Date: 11/13/97 7:38:37 PM
<<Is Cardassia actually a member of the Dominion, or do they have an
Cardassia is now a full-fledged member of the Dominion.
<<How far back did you guys (the writing staff) plan for Cardassia to
join/ally themselves the Dominion? Dukat seemed to be foreshadowing this as
far back as "Return to Grace"!>>
This was something we kicked around for a year or so before we actually did
<<I think it is quite arguable that had Nixon [been president during the
Cuban Missile Crisis and then] backed down, it would certainly not have
reflected badly on him, given his prior record; it would have been seen as
the wise and prudent move it was -- a tenser version of Nixon going to China.
While I don't disagree with this, I wanted to point out that the Richard
Nixon who later had the vision to reach out to China and the USSR was a
different man in many ways from the VP who ran in 1960. One of the biggest
differences was that Nixon in 1968 had lived through the Missile Crisis along
with everyone else. I don't think we should underestimate the profound
psychological impact that the Crisis had on political leaders on both sides
in the post-1962 era. Both sides realized that they'd gone too close to the
brink and both sides made efforts to resolve future confrontations
peacefully. Without that formative experience, it's entirely possible that
something like the Middle East confrontation in 1973 (in which the US rather
unwisely put its nuclear forces on alert in response to Soviet movements)
could've exploded into something far more serious.
<< Will there be an episode centering around the Vorta this year?>>
Probably not, but you'll be seeing more Vorta throughout the year.
<<Are there any Garak episodes yet?>>
<<Can you give us any details on "The Magnificent Ferengi"?>>
Quark is forced to gather together a misfit team of Ferengi in order to save
his mother from the clutches of the Dominion. You'll be seeing some familiar
Ferengi faces in this one.
<<Are the Maquis completely gone?>>
They've been pretty much wiped out. However, there are rumors of some Maquis
still lurking in the Delta Quadrant...
<<Will Damar's character be further explored? Any episodes centered around
We'll be exploring Damar more throughout the year, but we don't have an
episode centered around him as yet.
<<Could you please post a current list of upcoming episode titles?>>
After "You Are Cordially Invited..." comes:
"The Magnificent Ferengi"
"Who Mourns for Morn"
"One Little Ship"
<<Did the prophets intervene just to save Sisko? If they intervened to save
Bajor, why didn't they help Bajor when it was occupied by the Cardassians? >>
On the first question, we believe that Sisko forced their hand by his
intention to die right there in the wormhole -- something they were hard
pressed to ignore. The Prophets presumably have a plan, had a plan, will
have a plan (well you get the idea) regarding Sisko and Bajor and were
unwilling to let this event stand in the way. Have they been influencing or
guiding events beyond the wormhole as well? Who knows? As for the second
question, one might as easily ask why God saved the children of Israel from
Pharoah but not from Hitler. The Bajorans have faith in their gods and the
plan (if that's what it is) the Prophets have for them. Some of what the
Prophets are doing, will do, have done (here we go again) is unknowable.
Perhaps the Cardassian Occupation was a trial of fire for the Bajorans --
This is an evolving storyline and while we do have some ideas on where it's
going, we don't have all the answers yet.
Date: 11/13/97 8:01:02 PM
<< <We do use other starship designs that are completely CGI, but they are
seen only at a distance because a fully rendered CGI ship that can hold up
under scrutiny is basically as expensive as a brand new model.> -- RDM
Does this mean that the FX shots were a merging of CGI and models? The
closeups were models and the far away ships were CGI?>>
Yes, most of the VFX shots were a composite of both methods and as a general
rule the farther away something is on screen or the quicker it goes by, the
greater the chance that it's a CGI shot.
<<Weyoun: (pointing to Damar) "Check our listening posts in the Gamma
Damar: "They're not there either!"
