*Could* The Ferengi Have Been Good Villains

Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by Emperor Norton, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

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    The Ferengi were initially set up as the new big villain for TNG, but their first appearance in "The Last Outpost" was nothing short of a disaster. They were meant to be a villain for the 80s: the ultimate capitalists in contrast to the humanism and post-scarcity utopia of the Federation. Greedy, selfish, gold mongering, sexist, aggressive and cannibalistic. In their first appearance, they were comical feral gerbils. Instead, they were abandoned, and replaced by the Borg. The Borg were a contrast to the heart and soul of humanity: no individualism, and technology unifying with biology and removing what it means to be human. That was more deeply troubling than the rather superficial "they're greedy and mean" angle of the intended Ferengi. In a way, I think Maurice Hurley, in creating the Borg, was also using what he saw as the "wacky doodle" problems of TNG season 1: no individualism, no personal goals, no personalities, and no ambitions outside of the collective whole.

    But could the Ferengi have been a good villain, had they been handled differently? And what would that have meant for the series?
     
  2. Armus

    Armus Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    According to Herbert Wright, who was a writer during season one, Gene Rodenberry wanted to make the Ferengi well endowed creatures with extraordinarily sexual abilities. After explaining all the possible sexual positions of the Ferengi species, Gene was reminded that TNG was a family program airing at 7PM and his original concept for the Ferengi was watered down.
     
  3. Leviathan

    Leviathan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    DS9 did a far better job with the Ferrengi in this regard. Kinda likable jerks that do the right thing...eventually.
     
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  4. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Ferengi could have been a good villain but not a 'Big bad'. They would never be good villains in a combat or violent situation, but they could be the enablers of the big bad, who sell them weapons, rob and exploit the helpless, use legal trickery to defend the badder bads.

    I'm not sure I'd characterize DS9 Ferengi as likable jerks. Rom and Nog were just plain likable people who adopted alien values because they sucked at profit. Quark was like Slippin Jimmy who never grew up, the trickster who charms people and does it for the game, but has enough empathy that he doesn't like seeing people hurt or killed.

    And nothing likable about any of the other important Ferengi in the show.
     
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  5. Imperator-Zor

    Imperator-Zor Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Yes. See the Druuge from Star Control 2 as how you can do ruthless capitalist in space well.

    Zor
     
  6. Knightstorm

    Knightstorm Ensign Red Shirt

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    Guess he could've gone with airing it on HBO.:lol:
     
  7. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't see why the Ferengi couldn't have been good villains, but the steps necessary to make them good villians might have effectively dissociated them from the Ferengi we've come to know and have mixed feelings about.

    I think the two greatest problems are that nothing about them says "serious threat", and there's no way in which they're shown to have any superiority to the Federation. By which I mean ethically/technologically/you name it.

    I find myself wondering whether it might have worked if the Ferengi were responsible for Yar's death, and thinking that if they'd been set up as these dopey characters to begin with then that might have actually made it more effective. Try to imagine that the Ferengi intentionally lead others to underestimate them, but are capable of being completely ruthless when it suits their purposes.
     
  8. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Sure they could have been, it all comes down execution.
     
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  9. Herbert

    Herbert Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That's fine for individual ferengi but not for the entire race, imo
    The ferengi for me are the types who will smile and shake your hand while formulating how best to stab you in the back. They aren't to be trusted.

    I'm just glad they got rid of those stupid energy whips. Way too slow and clunky a weapon to be effective. Maybe a good weapon for herding captives but not for a battle
     
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  10. Herbert

    Herbert Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    You kind of get hints that they may be formidable during the beginning parts of The Last Outpost. However, when on the planet's surface they become, as the OP notes so well, "comical feral gerbils" :lol:
     
  11. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Sure the Ferengi can, even now be salvaged into good villains. They're basically evil CEOs. That's some pretty scary shit right there.
     
  12. Tenacity

    Tenacity Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ahh Gene.
     
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  13. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ...perhaps someone should write a Trek novel where it's strongly suggested that the Ferengi unduly influenced the election for Federation President?

    #Toosoon?
     
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  14. Leviathan

    Leviathan Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    "Evil" CEO's is a tad redundant. A 'good' ceo is a purely theoretical construct, never actually observed in nature.
     
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  15. Mutai Sho-Rin

    Mutai Sho-Rin Crusty Old Bastard Moderator

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    Nope. In almost 60 years of steady employment, I've known several presidents/CEOs who have been very honorable and personnel oriented people. Broad generalizations do no one any good.
     
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  16. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Being rich doesn't automatically make you evil, it just makes you better at being evil.
     
  17. golddragon71

    golddragon71 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Gene would truly spin in his grave if it would actually be made possible that such a materialistic, divisive and narcissistic troglodyte could even get into the running for president of the Federation...
    Maybe the Ferengi could unduly affect the election of a planetary head of state and the crew of the Enterprise would be hand-tied by the Prime Directive....or another enemy race could go back in time and alter Earth history to perpetuate the nightmares that led to the mid 21st century courtroom Q created......ok so many ideas... so little time on my break!
     
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  18. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

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    According to the production people, the whips were an absolute disaster because the prop looked terrible, but it was saved mostly by putting SFX blue light over top of them, and they were gladly dropped.
     
  19. Emperor Norton

    Emperor Norton Captain Captain

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    Something I haven't seen is the possibility of a race named "Ferengi" who have nothing to do with the look and feel of the Ferengi as they were finalized. Going back to the very start, the Ferengi were only known as aggressive, cannibalistic, and hyper materialistic space capitalists. The look and all that came later. So the Ferengi that appeared on screen could be done completely differently from our short, big eared friends. I've had the thought that what they were going for should look more like Nosferatu than the actual production Ferengi ended up looking. Or heck, even just making them taller and elongating those features could work.
     
  20. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Ehhh...I don't recall being overwhelmingly impressed with how the Remans turned out...
     
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