Bakula: 'Enterprise' Like Re-Inventing The Wheel


Red Pixie Boot Wearer
Mar 12, 2001
In a recent interview Scott Bakula (Jonathan Archer) spoke about why the hype surrounding Enterprise is warrented.

"Well, they're re-inventing the wheel," the actor said on the Mark And Bryan Show last Wednesday. "The ship's new, the wardrobe's new, and the make-up's new, the sound effects are new, all the special effects are brand new."

But when he was first offered the part, Bakula didn't think the series was anything to get excited about. "Well, the first instinct was NO," he explained. "But that was quickly followed by 'it's going to be a prequel' and 'You're going to be the first captain on the first starship to ever go out to leave this planet.' And the carrot got a little bigger then - 'Well, the first captain, well, that's a whole other story!' Cause they're like talking to the ego, there."

"People are asking me 'how does it feel to follow Shatner?' And well, technically, he followed me! So the carrot got a little bigger. [...] And I said, let me see the script when it comes in. This was before the script ever came out. And then the carrot got a lot bigger because the script was fantastic. And I liked this character so much. The challenges when you're looking at something that's probably going to run a few years, is there going to be anything left? Is there a character you can have fun with a long time? And this guy definitely has enough problems that we can do something with it for a long time."

Has the actor encountered any problems with Trek continuity yet? "Yes, but not anymore. They were starting to tell me stuff like [you can't go down the left hallway because that didn't exist the Original Series] in the beginning, and I said, 'No, no! no, no!'", Bakula explained. "They said, 'Where do you think 'stun' would be on this phase pistol? There wouldn't be one.' And I said, 'No no no no. I'm telling you now, this little lever, this is stun.' So, we're having fun with it that way."
Re-inventing Trek.

Bakula can walk up any corridors or find any switch on his gun that he likes! None of that is important. What is important is not ruining TOS stories by re-inventing the backstory.

There are many ways to do this without trying too hard. Berman and Braga are aware of the difficuties they have caused themselves, but seem to take it very lightly. In a recent interview they talk about the 'Eugenics war' of 1996 -- "Do you pay attention to that, or do you just glide on by?" and how modern mobile phones are smaller than Kirk's communicator, and Janeway's computer is bulkier than Berman's (well Braga is to blame for the last one!)

None of that affects the backstory though. The kind of thing I'm thinking of is that none of the 'Enterprise 1701' crew have ever seen a Romulan before (apart from Spock). This is because although they fought a war with the Romulans, it was without sub-space communications. This is central to several story lines -- the fact that Romulans look like Spock in 'Balance of Terror' and the fact that so many ships have had no contact with Earth in numerous episodes.

Already, Bakula has communications with Earth (but only while at Warp speed -- as if that makes a difference) and how long will it be before a Romulan makes an appearance I wonder?
don't ya just hate it when they do that?? screw up pre-established backstory??

Davis-Pazner Productions did the same thing with Highlander (and, oh don't get me started!) ---

i just saw the episode where the Enterprise crew meets Romulans for the first time -- (just the other day) -- the one where Spock's gotta play nice to that Romulan chic so they can steal the cloaking device -- that was their 1st meeting w/ them, right?? (i assume the war was b4 this ep b/c Kirk ordered the crew into Romulan space and everyone was against it)

if they do intro a Romulan to the Enterprise crew - they'll have to come up w/ some amazing story to why Kirk's crew never saw any until much later ---

btw -- is there a comprehensive website out there w/ all the Star Trek backstory and continuity/canon info?? (like the one someone did for Stargate? can't remember what it's called, but i've heard that the SG-1 writers reference it so they don't goof what they've already done) --- don't know if it would help any, but a site like that, that gets a lot of promotion, might prompt the PTB of "Enterprise" to keep the backstory straight ---
Well I always knew that it would happen, I know I'm ranting on about this, but they sort of said that it was safe in their hands, and I believed them. Now they say things like "...we are really to busy to read all the internet mail that comes in on all this stuff...If we did that we'd have to hire other people to do the television series." Why not hire a real Star Trek fan to check their scripts first?

The thing is that there actually are all the reference manuals and materials that you described available. "The Star Trek Chronology" by Michael and Denise Okuda (in print and CD-ROM) was started for exactly that purpose -- to do a simple timeline for use by the writers of TNG. Michael was initially afraid of finding too many inconsistencies if he went too deeply, but he was surprised to find that it all held together pretty well (with the Eugenics wars an exception). The main reason for this is that even in TOS Dorothy Fontana had made sure this was so. You can't ride roughshod over all the work these people have put in.

The episode you mentioned is "The Enterprise Incident" and it is the first time that they meet Romulans, but Spock gets a picture of the Romulan ship's Bridge earlier in "Balance of Terror" that I mentioned. In that a bridge officer called Styles, who lost his family in the Romulan Wars, takes it out on Spock when the fact that Romulans and Vulcans are related is discovered.

The Romulan war occurred before the formation of the Federation in 2150, and was between Earth and the Romulans. Obviously, the plan must be to end the run of "Enterprise" 'The Series' with this war and the Federation's creation. That would be the dramatic final season if I was involved with it.
ending with the Romulan War (is that what they call it?) would be the way to go ---

personally, i like it when shows have a set plan/story arc and know where they want to be when they reach the end (Stargate kinda did this - they initially set out 4 seasons, but the show was just so damned popular that it kept going - but that's another discussion) -- so, if the PTB of Enterpirse have their sights set on hitting the Romulan War as their 'end point' - they just have to have enough 'time' pass for that to occur ---

more questions: how long did the war last? and what is supposed to be the current year of "Enterprise"? (sorry, i forgot, haven't re-watched it yet - been busy watching TNG reruns on TNN -- they're doing this 5 day marathon thing) --
thing is dave ur right... u saying what we all want
I've just seen 'Broken Bow', and actually I will forgive them anything if the rest is that good!

I think that 'Enterprise' is set 100 years after 'First Contact' -- that makes it just around the time of the Romulan Wars. According to the 'Chronology' they begin in 2156 and end in 2160. A peace treaty is signed and the UFP is incorporated in 2161.

It also says that this is when Starfleet is established, unfortunately in 'Broken Bow' they mention Starfleet several times. They could have easily avoided that by just using the 'Space Command', 'Space Central', 'Star Service' or 'United Earth Space Probe Agency' that were also used in the earlier episodes of 'Star Trek' before they established 'Starfleet' as the operating agency for the 'Enterprise 1701'.

Also in my Star Trek Monthly, Berman says that Michael Okuda gave him a lot of help in going back and finding a balance of the early origins of Trek that they wanted to see. So he must have been asleep when asked about ssome of this stuff.
well - i was paying attn last night, and they said it was 2150 or 2151 -- so, if the show stays on for 5 or 6 yrs (which could be the plan) - they should bump smack into the Romulan war --

they do mention Starfleet - but -- oh - i dunno - maybe that's to keep some of the newer fans from being confused????

the other thing about the date that caught me - i was later watching an ep of TNG - and Worf specifically states that there were no phasers in the 22nd century -- did he mean on the ships themselves, or phasers in general - like - handheld - b/c that crew is running around w/ phase rifles and such --- if they fudge this a little - i suppose i can forgive them --- it's not as big as some other 'canon' goofs they could do -----
I don't remember Worf saing that, but he could have meant the ships -- the Enterprise no A, no B, no number at all, doesn't seem to have phasers.

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