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STAR TREK NEWS




Hollywood Strikes Threaten "Star Trek X," Series V

While Star Trek: Voyager will end its season in the nick of time and escape unscathed, all of Hollywood is bracing for what could be crippling strikes from both the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), although all parties involved are hoping to come to a resolution.

Should one or both of these strikes take place, production would shut down across Hollywood on all films and television shows, including the upcoming fifth Star Trek series and the next Star Trek feature film, both currently in pre-production.

What's under negotiation are the film and television contracts for each union, which governs how writers and actors are compensated, what kind of credit they receive, working conditions and other operational points.

First on the negotiation agenda for the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) are the negotiations with the WGA, which are presently stalled, but not over by a long shot. Negotiations between the WGA and AMPTP broke off on March 1, but negotiations are expected to resume in April. The current Writer's contract is set to expire May 2, leaving a very small window of time in which to hammer out a new contract both sides can agree on.

Meanwhile, SAG, although prepared to begin negotiations now, will wait until the WGA and the AMPTP have reached a resolution or until the WGA contact expires to begin their negotiations.

The SAG contact with the AMPTP expires on over a month after the WGA's, and SAG would prefer not to overlap with the Writer's negotiations. SAG spokesman Greg Krizman told Daily Variety "We are likely to defer to the WGA at this point, if only because our contract expiration is not until June 30."

Should the strikes be averted, production would proceed on schedule for films and television programs, and the next Star Trek series could hit the airwaves as early as this fall. However, should strikes occur, there's no telling when everything would be back to normal.

As a side note, working with the Actor's union on the upcoming negotiations will be Armin Shimerman (Quark on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) who co-chairs SAG's Wages and Working Conditions Committee.

Designers Start Work on New Series

Two production artists seasoned in the look of the future have begun work on the next incarnation of the Star Trek franchise. Herman Zimmerman has the title of Production Designer/Illustrator on the as-yet-unnamed new series, while John Eaves is the Senior Illustrator.

Zimmerman, a 30-year veteran of Hollywood, has been part of the Star Trek world since the beginning of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He was also Production Designer on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as well as the last five Star Trek movies. Eaves was Senior Illustrator on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and also worked on the last three movies. Zimmerman and Eaves together designed the Sovereign-class Enterprise-E seen in "Star Trek: First Contact" and "Star Trek: Insurrection."

The fifth Star Trek series is still in the embryonic stages of development, but could possibly debut as early as Fall 2001, according to a recent statement by Executive Producer Rick Berman.

Big Reason to Watch Voyager Final Season

SEP 17, 2000 - Star Trek: Voyager's final season was included today as the United Paramount Network (UPN) announced its 2000-2001 season. "Viewers will flock to 'Star Trek: Voyager' this season for all the right reasons," said Tom Nunan, President, Entertainment for UPN, "We kick off the year resolving this season's shocking cliffhanger, we're planning a host of stunts to promote the show's final season and we have a two-hour movie planned for November sweeps." In a press release, UPN calls the season opener (finishing up the "Unimatrix Zero" cliffhanger) "...the ultimate showdown between Voyager and the Borg."

The upcoming season will be Voyager's last, as it joins Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in retiring after seven seasons. While another Star Trek series and a tenth film are forthcoming, both projects are currently in development.

Please note: All production information is subject to change.

KEN BILLER CHATS ABOUT SEASON SEVEN!

With production of Star Trek: Voyager in full swing on the Paramount lot, fans are starting to get a sense of how the show's seventh -- and final -- season is shaping up. As Executive Producer Brannon Braga begins to shift more of his time to developing the next Star Trek television series with Executive Producer Rick Berman, Ken Biller has now taken the reins of Voyager firmly in hand. On staff with him are veteran writers Bryan Fuller, Robert Doherty and Michael Taylor. Raf Green and James Kahn joined the Voyager writing crew at sixth season's end.

Biller took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about where the writing staff plans to take Voyager. The conclusion to "Unimatrix Zero" will premiere on October 4th, obviously wrapping up the cliffhanger that closed on a Borgified Captain Janeway. Biller hopes to have part two do some double duty.

"I thought part one was a great science fiction concept, but we didn't do a good enough job selling the rules of that world. One example is how a bat'leth got there. We knew what the rules were but didn't explain it enough to the audience. Part two will explain some of it more plus have more twists and turns and surprises. [Borg Queen] Susanna Thompson was tantalizing and I hope part two will be satisfying."

The Borg presented a lot of story opportunities in season six that Biller says the staff hadn't deliberately mapped out ahead of time. "There wasn't a plan at the beginning of the season but it became clear that the Borg were our nemesis because they live in the Delta Quadrant. Seven has been prominent so that naturally lead us to explore her character. We became aware of doing a lot of Borg stories, picking and choosing as we went."

