‘Star Trek: Voyager’ Documentary Production Has Resumed, Will Be Different From DS9 Doc

(Star Trek: The Cruise)

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.

Voyager reunion (Photo: Star Trek: The Cruise 2020 )

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.”

Deep Space Nine writers room - documentary

Writers’ room from What We Left Behind

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.

HD shot from What We Left Behind

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.

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I keep saying it, but CBSAA could get tremendous interest with a remastered Voyager and DS9, although I imagine DS9 has a smaller audience than Voyager.

As exclusives, they would definitely keep a big segment of their subscribers onboard between Trek shows. Would make it a little less imperative to have new Trek content all year round. I certainly would leave a subscription to Paramount+ open as long as HD DS9 and Voyager remained tied to it, until a blu ray release.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I would settle just for remastering certain key episodes, removing all the very obvious copy and past scenes in season 7 and creating all new CGI for those. That alone would improve things.

You mean removing CGI stock footage from the early years that went into late Voyager? Or all the stock?

Yes, the consistently rated favorite legacy Trek show has a smaller audience. Right.

You are confusing popularity and quality (as so many!)

It has been pointed out to me on these boards that Voyager seems to do better on streaming platforms than DS9. Both shows are getting look backs as adults who grew up with them share them with their families. DS9 has gained a new appreciation in the age of binge watching, as cast and crew have noted over the years, but standalone shows people can just pick an episode from at any point never go out of style. And I have noticed Voyager trend as being “popular on Netflix today” more often than DS9, for whatever that’s worth – it’s all just tailored recommendations after all. Janeway also is having a sustained moment – it’s a good time for female characters with authority right now.

DS9 can always take solace in being the critical favorite to this day and the better rated show when the two series were on at the same time.

I agree with this. DS9 probably gets binged the most as a whole but probably more people watch VOY as a whole today because they can just go back and forth like TOS and TNG.

And now that Seven is on Picard and Janeway will be in Prodigy, the show will get more views by newcomers to the franchise, which is only a great thing! But the legacy of these shows are still pretty strong today or there wouldn’t be a Seven or Janeway on any of these new shows.

“Voyager” documentary…guess we can expect a certain someone NOT to be in the Documentary, sadly?

At the very least I hope they discuss Jennifer Lien and the issues she’s been having.

Yes, she was a series regular for 3 years, not insignificant. At least some empathy and compassion for her struggles. Hopefully some indication she’s being humanely cared for and receiving help with her situations.

In a way, I find it strange that, to my knowledge (not definitive), none of her former cast members have addressed this issue, over many years. There may be the random response to qualify Ms. Lien’s acting abilities, which are always very positive.

However, not a word about her, really reiterating the sense that she’s fallen off the face of the planet. Certainly, I can appreciate a great sensitivity in speaking to the situation, given the nature of Ms. Lien’s illness. Still, there’s no secret to be maintained, as the number of encounters with the Tennessee legal system, since 2012, has made her situation the occasional fodder for celebrity media coverage, though much less than generic TV and newspaper reporting, from the area, accessible to all and sundry.

I do wonder if any of them genuinely have tracked what’s gone on with Lien. To the extent of helping financially, there’s no evidence of that, insofar as legal representation goes, it having always been in the form of public defenders, save the most recent, and fairly benign charge. One can read and see how nearly everyone of the cast expressed great regret at her departure ftom the show, but clearly, no one more than Mulgrew, with whom I sense there was a pretty commensurate relationship with Lien, as was depicted on the show. I’ve been tempted to pen a query to her site about this very issue (as I must feel other folks have done, over time), to see, in the instance the message would be responded to, what might be the level of concern, still felt for Lien, even after 20 years has transpired.

I’d like to think some of them are keeping tabs on her, but at the end of the day we have little idea what it was like working on the show together at that time. There are more anecdotes about the later years, mostly because Kate Mulgrew, Jeri Ryan and Robert Beltran became fodder for gossip and set tensions. Perhaps Wang and McNeil discuss her in their podcast?

It’s a bit callous of me to say, but not every work relationship translates to a caring friendship years later. I don’t know that in a similar situation I would do more than check up a little on everyone I worked with for three years 20 years ago.

