any idea what they were selling for at STLV? Shatner is asking $35 for the backers disk. I’ll resist the urge to opine further….

$35 is reasonable. That was the minimum level people had to pay to back the Indiegogo campaign to get a copy on disc. I think that was what it selling for at STLV too.

Does the backer disc have a lot more content then the commercial release?

It would make sense for CBS All-Access to acquire this when the streaming rights are sold. It would make a good addition to their Trek collection.

Maybe it will inspire them to run the numbers and realize what an excellent idea remastering all of DS9 for their Trek collection would be

IF they remastered DS9 to HD I would be among the first to line up to purchase. And note, I did NOT purchase TNG but would DS9. That is how good it was.

Captain Ezri Dax in season 8? When does season 8 take place in relation to the events of 7? The uniform looks like the future from “All Good Things…” and “the Visitor”. Or is Dax like f it I’ve got enough lives to be captain?

In terms of S8, the writers went in real time. So 20 years has passed since we’ve seen the characters. In that context, the uniform makes sense… or it DID before the PICARD trailer dropped.

thank you!

It’s good to see Avery Brooks approves, and I wish him well.

That was in the extras and was good to hear. Although I still wished we could have seen some recent stuff from him in the doc.

I just watched this today. I enjoyed the parts that were actually a documentary, and the writer’s room thing was interesting, but I didn’t enjoy the parts that were just trying to be cute. Ira Behr sitting in the documentary control room, or Andrew Robinson interrupting the documentary to show a bad CGI space battle, or everybody singing for some weird reason was just kind of dumb.

Oh boo, those bits were fun and gave the thing character and I actually loved the Andy Robinson bit with him in character as Garak. Those little touches elevated the thing above just a po-faced talking heads doc.

I didn’t get it though. Why was Robinson showing us a space battle from the show where all the excellent model work was replaced with substandard CG?

That was the remastered original. As far as I know it wasn’t just brand new CG footage.

Huh. I guess the space footage just doesn’t look as good in HD then. Which is odd, because the space station looked beautiful in HD.

I thought all the remastered shots were beautifully done. The difference was easily noticeable from the very first shot I saw.

Most of the remastered shots were great. Something about that space battle just seemed off to me though.

I also felt that there was something off with the space battle shots. I can’t pinpoint what it was exactly. For example some of it felt strangely “flat” to me as if they used flat planes instead of 3D objects. Still it looked surprisingly good if they really just rerendered the original scene files in HD.
Note: I’ve only seen the sequence once in the theater.

So it’s not “officially” available here in Turkey? Bummer.

it’s really terrific… i was lucky to see it in LA with ezri nog and jake in attendance… what’s fun is the writers room part… and listening to everyone reflect and seeing them now and them together and loved the rat pack stuff… i’m rewatching it now but for the uninitiated or people who havent seen it in a while… it’s sort of eye opening how good the show was and how ahead of it’s time it was… plus the lack of respect it got from trek fans at the time.

I just rented it on Amazon. Already saw it in theaters and loved it so can’t wait to watch it again and can now take my time with it. Crazy enough currently watching the last 10 episodes of season 7 (started rewatching the whole show when it was announced it was coming to theaters…yeah got behind lol.) So plan to now finish off the final batch of episodes and then watch the doc again. Hopefully all by this weekend! A nice DS9 week!

There were parts of the season 8 tease that were fun but I’m not itching to see it as a series. Do what Joss Whedon did for Buffy and have the creative team work with IDW to release a season 8 comic book. There’s no reason it couldn’t be done.

Nice to finally see this. Watched it last week the day it arrived! Really good job here. Lots of great tales. Loved the imaginary 8th season. Not happy with one of their story elements, however. ;)

I’ve watched the entire thing – main feature and special features.

As I’m currently rewatching the series (mid-6th season), I absolutely adored the HD scenes like all of you have.

In fact, picture it: it’s the early 1990s. You flip on your CRT TV (19 inch? Bigger?) and try to watch DS9. The colors were dark (sets, costumes… just about everything), and the detail of the sets is just absolutely lost. The show is much better on our modern flat screens and the HD… oh my goodness!

The documentary itself seemed a bit all over the place. I found myself wanting more “talking heads”, actually.