<SteveKrutzler> ADMIRAL ON DECK!
<SteveKrutzler> I'd like to welcome you all to TrekWeb.COM's second live
<SteveKrutzler> I would like to thank Mr. Michael Piller for joining us
tonight! Do you have any comments before we begin with questions Michael?
<MichaelPiller> I've just come from watching the new Woody Allen movie,
and anybody interested in writing should go see it. It's one of his best.
<Steve_Perry> Deconstructing Harry?
<SteveKrutzler> Ok then, shall we begin with questions?
<SteveKrutzler> Here we go...
<SteveKrutzler> From 3rd of 5:
<SteveKrutzler> Michael - you said ST9 would be in the vein of
"Hearts of Darkness". Are we to assume that there will be a long perilous
journey undertaken to stop the actions of a renegade, one who was greatly
respected by his comrades?
<MichaelPiller> My original idea was to do something I called
'Heart of Lightness' and surprisingly the end result is going to be very
close to fitting that description. I really can't say more specifically
anything else about the plot.
<SteveKrutzler> From Todd van der Heyden:
<SteveKrutzler> Given that Star Trek IX will be "lighter" and more
"humorous" than the previous two films will there be more emphasis on
character relationships, and any worthwhile interaction between
Picard/Crusher (romantic or otherwise)? Especially with Picard's lamentation
of his being the only Picard left?
<MichaelPiller> Yes. It will be one of the most romantic movies in the
Star Trek series.
<SteveKrutzler> From T'Kharis:
<SteveKrutzler> Will the female roles in ST9 be better, they seem to be
getting ignored to concentrate on Picard and Data. The great strength of
the TNG series was the depth of ALL the characters involved.
<MichaelPiller> One of my goals for this film was to show how important
the family of the Enterprise crew is to one another and in a sense, this
movie is about the ties of these characters, depicted in a way they
haven't been since the series ended. That said, Picard and Data will play
major parts in the plot, of course.
<SteveKrutzler> From LT. Mishbe
<SteveKrutzler> Hi, well my question is that do you agree that working on
Star Trek, can be a look into the future. Do you believe that by watching
Star Trek, people can, learn better ways to handle conflict?
<MichaelPiller> I believe that by showing heroes like Picard, using logic
and communication skills to solve problems instead of violence, that we are
providing unique role models for young people today.
<SteveKrutzler> From ToddPT
<SteveKrutzler> What is the one thing that you always wanted to do with
"Star Trek" but never got to?
<Steve_Perry> Good question!
<MichaelPiller> I wanted the child of Chakotay and Seska to die in part 2
of the second season cliffhanger as a counterpoint to the birth of Ensign
Wilder's baby on the planet, but it was deemed to be thematically too
violent and so the baby lived but turned out to be not Chakotay's after all,
which undermined the effectiveness of the story I was trying to tell.
I was a lame duck and leaving, so I couldn't fight very hard. That's the
only thing I ever remember not getting that I wanted in my entire Star Trek
<SteveKrutzler> From Captain Crunch
<SteveKrutzler> Trek is passed over for science fiction awards (Best of
Both Worlds for instance did not win the Hugo). We never hear science
fiction publications praising Trek. Why do you think Trek is passed over?
And on a similar note, do you feel that Trek's future lies with the
traditional science fiction audience, or a more broad based appeal as the
X-Files has recently achieved?
<MichaelPiller> I think when a television show becomes a phenomenon that
it's harder to get respect, however, I think Star Trek has received it's
share of recognition for quality over the years. I think the future lies
with the broader audience, strictly because it's such a rich marketing
franchise for the studio.
<SteveKrutzler> From Data:
<SteveKrutzler> Is the enemy in Star Trek IX going to be a new enemy or an
old favorite? Also, can you give a current [working] title? (other than
<Steve_Perry> Well, I'll take Khan again!
<MichaelPiller> We still don't know what to call it, but one of the
villains are called the Son'a. In the first story they were the Romulans,
but noone here felt a great deal of enthusiasm for that decision.
