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Rick Berman Interviewed

By Christian
April 16, 2000 - 11:02 PM

Timothy Verheecke at WebTrek has put up a transcript of an interview with Rick Berman, which first appeared in issue 65 of the Star Trek Monthly. This interview is probably one of the more interesting ones to appear over the past few months, as in it Berman provides some behind-the-scenes insights on the current season, and also talks about his own future involvement in the Star Trek franchise.

In the interview, Berman starts out by talking about 'Live Fast and Prosper', 'Life Line' and 'The Muse', which he seems especially enthusiastic about and describes as "an actor's wet dream", with actors "here literally just walking out of the casting sessions begging to get roles in the show." After that, he talks about how they got around to bringing Kes back for 'Fury':

As to Jennifer Lien, we were having a story meeting. I remember it very clearly because we've just put the finishing touches on the episode and I've been watching it. The idea came up. We'd had a wonderful Jennifer performance in an episode [Warlord] where she was sort of possessed and ended up being a rebel leader. When she was playing against [her character], she was terrific.

We got to talking about what the character of Kes was doing since she left in a flare of light three years ago [in The Gift]. And we started imagining what would happen if she came back. The one-line premise that I threw out was, 'What would happen if Kes came back swearing vengeance against Janeway for reasons unknown, and what if Kes' powers were such that she could travel back in time to seek her revenge?' Everybody thought 'Wow.' Before we wrote a word of the story, we contacted Jennifer to see if she would be willing to come back. We were told that she was and then we sat down and came up with a very unique story. It's a show that takes place in two timeframes. It has a lot of weird stuff going on, a lot of mystery that doesn't really unfold until acts four and five. Jennifer gives a great performance. And we've got an episode that I'm very pleased with."

After that, Berman goes on by talking about Voyager's seventh season, which will likely see the last third of the season as a sort of Final Chapter, leading up to the series finale. Apparently the producers are near deciding when exactly they'll bring the show home, but Berman didn't want to reveal that yet. It seems likely that at least for the first half of the season Voyager won't be going home yet, though, because of this Final Chapter only taking up the final part of the season.

Of course, in the interview Berman also talks about Trek X and Series V. Regarding the tenth Star Trek film, he and the studio are currently working with a writer who has never been involved with Star Trek before, but is a "great fan" of the franchise. Apparently the studio is currently aiming for a Thanksgiving or Christmas 2001 release.

Regarding Series V, Berman again mentions their current concept (about which he did not want to give out any info) is dramatically different from the rest of Trek, and that he is "more excited about it's possibilities than [he has] been probably about any of the series." Though he also recognises the great importance of the fifth series, Berman also, perhaps surprisingly, does not believe that the future of the entire Trek franchise rides on the reaction to Series V.

In the final part of the interview, Berman for the first time talks about his own involvement with the Star Trek franchise, and how long it's still going to last. 'Unimatrix Zero', this year's Voyager season finale, will be his 500th Trek episode, and he admits he doesn't "have the same degree of excitement as you do at the beginning of a series" anymore, though there is still a lot of enthusiasm for Trek.

For the near future, he intends to commit himself to Series V for at least its first three years, while after that he "would see what happens". Creating Series Six, should it ever happen, will probably be something he will leave to someone else, while he also isn't certain yet if he will have any involvement with future Trek films beyond Trek X. On the other hand, he ends the interview by saying the following:

"But with a year of Voyager still to come and a new series in development and possibly a new film, too, it's going to get crazy again very soon and I'll certainly have enough to take me into the future without having to think about anything beyond it. So, three years from now, will I be talking to you about another series or another film? I'd like to think not, but who knows?"

Star Trek without Rick Berman would certainly feel weird, and I'm not sure if him leaving the franchise, even if won't happen for another five years, would be a good thing for the franchise. What do you think? Share your thoughts in this Trek BBS thread, or send them to feedback@treknation.com so they can be used in the Mailbag. To read the full interview, please go here.

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