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<SteveKrutzler> ADMIRAL ON DECK!

<SteveKrutzler> I'd like to welcome you all to TrekWeb.COM's second live
 chat!

<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?

<MichaelPiller> Yes.

<SteveKrutzler> Ok then, shall we begin with questions?

<MichaelPiller> Sure.

<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
 career.

<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 
"Stardust" ?)

<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 
explorers too.

<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 
important part.

<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!

<Steve_Perry> <applause>

<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?

<MichaelPiller> Yes.

<Steve_Perry> whoa...

<SteveKrutzler> Kivas Fajo: Worf is in it *I think*.  Will we hear a 
mention of Dax?

<MichaelPiller> In the current draft, yes.

<Steve_Perry> cool

<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> indeed!

<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 
Nine?

<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
 studio.

<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 
wall!

<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> hehe

<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 
remain.

<Steve_Perry> cool!

<SteveKrutzler> wow!

<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?

<MichaelPiller> No.

<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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