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GustavoLeao

Producer Doug Mirabello Talks Proposed Animated Series Final Frontier, Scripts to be Posted Online

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In 2005, Zero Room Productions began development of a series of animated Star Trek shorts to be distributed online by Startrek.com. A year later, a reshuffle of management at CBS Interactive and massive layoffs at Startrek.com put an end to the project before it reached the animation stage.

Zero Room is now releasing all of the Final Frontier scripts on the web at www.startrekff.com. The new site contains detailed commentary on the development process, a look at the original pitch packet, and a comprehensive gallery of concept art (see a few samples here).

The setting is the year 2528 and the Federation is a different place after suffering through a devastating war with the Romulans 60 years earlier. The war was sparked off after a surprise attack of dozens of ‘Omega particle' detonations throughout the Federation creating vast areas which become impassible to warp travel and essentially cut off almost half the Federation from the rest. During the war the Klingon homeworld was occupied by the Romulans, all of Andoria was destroyed and the Vulcans, who were negotiating reunification with the Romulans, pulled out of the Federation. The setting may seem bleak and not very Trek-like, but that is where the show's hero Captain Alexander Chase comes in. Relegated to border patrol, Chase is determined to bring the Federation (and a starship called Enterprise) back to the glory days of seeking out new life and new civilizations.

Now TrekWeb talks to producer Doug Mirabello about the rejected Final Frontier animated series and the Star Trek franchise. Interview : Gustavo Leao

1- Doug, what can you tell us about these scripts of the proposed Final Frontier animated series available online now ?

Once the project died and we put up the website, we had a great time hearing all the comments of the fans who we'd done all this work for. It's pretty amazing to be able to reach all across the world with these stories and get feedback from people who love Trek just as much as we do, some of them on the other side of the globe. We spent over a year of our lives developing the world of Final Frontier for the original pitch, and these characters really got into our heads. We'd also had extensive talks about where they'd be headed and what kinds of stories we'd want to tell with them. So we always knew we'd come back to them once we had the time.

2- There is a chance of Final Frontier still being produced as an independent web series or even a CBS TV series ?

No. Doing it as an independent web series would be prohibitively expensive. Plus, in order for us not to get our asses sued off, no one would be able to make a profit from it. These things are fun to write, but sadly fun doesn't pay the bills. As for actual TV, or sanctioned online, there's no way the new regime in charge of Trek would ever let us do that. The franchise is in new hands now, and it makes total sense for Paramount to want to focus exclusively on the world of the new films. Our thing takes place in the future, but it still has ties to TNG and TOS that they wouldn't want to touch.

3- What are your feelings today regarding the Final Frontier premise ?

The show was originally developed before the JJ Abrams film was even announced. Back then it made more sense as a metaphor for where the Star Trek franchise was at the time. Just like our Starfleet, it had lost its way and needed to embrace the optimism and sense of adventure that made it a success in the first place. Since then, the new films have gone a long way toward getting the franchise back on its feet. So the analogy might not hold as much weight, but these are still fun characters in an interesting world. It was always our feeling that Star Trek was about moving forward and looking to the future, not going back and retreading the past. So I think there's still a place for Final Frontier.

4- What are your thoughts about the current state of the Trek franchise ?

People are excited about Star Trek again. You couldn't say the same thing seven years ago. The next film will make a ton of money and probably introduce even more people to the franchise than the first did. I personally think Trek works better as a TV series, where you can take the time to tell smaller, more intelligent science fiction stories and you don't have to worry about saving the universe and hitting all the blockbuster movie beats every time you revisit these characters. But we'll get back to that eventually. I'm glad that the fans are keeping the old Trek (TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT) alive and unforgotten as the official spotlight shifts to the new universe.

The Final Frontier official site is www.startrekff.com

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Gus

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Its my pleasure, buddy. Man, I would love to see this FINAL FRONTIER animated series - the character design and the story look very promising. But CBS shut down the project (again). Even their Enterprise design is cool (check the gallery in their website);Oh well..........

Best,

Gus

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