"I'm telling you, we're not going to make the captain the main villain, fans will spot that twist a mile away," Fuller yelled! "We gotta make her a good person!"
"And I'm telling YOU that we can make it work," retorted Kurtzman! "What if she was from the mirror universe, where she had a relationship with Micheal? What a twist, right?"
Fuller wasn't having it. He was pissed that Kurtzman had gone behind his back to Moonves, who then had Fuller and Meyer rewrite the first two scripts yet again. They were not only forced to place the series in a past time era, but to write it in a serialized way. To Fuller, Kurtzman's idea of bringing up the mirror universe so early in a new Star Trek series felt like modern day lazy writing. Fuller challenged these ideas, "But what would she want with this Michael then?"
Kurtzman thought for a second before responding, "Maybe the Mirror Micheal is dead and she's looking for a new Michael." Fuller didn't accept that and shot back, "But still, this is a different Michael, and I hope you're not suggesting the entire plot of the series to be a Mirror universe love story."
That stung Kurtzman because he immediately realized it was true. Kurtzman began to whine, "You said fans would spot my twist, yet your story has no twists! It's all exposition... AND BORING EXPOSITION!"
Meyer tried to calm the two, "Guys, let's calm down. I may have a compromise. There doesn't have to be just one captain. We can have two captains in different times of Michael's life. Make one of them good and the other one bad."
"I'm satisfied with that", said Kurtzman. He wasn't, but he was glad that Meyer was at least attempting to work with his ideas. Meyer actually hated Kurtzman's ideas, but realized they wouldn't get far in the writing process if there wasn't compromises. They were already behind schedule and were supposed to be working on the next four scripts by now. The two looked at Fuller. Fuller hated these compromises, but trusted Meyer's judgement. However, he wasn't going to fully give in.
"Fine, but we're not going to introduce the mirror universe in the first season", Fuller finally relented. "Then what's going to be the captain's motive", asked Kurtzman? Fuller looked him straight in the eye before telling him, "I'll leave that problem up to you, since you insist on having a crooked captain." Fuller then looked around the room, "Are we happy with this? Can we move on?"
"Yes, I'm satisfied", said Kurtzman. Fuller went on.
"We've all agreed that this series will take place ten years before the original one and will feature a war between the Klingons and the Federation. In this draft of the first two scripts, the war is caused by a misunderstanding." Knowing Kurtzman would want his say by now, Fuller called to him, "Alex?"
This back and forth had become normal since they started working together. Kurtzman spurted out his idea of how to start the war, "I was thinking, what if Micheal killed the Klingon leader?" Fuller couldn't believe what he was hearing. It seemed like Kurtzman wanted not only a main character, but for that character to pull all the focus, "Oh so Michael is going to start the war too, right? Is she going to end it as well", he sarcastically asked?
"If she did, wouldn't that be a great way to redeem herself", Kurtzman defended?
Redeem? Fuller had no idea what Kurtzman was talking about, "Not if thousands are killed in this war! How could the fans redeem someone like that?" Kurtzman, a little over excited, thought he had a clever retort for Fuller's question, "They forgave Picard after he blew up all those Federation ships!"
Kurtzman thought that an actual reference to canon would shut Fuller's mouth. However, Fuller knew Star Trek and understood the episodes he referenced and said, "Because Picard was assimilated by the Borg, Alex! He wasn't in control of his mind or his actions! How many episodes of Star Trek have you actually watched?"
This question offended Kurtzman because he knew in his head that he had only watched six episodes total: The first pilot, Mirror Mirror, Spock's Brain, The Child, Inquisition and Scorpion as well as Star Trek: First Contact. However, he had not actually seen the Best of Both Worlds two-parter and only inferred what he knew about it from the First Contact film. Being in the mists of a fight for the future of this show with someone who had vast knowledge of the franchise though, Kurtzman wasn't about to show weakness to Fuller. He lied.
"I'll have you know that I have seen all of them! And that question is an insult to my intelligence", said Kurtzman. Fuller responded without a beat, "Well excuse me, but when you first suggested that Michael be Spock's sister, when any casual Trek fan knows Spock never had a sister, it peaks my concern about your knowledge of Trek lore!"
"ADOPTED sister" Kurtzman cried out, knowing he had already made that part specific to Fuller.
Meyer once again interjected, "Guys, this isn't productive. Bryan, what if Michael kills this leader by accident? Surely we couldn't blame her for the subsequent deaths if her intentions were noble."
Fuller took a breath and once again relented to Meyer, "We have to flesh it out, but ok." Meyer looked at Kurtzman, "Alex?"
Kurtzman dismissed the discussion, "Fine. Whatever."
The three moved on with their meeting. "Going with that," Fuller began, "Is she going to suffer any sort of consequences for starting a war in the first place? Even if it was an accident?"
"Sure," said Kurtzman, not seeming to mind the suggestion, "Send her to jail." Fuller had him now, "How about we send her to a prison colony instead", he responded sarcastically. Realizing that Fuller had tricked him into exposing his lack of Trek knowledge, Kurtzman lashed out at him, "Bryan, you're a dick!"
