On Friday, the second season of Ronald D. Moore’s new sci-fi show For All Mankind debuts on the Apple TV+ streaming service. Earlier this week we posted the first part of our interview with the veteran of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine about that show and how he sees it as a “road to Star Trek.”
Now for the second part of our interview, Ron Moore talks about the current state of Star Trek, including his thoughts on a possible Section 31 series and the challenge facing Paramount regarding what to do with Trek on the big screen. We also talk about his next big career move with Disney.
I know you’ve been very busy, but have you been keeping up with the new Star Trek shows on CBS All Access, like Picard, and Discovery, and Lower Decks?
No, I have not to be honest. I saw the beginning of Picard, and then I just haven’t gotten back to it. And there’s also just a part of me that I don’t watch, read, or consume as much science fiction as I used to when I’m working in science fiction. I tend to be like, ‘Okay, no more sci-fi in my spare time.’ I tend to gravitate to other things.
On DS9 you, David Weddle, and Bradley Thompson wrote all the original Section 31 episodes. Do you know they’re actually working on a Section 31 TV show? Do you have any thoughts on that?
I heard that. I remember reading that somewhere. I didn’t know if it was a real thing or if it was just a rumor. Certainly, that’s fertile ground to tell story. And it’s a great concept. It was [Deep Space Nine showrunner] Ira Behr that came up with the original idea of doing Section 31. It’s just waiting there to be told by somebody.
Even with all this CBS Star Trek on TV, Paramount still doesn’t have a plan for what to do with it. You wrote two Trek feature films, if Paramount came to you and gave you $200 million or so, what would you do with Star Trek on the big screen?
That’s an interesting question. I’m not sure because Trek is, in some ways, an uncomfortable fit to the big screen I’ve kind of come to feel, even though I did two of them. I thought First Contact was a really good film, Generations not so much. And Wrath of Khan is an outstanding film. The Voyage Home works really well, and so on. It’s not that they’re not good movies, but it feels like the movies have to be spectacle. The movies have to be gigantic, action-adventure, lots of shooting, lots of things at stake – except for Voyage Home. And that’s not really Star Trek to me.
To me, Trek is a morality play. It’s a show about ethical dilemmas. It’s a science fiction show about “What if?” And it’s a character piece. The best parts of Trek don’t necessarily lend themselves towards the big screen. For instance, you couldn’t do “Data’s Day” as a movie, right? It was one of my favorite episodes. “The Conscience of the King” from The Original Series is one of my favorite episodes. That’s not a movie. So, the movie version always has to be hyped up and overdamped and they’re big giant roller coasters. And I don’t know that the roller coaster aspect is what attracts me to Star Trek the most.
So, if they asked me what to do with the movies, I don’t know. I’d want to reboot and start over and do something very different. And try a different flavor of Star Trek for the big screen. And not just make ‘Who’s going to be the “Khan” in this version? What’s the big, giant weapon that’s going to threaten the universe? Or anything like that. I think you’d have to find some sci-fi angle that made it more about: What are the roots of Trek? Why did people come to fall in love with it in the first place? And that’s a tall order.
Do you agree with the view that they should stop shooting for Marvel movie kind of money and just make say a $100 million or less, solid sci-fi movie?
Well, it’s hard because the feature business again is so different than television economics. The feature industry has backed itself into this corner, where they pretty much only make the gigantic Marvel-scale epic blockbusters, or they make very small art pieces for the Academy Awards. And for things in between, they have a tremendous amount of difficulty marketing, promoting, and making money off of. And that’s a weird box of their own making. So, I don’t know how to solve that. As a storyteller, I know that it’s not always satisfying to just throw more money into it and just make another visual effects sequence. That there’s something else going on in science fiction terms and in character terms is just kind of more interesting and more satisfying in a lot of ways.
You just signed a new deal with Disney – congratulations – and you will first work on a new Swiss Family Robinson series for Disney+. But there is a lot of IP at Disney of course, so is there any specific Disney IP you have your eyes on? Could we possibly see a Ron Moore Star Wars show?
You’re absolutely right, there’s a lot of great IP at Disney. And it is what attracted me to sign up deal there. And I’m very eager and excited at the possibilities to get my hands on all kinds of different IP. So that’s really all I can say at this point. But it’s an exciting opportunity because Disney was like Star Trek, something very important to me growing up, and a love that I’ve continued into my adulthood. So, the opportunity to get into some of this classic IP that Disney has in all of its facets is a really exciting proposition.
For All Mankind season 2 arrives Friday
For All Mankind season two moves the show forward a decade later to 1983 and to the height of the Cold War, with the US and Soviets going head-to-head to control sites rich in resources on the moon. The 10-episode second season will debut globally with the first episode on Friday, February 19, 2021, followed by one new episode weekly, every Friday, exclusively on Apple TV+.
This first look featurette gives you a taste of what to come, including Ron Moore talking about season two.
Check out more exclusive interviews at TrekMovie.com.