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Rick Berman's Latest 'Update' Raises More 'New Series' and 'Trek X' Excitement

Posted: 16:22:06 on June 26
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: Star Trek

In an exclusive with The Star Trek Communicator, the magazine's latest 'Rick Berman Update' is provided for TrekWeb visitors below. Rick reveals that he and Brannon Braga are near ready to begin on the pilot script for the next series, and that the story for the next 'Star Trek' movie is complete and awaiting studio approval.

Star Trek Update with Rick Berman

By Dan Madsen

2001 - the year of Star Trek!

Rick, what is the progress of the new series?

Brannon Braga and I are right now actively working on the story for the pilot episode which we hope to be writing soon. We'll be discussing the pilot episode story with the studio shortly and we hope to be starting on the screenplay within the next four to six weeks. We are extremely excited about the story idea - this is really a unique and fresh approach to Star Trek.

Does this series, conceptually, take the best of DS9 and Voyager and combine them into one show?

Well, that's not really accurate. It is much more than that. The concept for this new show is a somewhat dramatic departure from previous Star Trek series but it is a show that will be both fresh and unique while at the same time being Star Trek to the core. It is a show that takes place on a Starfleet vessel but, at the same time, a rather dramatic departure from the previous three Star Trek shows. I believe it will be more Star Trek than anything since The Next Generation and, perhaps, anything since the original series in terms of its principles and its tone and style.

What is now the time frame for the series to launch?

Nothing has been locked down yet but it looks like fall of 2001, but that's not for certain.

What, for you, is turning out to be the greatest challenge on developing this new series?

From the very beginning, my mandate to both Brannon, and myself was that we felt it was imperative that we not give the fans just another variation on the last three shows. We just didn't want to slap another crew on another starship and give it another name and send it on its way. I think that after 500 episodes, and a year from now it will be 526 episodes, that it is time for something that is a dramatic departure both for the fans and also for the people involved in creating these shows on a week-to-week basis. So we put a very big task in front of ourselves and, for the last six months, Brannon and I have been working daily on this and we are anxious to tell you and the fans and the public what it is all about but the studio wants to wait until the proper time.

Do you have a working title for the show?

Yes, we certainly do. But, unfortunately, I can't say what it is yet.

Does the current structure of the new series have the same size cast as the last few Star Trek series?

It will probably be a slight bit smaller but, right now, our focus is on seven major characters.

What is currently happening on the new motion picture?

We have now completed our story for the film, we have submitted it to the studio and we are waiting for a "go ahead" to go to script. The storyline revolves around The Next Generation crew.

Would you describe the next film as more epic in scale than prior films?

Well, we've never done a film that I wouldn't say to you at this stage "this is going to be the biggest and the best." And there is no difference with this one. We have a writer who has never done Star Trek before and has an extremely fresh approach to this. We are dealing with a story that is extremely poignant in ways that I wish I could tell you. It is a story that will focus around a remarkable villain and is a very action-oriented space film. A lot higher percentage of this film will take place in outer space than in our previous films. It is tentatively scheduled for Thanksgiving of 2001.

So next year is going to be a busy year for Star Trek?

The fall of 2001 could very well see a new series with new characters and a Next Generation movie literally coming out within a few months of each other.

Have you finalized how you will end Voyager now?

Well, as Brannon has gotten more involved in the development of the new series, Ken Biller has more and more had to fill the "show-running shoes" for Voyager and he and his staff are doing quite an impressive job. Brannon and Joe Menosky are in the process of writing the premiere episode for next season, which is the second part of the cliffhanger, and we have numerous scripts in the works including one that tentatively will be a special two-hour movie that will appear in November. As far as how the series will end and how it will all be resolved, we have discussed it and continue to but nothing has been decided upon just yet.

This must be an exciting time with all of these new projects in the works.

I am at a stage now where I am chomping at the bit to come into work because of the fun I am having, both with the development of the story on the movie and the new series and I cannot wave Ken Biller's flag enough on the job he is doing with Voyager. It's really the powers-that-be in the motion picture division at Paramount and the television division that really will decide when the concepts and release dates and "green lights" will really be announced to the world. There is nothing that would excite me more than to be able to tell you in rambling length about both of these new projects - they are very exciting. But I will have to hold my tongue until they say it is time.

I understand you just reached a milestone with the episode of Voyager that just aired?

Yes, the episode that just aired was our 500th episode. It's pretty amazing that we've done 500 of these shows.

What's as amazing as reaching that 500th episode is that you are able to keep coming up with fresh, new material to keep going.

Well, as soon as we feel that we can't do fresh, new work we will give it to somebody else to do.

Rick, thanks for your time.

It's always my pleasure.

***

This latest issue of the Communicator, #129, is on sale now. And visit the magazine online at FanMedia.com.

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