So...what happened to [the listening post]??? They were there one minute and
gone the next!!!>>
Damar's line is referring to the Dominion fleet, not the listening post(s) on
the other side of the wormhole. It's a little unclear, but that is the
<<Will Nog finish the Academy, or will his participation in the war, and the
resulting devastation of the ranks of Starfleet ruch the entire (now) junior
class into service?>>
Nog may finish his studies at some future date, and we're not sure yet if
Starfleet has rushed the entire junior class into service or not.
<<The similarity in form between Odo and the female changeling (FC) is
interesting. At one point, Odo suggested that it comes from an inability to
mimic precisely a humanoid shape. It has been said that the FC adopted the
form to help Odo feel more at ease. Now the FC tells Odo that the
changelings had at one time been solids. Could this similarity in shapes
between Odo and the FC be the result of a racial memory of the time when they
This is something that we've discussed in-house many times and we haven't
settled on the explanations or backstory of the Changelings yet.
<<Can we please get a Robert Urich update? Before the season started, you
said that it was a possibility that he would appear. I was wondering if there
were any more developments.>>
Nothing on this front yet.
<<Ron, have you seen the recent Time (or was it Newsweek?) with Kennedy on
the cover and a story about the latest bash Kennedy book by Sy Hersh? >>
I haven't seen this magazine issue, but I did just read an article in
yesterday's LA Times about Hersh and I came away unimpressed by his latest
effort. Hersh is quoted several times in the interview as saying that he
knew that historians would say that he hadn't proven many of his allegations,
but that he printed them anyway because (I'm paraphrasing here) any reporter
would see that they were "great stories." I prefer to keep my fiction and
non-fiction on separate shelves.
<<A few of us have been waiting eons (well, OK, 16 months) to hear on spec
scripts for DS9. Should we drop a line (ie, "Hi! My area code's changed"
[which it has]), make a call, or wait and pray?>
Sorry to say that prayer and patience may be your only friends in this area.
<<Would it make any difference to DS9 as a show if it was picked up by UPN
for a seventh season?>>
While this is not even a possibility (because DS9 is committed to syndication
distribution) it probably would make a big difference because UPN would give
us a much bigger publicity push than we currently receive and we'd be on at a
consistant time around the country.
Date: 11/13/97 8:16:20 PM
<<I believe that some development execs at Paramount may have
guided the development process [of DS9] along parallel lines [to that of B5],
without those at
ST knowing what was going on.>> -- J. Michael Straczynski
First of all, I will take it on faith that this is an accurate quote. I want
to say that I do understand JMS's worries and concerns about this issue -- if
I had developed my own series for several years and then saw a similiar show
being developed at a studio I'd pitched to, I'd raise this concern as well.
*However*... I honestly believe that Paramount's development of DS9 had
nothing to do with B5. I was around here when most of the creative decisions
were being made and I know for a fact that Michael and Rick made virtually
all of the key decisions on their own and with very little input from the
studio. Paramount made comments and gave notes on what they were doing, but
I don't recall a single instance of the studio saying something like, "Hey,
put a shapeshifter in the show," or something that could've been culled from
JMS's work. Most of the similarities are fairly obvious choices for a
space-based science fiction show that's not about a ship, even something like
the fact that both first officers are female (think about it -- if you're not
willing to take the plunge and finally put in a female lead on a sci-fi
action/adventure series, but you do want to put women in a more prominent
role, you put in a woman as second in command). I don't begrudge JMS his
suspicions, I just think they're unfounded.
As to some of the other stuff you posted -- the arguments about Paramount
leaning on talk shows not to book B5 guests and so forth -- hey, all's fair
in love and war. (And I have NO idea if any of it is true or not, that's not
my area of first-hand knowledge.) It's a competitive buisness and everyone's
scrapping for the same audience. I'm sure that Warner Bros. is no virgin in
this regard either.
<<Don't forget: The Walrus is Paul>>
Hey Man -- The Walrus is John!
