This week, documentary filmmakers David Zappone and Joe Kornbrodt joined TrekMovie’s Shuttle Pod to talk about the recent release of The Captains Collection as well as their other Star Trek projects, including the 2019 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine documentary What We Left Behind. During the chat they revealed they are working on a follow-up to that doc, and also discussed the new Star Trek: Voyager documentary they are working on.
Voyager documentary in production, hoping to include HD footage
David Zappone talked about how work their Star Trek: Voyager documentary started earlier this year, before the pandemic:
[CBS] was kind enough to let us tag along on the Star Trek Cruise in March of this year, which is Voyager’s 25th anniversary year. We were given unlimited access on that cruise and shot for seven days. We returned March 8th and within a week the cruise industry shut down… The original plan was to start with the cruise and then we were booked to go to Germany and then to England for Destination Star Trek events. We probably would have been at [Star Trek Las Vegas], but as you know, all of those had been cancelled. So, thankfully we have the only footage of the Voyager reunion, the only one that happened was on that cruise. And we got most of them.
With the pandemic ongoing, the team has picked up production again, but Zappone explained that it just takes longer:
What we have been doing since in this world of COVID is we have been doing individual interviews, socially distant and safely. We have interviewed several of the main cast separately. We just did an interview with Brannon Braga, a very extensive one. We plan to interview Jeri Taylor and Rick Berman and get each one of the cast members individually. It is going to take a little longer than it normally would have, but we will get there.
Joe Kornbrodt also noted that the Voyager doc will not be the same as What We Left Behind:
It’s two different series, and two different casts. That alone changes the nature of it. What Brannon did say to us is: “What are you going to do to top the writers’ room?” And we don’t have an answer to that, but we’re working on it.
One thing they are hoping to keep the same is to include HD remastered footage, but Zappone said they may need do what they did with the DS9 documentary and look to fan crowdfunding:
Absolutely, I would love to do [including remastered HD footage] again, but I have a feeling it would take another crowdfunding campaign. The people need to approve. I can’t convince CBS 100% they want to see. They need to help us to show CBS the desire is there. I would love nothing better. We have the team, we know how to do it. It is time-consuming, but it’s not impossible.
There was no estimate on when they expect the Voyager doc to be released.
Working on DS9 Doc Writers’ Room release
During their Shuttle Pod conversation, the pair also talked about how they are already working on a spin-off from their popular Deep Space Nine documentary What We Left Behind.
We have another one coming out of it. We’re planning on expanding the writers room. That is something that Ira [Steven Behr] has always been passionate about. Not just as a documentary per se, but as a teaching tool for aspiring writers to see what it is like to site in a television writers room…
The plan is to show most of the, if not the full, day of recording of the DS9 writers’ room. Zappone added that the follow-up release could include more interview footage:
We are working on it now. It’s the writers’ room and it will also include some of the interviews and things we shot that couldn’t make it into What We Left Behind… I think we can be doing What We Left Behind sequels for the next ten years.
Apparently there is quite a lot of interview footage to choose from. According to Kornbrodt, the late René Auberjonois gave a 3 ½-hour interview and Armin Shimerman did a a 4-hour interview. Zappone added, they are “really in the creative stage,” and that he didn’t rule out using crowdfunding again to help complete the project. “People seem to be really happy with What We Left Behind. I think people felt they were proud and happy to have backed it. They feel they got great value there.”
Hope for Voyager and DS9 in HD?
One of the best features of What We Left Behind was the inclusion of a number of scenes in HD. Fans have been hoping that Deep Space Nine and Voyager would get remastered Blu-ray and HD streaming releases, like The Original Series and The Next Generation. Kornbrodt did offer some hope:
We know that there are people at CBS that would love to see that happen. You never know. It takes more than a few people in the organization to come to a consensus… It’s closer to happening than before we did it.
He was also quick to note that the TNG release didn’t get the sales CBS was hoping for and that the market for home video doesn’t really exist like it did a decade ago, but he also pointed out that remastering shows in HD future-proofs them for streaming distribution.
Listen to the full discussion
David Zappone and Joe Kornbrodt spend over an hour chatting with Brian and Kayla, covering much more about their Star Trek documentaries and have great stories about their experience working with William Shatner . You can listen below, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Keep up on all the Star Trek documentary news and reviews at TrekMovie.com.