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Home :: Community :: Chat :: Transcript Archive :: Ira Steven Behr (Executive Producer)




Ira Steven Behr
Ira Steven Behr



06.24.1999
Ira Steven Behr (Executive Producer)

Mr. Behr was the Executive Producer of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and was associated with that show since its inception in 1993. He began his relationship with Star Trek as the writer of several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. He is here with us today to discuss the exciting series finale of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Question: Who was your favorite character or actor to write for? Anyone you loved watching chew up the dialogue?
Wayoon

Ira Steven Behr: Obviously I can't tell you who my favorite character was. I think it would change depending on time of day... but I certainly loved watching Jeff Coombs and Andy Robinson and JG Hertzler chew the scenery. Of course, those are your words, not mine. It's really hard to pick and choose this way. We had such a fine cast, the regulars were all hugely responsible for the show's success. If the scene was well written and the director knew what he was doing the actors could really score big and that was always fun to watch. Then of course there were those other times, but we won't discuss them.

Q: Would you do another episodic television series? What about with a network instead of syndicated?
EStillborne

ISB: Well, my agents are hoping that I'll do another episodic television series. And I'd hate to disappoint my agents... they're all such fragile, emotional people. And I'd hate to do anything that would send them into an emotional turmoil. Or to the Betty Ford clinic. As far as network or syndicated it all depends on the project. I'm developing shows now but whether anyone will buy them remains to be seen. I'm also looking into features, but the writer in features is treated with such lack of respect that I have to say that my instincts lead me to stay in TV.

Q: Now that you have some time, will you please learn to type so you can pop into the lounge chat from your office now and then?
Treknaut

ISB: Typing skills aside, the one time I spent about 45 minutes in a chat lounge, I found that the moment I said goodbye, everyone began arguing about whether it had really been me or not. This was one of the oddest moments I had ever experienced. And I realized that the whole idea of the internet is so truly bizarre and such a leap of faith to believe that anyone or anything that appears on it is what it claims to be. What I did find fascinating as well was the kind of non-linear aspect of it. It really seemed to work best as this kind of verbal white noise. There's been a lot said over the last 20 years about (how) our society is drowning in white noise and I think it's pretty wonderful that the average Joe and Jane now can contribute their own white noise. The last thing I'd say about chat lounges is, doesn't it work best when the person you're talking about isn't there? What could I possibly contribute? What version of the truth that would carry any more weight than the multiple truths that are created in the chat rooms? And I would also like to thank my lovely typist, Jackie, for typing this and all my responses this evening.

Q: Damar rules! Casey Biggs is outstanding! Why did it take you so long to explore this character? How does he feel about getting such a great role at the end of the series?
Fan

ISB: Well to answer your last question first, I think Casey was very happy about how his character developed over the years. The fact is Damar was originally a 2 line role. Because I knew of Casey's work I believed that he could carry more weight. Also we needed someone for Dukat to play off of. One thing led to another and by the time of the six-part War arc in season six all the writers were beginning to become intrigued by Damar's possibilities. When I saw him at Quark's bar in "Behind the Lines" I knew he could be a character I had been searching for since I had arrived at Deep Space Nine... A man with a drinking problem. Besides Morn.

Q: Mr. Behr. In every picture I've seen of you, you are wearing glasses. They always seem to be sunglasses. Are they prescription or are you too cool for school?
GreenSPawn

ISB: Five years after I graduated from college, I met a girl who I had gone to school with on a New York City subway train. We said hello and about the first thing she said to me was, "Boy I really hated you back in those days. You used to walk across campus wearing these mirrored sunglasses, ignoring everyone." "I don't think I saw your eyes for four years." Now you have to understand, this is a person I thought liked me. I haven't taken my sunglasses off since. I don't know what it means.

Q: Why did Terry Farrell leave the show?
xadia

ISB: Because she wanted to.

Q: Now that the final episode is over (and you have some time) are you going to write it as a novel?
LisaXL

ISB: There is a novel of the final episode currently out in bookstores. My name is spelled wrong on the front cover. I called up Pocket Books and used every bit of foul language I knew toward the people responsible for that oversight. I was brought up in the Bronx, so foul language was my first language. So don't buy the book. Watch the episode again.

