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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old March 8 2013, 06:24 PM   #1
F. King Daniel
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The original plan for Countdown

Podcast here: http://www.podcastugc.com/archives/526
Good stuff starts at about 47 mins.

According to Al Rivera (lead designer on Star Trek Online), in an early script for Countdown, Worf, Riker and Picard all died and Earth itself was destroyed. I imagine this would have reflected a far more apocalyptic version of future events in Star Trek.

Cryptic complained that this would ruin their plans for the Star Trek Online videogame, and the destruction was significantly scaled back.

Before that the guy also talks about the Trek novels, speculating that CBS may not even read them or care what happens in them, because he can't believe the changes that have been allowed in their version of the Trekverse. It seems STO is kept on a tighter leash by TPTB.

Thanks to brian577 for linking to this in the XI+ forum. I thought it might be of interest to people here, too.
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Old March 8 2013, 06:41 PM   #2
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

CBS does still read and approve the novels. Perhaps they're given more leeway because they are, regrettably, more of a niche product.

I'm aware of an earlier draft of the movie script that involved more wholesale destruction in the Prime timeline as well. I always figured they dialed it back because they didn't want to alienate fans who wanted the Prime timeline to endure.
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Old March 9 2013, 10:51 AM   #3
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

King Daniel wrote: View Post
Podcast here: http://www.podcastugc.com/archives/526
Good stuff starts at about 47 mins.

According to Al Rivera (lead designer on Star Trek Online), in an early script for Countdown, Worf, Riker and Picard all died and Earth itself was destroyed. I imagine this would have reflected a far more apocalyptic version of future events in Star Trek.

Cryptic complained that this would ruin their plans for the Star Trek Online videogame, and the destruction was significantly scaled back.
That certainly would have disappointed me. I'm glad the STO team argued against it.
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Old March 9 2013, 03:38 PM   #4
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

It's interesting he says the the following:

* at the start of the process (creating events for the game), they sent CBS the high-level story beats and '99 times out of hundreds they never respond to'

* They incorporate bits of the novels, but it's clear he has read some of them but not others -

"Some of the novels do some crazy stuff, I hear there was a book, where I hear, because we've been working with Denise Crosby that Sela gets killed, I wonder how they hell they get away with that, does CBS even know that? Because I don't think they would be happy about that. Another book where they destroy the borg, we could never do that" and he thinks that CBS are a little bit more concerned with what they do rather than the books.
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Old March 9 2013, 04:13 PM   #5
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

Maybe it's just me, but that guy seems to overestimate the importance of the game. Why should the novels be prohibited from killing a minor canon character only because the actress playing her seems to be the only one desperate enough for money/attention to be used as a marketing tool for a semi-successful MMORPG that will probably be dead in a couple of years?

And maybe, just maybe CBS is just trusting Pocket Books a little bit more with some things because a) they have a 30+ years history in doing the novels and b) are actually part of the CBS conglomerate?

But no, it must be because those evil Pocket Books guys are doing all those things behind the back of CBS, always sending van Citters different manuscripts than what they are actually printing.
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Old March 9 2013, 04:23 PM   #6
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

I really could care less what Countdown/STO does. The timeline in that case is clearly designed to maximise war and bloodshed, because that contributes to the STO gameplay. And since STO is incompatible with most Treklit as it exists now, why bother worrying about it?
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Old March 9 2013, 04:45 PM   #7
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

^No one's worried about it. Although it is interesting to imagine what would happen had the film completely razed the Trek universe in 2387. Rather than counting down (forgive the pun) to Romulus' inevitable demise, we'd probably be counting down to the end of Prime Trek altogether.
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Old March 9 2013, 05:10 PM   #8
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

Defcon wrote: View Post
Maybe it's just me, but that guy seems to overestimate the importance of the game.
I figure it's just that he's fairly new to the Trek tie-in business. Various novel and comics companies have been doing tie-ins for decades, and the canon has never been bound by anything that happened in them, nor indeed have other tie-ins been bound by them. So really, why shouldn't they be allowed to make changes? And it's not like CBS ignores any of it. They're just a lot more flexible these days than they were in the past.

