Since its creation in 1966, the Star Trek universe has seen wild expansion. Even though the original series only had three seasons, Star Trek sparked a huge fandom that has its own culture, and it is still as relevant as ever with the creation of new films and series that expand on the original universe. Now, Ronald D. Moore, who had a large hand in crafting the shows that were running in the ‘90s including Star Trek: The Next Generation, has spoken out about one problem he sees with Star Trek going to the big screen.
The majority of Ronald D. Moore’s work with Star Trek has been within the TV realm and, apparently, he doesn’t connect with the films as much. According to Moore, the universe of Star Trek just doesn’t translate as well to the big screen because it’s hard to capture the humanizing ethical dilemmas the characters face in weekly episodes in one big feature. Here it is in the producer’s own words:
To me, Trek is a morality play. It’s a show about ethical dilemmas. It’s a science fiction show about ‘What if?’ And it’s a character piece. The best parts of Trek don’t necessarily lend themselves towards the big screen. For instance, you couldn’t do ‘Data’s Day’ as a movie, right? It was one of my favorite episodes. ‘The Conscience of the King’ from The Original Series is one of my favorite episodes. That’s not a movie. So, the movie version always has to be hyped up and overdamped and they’re big giant roller coasters. And I don’t know that the roller coaster aspect is what attracts me to Star Trek the most.
Ronald D. Moore may not be alone in his thoughts, either. Even though the films have added to the universe and the fandom has supported them as well, one of the big draws of the universe is the importance out on deliberating choices based on ethics and morality, which are less focused on in the films in favor of big stories, special effects, and action sequences.
Even so, Ronald D. Moore did write the screenplays for two Star Trek films back in the day. In the same interview with Trek Movie, he was asked what he would do if he was given a big budget to do another Star Trek film, and he says he simply does not know. If that were to hypothetically happen, he says he would have to basically make a reboot and get back to the roots of Star Trek. In the writer’s own words:
So, if they asked me what to do with the movies, I don’t know. I’d want to reboot and start over and do something very different. And try a different flavor of Star Trek for the big screen. And not just make ‘Who’s going to be the ‘Khan’ in this version? What’s the big, giant weapon that’s going to threaten the universe? Or anything like that. I think you’d have to find some sci-fi angle that made it more about: what are the roots of Trek? Why did people come to fall in love with it in the first place? And that’s a tall order.
There have been numerous changes to Star Trek since Ronald D. Moore’s time behind the wheel -- a whole now movie franchise as well as a slew of new series. It certainly would be a “tall order” to go back to the basics of such a huge universe that is so beloved.
But if anyone were up for the job, Moore would be our man. He’s basically a sci-fi god. Since his time with Star Trek, he has given us a reimagined (but equally large) Battlestar Galactica universe. He’s also behind the popular Outlander series and has created a new series, For All Mankind. With a resume like that, tall orders seem to be his speciality.