<SteveKrutzler> From mickeyd
<SteveKrutzler> Now that you are writing and producing ST9, do you find
that you miss the daily grind of doing a ST series enough to come back and
take a seat again as exec producer or head writer at ST:Voyager?
<MichaelPiller> I miss the cameradie of working on staff, but I don't want
to look back, I want to look forward.
<SteveKrutzler> From Berserker:
<SteveKrutzler> When I see Deep Space Nine, I see a show very different
from TNG and TOS. Was it always the idea to create an "un-Trek" Trek, a
show with more long term dramatics than self-contained "message" episodes?
<MichaelPiller> The idea was to expand the Trek universe. And so it was
always going to be different from the other shows, but I have to give credit
to Ira Behr for giving the show the dramatic thrust it has now, which I
think is wonderful.
<SteveKrutzler> From Smorgas of Borg:
<SteveKrutzler> First of all thank you for coming here. I am particularly
thankful because I think you were one of the primary people who made sure
TNG survived past its stormy early days. What was the most challenging TNG
episode you were involved with? Not just in terms of writing, but in terms
of it being produced and coming off looking right? (I think "A Matter of
Perpective" and "The Inner Light" are two good examples of shows that
could have gone bad but didn't, for example.)
<MichaelPiller> The most challenging episode for me was part 2 of "Best
of Both Worlds" because I had no idea how to defeat the Borg until the
characters told me how to do it. There's nothing as scary for a writer
as not knowing where you're going, but in a way that's what makes us
<SteveKrutzler> From Martijn van Turnhout:
<SteveKrutzler> What I want to ask you is: what are your favorite episodes
of ST:TNG and why?
<Steve_Perry> My favorite: Frame of Mind!
<MichaelPiller> "Inner Light," "Measure of a Man," and "The Offspring"
because they had remarkable emotional impacts. And they genuinely explored
the human condition, which this franchise does better than any other when
it does it well.
<SteveKrutzler> From Bucky:
<SteveKrutzler> Why do you think that "The Best of Both Worlds", an episode
that you wrote, has become a favorite Trek episode (and, IMHO, and one of
the best TNG episodes ever.)?
<MichaelPiller> I think it's because we saw a side of Picard and a side of
Riker that we had not seen before, plus of course, the depiction of "an
undefeatable" enemy like the Borg. Plus it had a scope because it was a
two hour story.
<SteveKrutzler> From SteveKrutzler:
<SteveKrutzler> One aspect of the original movies that made them so unique
was the personification of the Starship Enterprise. The scenes in ST2 where
Sulu mentions the privilege of serving on the "Enterprise" and where Kirk
makes his inspection of the "tall ship" developed a bond between the
Enterprise, her crew, and the audience. The latest films have approached
the ship less like a vessel with a personality all its own, and more like
just a tool to get from point A to point B. Will ST9 bring back the awe of
our favorite Starship and its majesty?
<MichaelPiller> I hope so.
<SteveKrutzler> From Justin S.:
<SteveKrutzler> Is the story idea for Star Trek IX an idea you've had for
some time, or is it something that Rick Berman came up with for you to help?
<MichaelPiller> Rick's first idea for the movie was to adapt a classic tale,
like "Prisoner of Zenda", and I watched that movie and came away concerned
that it really would be a story about a man posing as Picard, and I felt
that audiences who had waited for two years to see their hero might be angry.
The premise I brought back to him came to me as I was rubbing in my
Rogaine one morning.
<Steve_Perry> ha ha
<SteveKrutzler> From Emmisary: Can you discuss the original draft of
All Good Things?
<MichaelPiller> Well, the first draft of All Good Things was very similar
for an hour, but the second hour wandered around without a clear story
direction. I wanted Ron and Brannon to get more ambitious and suggested
the idea of Picard working with different versions of himself in the
different time periods to solve the crisis. There may have been a 4th
timeline, but I don't recall.
<SteveKrutzler> From Sisko: What inspired you to create another half human
half Klingon (Torres) after the death of K'heleyr?
<MichaelPiller> Characters with inner conflicts often are the most
nteresting. We thought a woman who was uncomfortable with her Klingon
nature would be the source of good character material.