Indeed, I get the impression that Brannon Braga's Hive miniseries for IDW is making some major changes in the status of the Borg and a couple of canonical characters, much as Pocket has done in its books. So maybe he's wrong to assume that STO wouldn't be allowed to make a similarly major change; maybe it's just that they haven't tried yet.
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Old March 9 2013, 08:53 PM   #9
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

It's pretty ridiculous to think that Pocket could some how sneak stuff like Sela's death and the Borg Invasion past CBS. I think that this point the people responsible for the novels have probably just proven themselves enough over time that CBS trusts to handle things that.
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Old March 9 2013, 09:15 PM   #10
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

^Right. The folks at the CBS (formerly Paramount) licensing division responsible for approving Trek tie-ins have a long-established relationship with the novel editors. They've been working together for quite a few years. It's not neglect on the studio's part or chicanery on the editors' part, it's trust and cooperation.
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Old March 9 2013, 10:24 PM   #11
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

I'd love to get my hands on a copy of that original Countdown script, just for my own curiosity - and to see what other changes had been planned.
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Old March 10 2013, 01:40 AM   #12
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

This shouldn't bother me. Especially since somebody, somewhere *thank god* happened to be looking out for the old stomping grounds. But what I guess I find disturbing in some respects, is how much of an insight it gives me, into how the minds of the current custodians of Trek work. I mean here you are, in charge of creating a brand new chapter of the franchise... Best fucking job in the universe. What exactly does burning all the old stuff add? Wow. It's a very young punk attitude to take. A middle finger to the previous generation. Mentioning Archer within the context of a joke about losing his dog in a transporter accident was frankly bad enough.

Anyway, like I said. Shouldn't bother me. If it had happened in a comic book, I could just have ignored it. Not like it's on TV or in film and constantly being watched somewhere around the world, by millions, at anytime or the day or night. A few thousand will have read it. Of those, less than a hundred will have even cared one way or the other.

As it turned out, I rather liked Countdown and looking at how well it works storyboarded as panels, still think it would've made a fine animated movie and a way of giving TNG a modest screen send-off. While at the same time, acting as a set-up for the new movie universe and fleshing out Nero's backstory. Destroying the Earth, killing your heroes and wrecking some fundimental parts of the Prime universe just seems like rubbing salt into a still open wound.
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Old March 10 2013, 11:10 AM   #13
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

ChristopherPike wrote: View Post
What exactly does burning all the old stuff add? Wow. It's a very young punk attitude to take. A middle finger to the previous generation.
It's fantastic, best attitude to take - tear it all down and start again. The old stuff is still there but it allows something new and fresh to be created.
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Old March 10 2013, 12:59 PM   #14
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
ChristopherPike wrote: View Post
What exactly does burning all the old stuff add? Wow. It's a very young punk attitude to take. A middle finger to the previous generation.
It's fantastic, best attitude to take - tear it all down and start again. The old stuff is still there but it allows something new and fresh to be created.
I look forward to the opening of Star Wars Episode VII involving Han Solo getting brutally murdered. Lightsaber slash to the groin? Or a blaster shot to the face at close range? It's a sure fire way to honour all the old stuff that's had its day and needs to step aside for the young 'uns.
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Old March 10 2013, 01:03 PM   #15
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Re: The original plan for Countdown

JoeZhang wrote: View Post
The old stuff is still there but it allows something new and fresh to be created.
I think what ChristopherPike objects to is the "original plan" in which the old stuff wouldn't be there, because Earth (apparently) would have been destroyed alongside Romulus, and many characters would have been killed off. Setting the new films in a new timeline is a smart idea, in my opinion, and for exactly the reasons you outline above, but causing widespread destruction in the old timeline before you leave seems to defeat the entire elegant purpose of the move, and would annoy a lot of people.

It took me a while to accept the loss of Romulus, for instance; I'd still be grumbling if anything else had been destroyed alongside it .
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