Ronald Moore Discusses Section 31, If Star Trek Is Still Film-Viable

There's no denying Ronald Moore's place in Star Trek history as one of the most revered minds of the syndication era. Having since broadened his horizons to other franchises and currently promoting his latest work For All Mankind for AppleTV+, the writer and producer spoke to Trek Movie about his prior work on series like The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, his thoughts on the current shows on CBS All Access in the streaming era, and the franchise's future in cinema. When it comes to his current consumption of Star Trek with series like Discovery, Picard, and Lower Decks, Moore isn't as up to speed and largely attributes it to avoid burnout. "No, I have not to be honest," he said. "I saw the beginning of Picard, and then I just haven't gotten back to it. And there's also just a part of me that I don't watch, read, or consume as much science fiction as I used to when I'm working in science fiction. I tend to be like, 'Okay, no more sci-fi in my spare time.' I tend to gravitate to other things." As far as contribution to the future canon, Moore hasn't heard a peep surrounding interest in an upcoming Section 31 spinoff.

LOS ANGELES - FEB 13: Ronald D. Moore arrives for the 'Outlander' Season 5 Premiere on February 13, 2020, in Hollywood, CA (DFree/Shutterstock.com)
LOS ANGELES – FEB 13: Ronald D. Moore arrives for the 'Outlander' Season 5 Premiere on February 13, 2020, in Hollywood, CA (DFree/Shutterstock.com)

"I heard that," Moore recalled. "I remember reading that somewhere. I didn't know if it was a real thing or if it was just a rumor. Certainly, that's fertile ground to tell a story. And it's a great concept. It was [Deep Space Nine showrunner] Ira Behr that came up with the original idea of doing Section 31. It's just waiting there to be told by somebody." With Paramount's Star Trek films currently in limbo, TM asked the Emmy winner, who wrote two of the TNG era films what he'd do if one were greenlit now. Surprisingly, it's similar to the perspective Montgomery Scott actor Simon Pegg offered when it came to the limited appeal in selling Star Trek to cinemas today. "That's an interesting question," Moore said. "I'm not sure because Trek is, in some ways, an uncomfortable fit to the big screen I've kind of come to feel, even though I did two of them. I thought First Contact was a really good film, Generations not so much. And Wrath of Khan is an outstanding film. The Voyage Home works really well, and so on. It's not that they're not good movies, but it feels like the movies have to be a spectacle. The movies have to be gigantic, action-adventure, lots of shooting, lots of things at stake – except for Voyage Home. And that's not really Star Trek to me."

Star Trek: Ronald Moore Talks Section 31, New Films Viability Today
William Sadler as Sloan in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Extreme Measures". Image courtesy of ViacomCBS

Moore clarified his stance of what the franchise means in his mind demonstrating how certain stories only work for television. "To me, Trek is a morality play," he continued. "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."

Star Trek: Ronald Moore Talks Section 31, New Films Viability Today
Patrick Stewart and LeVar Burton in Star Trek: First Contact (1996). Image courtesy of Paramount

The writer further explained how if he was trusted with the keys to the next film, he just can't go back to rehash nostalgia or become formulaically predictable and that he wants to return to the storytelling roots of the franchise. "So, if they asked me what to do with the movies, I don't know," Moore explained. "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." For more on Moore's thoughts on how tentpole blockbusters from Marvel affect the mindset of budgeting sci-fi and remarks on his new deal for Disney+. Head on to Trek Movie. The second season of For All Mankind is available to stream on AppleTV+.

About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangora. As a professional writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.

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