Where No Man Is Going

A couple years ago, I came up with my one and only original story idea for Star Trek, which I just tossed in a drawer and gave absolutely no thought to until I was approached, for whatever ungodly reason, by IDW, seemingly out of the blue, to develop something for them. We were not talking specifically about Trek, but IDW had the Trek franchise, and I said, “Oh, hey—you guys do Trek, right? Well I only have one idea for Star Trek, but I’d really like to do it.” So I pitched them the idea that later became Star Trek: Inquisition, which was to be a three and then later, per IDW’s request, a five-part story. But a couple things happened.

First, Paramount bounced the story as too edgy and controversial. Then, Abrams Trek came along and re-shaped the landscape. My story is TNG Trek. Once Abrams Trek became a going concern, director J.J. Abrams had the right to approve all Trek-related material, even stuff like my one idea which had absolutely nothing to do with what he was doing. So now we had to appease Paramount and Abrams, and the window for TNG material at IDW narrowed as Abrams Trek’s release date approached. That window remains narrow.   I always thought the best of Trek raised more questions than it answered. I hardly consider this script the best of anything, but the story does attempt to raise questions, not answer them.

It’s too Worf-specific to make a good movie, but it might have made an interesting set of episodes at one point and, I think, a fun comic book arc. Whatever it might have been, it is my one (and so far only) idea for Star Trek. I would have really enjoyed writing this.

Full Essay Is Here


  1. hysan says:

    Couldn’t agree more wholeheartedly about Mr. Worf. He had so much unrealized potential as a character (as did Gates McFadden’s Dr. Crusher, who really *should* have been the one to walk into Picard’s ready room and tell him what an ass he was being. Much as I love Alfre Woodard, that part felt wrong…)….I loved his relationship with Dax and hated that he fell victim to the Prince Namor curse, where he can never have a love interest who lives.

    • priest says:

      Re: Crusher: I and, I think, 100k other Trek fans said the same thing. It was lazy writing, sending Woodard in there instead of Crusher. It made no sense for Crusher to stand there defending the idiotic suicidal decision. A major flaw in an otherwise very good film. But they wanted to give Woodard a juicy moment. Meanwhile, Stewart should have been nominated for an Oscar. No, this isn’t just fan geek blushing, he really should have. It was an amazing performance, nice to see what he can do when a script actually challenges him. The line must be drawn heeeah! THIS faaar, no faaarthah! Stewart wuz robbed. And his performances as Picard have not risen to that level since. He just took the money and went back to London.

      Writers violate characters and break rules as it suits them. It’s laziness. And I’ve come to realize the fans know way more about this stuff than the producers do. I feel like the producers have contempt for the fans since they don’t bother to do due diligence in terms of continuity and they keep breaking the rules rather than make the writers earn their living. A Klingon Bird of Prey cannot fire while cloaked. You cannot transport while at warp, while shields are up.

      The writers are just LAZY. Oh, it’s an experimental model. And, every film, now, the Enterprise faces off with some monstrous ship 100x more powerful than she, missing the point that the Enterprise herself is supposed to be one huge moefo. But she’s upstaged in every film.

      I mean it, Hysan, it’s like these people don’t *like” Star Trek.

  2. Thelmon Baggett says:

    I’m not a Star Trek fan. I did enjoy the original series and, for a time, watched STNG and Deep Space Nine. I saw the first couple of movies and wondered why the animated series isn’t discussed much even though it was the first reunion of the entire cast from the first series minus one. I’ve met some of the cast from STNG while on a Star Trek cruise that my friend invited me to go on and I met Nicole Nichols at the L.A. Comic Book and Science Fiction convention. I have picked up a few Star Trek comics written by Peter David and remember Tom Sutton, Jerome Moore and a few other artists.

    I believe that Worf was underused and the idea of him being discriminated against would have, indeed, made a good episode for the television series because Star Trek has not translate well into comic books.

    I recently read something on a blog at CBR where the writer suggested that Star Trek could not exist today on television because of what the current regime at the networks think the public would watch. I agree with that view because, as Mr. Priest points out, Star Trek made you think while at the same time you are being swept away into new worlds of wonder. Today’s market is too cynical and would want to focus on special effects. That is what the executives would want you to believe.

    Being blocked because of race is something I have been both a participant and an observer. I know what you are saying and feeling and I know about the “eyes rolling.” But it’s a fact. I’m not defending or complaining or anything else. If you don’t experience it then how can you know? Some are able to move past it and some cannot. You can take the blame for your part but things don’t happen in a vacuum. The fight will beat you down, but then you recharge and get back at it.

    I need to search out the Green Lantern novel and the prose story in that western comic. I found that one once but, as a member of the unemployed 99ners, on that day I could not afford it. I’m anxiously waiting for new Priest.

    • priest says:

      Please don’t call me “Mr.” n*shudder*. My friends call me Priest. I don’t know that I agree w/the assertion: wasn’t Battlestar Galactica essentially DS9 taken to another level? I sheepishly admit I’ve only seen the pilot, but all I hear is praise for the series.

