New HorizonsBy Amy
January 15, 2001 - 5:55 PM
On June 2, 1999, the third and perhaps most controversial incarnation of Gene Roddenberry's greatest work, Star Trek, came to a close after 7 years, leaving many fans hungry for more. Much more, that is, at least according to Deep Space Nine: Horizons, the campaign dedicated to getting the crew of the space station back up and onto the big screen.
Star Trek has always had one of the largest television fandoms, and certainly one of the most vocal. Bearing that in mind, it's certainly no wonder then that Star Trek has a long and colourful history of fan-run campaigns, some more successful than others - for example, everyone knows the story of how a certain NASA space shuttle came to be named Enterprise. The past few years have been particularly active on the campaign front, with the Bring Back Kirk and Excelsior campaigns. Unfortunately (or, depending on your views of their campaign goals, fortunately) these two campaigns have fallen from prominence as attention has shifted away from the past and towards the future - shown in that despite these campaigns, Kirk has remained dead, and, if Sulu is going to be in Series V, it's probably only going to be in a guest-starring role. But this certainly hasn't stopped Horizons - what began as a simple e-mail petition has blossomed into a full-flung campaign with a petition, letter-writing campaign, convention appearances, support from the actors... even a promotional video is in the works.
The campaign itself is spearheaded by two very different people with one very large thing in common - their love of Deep Space Nine. On one hand there's Stacy Powell, who, at age 18, is a second generation Trek fan and a self-admitted fanatic who sparked off the campaign with a simple e-mail. On the other, there's Doug Wilson, a fan since only the summer of '96, who is currently running things over at Horizons as Co-Campaign Manager and Senior Director of International Affairs, though he doesn't hesitate to admit that "[he doesn't] want too sound as if [he's] like, the mastermind or the genius, Stacy started this."
Stacy says she "initiated the campaign after hearing from a multitude of online factions that a Deep Space Nine film project was not only deserved, but would be fully supported". Her initial interest was only in the petition which actually seems to have gotten a bit away from her as the idea caught on - "not a bad thing, actually," as she remarked. For Doug, the campaign "wasn't a 'spur-of-the-moment idea", in fact, he feels that "[it] was a long time coming". He likens it to the 'Save Trek' campaign of yore - it's all about the fans getting what they want. "Writing letters, bumper stickers on Exec's cars saying "I Grok Spock!" that's what I think we've set in motion," he said, "Paramount needs to know the Fans are out here, we're standing up for what we want, and damned well better get it." So, what do the fans want? A Deep Space Nine movie or at least mini-series is, of course, high on the list, and the reason for that can perhaps be best summed up in a single word: resolution. As the campaign front page says:
"What we leave behind" left behind so much. So many unanswered questions, so many un-told stories, so many things to explore, not only abroad in the final frontier, but in Quark's, and Garak's shop. So many mysteries left unsolved. So many friendships left behind.
They "want to know what['s] has happened in the galaxy since June 2, 1999." They want the final casualty lists, to find out what happened to the big powers once their mutual enemy is out of the way, closure brought to all those hanging storylines... resolution.
Interestingly enough, no matter what the ultimate outcome is for the campaign, they will get the resolution they seek - just not from the large or small screens. Pocket Books will commence its Deep Space Nine relaunch in May with 'Avatar' by S.D. Perry. So far there are 11 books in the post 'What You Leave Behind' series scheduled for release, and more information on the various books is coming to light almost daily, thanks mainly to Psi Phi's Books Database and series editor Marco Palmieri. Palmieri seems to feel much the same way about Deep Space Nine as do Stacy and Doug, and has been quoted as saying that "Those seven amazing seasons of DS9 were just Act One of a vast, still-unfolding saga. Beginning next May, we're going to offer the fans a vision of Act Two." Some might say that with this, Horizon's work was actually done before it was begun. So, does this affect Horizon's campaign in any way? In a word, "no," as Doug puts it. "What do I think of them?" he said when we asked him to comment on the book series, "I like the idea. I'll buy and read them. Do I think they're affecting the campaign? No. All Star Trek Novels are officially classified as Non-Canon, or not part of the official universe, unless written by an exec, like Jeri Taylor." Stacy also doesn't see how the books could do the campaign any harm, but does believe that they could easily be considered cannon and worked into a movie or mini-series. "There are many story arcs a DS9 movie could pick up on," she remarked, "despite how the books might change the status quo of characters and such."
In the end, as Doug in particular points out, the success of the campaign is completely dependent on the involvement of the fans. To date they have around 3,500 signatures on their online petition and, as previously mentioned, have started up a letter-writing campaign directed at four of the Powers That Be - Leslie Moonves (CEO and President of Programming, CBS), Josie Thomas (VP for Business Affairs & Sr VP for Diversity, CBS), Kerry McCluggage (President of Television Programming) and, of course, Rick Berman - which asks that people send a letter a week to one or all of them requesting a DS9 movie or mini-series. They've also enlisted the support of a number of websites such as Chrissys.com who donated a piece of the Defiant to the campaign, and have even recruited actors from the show to the campaign - for example, David B.Levinson (Broik the bartender) and J.G. Hertzler (General Martok) who reportedly told autograph seekers to "Take one of these [flyers], don't throw it away or I'll come after you,", while Nana Visitor (Kira), one of the actors who expressed doubts of the show ever returning to broadcast format, was said to be "thrilled" upon learning of the campaign's existence.
So, will the gang from DS9 finally nudge the current holders of the Trek movie crown out of the circuit? It certainly is possible, with TNG's Brent Spiner expressing his wishes that Data be killed off before Brent ages him too far. On the other hand, they could just as easily loose out to Voyager, which comes to the end of it's seven-season run this year, whose episodic style would be better suited to the big screen. Really, it only comes down to the involvement of the fan base and the willingness of Paramount to bow to their demands if the pressure becomes high enough. As Doug concluded in our interview, "We do need a lot more support, we need new ideas, we need new areas too explore. The Campaign WILL FAIL unless we get more fan support. Without it, we have no campaign."
And with no campaign, no new Deep Space Nine? For all you Niner's out there left hanging behind by the finale, it might just be worth the try. For more information on the Deep Space Nine: Horizons campaign, visit their homepage, while to read our interview with the campaign's co-ordinators, Doug Wilson and Stacy Powell, follow this link.