EXCLUSIVE: Michael Dorn Talks TNG Blu-rays & More
Tomorrow is the big day. CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Media Distribution will release both Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Fourth Season and Star Trek: The Next Generation – Redemption in extras-laden Blu-ray editions. And to celebrate their imminent release, StarTrek.com caught up with Michael Dorn for extensive conversation. Dorn spoke at length about the Blu-rays, playing Worf, and also about the 20th anniversary of Deep Space, and he updated us on his current projects. Check out part one of our conversation below, and visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow for part two.
STARTREK.COM: A lot of people are eagerly awaiting the “Redemption” Blu-ray. Go back to making the episodes. How aware were you that they had the potential to be, not just an entertaining two-parter, but essential to establishing the Klingons?
DORN: I didn’t realize it until we started shooting the second part. When you read it on the page, you thought, “Wow, it’s great. There’s a lot of stuff for me to do,” but you didn’t really get the feeling that it was going to be anything until we got into it, until we were making it. It really became an interesting thing. If you break it down, it had a great story, both episodes. Then, look at the actors they got. Tony Todd is fabulous. You had Robert O’Reilly as Gowron. You had Barbara (March) and Gwynyth (Walsh) as Lursa and B’Etor. These are really fabulous actors. Once you started working with these actors, that’s when you started to see that there was something special going on. Also, it was a two-parter, and part one was a cliffhanger. We did the first part, which came out great, and I couldn’t wait to come back to do the second part because you could just tell part two was going to be another big episode.
STARTREK.COM: What surprised even you about what was revealed in the “Redemption” two-parter?
DORN: For me, it was the fact that Worf doesn’t know where he belongs. And I didn’t realize that was the big thing for me until I was actually filming it. Worf makes the decision to leave. He says, “OK, I’m ready to leave now and go back to Starfleet, but it really kind of bugged him. I think that’s the one thing that kept him awake at night, the idea that he’d always thought the Klingons were these honorable warriors, with a warrior’s code and blah-blah-blah. And he discovers that they aren’t. They’re a bunch of backstabbing a-holes, for the most part. There are those who are honorable, but for the most part they weren’t.
STARTREK.COM: By this time you, in essence, owned Worf, and you were more or less the keeper of the Klingon flame. Do you remember ever saying to (writer-producer) Ron Moore or (directors) Cliff Bole or David Carson, during production of the episodes, “No, Worf wouldn’t do that or wouldn’t say that”?
DORN: No, I never did. I never did. They wrote great episodes and Cliff and David were very seasoned directors. I was one of the actors who never really went up there (to the production office or the writers’ room) and gave them any guff about anything. There was one episode where I was supposed to give the Romulan my blood and I didn’t do it. That was the one time that I actually called and had a meeting with Rick Berman – just a quick meeting – to say, “Are you sure you want to do this?” He said, “Oh, yes. For sure. Absolutely.” And they were right. It was a way of showing that Worf wasn’t a human. So, I was tickled with all the things they wrote. There was never a moment where I went, “Oh God, guys, Worf wouldn’t do that.” Not at all.
STARTREK.COM: Have you seen the “Redemption” Blu-ray yet, with the two episodes upgraded and melded into a feature-length presentation?
DORN: No, I haven’t seen it yet. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s one of those things where I want to get it, put it on my TV, I want to have my food around me, and I don’t want to be disturbed.
How often do you check out the old episodes of the show?
DORN: If I’m sitting around and I’m flipping around and I see an episode on, I may say, “Oh, that’s interesting,” and I’ll watch it if I like the episode. But I’ve got to tell you, between you, me and the couple of million readers of the site, there are two episode of Deep Space that I watch. One is “Soldiers of the Empire” and the other is “Once More Unto the Breach,” with Jon Colicos back as Kor. I watch those because they’re my favorites, my absolute favorites.
STARTREK.COM: The “Redemption” Blu-ray is the latest in the TNG releases, which include other major episodes as well as the season sets. How pleased have you been with the releases?
DORN: They’re great. I really love the way the episodes look. I saw The Original Series, a few episodes of it, with the upgrades that were done for those episodes, and I was really blown away just because they didn’t do too much, but they did just enough to update it. A lot of shows and movies, like the George Lucas thing, they take it back and redo it and add stuff. They did it very tastefully with Star Trek. I’ve got to tell you that the big thing for me, looking at The Next Generation, at the episodes and the bloopers and all of that, it just reminded me how much fun we had and it brings back these really great memories. So, that’s kind of what I get out of the Blu-rays, though I know people love them because the episodes look so amazing.
Visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow to read part two of our exclusive interview with Michael Dorn. Star Trek: The Next Generation – The Fourth Season will run nearly 20 hours over six discs and will cost $130 in the U.S. and $150 in Canada. Star Trek: The Next Generation – Redemption will cost $28.28 in the U.S. and $32.00 in Canada. Click HERE to pre-order The Fourth Season and HERE to pre-order "Redemption."