To be honest I’d be surprised if they got Robert Beltran on board as well. We know his feelings on Voyager and Star Trek are not quite positive.

About the same as the reviews of his “acting”.

If they did include her, can’t be any more uncomfortable than Avery Brooks.

Avery Brooks? He has always been averse to publicity. Even making the show he set the tone that it was all about the work, and he was serious about it. He rarely did the talk show circuit, but occasionally did conventions with other actors, especially Cirroc Lofton. He was involved in the documentary, just did not want to do another interview. Had he done one, it wouldn’t have been uncomfortable – he’s an eccentric professional, is all. I don’t think that’s easily equated with Lien’s unique struggles.

So no singing?

I’m glad the Voyager doc will be different than the DS9 doc, as I assumed it would be about Voyager and not DS9. :P

Wow, all great news! I’m really excited for this documentary, especially after how well the DS9 one came out.

Speaking of which, it must’ve done really well if they are talking about expanding it and making more from the footage they have. Honestly I’m not sure what else can be added that wasn’t already told, but would definitely watch more. An expanded writer’s room segment would be great though.

Good news!

Different in that no one will watch or care about the VGR doc.

Classic logical fallacy to take your personal opinion as universal gospel. Try again Herbert :)

Since you are on a board where everyone says they are excited to watch because they love and care about the show kind of proves you wrong chief.

And I wish people stop this silliness since it’s not only been proven Voyager is still a very popular show through streaming sites like Netflix, the fact that Trekmovie and others are still reviewing new content of novels, comics and merchandise, some just in the last few weeks alone kind of prove Voyager is still a powerhouse.

No one keeps making merchandise and content for things no one watches or cares about anymore. ;)

And while I wish DS9 would get more love than a tepid Trill episode on Discovery, Voyager has seen Janeway and Seven of Nine revisited, which will only keep it top of mind even more!

The beauty of all this new Star Trek is that it seems to constantly revisit old Star Trek lol. So I’m not worried about DS9, it will eventually get its due and we’ll see a few characters show up, especially with so many shows now in the 24th century.

I think Seven of Nine could get her own spin off show just like Janeway and Picard got judging by how popular the character still is and was definitely a huge hit first season in Picard. If they are trying to give Georgiou her own show which half the fanbase seems to despise I have no idea how they are not thinking about a Seven show once Picard goes off the air.

I certainly hope so, though I admit I was disheartened by how they changed her. I can see why Jeri Ryan struggled to wrap her head around it at first. But the main sin was her being underused, so a spin-off, by all means!

I personally had no issues with how Seven was portrayed, but I know others did. But no one seems to fault Jeri Ryan. I think just having her back in general is a huge positive for the fanbase, so it would be nice to see her continue beyond Picard.

Tiger2, By what verifiable metrics do you make the claim, that definitively, Picard, was a huge hit? The fact that CBS has consistently been so tight lipped about sharing any such information, whatsoever (save what can be gleaned from Canada’s provider, which viewing shares were far less than average), doesn’t appear to give much credence to such a statement. Aren’t you also aware of how both Netflix and Amazon told CBS to pound sand, as regards any interest they had in the international distribution deals of any entity they weren’t already contractually tied to?

I appreciate your ardor for the CBS product, which is, of course, up to your discretion alone, but if you extend that to making specious factual claims, it might be helpful to back those up with some genuine data, if you can find it.

Would you in turn point us to sources to support your statement about Amazon and Netflix’s stances on future Trek deals?

I was talking about Seven of Nine being a huge hit on Picard in terms of the fanbase; not the ratings/viewings dude.

I won’t bother with the rest, the show got renewed for another season, all that matters at the moment.

Good I guess. The DS9 doc was all right but it was really a ‘we were so great, we were so groundbreaking, our producers were visionaries’ backslapping fest.

Looking forward to seeing the doc when done. What we Left Behind took forever but it was worth it. I’d love to see some remastered Voyager. Also, I would rebuy the TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT series in an instant if CBS remastered them in 4K.

I really would love to finally get DS9 and VOY on Blu-Ray. I love both shows to death, with VOY being a little more to my liking despite some missed opportunities.

did they ever do a TNG docu?