  3. Amazing! I’ve long hoped you were a DS9 fan!

    Worf’s first time in the Enterprise command chair would have been season 2, “the Emissary,” where he masqueraded as the captain to trick some recently-dethawed Klingons (he also assumed he was captain and swiped the chair after losing his memory in “Conundrum”). I suppose the first African-American in the chair would’ve been Geordi (season 1, “the Arsenal of Freedom”). By the time Worf took the chair in First Contact, I think we were so used to seeing him in the Defiant’s seat that it barely registered.

    Don’t give up on this script, Priest! With Abrams’ sequel nowhere in sight, IDW may yet come back to Next Gen; they’re already reverting to the Shatner-Nimoy continuity. If anyone tries to give you grief about the idea of Starfleet being racist, I hope you haven’t forgotten Admiral Cartwright’s “alien trash of the galaxy” dialogue from Star Trek VI – thus, there’s precedent for naked racism out of Starfleet, or that Picard put a reprimand in Worf’s file for killing Duras in “Reunion” – thus, there’s precedent for Starfleet being skeptical of Worf’s suitability for command.

    I love that with about 2 pages of content, your script delivers more material for Beverly Crusher than four feature films!

    • priest says:

      DS9 heroin addict. Hardcore junkie. Huge crush on Jadzia Dax. Favorite character: Gul Dukat. Loved that line from TNG where (same actor, different character) tells Jellico, “But, rest assured… we *will* respond.” Word in Conundrum didn’t count, sorry. 🙂 Worf in command of the Defiant is not what I mean. I mean Worf in command of the Enterprise. Dr. Crusher, for Pete’s sake, got to command, as did Troi. IIRC, Chief O’Brien actually took command (or sort of, during a catastrophe). This is the kind of tings Worf fans and/or African American Trek fans notice. IDW is still doing TNG, but I spoke with them before posting the script: this just ain’t gonna happen. I’ll be posting the remaining chapters over the next three weeks. I love Beverly– this story really isn’t about her, though, so she and the rest of the crew get minimal face time. And, as the plot unfolds, the issue of Starfleet’s perceived racism becomes the central question: is it Starfleet denying Worf or is it The Klingons? Anyway, in IDW continuity, Worf ends up a General in the Klingon forces, so who knows. Thanks for chiming in!

      • I understand what you mean about Worf in the captain’s chair, I’m just saying from my perspective, it simply made sense; Riker & Data weren’t around, Worf was a first officer now, when I saw him in the chair I didn’t go “all right! Worf got to be in command!” I just thought “oh, Worf’s in command, naturally.”

        I loved Dukat up to a point…up to the point where he went insane and even then I held out hope to the finale that I’d see some more of the character I’d enjoyed (and outside of his brief s7 reunion with Damar, not so much). Strangely, I didn’t care much for Jadzia, putting me at odds with just about every Trek fan…I didn’t like her snarky dialogue. Overall though, DS9 had such a rich cast: Sisko, Kira, Odo, Bashir, Garak, Quark, O’Brien, Damar, Weyoun, Martok; I just wish they had put more effort into creating a recurring Romulan for the series, it seems like one of those matters they would keep attempting yet never find the right actors to gain traction with the concept.

        • priest says:

          Not naturally. Worf wasn’t a member of the Enterprise crew. Yes, I’m nitpicking, but it irks me when they just break the rules Willy-nilly. Did I actually write “Willy-nilly?!?”

          “…up to the point where he went insane…” Yup. IIRC, that was Season 7, most of which I disavow. It was like the kids were too distracted by the coming summer vacation to get any quality work done. TNG 7 was baaaad, too. Yes, a Regular Romulan would have been great, particularly a Romulan with a conscience who may (or may not) be a good guy. Remember “The Defector” from TNG? Something along those lines. With Romulans, you never can tell. Would have helped Nemesis immensely if the writer had understood Romulans _at_all.

  4. JD DeMotte says:

    Well, last time I came here, you were saying that your old blog was so cluttered and old that you had pretty much abandoned it and then I come back and now you’ve got a very slick website. Well done, Priest.

    Anyways, on topic, yeah Worf never got the credit he deserves. Really if you look at it, he’s given some of the biggest and best arcs of TNG. Riker at the end of TNG is more or less the same Riker of Encounter At Farpoint, just with a beard and a few more pounds. Same with Geordi, Troi, etc. Picard had some fantastic episodes showing different sides to him, like the post-Borg episode with his family in France or the look at his past where he was a bit more rebellious and getting into bar fights, but those tended to be peeks at aspects of Picard’s character that he normally hides away. Worf on the other hand, with the revelation of his son, brother, his family’s dishonor, etc you felt like you were taken on a journey with Worf. Something I didn’t get with most of the other characters that much, save for Data, and his quest for emotions moved so slowly that is easy to overlook any progress he made. So I would have loved to have seen this story be told. It’s just a shame that whenever it wasn’t Worf’s story (those mostly being done by the excellent Ron D. Moore), it was him being beat up or told, essentially, “Mind your place, son.”