Q: I was dismayed at Sisko's 'trivial' demise. He was the most central figure throughout DS9...heroic, passionate, flawed, introspective...the EMISSARY. Yet, you chose to conclude matters with him pushing Dukat into a firepit to get rid of a BOOK?
Terry

ISB: I disagree. With just about everything you've said. It was not a trivial demise. It wasn't necessarily a demise. And books are very powerful weapons. Why do you think people are always trying to ban them and burn them? Try reading more and watching less TV.

Q: Why *did* three different actresses play Ziyal?
Cmdr. Ester

ISB: Well I could tell you that the first actress may have seemed a little too young...or the second actress had scheduling conficts... and the third actress just seemed to win the role. But the real reason is, I was always fascinated how a different actor always played Felix Leiter in the James Bond movies. One time it was Jack Lord, then it was Cec Linder, then it David Hedison, the it was Bernie Casey... and I'm forgetting a few. All right, Rik Van Nutter. So I figured if James Bond could get away with it. So could we. It's all about willing suspension of disbelief.

Q: In the final DS9 episode, was Sisko, including his body, saved by the Prophets, or was only his consciousness saved?
Jeff

ISB: Jeff, that's a good question. A lot better than the one about his trivial demise. Thank you and I will get back to you with the answer. One of these days.

Q: Will there ever be a complete list of all 285 Rules of Acquisition published?
Ferengi

ISB: Not by me.

Q: At least one of the characters on the show had to come from someone you've known or admired. Can you tell us who this would be and how you turned them into a character?
Michael

ISB: Partially the characters reflect aspects of myself or who I think I am or parts of me. Of course, I'm only talking about characters I created. Well, on second thought, not really because a lot of the regulars as the years went on began to speak more and more with my voice. But I'd like to think that the actors bring far more to the party than they know. I mean, Dukat is Alaimo. Weyoun and Brunt are Jeff Coombs.... And so on and so forth. In terms of how characters interact, I would have to say that much of it does reflect my upbringing in the Bronx. There's a lot of friendly conflict. A lot of upfront disagreements. A lot of keeping each other in line by being quick to point out when someone is tossing the old BS around.

Q: Ira: DS9 will be sorely missed! Any chance of a "Vic" CD for those of us without holosuites?
Brian

ISB: I just spoke to Jimmy Darren about a half hour before coming here. He just finished recording his CD on which he will sing all the songs he sang on DS9 plus about 6 others. It's going to be called, "This One's From the Heart". I've heard a couple of cuts. it's terrific stuff. Knowing Jimmy and creating the character of Vic Fontaine was one of the surprising pleasures of my years on DS9. I hope he keeps singing. There's a lot of guys who can direct episodes of TV shows... which is what he's been doing for the last 15 years... but there are very few people who can sing "Come Fly With Me".

Q: What happened to the baseball on Sisko's desk? Is it lost in a prop room or did Mr. Brooks take it with him?
Suzanne

ISB: I think it's in Rick Berman's prop room.

Q: what color are your eyes?
Emily

ISB: This is quite a coincidence, but my eyes are actually mirrored just like my sunglasses.

Q: Garak was a great character. Why was Andrew Robinson never with the main cast?
Padre

ISB: Yeah! Why wasn't he? I actually tried a couple of times to get Andy boosted to main title credits, but there were too many matters of economy and politics so it never happened. But he deserved it. I always think of Andy as the first of our great supporting players. Some may say Alaimo, but he was in the pilot. So I actually think of him as one of our series regulars. Though I'm sure Mark would say then why didn't you pay me their money?

Q: Did you ever think of doing a really dark gothic horror episode of DS9?
graham

ISB: Yes. But we couldn't (get) Peter Jackson to direct it.

Q: In hindsight, would you have brought about Jadzia's death as originally concieved in the break session (killed by Dukat trying to prevent the theft of the Orb) rather than getting 'zapped' in midair by a pagh wraith?
tommcp

ISB: Nope.

Q: Hi Ira, What will you miss most about working on DS9 now that production has ended?
Captain MM Huber

ISB: This seems like a real simple question. But I'm sure I can make it convoluted and vague. I guess first off I'm going to miss the people. The writing staff lunches, the mojo in the story breaks, going down to the set and visiting the cast and crew. If a show is working well, at least from production standpoint it's because the people who are involved in it. So I'm really going to miss them. I do already.

