John Shiban Talks 'Minefield's' Romulan SurpriseBy Caillan
June 20, 2003 - 8:58 AM
See Also: 'Minefield' Episode Guide
Enterprise co-executive producer John Shiban said recently he never intended to include the Romulans in his debut episode, but a spur-of-the-moment idea from creator Brannon Braga soon changed his plans.
Shiban, a former X-Files scribe, told Star Trek Monthly's James Swallow (via Sci-Fi Pulse) he originally decided the hostile race encountered in "Minefield" would be "unknown aliens". But while the writing staff were meeting to "beat" out the episode's structure, Shiban's boss had a brainwave.
"I believe it was Brannon who turned to me and said, 'This could be the Romulans...' There was silence in the room! But I was instantly excited and intrigued by that."
After making sure the continuity with the other Trek incarnations was watertight, Shiban said the Romulans turned out to be a "perfect fit". "The story would fall apart if the aliens were helpful or communicative. If they were someone that Archer could try to deal with, then you have a whole other avenue, and to me the story has got to be that their last hope is their best hope, that their only way out of it is to send someone out there to defuse the mine."
While developing "Minefield", Shiban and Braga conceived "Dead Stop", in which the damaged Enterprise docks at a repair station where everything is just a little too perfect. "The usual thing to do would be that the ship is all repaired and everything is back to normal next week, but Brannon and I really felt like this had to be important, that the ship had been damaged," Shiban said, calling the follow-up episode an example of "continuity without being serialised".
The full John Shiban article can be found in issue 106 of Star Trek Monthly, which also includes interviews with Garrett Wang (Harry Kim) and John Billingsley (Doctor Phlox). Alternatively, excerpts are available here at Sci-Fi Pulse.