<<You have said that Sisko did not intend on the Prophets stopping him from
sacrificing the Defiant and himself, and that Sisko did not go looking for
the prophets-- But Sisko, even in the height of war, found himself studying
the Bajoran Dead Sea Scrolls looking for insight. Did he not see references
to himself and to how he played/was playing/will play out in this
We've said that the Prophecies are not only voluminous, but sometimes
difficult to interpret. While it's possible that there was something in the
texts referring to the situation in "Sacrifice", it's entirely possible that
Sisko either didn't read that passage or didn't understand it.
Date: 11/13/97 9:20:11 PM
<<Wouldn't it have been easier for the prophets, who don't seem to enjoy our
linear corporeal ways, to move Sisco and the Defiant out of the way instead
of the fleet?>>
Yes, but Sisko specifically asked them to do much more than that: "Bajor
needs a miracle!"
<<Any further thoughts on [a possible connection between the Founders and the
Preservers from TOS]?>>
We haven't talked about this in quite a while, so I doubt that we'll be
following it up.
<<in the 1950s, the United States had overwhelming nuclear supremacy over the
USSR and the rest of the world. The Soviets were outnumbered in terms of
deliverable nuclear weapons by a factor of 20 to 1, approximately, throughout
much of this period. And, when there was pressure to use nuclear weapons
against the PRC (Communist China) as a result of the war by proxy in Korea
and Indo-China, both the Truman and Eisenhower administrations held back
considerably. Prudence, in other words, was the hallmark of all
administrations since the dawning of the atomic age.
Given the foregoing, I am not at all convinced that it is likely that RMN
would have escalated the CMC to the nuclear threshold, and, indeed, I am, at
least somewhat, more confident that he would have avoided the kind of
reckless, inexperienced foreign policy that, arguably, JFK and his advisors
Well, yes and no. I by no means am saying that Nixon would've been reckless,
but I think you're over-emphasizing the moderation of the Eisenhower era.
Certainly the foreign policy statements and positions of John Foster Dulles
were anything but moderate and Ike did tend to let him lead the way in the
field of relations with the Soviets. As I recall, it was Ike himself who
started sending hints to the North Koreans soon after he assumed the
presidency about possible atomic strikes if the Korean War was not concluded.
After the launch of Sputnik, the entire US foreign policy establishment was
up in arms about the Soviet lead in space technology and its implications
regarding ballistic missiles. While the US did enjoy nuclear superiority for
years, its leaders were also rather easily rattled by Khruschev's bombastic
statements like "We will bury you," and tended to see a vast communist
conspiracy enveloping the world in which both China and the USSR were
marching in lockstep. I think that Nixon in 1962 was just as suseptible to
this mistaken world view as everyone else was. I'm not at all confident that
he would've steered matters in the CMC in a markedly different direction than
did JFK, especially given Nixon rather infamous work as a notorious
Red-baiter in the 50s and his inclination to see communist conspiracies
whether they existed or not, and so he may well have seen the introduction of
Soviet missiles into the western hemisphere as a much more provocative act
that even Kennedy did.
Date: 11/14/97 12:33:19 AM
<<Um... I'm not quite sure I understand. How is DS9 committed to syndication?
is it committed for x amount of years? When that's up can you switch to
DS9 was sold to the local affliates around the country on a six-year deal
that essentially contained options every year that permitted the affiliates
and the studio to re-up every season for a set price. (At least, this is the
way I understand it -- this is not my field of expertise and your mileage may
vary.) At the end of the six year run, I think each station still has the
right of first refusal when it comes to re-upping for a seventh year, so it
would be extremely difficult for the studio to suddenly try to put the series
on UPN. Also, I'm not sure what the advantages would be for the studio
and/or UPN to try such a scheme, so it's basically a lock that if there's a
seventh year, it'll be in syndication.
<<let's do a switcharound and postulate what would have happened if JFK's
style had pervaded during 1956. If JFK had had the attitude of "bear[ing]
any burden, pay[ing] any price" to defend democracy anywhere around the globe
(an activist, universalist, and fairly overbroad statement, and unrealistic
even in those days, if you ask me), then where would we have been under his
hypothetical presidency when the Soviets moved into Hungary? When the
Soviet/Chinese proxies provided arms to Ho Chi Minh and started killing
American advisors? When Communist China undertook to retake Tibet?