But I'm also going to miss the challenges that DS9 offered. The fact that we were able to burst so many of the restraints that came with the Star Trek franchise was very fulfilling. I don't think anyone expected DS9 to evolve the way it did. Because (it's) a very character oriented show. It became a continuing saga. This was not the general idea at the time the show was conceived. And we were able to do many things that we certainly weren't able to do on TNG. I think with time people will realize just what an anomaly DS9 is within the franchise. And that was very exciting. We got to do really good work, untainted by a lot of outside voices trying to force their opinion on the creative staff. I feel very lucky to have had these seven years. It's going to be tough to find another show that will give me the sense of subversive freedom that I got every day on DS9.

Q: Why weren't any past episodes with Terry Farrell shown on the DS9 finale?
Lizzy Liz

ISB: We had planned to see Terry Farrell in the flashbacks but she refused to let us use any of her clips. The way I see it is this: Her manager was informed that we were thinking of using Terry in a scene in the final episode. It would have probably been three hours of work... maybe four. The price they quoted us was too high for the budget. After all, this was a show where we had to cut out hundreds of thousands of dollars from the original draft. Her manager was informed that we weren't going to be able to use Terry. And on top of it, the scene we had been thinking of for her was really not that germane to the plot. I think Terry's feelings were hurt. When it came to the issue of the clips, they again felt that they would prefer that we went a different way without using the character of Jadzia Dax. So we did. I wasn't happy about it. I'm still not happy about it. But it is a reminder that even Star Trek is just part of the great showbiz sludge.

Q: Have you visited the empty sound stage? How did that feel?
Brian

ISB: It felt terrible, Brian! How do you think it would feel? Seven years, buddy boy! Seven years! And now it exists only in our memories. And hopefully one day on DVD.

Q: Did you know from the beginning of the series where you'd like to wind up with all the characters? Was there a grand seven-year arc in place from the beginning? If so, did you stick to it?
Tim

ISB: There certainly was not a grand 7 year arc. Originally DS9 was supposed to be like TNG without any strong continuity between episodes. Part of the fun of working on the show was discovering its strengths as we went along. Discovering its possibilities. So it was really an evolving story, both for the audience and for the writers. And definitely for the actors who didn't know from one minute to the next where their characters were going. It kept them on their toes, it kept us on our toes. All in all, it was a pretty exciting way to run an airline. It was only in season 2 when we started to come up with the Dominion that the show began to take on a life of its own and continuity became a quiet but very real goal.

Q: Mr. Behr. First, let me thank you for one of the most thought-provoking television series ever produced. It will be much missed in our house. Second, was any thought given to ending the war earlier and showing any portion of the war-crime trials?
Carol

ISB: Thank you for those kind words. It's very hard at times to remember that DS9 is a television series that is watched by an audience that then has strong reactions toward it. We're so busy making it that sometimes we forget people watch it. And when I realize that people, or at least some people, feel about it the way I felt toward The Prisoner or The Sopranos, It's an unbelieveably gratifying feeling. I guess I don't let myself think about it because in that direction lies the raging ego that I always claim I despise in so many people who work in television. But then there are other times that I think maybe I'm being too Goddamned humble for my own good. But really, thank you for those kind words.

To answer your question...which I'm sure you've forgotten by now...is anyone still awake out there? I'm just checking.

It's not from lack of faith, mind you. It's just I would understand if some of these answers sound like the ravings of a mirrored eyed lunatic. But now I am going to answer your questions. At times it seemed like everyone wanted us to end the war early except the writing staff. Though I think that a show about war trials would have been pretty good, actually. Hey, how about the opening scene of the DS9 feature. The War Trials... Not bad.

Except as we all know there isn't going to be a DS9 feature. But maybe we don't need one. A hundred and seventy six episodes should be enough for any fan.

Q: WHat IS the deal with Morn? What was your inspiration? Is he based on a real person you know?
7 of 13

ISB: For the last time... Morn was based on Norm from Cheers. Remember the rather rotund barfly? The one who was always talking. That's the guy. Trust me.

Q: TNG was nominated for an Emmy in its final (7th) season--will paramount push hard for DS9 to be considered as well? With episodes like "Duet", "The Visitor" and "Far Beyond the Stars" it could easily beat ER or NYPD Blue...
tommcp

ISB: I doubt that Paramount will push all that hard, seeing that with the exception of the final episode, there was no publicity for the entire year. That doesn't mean that they're not proud of the show. I just think they bought into the general belief that Trek sells itself and that the Academy will only honor science fiction with an X in its title.

