Coto, Writers Reveal Mirror Universe BackstoryBy Michelle
March 17, 2005 - 8:45 PM
See Also: 'In A Mirror, Darkly - Part I' Episode Guide
A panel of Star Trek: Enterprise writers revealed at the Grand Slam XIII convention last weekend that the original plans for the Mirror universe episodes included William Shatner (Captain Kirk) as well as other tidbits about installments that did not come to pass.
Manny Coto, Mike Sussman, Andre Bormanis and Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens appeared together at the convention, according to a report at StarTrek.com, thanking fans for their support in the wake of the announcement of the series' conclusion (which executive producer Coto described as "some rumors about, oh, a cancellation thing, but we're treating them as just that, rumors"). The audience erupted in laughter and applause. "It seems that some of the sets have been taken down, but we're just assuming they've been taken out to be washed!" The writers showed a sneak peek at the upcoming duology "In a Mirror, Darkly", explaining that the mirror universe concept stemmed from a concept developed by the Reeves-Stevenses, who had worked with Shatner on his Star Trek novels.
"The idea was that the Tantalus Field was not a disintegrator, it was a humane way of dealing with prisoners, by sending them back in time to a sealed penal colony," explained Garfield Reeves-Stevens. "Enterprise NX-01 comes upon the colony — and Tiberius [mirror-Kirk] is there. Tiberius thinks, 'Finally, a ship with a transporter — I can get back to my own universe, my own time.'" But once he gets to Enterprise's transporter, he discovers that the mirror universe does not exist yet; it diverged from the familiar universe due to something for which Tiberius and Archer were jointly responsible.
Shatner pitched the storyline to Coto, Brannon Braga and Rick Berman, only to discover that the latter had a different alternate universe pitch developed by Sussman in which Shatner would play Chef, an ancestor of Kirk whom time-traveler Daniels wanted to use to replace the real Kirk at an important event when Kirk went missing. "We pitched this to Shatner and there was a long silence," said Coto. When negotiations for Shatner to appear on the show fell through, Sussman went ahead with a mirror-universe two-parter that did not involve Tiberius and instead used the USS Defiant from "The Tholian Web."
"Seeing that bridge was just the greatest thing," Coto said of the rebuilt Defiant, saying that people kept calling to ask to see and take pictures on that set. "It was a great example of how popular the Original Series still is. I hope you enjoy the episode. We had a blast writing it."