I think, fundamentally, the activism and vigor of JFK's policy style would
have led to a greater expectation of armed conflict; JFK did not have the
background which permitted him to steer sideways or backwards, whereas the
old, cold warriors, DDE and RMN, decidedly did. >>
I don't think it's fair to project JFK's foreign policy backward into 1956
because the world situation was so different. I doubt that even JFK himself
was advocating the same policies and ideas in '56 that he was in '62.
Back-dating JFK's policies to '56 is like extending Nixon's knee-jerk
anti-communism of the mid-fifties to a theorectical Nixonian crisis
management of the CMC in '62. My position continues to be that our
examination of Nixon in '62 should not be influenced by his later
accomplishments or views, but should be examined in the context of the times.
And the Nixon in '62 did not have the seasoning and experience that the
Nixon in '72 did when he was dealing with the Soviets, the Chinese and the
On another subject, I think that while the "Bear any burden" notion of
American involvement around the world to fight communism may not have been
actively guiding policy when the USSR invaded Hungary, it was most definitely
there when North Korea invaded South Korea some six years earlier. Indeed,
Truman's decision to aid the Greek anti-communists in '49 (?) and his
promotion of the Marshall Plan are the direct ancestors of the "Bear any
burden" philosophy. JFK's advocacy of aiding aiding anti-communists around
the world was simply an extension of those ideas.
Date: 11/14/97 3:30:55 AM
<< I wanted to know if any character on DS9 would ever express their belief
in a common human religion such as Christianity or Islam, rather than seeming
to be agnostic, subscribing to "alien" religions, such as Sisko's role as the
Emissary, or operating under the "science is absolute" dogma? There have been
episodes in both TOS and TNG as well as DS9 focusing on the religion of other
alien races, but never any truly human-based beliefs. ST5 had this as a
theme, but it wasn't fully explored in my opinion.>>
Gene felt very strongly that none of the mainstream religions now on Earth
would still be around in the 24th century. It's not something that I
necessarily agree with, but at the same time it was a core tenet of his
philosophical construct of the 24th century and we're probably not going to
mess with it.
<< I was very surprised when Dukat actually took down the minefield. I was
under the impression that he was stalling, most likely in the hopes that the
federation and the dominion would wear themselves out and he would swoop down
and take it all. Was that a red herring, an alternative you toyed with and
rejected, or my imagination? >>
Although I think we did talk about this idea briefly during a story meeting,
we never took it beyond the discussion phase. Dukat as seen on screen was
never stalling in his efforts to bring down the minefield.
<<First, losing a powerful enemy is traumatic, and Dukat's fall from power
*should* affect Sisko and the others. Will we see any of that? In
particular, how will Kira react now that one of her main "reasons for living"
(to hate Dukat and fight against him) is gone?>>
Sisko's reaction to the fall of Dukat will be addressed in "Waltz." Kira's
reaction will be dealt with, but not in the near future.
<<Can you/will you please share what you're thinking about as a future for
Dukat? First, how do Cardassians view mental illness? Will he be accepted
as "cured" and returned to duty (assuming the Federation lets him go), or
will he be deemed "unfit for further service" and retired from the military?
Will he be welcome on Cardassia, or shunned? He's a career soldier...what
will happen to him without a command? >>
You'll have to wait for "Waltz" to get answers to most of these questions.
<< I think Marc deserves an Emmy nomination for this, so do a lot of other
people. We're quite serious. Is there anything fans can do to bring this
performance to the attention of those who vote on these awards? Who does
award the Emmy, BTW?>>
The awards are bestowed by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and
there's very little that the fans can do to influence this august body.
<< When's *Dukat* due back after "Waltz"?>>
Don't know yet.
<<What can you tell us about "[One] little ship"?>>
Not much yet... but the title is very descriptive.