Q: Writing, even play writing, is largely a verbal medium. What has worked best for you to translate the script writing process successfully to the wonder of DS9 in the visual medium?
Robert

ISB: Actually, the scripts I write have what directors call, "A lot of talk" in them. What keeps them from being verbose, Bob, is that I keep characters' speeches to as few lines as possible. In other words, don't say in four lines what you can say in three. Or in three what you can say in two. Unless I'm writing for Cardassians. Then there are many, many, many lines. But then, they're a very verbal people.

Q: Since Star Trek is such a pop cultural entity, with such deep history, what unique challenges did you face in development?
Davey

ISB: The truth is, you can't let the franchise scare you. When it comes to actually working on the show, you have to forget about the 30 years; Not the content of the 30 years, but the 30 years as being, as you say, this pop culture entity. It's storytelling. We're actually lucky that we have history behind our tales. But in terms of the 900 lb. gorilla that the franchise can be, you have to ignore it. Otherwise, you'd just be sitting in front of a blank computer screen or yellow legal pad saying, "I am not worthy." And you know, it's just not true.

Q: Whose decision was it to have Quark say the final line in the DS9 series finale?
Jeff

ISB: Jeff. Jeff, you have many questions. This is a good thing. At least I hope it is a good thing. I hope you have many questions about other things besides Star Trek. But in terms of this specific question, I will say that it was always joked about by Rick Berman and myself that Quark would have the last line. It just seemed that as the barkeep on the station he is the one continuity we could not overlook, so what started out as just a kind of joke basically evolved into, it's the only possible ending we could have. I thought it worked nicely.

Q: Your bio says your credits include shows like Fame and Maverick, clearly not SciFi material. Has that genre always been of interest to you, and if not, how did you get up to speed?
Callan

ISB: Clearly you missed the Maverick epsiode where it was revealed that he was one of the Roswell Aliens. "Little Green Mavericks" As far as science fiction is concerned, I used to read quite a bit of it, not so much anymore. I would probably still rank Phillip K. Dick among my primary authors. But let's face it, Star Trek as science fiction, is pretty low-rent space opera. I always find that Star Trek's strengths are not so much in its cool science fiction ideas, but in its characters and its story development. Cutting edge, we are not. I hope that doesn't hurt anyone's feelings.

Q: Can you talk a bit about how you developed the Ferengi? That must be an interestingly powerful feeling to have created an entire alien race.
LaLuna

ISB: I did not develop the Ferengi. They were developed on TNG before I had anything to do with Star Trek. What I did was kind of clarify and focus what I felt were the races' strengths for the series. As I've said in the past, to me the Ferengi are Star Trek's equivalent to 20th Century human beings with all our strengths and weaknesses. You know, part of the strange relationship that I have with Star Trek is that most of the work I've done on it is focusing and clarifying things that already existed. I mean, sure, the Dominion and all that was stuff that I helped create. But there's still an overwhelming feeling that I'm playing in someone else's ball field. And yes I've had a lot of opporunity to redesign that ball field and helped rewrite some of the rules... but the fact is, I was still a hired gun. So I can't even say that I feel that the Ferengi are "Mine"

Q: I loved the final shot, starting with Jake & Kira and moving out until the station was no longer visible. I thought that was a wonderful, wonderful way to say goodbye to DS9.
Gul

ISB: I'll give you the story behind that final shot. As I've said, working on that final episode was quite stressful for many reasons. We were under a time crunch, a budget crunch and frankly, neither Hans [Beimler] or I were happy about the thought of the show ending. At times we felt like the guy pulling the switch on the electric chair. Except we were both pulling the switch and sitting in the chair at the same time. Go figure. So my wife decided, in the middle of writing the script, that I had to get away for one day, so we went up to Santa Barbara on a Saturday and stayed overnight. We had a great meal, great sex... you know the drill. I left Santa Barbara feeling calm. On the way home, having not thought about the episode for 24 hours. the idea of the final episode just literally popped into my head. It was the strangest thing. I'm surprised I didn't drive the car off the road. At the time the final shot was supposed to be a pull back shot of Quark and Kira in the bar. Or right outside the bar, but it suddenly just became clear to me that the final image had to be that kid waiting for the father he didn't know would ever come back. It was the kind of downbeat but hopeful ending that was indicative of DS9.