    Part of that is the episodic nature of television, which at the time was much more non-ongoing plot driven than by the mid-to-late 90s, so there were lots of reset buttons being hit from episode to episode instead of the characters learning from their actions. But I’ve also heard that Michael Dorn was occasionally difficult to work with, you can get hints at that with some of the DVD special features. Though I get the impression it was because Dorn was very passionate about the part and would grow frustrated having to go through this difficult makeup just to knocked aside by the threat of the week yet again (though that’s just conjecture on my part).

    Also, fellow DS9 fan here and think it’s criminally underrated by Trek fans who think nothing interesting can happen on a space station, but instead I think those characters, as a whole, tend to be more nuanced and better written than most of Trek as a whole.

    • priest says:

      Actually, JD, I just sort of swept the old site into the closet and threw up this new thing around it. I just don’t have the time to go back and re-code all of that old stuff. Ironically, I’d finally grown impatient waiting for the domain harvester holding “DigitalPriest.Com” hostage for nearly a decade to let it go. They wanted thousands of dollars for the domain name, which simply was not going to happen. But I’d also grown weary of the hyphenate “Digital-Priest,” and wanted to do something different. Unless and until I actually start doing something productive with the “Lamercie Park” branding, no one will know (or care) that my new site is here, so I’m keeping the old hyphenate domain alive.

      Ironically, maybe a week or so after I’d invested a lot of time and energy on the new site, the evil domain harvester released “DigitalPriest.Com.” Had I known that, I likely would not have rebuilt and rebranded. So, now, all three domains go essentially to the same piece of real estate while I struggle to decide what I want to be when I grow up. Oh, and today I found another brand name I like very much—EmergencyPlumber.Com. Why didn’t I think of *that* sooner.

      “…whenever it wasn’t Worf’s story (those mostly being done by the excellent Ron D. Moore), it was him being beat up or told, essentially, “Mind your place, son.”

      Amen. It seemed the other writers—I mean all of them except Moore—saw Worf as comic relief. They didn’t think he could (or perhaps should) hold the center of the story. Moore mined a great deal of depth from the character, but every time the other writers and even the newer film writers got their hands on him, he went right back to being a cipher—making him walk the plank and look ridiculous, giving him a “Zorch” (was that the best idea they could come up with?!?), and complaining about being naked (which I doubt a Klingon would care one way or the other) and facing backward as Picard and Data ran away from a battle. At the very least, Worf should have complained about running from a battle. It’s incredibly irritating and makes me wonder if writer approach the *character* with uncertainty because the *actor*who plays him is black. I can’t help but wonder if there’s some awkward and inappropriate race sensitivity going on, that so many otherwise fine writers become absolutely paralyzed where Worf is concerned, and routinely violate his character and reduce him to a histrionic, whining, inept bumbler. “I am NOT a Merry Man!” I’m sure the TNG production crew thought that was hilarious. Like when Marvel staffers used to rub my head for good luck.

      First Contact saw a mature, seasoned, reasonable and professional Starfleet officer, though we only saw glimpses of him in command. Worf whining about the space walk I instinctively attribute to the utterly earthbound and arrogant Brannon Braga because Moore’s Worf—if you “read” him form DS9—doesn’t complain, most especially in the face of a crisis like the Borg taking over the ship. Moore’s Worf would have been the first guy out there, no complaints.

      Episodic TV, yes, but Stewart was allowed to grow Picard. It was subtle and nuanced, but post-Borg Picard was never fully the same as he was before, a theme explored to tremendous success in STFC.

      If Dorn was difficult to work with, I can’t blame him. He was routinely asked to demean his own character, and he may well have suspected what I suspect, an institutionalized and perhaps unintended bias toward his character because of the actor’s ethnicity. I’ve posted a clip of Dorn on the actual web page and he presents the distinct possibility that he may have been branded as “difficult” simply for being invested in his character. I have also been branded as “difficult” to work with which is flatly not true. If anything, I’ve over-cooperated, doing everything editors requested of me even when I knew, for a certainty, their creative direction was wrong. I said, “okay, fine,” and did as I was told. And still was branded “difficult.” A lot of this is racial static; reality filtered through racial sensitivity and cultural perception. I am not difficult. I am not hostile. I have, not once, said “no” to an editor’s request. I’ve never once had creative control over what I was writing. But there are people walking around—some who have never even met me—saying I am difficult to work with. It’s a lie. Was Dorn difficult? If Dorn protested when asked to dress up like an idiot and say stupid lines, “I am NOT a Merry Man!” he was just an actor doing his job—and likely branded “difficult.” I can’t say for sure, I don’t know him. But I know my own experience. And trying to change that perception is a lot like trying to teach a gorilla to drive a car. The perception takes on a life of its own and there’s absolutely nothing you can do about it.

  5. Just found the new location of your blog, friend Priest, and I’ve been wondering – possibly, you already answered that one and I’ve since forgotten – if you’ve been following the Trek novel line at Pocket Books over the last couple of years…?

    Asking this with Worf’s current role in the TNG novels firmly in mind.