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Brannon Braga on Piloting the Next TREK
Thoughts on writing the next STAR TREK series and stepping away from VOYAGER.
By Anna L. Kaplan
September 25, 2000
Brannon Braga, former executive producer of STAR TREK: VOYAGER, has little to say about the new series as of yet, except to insist that he and Rick Berman are working on the pilot right now. There have been rumors circulating on some TREK websites that there will be no pilot for the next series, but Braga states, 'I've told you, at the very least, that we are writing the pilot, and that we are deeply immersed in the pilot script.' In fact, that is a key reason Braga relinquished the helm of VOYAGER. Braga says, 'Ken Biller has taken over VOYAGER officially. I did a script for him, and a story for him, but at some point I had to step away to work full-time on the new show, on the pilot, which Rick Berman and I have been working on diligently for the past month. It's very exciting.'
However, Braga is not ready to talk specifics. He will say, 'It's going to be quintessential STAR TREK. It hopefully will rekindle the adventure and thrill of the franchise, and at the same time reinvent it. I said it before, we don't to plop a new crew on a new ship and title it STAR TREK: INTREPID. We've got to do something that at once recaptures the heart and soul of STAR TREK while at the same time reinvents STAR TREK to make it different and fresh and bring it into the 21st century. We think we've found a way to do that. This concept for the series is something Rick and I talked about almost two years ago, and we've been developing it for a very, very long time, very, very carefully, along with Paramount Pictures. I am happy to say that although it's taken a very long time to get going, we have not rushed this at all. By the time this thing gets on the air it will have been two, two-and-a-half years in the making, and that is a blessing. This series is an important step in the franchise's future, and you don't want to just rush it out.'
One of the problems involved with the new series involves the uncertain future of the UPN network. Says Braga, 'We are just focusing on what we have been hired to do, which is to create the best series that we can, and write a drop-dead pilot. The politics and finances of what happens with the studio and the network are really so far beyond our realm of expertise and control, that there is really nothing we can do or say or influence. I think it's probably a safe bet that STAR TREK, this new series, will end up comfortably somewhere. We're just not exactly sure where yet.'
He adds, 'We don't know what is happening with UPN. We still have to finish this pilot, and turn it into the studio and get notes, and rewrite it. We have to figure out where we are going to sell it. I have to imagine it will be several months before we make any kind of announcement about the show's premise or storyline.'
In the meantime, Braga wrote the season opener for VOYAGER, the second part of 'Unimatrix Zero' along with Joe Menosky. He also worked on another script, a murder mystery involving Tuvok, called 'Repression.' How does he feel about his separation from VOYAGER? 'I definitely have an emotional connection to a television show that I've poured my heart and soul into for six years. So there is a part of me that is very wistful about not seeing it through to the end. I was actually offered a job on DEEP SPACE NINE just as the last season of NEXT GENERATION was set to begin. I turned it down because I really wanted to see TNG through to the end. I wanted to hopefully write that last episode, and I did. I feel I've done it, and it's time to move onto something new. So I was little regretful, but at the same time, I was ready to move on. Six years with one group of characters is a long, long time. It's nothing that I am crying over every day. I am actually kind of relieved. It's nice to do something new.'
He admits, 'Not having to run a show on daily basis is a tremendous burden that's been lifted. But I am putting all my energies into the new show, which has its own special kind of stress. It creates its own kind of strain, I suppose, but I am not having to crank out a script a week, thank God. You are writing new characters, and you are doing all new things, and you are trying to make it different.'
While fans still have no idea in what ways the next STAR TREK series will be different, it does seem like Braga is talking about a step away from a new crew on yet another ship. As always, time will tell. 'Unimatrix Zero Part II' will air at 9PM on UPN, Wednesday October 4th, after a repeat of the first part at 8PM. Check back at Fandom next Monday for Braga's comments on 'Unimatrix Zero.'