Having Kira come and put her hand on his shoulder seemed right as well. After all, she was taking over the station from Sisko. It seemed only right that she should be there to help comfort his son as he would do if he had the chance. I got very excited about this idea and when I came back to work I told it to the writing staff. Rene Echevarria, a sensitive lad if ever there was one, said something like it gave him chills or it made him want to cry. I knew if I had Rene I would have America.

Q: Where YOU satisfied with the conclusion of DS9?
lostq

ISB: Yes I was satisfied. In fact, satisfied was an understatement. I saw the show for the first time with an audience at the Museum of TV and Radio and it was a great night. So yeah, I think we crammed everything we could into those 89 minutes and I make no apologies or excuses.

Q: Two questions - LOVED how you wrapped up DS9 - Any chance of releasing that as a boxed set on DVD with audio commentaries from cast and crew, behind the scenes and other goodies? (PLEASE!!)
Bill

ISB: Bill, because you said please, I would LOVE to make this dream of yours come true. Unfortunately, I wouldn't hold my breath.

Q: Hi - My personal favorite episode was "The Visitor". I've seen it 4 times in reruns and it chokes me up every time. In my opinion, it is one of the top 5 of all the trek shows. How did that episode go over with the cast and crew?
Brian

ISB: Everyone loved it. I know that's probably a boring answer, but it was a wonderful episode right across the line. Writing, acting, direction... it worked.

Q: My sister and I love watching the show, our favorite part are the episode names. We love reading them at the beginning of every episode. How do you come up with them, and is there one that you are especially proud of?
Maxwell

ISB: It's only in the last few years that episode title became a mania with the writing staff. We all try to come up with titles that would get strong responses from the other writers. Hans' favorite was "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night"....which he found in a Shelley poem. I'm partial to "Treachery, Faith and the Great River". I also liked "Far Beyond the Stars" and "What You Leave Behind". The quote which comes from some kind of self-help guru that I never heard of is, "What you take with you is all you leave behind." Which I think is a pretty pithy quote from a self-help guru, if I do say so myself.

Q: Who all made cameos in Vic's? I noticed you, Hans, Ron...who else from the production staff was visiting the casino that night?
Armstrong

ISB: Let's see.. There was Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, my assistant Robbin Slocum, Russ English, who was one of the Paramount security guards, a bunch of the stand-ins. And of course, Casey Biggs and Jeff Combs and JG Hertzler and Cecily Adams, and Aron Eisenberg, Max Grodenchik, Rene Echevarria. It was a pretty emotional day and I think having to be a part of the production helped us all get through it. I mean, it gave us something to concentrate on so we wouldn't get all maudlin with each other.

Q: I noticed that you have a theatre degree. Has any aspect of Star Trek ever been adapted for the stage? If you could produce a Trek play, how would you do it?
Jonathan

ISB: I think that DS9 would make a great Broadway musical. Everyone thinks I'm kidding but I mean it. You have Avery, Nana, Rene, Armin... all with strong theatre backgrounds... You can do something like The Lion King, spend a bloody fortune on sets and special effects... but it's never going to happen. My theatre degree can be seen in the episodes by the emphasis on dialogue and character rather than special effects or plot development as the engine that runs the story.

Q: if you had a young son who dreamed of becoming part of the sci-fi world of movies and tv what education should he be looking for? starting in high school?
Polgara3

ISB: Oddly enough, my son's name IS Polgara3. This is the kind of weird coincidence you only find in the world of Star Trek.

What I tell my son is the following: "Polgara," I say, "If you want to have a career in the sci fi world of movies and TV, you must read. Read many many books. Now you can watch movies as well but you'll pick up many bad habits from watching movies. Read books. They can be science fiction books, but they don't have to be science fiction books. They will expand your knowledge and understanding of the human condition."

Of course, what Polgara says to me is, "Dad, talk to me later. I'm too busy watching TV."

But that's just one of the ironies of life.

Q: What are your most significant challenges as a writer/producer?
Robert

ISB: Time, budget and talent. I speak of course of my own talent. You constantly find yourself bumping up against the limits of your talent and somehow you just have to find a way to push through and force yourself to reach deep inside and be better than you think you are. Of course, it doesn't help when you're being crushed by lack of time and wildly expanding budgets. But those are the jokes folks. So you do the best you can.

Q: I had a question about Odo. Was he ever related to the shapeshifter on Star Trek VI:The Undiscovered Country by any chance?
Frank

ISB: Yes. And no.

