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An exploration of 'Deep Space Nine'

An exploration of 'Deep Space Nine'

Courtesy of Deadline

In 1991, “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry died at the age of 70 after producing the original “Star Trek” series from 1966 and the rebooted “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in 1987. In 1993, at the tail end of the final season of “The Next Generation,” “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” was created, the first Trek series to not be headed by Roddenberry.

While the series arguably did not stay true to Roddenberry’s utopian vision of the future, fans gradually took to the dark and gritty outlook on war, race relations and spirituality that other “Star Trek” shows avoided.

Nearly 20 years after “Deep Space Nine” ended, showrunner Ira Steven Behr announced a new documentary retrospective on the series, titled “What We Left Behind.” In 2017, Behr launched an Indiegogo campaign for the film, which raised over four times its goal with a total of $647,891.

This allowed the filmmakers to not only produce the documentary, but to also go above and beyond and include an imagining of a hypothetical eighth season, straight from the minds of the original writers. At the time, Adam Nimoy – son of famed Spock actor Leonard Nimoy and wife of “Deep Space Nine” actress Terry Farrell – was announced as the director of the documentary, but he left the project in late 2017.

The documentary was finished in 2018 and even premiered this past October, but the official release was delayed for one crucial reason: all footage from “Deep Space Nine” was in standard-definition, or 480p, while the interview clips were in high-definition, or 1080p.

“Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager” have gotten the short end of the stick in recent years, as they are not popular enough amongst the general public to warrant a full-on HD remaster like the original “Star Trek” series and “The Next Generation” got.

Behr, while working on “What We Left Behind,” realized that it would be their only chance to remaster “Deep Space Nine” in the highest quality possible, even if it meant delaying the documentary until 2019.

Only a week or so ago, a trailer was finally released for the film, showcasing the high-definition footage for the first time. The starship Defiant and the titular space station have never looked better, their studio models produced at almost film-level quality.

Brief glimpses of O’Brien, Kira, Quark, Odo and others are shown, as are the stunning space battle scenes from the series finale, “What We Leave Behind,” which the documentary takes its name from.

The clips that sold fans on the new film, however, were the interviews with the actors and writers: Avery Brooks and his impassioned defense of Captain Sisko, the first African-American headliner of a “Star Trek” series; Wallace Shawn, multi-episode guest star, remarking that he didn’t know the series was dark at all; Farrell’s tearful recounting of her infamous firing by producer Rick Berman; and finally, Behr and Armin Shimerman joking around, just like old friends.

The trailer ends with Behr saying the phrase that perfectly encapsulated the series: “This is ‘Deep Space Nine.’ Don’t get too comfortable.”

“What We Left Behind,” distributed by Fathom Events and Shout! Factory, will premiere in a limited release in theaters on Monday, May 13.

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