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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Deep Space Nine

Deep Space Nine What We Left Behind, we will always have here.

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Old November 12 2013, 08:35 AM   #1
MikeS
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Was there a seven year plan?

I've been thinking recently about how the whole arc of DS9 fits together so well. From the big things like Bajor, Cardassia and the Dominion to the subtler things like Nog's character growth or Julian & Miles friendship.

That must have been planned from the start right? Or were they just making it up as they went along?
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Old November 12 2013, 11:44 AM   #2
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

There were small plans along the way, but no...no big plan to cover the whole run.
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Old November 12 2013, 01:24 PM   #3
T'Girl
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

They were making it up as they went. The Defiant was created when the original idea of the majority of the action being on the space station was discovered to be too limiting.


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Old November 12 2013, 01:35 PM   #4
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

No, the writers simply collaborated well as they went along. Indeed, the Dominion War was supposed to be a smaller affair, wrapped up in 2-3 episodes at the beginning of season 5 (I believe), but other things got in the way. First, introducing Worf and the Klingon conflict pushed the war back. Second, the writers, individually, wanted to accomplish more with their individual episodes, requiring more and more time (luckily, they kept talking with one another, so that the next episode was influenced by what happened previously). Third, the Dominon War became the framework within which all the other narratives were explored: the Emissary, the Cardassians, the Klingons, etc. With the increasingly complexity of the Dominion War, it couldn't be wrapped up as quickly as anticipated, eventually consuming the rest of the series. If you want details, you should find the DS9 Companion.
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Old November 12 2013, 03:00 PM   #5
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

T'Girl wrote: View Post
They were making it up as they went. The Defiant was created when the original idea of the majority of the action being on the space station was discovered to be too limiting.
Actually I seem to recall some interviews published before or during the first season where they hinted that there were plans to eventually add a larger starship. But I think they were talking in terms of using it as a vehicle to do more exploration-based stories in the classic Trek vein, so I doubt they were thinking of something like the Defiant at that stage.

But no, there was no master plan from the beginning. The original showrunner, the guy in charge of the creative process, was Michael Piller, but after season 2 he shifted his attention to Voyager, and then Ira Steven Behr took over as showrunner for the rest of the series. Also, after season 2, Ron Moore and Rene Echevarria moved over from TNG to join the staff. So a lot of the key decision-makers in the final 5 years of the series weren't in those same roles for the first 2.

Plus there were decisions that came from the studio, like adding Worf to the cast in order to boost ratings, and shifting the focus to a Klingon arc and away from the Dominion stuff for a while. The studio was also constantly pressuring them to avoid the Bajoran religion stuff, though evidently that pressure relented over time.
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Old November 12 2013, 03:15 PM   #6
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

from Memory Alpha:

Of the creation of the USS Defiant, Robert Hewitt Wolfe points out, "Bringing in the Defiant was based on our own internal perceptions of something that would make the show better. It was not based on ratings." There was also a practical reason, as Ira Steven Behr explains, "We'd created villains who were that powerful, and all we had floating around as the thin red line of defense against this possible invading army were three runabouts." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
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Old November 12 2013, 04:49 PM   #7
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

I have one of the earliest background books published, The Making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1994), which only covers how the series was originally developed, and production during the first two seasons. There was no multi-season arc laid out in the beginning. One major theme they did want to pursue was how Sisko starts out as a man haunted by personal tragedy, and has his life changed due to his relationship with Bajor and the Prophets. But there's no indication that they knew what would finally happen to him.

They weren't even sure a Star Trek show on a space station was going to work with audiences.
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Old November 12 2013, 04:53 PM   #8
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

AFAIK, the only sci-fi show with a pre-planned multi-year arc was Babylon 5 and even in that case there were heavy modifications to the original outline made along the way.

That being said, DS9's arcs turned out reasonably well. That's not a given, considering that other show's arcs became a complete mess sometimes.
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Old November 12 2013, 05:14 PM   #9
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

Ensign_Redshirt wrote: View Post
AFAIK, the only sci-fi show with a pre-planned multi-year arc was Babylon 5 and even in that case there were heavy modifications to the original outline made along the way.
Well, it was the first one with a pre-planned multi-year arc, but that's become a lot more common since then. Still, any such plan needs to be flexible and open to change. Like the saying goes, no plan survives an encounter with the enemy. (In fact, I first came across that saying in J. Michael Straczynski's book on screenwriting.) Lots of series have general plans for the character arcs, but they're not mapped out episode-by-episode for years in advance; they're more just loosely defined goals and key events that need to happen somewhere along the way, with plenty of flexibility about the when and the how, and with room to revise plans if the story starts to veer in an unexpected but interesting direction.


Personally, I think DS9 made a mistake by letting the Dominion War drag out all the way to the end of the series. They should've wrapped it up sooner and dealt with the aftermath.
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Old November 12 2013, 07:50 PM   #10
dub
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

Ensign_Redshirt wrote: View Post
DS9's arcs turned out reasonably well. That's not a given, considering that other show's arcs became a complete mess sometimes.
That's certainly the truth. It's amazing how well the show turned out considering it had so many arcs and serial elements, but not very much pre-series planning for those arcs. I think the stars all aligned wonderfully for this show. The cast, extended cast, the writers, the producers, the designers. Together they created something very special. It may not have been a ratings rock star, but it's a series that they could all be proud of. DS9 holds up amazingly well and comes off as a saga that was planned out from the beginning even though it really wasn't.
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Old November 12 2013, 08:21 PM   #11
King Daniel Into Darkness
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

The DS9 master plan was as follows:

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Old November 12 2013, 09:13 PM   #12
Pavonis
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

No, no seven-year plan. It was even more remarkable. They ended up making it appear there was a plan! Not intentionally, of course. The writers would be inspired to write new episodes from seemingly insignificant throw-away lines from previous episodes. That's creativity, building off of what they had established before, and running with it.
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Old November 12 2013, 09:22 PM   #13
Marten
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

Pavonis wrote: View Post
No, no seven-year plan. It was even more remarkable. They ended up making it appear there was a plan! Not intentionally, of course. The writers would be inspired to write new episodes from seemingly insignificant throw-away lines from previous episodes. That's creativity, building off of what they had established before, and running with it.
Sort of like BSG. But smarter.
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Old November 12 2013, 11:25 PM   #14
R. Star
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

King Daniel Into Darkness wrote: View Post
The DS9 master plan was as follows:

Yeah... I guess TOS copied every other sci-fi series too because it was about a ship in space. Nevermind small details like DS9 airing before B5... by over a year if you take away that one shot pilot.
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Old November 12 2013, 11:48 PM   #15
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Re: Was there a seven year plan?

Bashir being genetically engineered pretty much came out of nowhere.
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