Q: I was on a tour of the Paramount lot once and saw you walking with a cane. Were you injured or just looking dignified?
AppleFan

ISB: Both. Actually, in season four I came down with some kind of bone disease that persists to this day. But I've decided to stop using the cane. I feel great. People started to think I wanted to use the cane. That it was an affectation. So I figured, better put an end to that. One affectation -- the sunglasses -- should be enough for any man.

Q: Was Siskos ultimate involvement with the Prophets conceived near the beginning of the series, or did someone decide to make him much more "attached" to them (i.e.: Sisko's mom was a Prophet)?????
Lee

ISB: Sisko's relationship to the Prophets became a focal point to the series when Paramount told us they preferred if we stayed away from stories that focused on Bajoran politics. This was at the beginning of season 3. That's really when we began to amplify what had first been portrayed in the pilot... Sisko as Emissary. And it really did take on a life of its own. We became fascinated by the duality of the Captain and the religious icon as embodied by Ben Sisko. It just grew from there.

Q: In the chats we all say that DS9 was the Trek with consequences - what do you think about this?
Dave

ISB: I think that's a nice thing to hear. Obviously the shows did have a continuity that made events in one episode impact on events in a following episode. We felt that added to the richness of the series. What a character did, mattered. It wasn't forgotten the following week.

Q: Was it your original intention to turn Quark into the comical aspect of the DS9?
giri

ISB: I felt that the series had a lot of heroes. From the beginning, episode 1. Sisko, Kira, Dax, Odo, O'Brien, Bashir. I felt we needed humor. I felt that Quark's humor would give him a humanity that would make the audience care about the character. I thought the humor made him accessible. So yeah, I guess on one level I have to take responsibility for that. I think it was still the right idea, though I know Armin would have preferred to have been a more "heroic" Ferengi. In truth, he was pretty heroic at times.

Q: How did James Darren end up protraying the ultra sophisticated and cool holographic character on DS9? How was the character created?
Barbra

ISB: Originally Vic Fontaine was supposed to be played by Frank Sinatra, Jr. and appear as a recurring character in only one scene a show. He'd be the guy everyone would come to to ask questions about life, love and the pursuit of happiness. Only trouble was, Frank Jr. wanted to play an alien, not a lounge singer. So we never got to do the initial scene that Robert Wolfe and I wrote. This was in year 4, by the way. In year 5 Rene Echevarria took a shot at the scene, but his script was too long, the scene got cut, we never really pursued any actor. And then one day, driving home, in year 6, I realized that DS9 was not going to last forever, and that anything I wanted to do I'd better do while I still had the sets and the cast. So I decided we were going to do Vic Fontaine, and it wasn't going to be just one scene, it would be a whole episode, and there would be singing. And Kira and Odo would kiss, and it would be wonderful. But who was going to play Vic? I thought of Steve Lawrence, who had a strong acting background. But he was busy touring with Edie.

And then one weekend I went to the Beverly Garland hotel to a Hollywood memorabilia show to look for a birthday gift for my cousin. And there was Jimmy Darren. And my friend walked over to him and started to talk to him about every aspect of Jimmy's career, including the pasta sauce he once endorsed. My friend is the most show-biz obsessed person I know, and Jimmy handled him like he was an old friend.

I told my buddy "I'm doing a DS9 episode about a Las Vegas singer. I think I just found the guy. I'm going to talk to him." My friend told me I could not talk to him, he'd think I was insane. Some nut off the street. I said "He just talked to you for ten minutes about his pasta sauce. If he doesn't think you're a nut, why would he think I'm a nut. Besides, I have a business card."

But my friend insisted I wait until Monday and talk to Ron Surma, the casting director of our show. And so I never did speak to Jimmy, even though I had a business card. So Ron set up a meeting. No one else was going to come in, just Jimmy. We didn't want him to feel like it was a cattle call. That day the writing staff went to lunch and as I was telling the guys about Jimmy Darren, some tall fellow waiting for a table leaned over and said, "Excuse me, I hate to interrupt, but you're talking about my father." And it was Jimmy's son. At that moment I knew he was going to get the part. I could feel the hand of God at work. Jimmy came in and he was Vic Fontaine. End of story.

