Tuesday, April 10, 2007

There were still strong connections, especially through Gene Roddenberry, who had developed TNG. As executive producer for its first years, he nurtured the next generation of producers and writers. Rick Berman professed fealty to the Roddenberry universe, or the Roddenberry formula for Star Trek’s success. GR had mentored and deeply impressed young writers and creative producers like Ron Moore and particularly Michael Piller, and the TNG actors who would assume more creative responsibility for the feature films as time went on.

The balance between the generations involved in this film was always weighted towards the new, but over time it became more so. After the decision was made to include the original crew in some opening scenes, several TOS actors declined. It’s been reported that Leonard Nimoy was approached to direct the film, but was told that there wasn’t time to make the changes in the script he requested, so he declined. Instead, David Carson, who had directed TNG episodes and other television, became the director of “Generations.”

The script was written by the team of Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore, young writer/producers whose first assignments were for TNG and then DS9. Berman had also asked TNG writers Maurice Hurley and Michael Piller to develop stories for the feature. Piller declined to engage in this competition, and Hurley’s story wasn’t chosen, though it was felt to be strong enough to consider for a subsequent feature.

As Braga and Moore described the process (on the DVD commentary and in various interviews), it involved assembling certain pieces: getting Kirk and Picard together (despite a separation of some 80 years), Kirk’s death, the crash of TNG’s Enterprise-D, etc., while meeting studio demands that it be comprehensible to an audience that somehow didn’t know much about Star Trek, that it include the ever-popular Klingons, a larger-than-life villain like Khan, a comic turn for Data.

They also had to respond to the preferences of the main actors, William Shatner (as Captain Kirk) and Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard of the 24th century Enterprise-D.) For at least part of this time, Braga and Moore were also writing the TNG finale on television, the now classic “All Good Things…” There was even overlap in the filming of the last episode and filming scenes of the movie.

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