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Old February 7 2012, 04:45 AM   #1
The Overlord
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Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV show?

Why was there never a major reoccurring Romulan character in a Star Trek TV show?

The Humans got plenty of characters.

The Vulcans got Spock, Tuvok and T'Pol.

The Klingons got Worf and later Martok as reoccurring character.

The Bajorans got Kira and to a lesser degree Ensign Ro.

The Ferengi got Quark and his family.

The Cardassians got Gul Dukat and Garak as major reoccurring characters.

Even the Borg got 7 0f 9 and the Borg Queen.

The only reoccurring Romulan characters were Commander Sela and Commander Tomalak. Sela only had two appearances before being forgotten and Tomalak only had two appearances that were important to the story, his third appearance was just a hologram and his fourth appearance was just a cameo.

I think the Romulans would feel less underdeveloped if there was a major reoccurring Romulan character in one of these shows.
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Old February 7 2012, 04:53 AM   #2
Herkimer Jitty
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

DS9 was apparently going to make an attempt at this (note the Romulan officer on the Defiant on its first trip out), but they dropped her like day-old pancakes.
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Old February 7 2012, 06:00 AM   #3
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

The problem is that you are dealing with an enemy.
TOS - Romulans are the enemy
TNG - Romulans are the enemy
Voy - Lost In Space point is moot
DS9 - Even when the Romulans were on the same side as the Feds they still were not to be trusted.

I think if you want the Romulans on a Hero ship you are going to have to do it in FanFic.
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Old February 7 2012, 06:51 AM   #4
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

ngc7293 wrote: View Post
The problem is that you are dealing with an enemy.
TOS - Romulans are the enemy
TNG - Romulans are the enemy
Voy - Lost In Space point is moot
DS9 - Even when the Romulans were on the same side as the Feds they still were not to be trusted.

I think if you want the Romulans on a Hero ship you are going to have to do it in FanFic.
The Cardassians were the enemies in DS9, you still had two major reoccurring Cardassian characters. Heck the Domionion was also the enemy, but they still had Weyoun as a major reoccurring character.

In Voyager, the Borg were the enemy, but 7 of 9 was still a main character.

There are ways they could have had a major Romulan character even if the Federation was at odds with them. What about a Romulan commander who is a Romulan counter part for Kirk or Picard, tasked with dealing with them and becoming their nemesis over time. Tomalak was supposed to be that in TNG for a while, but he didn't get enough screen time. He should have appeared more, instead of the random Romulan commanders they often had. Or they could have had a Romulan exile helping the Federation. I think they could have had a major Romulan character if they wanted to, but they never seemed interested.
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Old February 7 2012, 07:05 AM   #5
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

The Overlord wrote: View Post
The only reoccurring Romulan characters were Commander Sela and Commander Tomalak. Sela only had two appearances before being forgotten and Tomalak only had two appearances that were important to the story, his third appearance was just a hologram and his fourth appearance was just a cameo.
Senator Kimara Cretak was played by Megan Cole in "Image in the Sand" and "Shadows and Symbols", and Adrienne Barbeau in "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" when Megan Cole was unavailable. According to the PADD that Kira was reading in "Image in the Sand", Cretak was also involved in the events of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes "Unification I" and "Unification II".

Herkimer Jitty wrote: View Post
DS9 was apparently going to make an attempt at this (note the Romulan officer on the Defiant on its first trip out), but they dropped her like day-old pancakes.
T'Rul.

But they liked the actress, and thus Martha Hackett became a semi-regular on VOY.
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Old February 7 2012, 07:14 AM   #6
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
The Overlord wrote: View Post
The only reoccurring Romulan characters were Commander Sela and Commander Tomalak. Sela only had two appearances before being forgotten and Tomalak only had two appearances that were important to the story, his third appearance was just a hologram and his fourth appearance was just a cameo.
Senator Kimara Cretak was played by Megan Cole in "Image in the Sand" and "Shadows and Symbols", and Adrienne Barbeau in "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" when Megan Cole was unavailable. According to the PADD that Kira was reading in "Image in the Sand", Cretak was also involved in the events of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes "Unification I" and "Unification II".

.
Would you really say Kimara Cretak was a major reoccuring character the way Worf was or Dukat or Kira or Spock or Quark or 7 of 9 was. I don't think so, Kimara Cretak seemed pretty under developed compared to those other characters I mentioned. I am taking about a major reoccurring character, not some incidental character who appeared 3 times, but a character who had a huge impact on the plot of the series, maybe even someone who has character arc, like all those other characters I have mentioned. The Romulans had few reoccurring incidental characters, but not a major reoccurring character, there is a difference.
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Old February 7 2012, 07:39 AM   #7
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

The Overlord wrote: View Post
The Cardassians were the enemies in DS9, you still had two major reoccurring Cardassian characters. Heck the Domionion was also the enemy, but they still had Weyoun as a major reoccurring character.
Seeing as how DS9 was a stationary object the Cardassians were their neighbours, so they would always be a threat, so it made sense to develop recurring villans and station residents who would be seen continuously.