Q: Okay, now of everyone in the "guest cast," all but Garak had a definitive ending. He went home, but did he return to the station? Did he become the new leader of Cardassia? Did he go sew some trousers?
Entil-Zha

ISB: I thought Garak did have a definitive ending. After 7 years his exile came to an end. That's the part of the story that mattered. And I think part of writing is knowing what part of the story to tell. What is the important part of the tale? To me it doesn't matter what happens to Garak in the future... or at least that's another story... What's important is Garak came home to a ruined Cardassia. A Cardassia that he helped in a way to destroy. That seemed in keeping with Garak's conflicted nature. The tailor assassin. And I have to say that Andy Robinson thought it was a perfect ending for his character and of all the actors, he seemed the happiest. Make of that what you will.

Q: Do you share the belief that DS9 could have strongly gone a couple more seasons?
some guy by the lake

ISB: Yes I think DS9 could have gone a few more seasons, but I also think 176 episodes is nothing to underestimate. It was a great run. I'll use the analogy again of the Beatles which I've used before. People always say, wouldn't it have been great if the Beatles didn't break up? I'd rather think hey! look at what they accomplished together in the public eye.

That's how I feel about DS9. We had 7 really cool years. And to p*** and moan about what could have been only detracts from what we accomplished.

Q: Why do you think that the UK Star Trek Fan Club chose you to be the honorary Chairman? and why pick on Tolkien?
Sophie

ISB: I have no idea why they picked me. I suppose it's because Bob Hope has gotten too old for the job. As to why pick on Tolkien, I thought I made it quite clear in my letter. Tolkien at this point in time is somewhat vulnerable so why attack a strong opponent. Which does give me pause to think that I don't recall having heard whether or not any of the ST fan club members have acted on my orders. I fear heads will roll.

Q: Not a question, simply kudos on the finale. In fact on the series. When I was intro'd to DSN it was my least fave of the trek family. By the finale it was far and away my favorite.
Fats Star

ISB: Well, Fats Star, which happens to be the name of my other son... (Actually, I'm just fooling and pretending... I only have one son.) I hope you've learned something from your relationship with DS9. I hope you learned to be open to the new. Not to close yourself off from something just because it isn't what you're familiar with. Accept the challenge.

Now that's not to say that every show is going to earn your respect. But I think people resisted DS9 at first, not for any inherent weakness in the show, but strictly because it did not fit in to what was considered what was acceptable, normal Star Trek programming.

Yes, it wasn't on a ship.
Yes, Sisko wasn't a captain.
Yes, it wasn't about exploration.

But DS9 truly carries the best of the Star Trek attitudes and ideas and search for a greater truth than the other series that have followed the original. But even if DS9 wasn't a wonderful show, I think the fans needed to learn that over time and not make the kind of uninformed snap judgment that seemed to bedevil us that first season.

So Fats... if I can call you by your nickname... I hope that you will pass this information on to your friends so that they too can learn the wonders of DS9.

Q: when sisko left DS9 just before the cardassians retook the station he left his baseball behind, knowing that he would be back. since he never retrieved his baseball I would assume that there is still unfinished business left at DS9.
shemo

ISB: That is an interesting observation. I'm not sure it's accurate, but it definitely is worth thinking about.

Q: What does it feel like to know that you've made such an impact on millions of people and have legions of fans?
Chris

ISB: It's not something that I think about a lot. It's nice to have you say that, I mean, I don't want to pretend that I don't have an ego... but I'm always pleasantly surprised and happy whenever I meet anyone that tells me that they watched the show or enjoy the show. What I always tell writers is that it's always about the work. The work is what matters. Everything else is just kind of icing on the cake. But you have to keep focused on the work. Not the repercussions of the work. But I would like to think years from now, when I look back on my time in the world of Star Trek, I'll say to myself, "Wow! I was part of a true American Pop culture phenomenon and I added creatively to that phenomenon." I'm sure when that time comes it's going to be a great feeling.

Thank you very much, Ira, for taking the time to chat with us today. We especially appreciate you coming by now that the show is over.

ISB: So the hands on the clock are telling me it's time to go now... So I really just want to take the time to thank everyone for watching, for obsessing about the show, for arguing about the show. For sticking with us all these years. Even those of you who came late to the party. It really was a privilege. I know it was a challenging show. It wasn't an easy show to watch. I know we drove the fans crazy at times by not giving them what they wanted or surprising them when they just didn't feel like being surprised. But a lot of you stuck with us... and I hope that you share my feelings that it wasn't wasted time. Thanks again.


Related Links:
Ira Steven Behr bio

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