<SteveKrutzler> From Lambertd
<SteveKrutzler> DS9 has been terrific this season. But I think it would be
great fun if some reference were made about the Enterprise-E in the Dominion
War. And will reference to the war be made in Star Trek 9?
<MichaelPiller> Only in passing. But the effects of the war will play an
<SteveKrutzler> Fascinating... :-)
<SteveKrutzler> From Jetar: Do you see a difference in today's sci-fi
shows from yesterday's? Some like X Files and Stargate seem "darker"
than Trek. Your thoughts?
<MichaelPiller> I agree and there are some who believe that we have to
follow that trend. My feeling is that this franchise has the unique power
to make people feel good. And that is one of its greatest secrets of
success. I think you make people feel good by showing smart, effective
heroes facing moral dilemnas and growing as they triumph.
<Steve_Perry> It's why I love Trek
<SteveKrutzler> From Steve: I've always heard that your motto has been
"Remember the characters" or something to that effect. Do you feel that
when you write that sometimes contrains you, cutting off options for the
people you're writing about?
<MichaelPiller> I don't know how to answer that question, because I don't
know how a writer ignores characters. I feel that too often in movies and
television shows these days, that we see thrills and SFX take the place of
stories about characters. As a viewer I find it impossible to care about
"stuff." As a producer, the first question I always ask a writer is
"What is this story about?' And if it's about space battles then I'm not
going to be interested. I feel as a writer a terrible obligation to reach
out every time I sit down no matter what kind of script I'm writing and try
to inspire in my audience the same feelings that I had watching movies and
good TV shows growing up. I find it impossible to settle for superficial
thrills, even though there are many people willing to pay me money to
write those kind of scripts. But what am I adding to this life by doing
that? I'm a writer, and I have a responsibility to say something about
the world we live in. If other writers find that "constraining" I feel
sorry for them.
<SteveKrutzler> excellent point, and well put!
<SteveKrutzler> From Flyboy:
<SteveKrutzler> Riker has been first officer for about twelve years now.
I think its about time for him to get his own ship. Is there any chance of
that happening in ST9?
<SteveKrutzler> Kivas Fajo: Worf is in it *I think*. Will we hear a
mention of Dax?
<MichaelPiller> In the current draft, yes.
<SteveKrutzler> from Madzak: If Jonathan Frakes directs, will that affect
Riker's role? Will the commander have a prominent role anyway?
<MichaelPiller> Riker will have a romance, will Captain a ship, and
perform a major manuever against a superior force that's attacking him,
what do you think?
<Steve_Perry> I'd call that fairly prominent!
<SteveKrutzler> are you serious?!
<SteveKrutzler> So would I!
<Arman> That is awesome! :-)
<SteveKrutzler> From Allen: What is life in Hollywood like?
<MichaelPiller> Ask my son, he'll tell you. He says "Swingers" was just
what his life is like. I go home at night to be with my family.
<SteveKrutzler> From Gregor Kreyce
<SteveKrutzler> Will There be a Seventh Season in Star Trek: Deep Space
<MichaelPiller> I think the chances are good.
<SteveKrutzler> From Emmisary: How do you respond, personally, to the
criticism that the new Trek shows, your children, have lost that appeal?
<MichaelPiller> I think the appeal of Star Trek has faded in terms of ratings
as television has filled up with more Star Trek shows and reruns and new
science fiction shows. I think a better gauge is the creative quality of
the series. I couldn't be happier with what Ira and the staff have done
with DS9. As for Voyager, a deliberate decision was made when I left the
show to do a different kind of series. The studio's research told them that
audiences were not happy with the direction that I had charted for the
series in its second season. This is my only true regret about my Star Trek
experience, because I felt creatively that we had turned a corner in year
2, but apparently I was the only one who thought so. I say 'apparently'
because I don't entirely trust research. And I have a feeling that if Gene
had been alive he would have told me the same thing he told me when he
asked me to stay at the end of year 3 of TNG, and that was that this series
needed one more year to really catch on. I think if we had stayed the
course that we would have had a similar breakthrough in Voyager in year 3.
