Star Trek: The Next Generation: Ronald D. Moore Talks Worf Arc Fight

It would be an understatement to say that Ronald D. Moore provided some of the best content the Star Trek franchise has seen especially during The Next Generation era occasionally butting heads with its creator Gene Roddenberry. Among the episodes Roddenberry had an issue with was the Picard (Patrick Stewart)-centric season four episode "Family" that took the U.S.S. Enterprise D captain on "shore leave" back to his vineyard in France. Another was the two-part arc "Redemption", which approached its 30th anniversary. The writer talked to The Hollywood Reporter about giving the Enterprise's Chief of Security Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn), a Klingon Federation officer having to deal with the prospect of a potential Klingon civil war.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Ronald Moore on Fighting for Worf Arc
Image courtesy of ViacomCBS

"When I started at Star Trek, the Klingons were already part and parcel of the franchise," Moore said. "But when you really broke it down, you didn't know that much about them." Prior to the introduction of Worf, the Klingons were the primary adversaries of Captain James Kirk (William Shatner) during The Original Series and the rivalry continued into the films concluding in a truce and subsequent peace in 1991's Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. By the time of TNG, which takes place over 70 years after TOS, the Klingons were established allies due to the Khitomer Accords with a mutual enemy in the Romulans.

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Ronald Moore on Fighting for Worf Arc
Image courtesy of ViacomCBS

In "Redemption Part I" which served as a season four finale and TNG's 100th episode in 1991, Worf faced with a difficult decision to either remain in Starfleet to continue his duties or resign his position and take a side in a looming civil war that threatens to tear the Klingon Empire apart. "I remember that Gene was not fully on board with the idea," Moore said. "He didn't really see Worf as a primary character. [TNG] was about Picard. He was the captain. This was the first time that Next Gen — that Star Trek, really — had ever done a big war story like this. And this was going to be the series' 100th episode on top of it. So, we had to fight somewhat to get the episode going."

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Ronald Moore on Fighting for Worf Arc
Image courtesy of ViacomCBS

On Moore's side at the time were executive producer Rick Berman and the late TNG showrunner Michael Piller, who also helped get the episode "Family" made. In fact, "Redemption" was the originally planned season three finale cliffhanger into four, but the Borg-centric two-parter "Best of Both Worlds" was put in its place. Even with the decision to change the season three finale, Moore galactically built the Klingons as a culture with depth in episodes "Sins of a Father" and "The Bonding". "Michael Piller — on my first week — because he knew I was a fan, and he was new to the show and Trek and was trying to get his feet under him, he said: 'Just write me a memo on who the Klingons are.' So I was like: 'Okay! I'm going to write you a memo on who the Klingons are,'" Moore said. "That is something] that I did not really expect. It is kind of funny because, when I started at Star Trek, there were only a handful of episodes of The Original Series at the time that focused on them. And they make a cameo appearance essentially in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and are the villains in The Search for Spock. They were just kind of 'the bad guys' of Star Trek. And you never really learn that much about them."

Star Trek: The Next Generation: Ronald Moore on Fighting for Worf Arc
Image courtesy of ViacomCBS

In "Redemption", the Duras sisters Lursa (Barbara March) and B'Etor (Gwynyth Walsh) are looking to stage a coup with secret Romulan help. "They are great characters; I really enjoyed writing them," Moore said. "They were these big, Shakespearean characters that you could really take some big swings with. Michael was the one who initially came up with the idea of having these two sisters be the foil and the people pulling the strings behind this Klingon power grab." They would return as featured villains in 1994's Generations. For more on where Moore talks about helping to re-introduce Denise Crosby into TNG canon following her season one stint as Lt. Tasha Yar, you can check out the rest on THR. You can check out his current work on AppleTV+'s For All Mankind.

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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 Fangoria. As a 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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