The Overlord wrote: View Post
In Voyager, the Borg were the enemy, but 7 of 9 was still a main character.
Seven wasn't really a Borg character, she was a human, formerly assimilated and regaining her humanity. Then thanks to her the Borg really didn't seem much like a threat anytime they reappeared as she knew all their weak points.

The Overlord wrote: View Post
There are ways they could have had a major Romulan character even if the Federation was at odds with them. What about a Romulan commander who is a Romulan counter part for Kirk or Picard, tasked with dealing with them and becoming their nemesis over time.
Then that would just become dull over time. Kirk/Picard are sent to the RNZ to deal with the Romulans, face off against the Commander, but ultimately win and are regailed as heroes, whilst their Romulan adversary slinks off back the Romulus to try again.

It worked on DS9 as they made use of the fact that they don't go anywhere and had a chance to build up good plots and backstory, as well as very compelling characters.

I admit, I would loved to have seen more from Sela or T'Rul (even just a few more guest appearances from both actresses), or have been introduced to another recurring Romulan character, but unless the ship (or indeed a station) was assigned to patrol the RNZ, where their interaction with the Romulans would be more frequent and there was the chance to build up a good "rapport" with them and make them an interesting and compelling character, then it really would be difficult to feature a more well developed Romulan character.

But thats just some of my thoughts.
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Old February 7 2012, 02:37 PM   #8
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

Romulans often get the short end of the stick. Originally meant to be the primary villains of TOS, a role which ended up going to the Klingons. Out of 11 movies, only two featured Romulans in any relvant way, and in one they took a back seat to a newy introduced alien of the week and in the other their homeworld got destroyed. After 45 years they're still considered bad guys, with previous attepmts to make peace forgotten/ignored.

So yeah, it doesn't surprise me that we've never had a prominent Romulan character. A damn shame, too. Trek has given us some interesting one-off Romulans over the years, I'd love to see what they do with a recurring one.
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Old February 7 2012, 04:16 PM   #9
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

Weren't Saavik and T'Pol both suppose to be half Romulan?
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Old February 7 2012, 04:31 PM   #10
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

Saavik was originally in TWOK, but that was later retconned in TSFS and TVH in favour of making her full Vulcan. As for T'Pol that was meant to be revealed in the series that never was, so not sure how 'canon' that makes it.

I loved Alley's Saavik, the Romulan half gave her a different edge to Spock. But in T'Pol's case I don't understand why they would have gone thrat route with the character.
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Old February 7 2012, 04:35 PM   #11
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

The Wormhole wrote: View Post
Romulans often get the short end of the stick. Originally meant to be the primary villains of TOS, a role which ended up going to the Klingons. Out of 11 movies, only two featured Romulans in any relvant way, and in one they took a back seat to a newy introduced alien of the week and in the other their homeworld got destroyed. After 45 years they're still considered bad guys, with previous attepmts to make peace forgotten/ignored.
To be fair we don't really know much about the majority of Romulans who likely survived the destruction of Romulus (Nero's hyperbole aside) we only saw Nero and his crew who lets face it likely were nuts. Plus the Romulan Empire asked the Federation for help about the nova, they probably wouldn't have done that if they were still enemies.
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Old February 7 2012, 04:35 PM   #12
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
Saavik was originally in TWOK, but that was later retconned in TSFS and TVH in favour of making her full Vulcan.
I don't think there's anything on-screen that would contradict her being half-Romulan.
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Old February 7 2012, 05:04 PM   #13
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

The Overlord wrote: View Post
Why was there never a major reoccurring Romulan character in a Star Trek TV show?

I think the Romulans would feel less underdeveloped if there was a major reoccurring Romulan character in one of these shows.
The Romulans were quite developed on the shows. We saw their culture, politics, homeworld, intrigue, spies and more. This was accomplished without any single Romulan character having a lead role in any of the series. An entire movie [arguably not a successful one] was devoted to Romulans in Nemesis.

One could hardly ask for more from a race created to be the enemy of the Federation and untrustworthy in all incarnations of Star Trek.

The Romulans were originally created as an allegory of China during the cold war era of the 1960s. The trappings were that of the decline of the Roman empire. (Klingons were the Soviet bad guys of that same era, with the Federation representing the good ol' U.S. of A.) The Chinese-type spies of 1960s movies intrigued us in "The Enterprise Incident". The morality of the Vietnam War was displayed with Klingons and Federation playing the roles of Soviets and Americans arming smaller rival nations in escalating conflict.

Within each series, as well as Trek overall, the Romulans were sufficiently developed.
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Old February 7 2012, 05:47 PM   #14
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

BillJ wrote: View Post
I don't think there's anything on-screen that would contradict her being half-Romulan.
Generally I would agree with you, though Curtis' portrayal of the character is more traditionally Vulcan than Alley's was.
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Old February 7 2012, 10:05 PM   #15
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Re: Why was there never a major Romulan character in a Star Trek TV sh

The Overlord wrote: View Post
Would you really say Kimara Cretak was a major reoccuring character the way Worf was or Dukat or Kira or Spock or Quark or 7 of 9 was.
No, but you said, "The only reoccurring Romulan characters were Commander Sela and Commander Tomalak" and that is not true.
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