But I really cannot complain because even my best friends were not happy
with the show. As for the current quality of the series, I think they did
a very nice job at the beginning of this season introducing Seven.
I have differences of opinion about other creative directions, which I
share with the writers and Rick on a regular basis. I would encourage all
viewers to clearly express their feelings about the creative directions of
both shows because your voices are listened to by this franchise and this
<SteveKrutzler> Interesting insight into Voyager's history... and BRAVO
for such great responses!
<Steve_Perry> That's to hear actually - that we're not talking to a brick
<SteveKrutzler> From TazoMan: Will the movie have cameos like Lt Barclay?
<Steve_Perry> Khan could use a cameo...
<MichaelPiller> I can't comment on cameos yet.
<SteveKrutzler> Can't comment... :-)
<SteveKrutzler> Here we go folk... you'll like this one..!
<SteveKrutzler> From HombuDojo: Why did TNG go seven, and only seven
(a good run by the way)?
<MichaelPiller> Because the studio wanted to make feature films.
<SteveKrutzler> From Stoat
<SteveKrutzler> We have seen many rumors that your first script for ST9
was disappointing, and not approved by Patrick Stewart - how do you feel
about this? Do you agree? or did you think that you had produced a good
piece of preliminary work?
<MichaelPiller> The rumors are not incorrect, except Patrick's objections
were to the first story, not the first script. We did have some conflict
at that point, and I can say without hesitation that a better movie was
the result of that conflict. Rick and I had taken the story into a much
more serious vein and Patrick objected because we had talked with him about
some of our earlier, lighter ideas and he missed them. So we went back to
them and did exactly the wrong thing by trying to tell both stories in one
script. And Patrick never saw that script, but Rick and I both agreed it
didn't work and went back and started over. And everyone has had a
positive reaction to this draft. I've heard reactions such as "uplifting,"
"warm," "made me cry," "made me laugh," "exciting." Many of the people at
the studio have compared it in tone to Star Trek IV.
Rick and I have had such a good time, and the journey has been so
interesting that we're thinking about writing a book about the writing
of Star Trek IX that would include all the versions of the story and that
dreadful first script. In that script, we got to meet Picard at the Academy,
one of his best friends (who played a huge part in the movie), Boothby,
and the planet of 10-year-olds. I can tell you this, because none of them
<SteveKrutzler> I know everyone's been dying to have that question asked!
<Steve_Perry> Ray Walston as Boothby... excellent!
<Steve_Perry> That's a relief to hear... these rumors that float around
ound *so* negative, when problems are often part of the creative process
to begin with...
<SteveKrutzler> Let me calm down from all that info! whew!
<SteveKrutzler> okie, here we go..
<SteveKrutzler> From TomVeil:
<SteveKrutzler> Will Q be making an appearance in Star Trek 9?
<SteveKrutzler> ah, we can lay those rumors to rest!
<SteveKrutzler> From Emisary: Will we see "Legend" again one day?
<MichaelPiller> We have been in discussions this week about a "Legend"
movie. Richard Dean Anderson wants to do it and he has a deal with CBS
and with SHOWTIME for a movie.
<SteveKrutzler> good to hear it!
<SteveKrutzler> I think "Legend" was one of UPN's better shows... :-)
<SteveKrutzler> From CaptRoss: Crystal ball time. Where do you see Trek
in 20 years, presuming the entertainment industry isn't radically changed?
<MichaelPiller> The entertainment industry is going to radically change.
It would not surprise me to see a Star Trek channel in 20 years. But I
personally hope that the powers who make the decisions about the future of
the franchise will recognize that it has been the creative quality and
ambition of these series that has made Star Trek so successful.
<Arman> I would love to see a Star Trek channel! It would be nothing but
quality TV :)
<SteveKrutzler> I would like to give my warmest thanks to Mr. Michael Piller
for taking time out of his *busy* schedule to chat with the fans! You've
given us such a mouthful of information to swallow, and we all hope that
you've had a good time and will join us again sometime!
<MichaelPiller> Thank you for having me.
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