Fuller was now trying to hide his smug look as he told Kurtzman, "Alex, when it comes to the integrity of Star Trek, you're damn right I'm gonna be a dick about it."
Just then the phone in the conference room rang. Fuller picked it up on speaker, "Yes Amy?" Everybody stopped to listen. "Sir, Eaves and Schneider are here", said a female voice.
"Thank you Amy", responded Fuller before hanging up and addressing the room. "Gentlemen, we have one more line of business to discuss. Mr. Moonves wants a final ship design ASAP, so that we can set up a short video clip in time for this years San Diego Comic Con. He thinks it will excite the fans. John Eaves and Scott Schneider are here to show us a few designs that Alex thought up." Just as Fuller was finishing up, the door opened and in walked Schneider and Eaves.
After greeting each other, everybody sat back down. Eaves pulled out his design portfolio and started passing it around the table. Kurtzman immediately turned to a certain design, skipping over others, and pointed at it, "I like this one". Kurtzman passed it to Fuller who took a good look at the ship design, "I'm not sure about this one. The angles are too sharp. There needs to be some curvature there, like on a Lamborghini from the 70s."
He passed the design to Meyers who analyzed it and realized something, "This design looks like it's based on the McQuarrie/Adams design for Phase 2".
"That's what Mr. Kurtzman asked for", Eaves said. Fuller eyed Kurtzman as he realized he had once again gone behind his back. He was also confused about Kurtzman's motivation for the design and asked, "I thought Mr. Kurtzman was clear about not using anything from Paramount because of the alternative license agreement."
Kurtzman eyed him back, remembering that he had asked Fuller to not talk about the licensing deal to others. Then he tried to play it off, "Don't worry, we'll switch it up 25% and it'll be fine. Nobody will notice."
"How do we suppose we change it?" Meyer asked. "I was thinking of adding some racing stripes to it", Kurtzman replied. Everybody paused and looked at Kurtzman, who was now openly smirking as Fuller pleaded, "I hope you're joking."
"Just wanted to see if your head would explode", Kurtzman replied. Eaves and Schneider looked at each other as they started to realize there was tension in the room. They were also confused about the legal situation that Fuller had alluded to. Eaves asked the room, "I have a question, why do these ship designs have to be 25% different from previous designs."
Fuller and Meyer looked at each other with a sigh, then looked at Kurtzman. Fuller gave the room to Kurtzman, "Alex, you're the expert". Kurtzman eyed Fuller hard, but Fuller stared back just as hard. Kurtzman, now under pressure to explain, cleared his throat and spoke, "CBS and Paramount share a non-compete clause on Star Trek as long as the Bad Robot/Kelvin films are still at play. This would normally mean that CBS can't put out any competing Star Trek content while Paramount is still making Trek.
"So why are we making a Star Trek then", Schneider asked. Kurtzman responded, "In this case, CBS and Paramount compromised by sending Secret Hideout to co-produce the series, which gives us a financial stake in it. We also have to abide by the same alternative license as Bad Robot, which requires everything to be at least 25% different from the original content. This jives with the interests of Secret Hideout because we can then make a potential profit off of the merchandise.
"So it's all about merchandise," asked Eaves? "To him," answered Fuller. Schneider looked disappointed, Eaves looked disgusted. Eaves stood up, "I think we should go."
With that, Fuller concluded the meeting, "Change the design and we'll put together a graphics team for the CG model. Meeting is adjured."
The five stood and began to file out of the conference room, "I think we actually made some progress today," said Meyer to nobody in particular. Nobody responded to him. Instead Fuller had one more request for Kurtzman, "Alex in all seriousness, I left a gift for you at the lobby. Please take the hint. Have a good afternoon."
Once downstairs at the lobby, Kurtzman waited for everybody to leave before pulling out his phone and dialing a number. After a couple of rings, a female answered, "Hello?"
Kurtzman looked embarrassed, "Oh! I'm sorry, I think I have the wrong number." Then immediately realizing he may have not, he cringed and said, "I'm looking for Les". "Oh, hold on", she said before hearing some murmurs and then a groggy Moonves saying, "Hello?"
"Ew. It's me Alex, but..." Moonves completed his thought, "Alex, can I call you back?" Kurtzman quickly responded, "Yeah, bye!" before hanging up the phone. He then walked to the receptionist desk to see what Fuller left him, "I was told I have a gift here from a Bryan Fuller?"
He was given a large gift bag. He sat down and looked inside. What he found was a complete set of Blu-Rays for The Original Series as well as the first six Star Trek films and an episode guide to The Next Generation.
Kurtzman realized that this was another dig by Fuller at his lack of knowledge about Star Trek and was once again angered. "What a dick", he mumbled to himself. As he walked outside, he saw a mother and child waiting in the lobby and decided to hand the bag to them.
As Kurtzman walked home, he promised himself that he would have the last laugh.
Click here for part five.