One of the Borg story lines that will be dispatched early in season seven will be the Borg children. "Imperfection" will follow the season premiere, bidding farewell to the young Borg while debuting a new Delta Flyer to replace the one destroyed in "Unimatrix Zero, Part I."

"We won't see a lot of Borg stories in season seven," says Biller, "but getting Voyager home will involve, among other things, getting past the Borg. The Borg will present at least one more great, big obstacle."

Having debuted the new Delta Flyer in "Imperfection," Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres will get to team-race it against other ships in "Drive." The episode will also give fans a chance to glimpse where one of the big seventh season story lines is going -- the Paris/Torres romance. "We hope to have some interesting developments in their relationship over several episodes," says Biller.

"In general, as we come into the last season, without wrapping things up too neatly in a bow, we'll be looking at each character's arc and thinking about how to finish it up. For example, Harry Kim started out as a young greenhorn. Now, in season seven, how do we resolve how he has grown?"

Among the planned spotlights for the Voyager crew, Biller hints at a "very interesting Tuvok show" he describes as a mystery/thriller which will revisit the old Maquis story line in "a very unexpected way." A Doctor-kidnapped episode, "Critical Care," is already in the can. Seven's continuing struggle to become more human is in the mix and Biller says, "Barclay will be continuing his Pathfinder efforts from the Alpha Quadrant side." Fans will see a reprise of Reginald Barclay and Deanna Troi at least once, maybe twice.

"We're also planning a two-hour Voyager movie for November sweeps," says Biller. "It will be a big, epic show that will have a very interesting and unexpected group of adversaries, a collection of aliens at once familiar and different than anything we've seen before."

The driving force of the season will be Captain Janeway. "Certainly for her," continues Biller, "the overriding arc has been her single-minded quest to get her crew home."

Kate Mulgrew says she has very mixed feelings about Voyager's journey coming to an end. "I've been interested in Janeway for her humane elements, her flaws curiously juxtaposed with her virtues. I hope I've drawn a picture of a woman who, against her better judgment, has fallen in love with eight people who are dear to her.

"I'm so genuinely fond of all these people. You don't share this kind of secret world, the walking in at 5 a.m. and leaving at 1 a.m., without understanding a kind of intimacy that's rare in this business. For all my talk of getting on this year, it will be hard not to crack at the end when we say good-bye."

The big question, of course, is whether Voyager will come home or not. "I'll never tell," jokes Biller. "It would be naive to assume it's not a regular topic of discussion around here. I know what the answer is but I won't tell you. I think the audience can expect some surprises."

The challenge for Star Trek as it approaches its 35th anniversary and now exceeds well over 500 hours of episodic television is story. "It's amazing we haven't run out of stories," says Biller, "but in fact, we have an embarrassment of riches as we head into season seven. There are a lot of stories we've hung onto because we couldn't tell them until the end. We'll be working very hard to do some things the viewers don't expect."

Please note: All production information is subject to change.

RICK BERMAN TALKS UP NEW SERIES!!!

Rick Berman, Executive Producer of Star Trek: Voyager, confirmed that a new Star Trek series is in the works, and will premiere after Voyager concludes its seven-year run, as reported last night on UPN affiliate KCOP in Los Angeles.

"I think we've come up with a concept that's dramatically different from Voyager or Deep Space Nine, but at the same time it's going to definitely be Star Trek at its core," Berman said. The new series will likely debut in September 2001, according to the news segment.

Berman also spoke about the final season of Voyager, saying that the series will conclude either with the U.S.S. Voyager returning home, or remaining lost in the Delta Quadrant. "There are a great number of repercussions in either scenario," he said, pointing out that the fates of certain characters come into question if they reach Earth. For example, what will happen to the Maquis crew members who are outlaws to the Federation, the Doctor whose holographic program has far exceeded its original design, and Seven of Nine, whose Borg heritage will be of great interest to Starfleet?

If the crew remains stuck on the other side of the galaxy, Berman said, "there are numerous interrelationships between our characters that might be dealt with in very unique ways."

Berman promised that fans can expect some major surprises from Star Trek: Voyager in the next year. "I would always like to believe that, with one season left, the best episodes are yet to come," he said.
"Star Trek X" Writer Revealed

The next Star Trek film will inject some new creative blood into the mix with the addition of John Logan as the primary screenwriter. Logan's previous film credits include "Bats" (1999) and work on the screenplays for "Any Given Sunday" and "Gladiator," as well as last year's acclaimed TV movie "RKO 281."

In terms of the next film, Star Trek Executive Producer Rick Berman recently told the Star Trek Communicator magazine fans can expect "a very action-oriented story that revolves around a remarkable villain. A higher percentage of this film will take place in outer space than in our previous films."

"Star Trek X" (tentative title) is scheduled for release the weekend of Thanksgiving 2001.

Please note: All production information is subject to change.

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