<<Now, now, Ron. I know John said he was the walrus, but... To quote from
"Glass Onion" on the "White" album...
"Well here's another clue for you all
The walrus was Paul.">>
Oops. I hang my head in shame. I will now have to go back watch the entire
"Beatles Anthology" all over again as my punishment (he says with glee).
<<Was the actor playing the cardassian watching kira and her co-conspirators
voice over-dubbed? when he was talking to quark the suffle' he sounded like
pee-wee playing the bell hop in the big screen version of pee wee's big
I believe a fair amount of dubbing was involved in this scene -- don't know
Date: 11/14/97 3:54:38 AM
<<Have you decided to abandon this distinction between Odo and his people?
[That Odo distinguishes between the concepts of Order and Justice.] Do you
assert that it never existed? Or did you just need to be reminded of it?
OR should I trust that you have it in mind, and are playing that the
emotional influences have clouded him a bit?>>
We haven't forgotten that element of his character. Odo's a multi-faceted
individual and there are many things that distinguish him from the other
Founders, one of those things being his emotional attachment to a solid.
<<Ron, several weeks ago you mentioned that the writing staff was talking
about a Romulan story this season. Any progress on that? Will we see the
Romulans in the coming future?>>
No, in fact we've pretty much abandoned the idea. I'm beginning to doubt
that we'll bring back the Romulans this year at all.
<< I believe that by the 1960s the responsibility of being a nuclear power
were becoming quite clear to both powers; Khruschev himself was deposed
shortly after the CMC in part because of his role in the Soviet's retreat
from the brink in CMC, and because it was felt by the Politburo that he could
not be trusted to protect the USSR from nuclear attack. By contrast -- and I
am not the first to note this -- when the United States was the strongest
relative to the rest of the world, the risk of a "hot" war was actually the
greatest, since (1) there was a far smaller chance than subsequently that the
mainland United States would suffer nuclear devastation; (2) massive
conventional forces had as yet not been completely demobilized or mothballed
from World War II; and (3) revolutionary fervor and rhetoric were both
extremely high in the Communist world. Again, that Eisenhower and Nixon did
nothing to exercise the final option in Indo-China and Korea shows a
significant degree of restraint in foreign policy. >>
My reading of the mood in 1960 is not quite so rosy. Remember that the U-2
incident and the revolution in Cuba were the last two acts of the Cold War
played out in the Eisenhower administration and both were seen as grevious
setbacks to the US. Relations between the two countries were anything but
amicable, especially since the situation in Germany, particularly in Berlin
was tense and getting worse if anything. Khruschev was openly threatening to
end US and NATO access to West Berlin and a military confrontation in central
Europe seemed to be just over the horizon.
The period of unquestioned US conventional and nuclear superiority over the
Soviet Union was much earlier and lasted but a few years. The demobilization
of US forces following WWII happened at breakneck speed and by the time the
Korean War erupted in 1950, our forces were hardpressed just to keep from
being completely wiped out in the initial weeks of that conflict. By 1960,
US conventional strength had been rebuilt to a degree, but the Soviet
advantage in Europe was still overwhelming and thus NATO came to rely on the
US nuclear arsenal to offset the massive threat of the Red Army.
With the launch of Sputnik, and the implicit threat of nuclear weapons
platforms being sent into orbit and literally hanging over the heads of the
US population (as unrealistic as hindsight now tells us that to be) the
beginning of the 1960s was a time of great tension between the two
superpowers and the idea of a head-on collision was not that far-fetched.
Given all that, and given that the last thing Nixon wanted was to be seen as
"soft" on the question of Cuba (remember that the hue and cry over who "lost"
China was still ringing in everyone's ears), I think it's perfectly
reasonable to assume that he would've wanted to take a hardline against the
installation of missiles 90 miles off the Florida coast.
By the way, A5 -- this is a thoroughly enjoyable conversation and I'm
gratified you're enjoying it as well. Hope we're not the only two!