It’s Weekday and that means it’s time for Midweek Trivia. Today, we look at a classic Next Generation episode, “The Wounded”
“The Wounded” first aired on January 28th 1991. This was an important episode in the development of the Star Trek universe, both in terms of the universe as a whole, and development of what was a minor player, who became someone important later on.
#1 This was the introductory episode for the Cardassians.
-Writer Jeri Taylor.
Jeri Taylor, TNG Executive Producer and writer of ‘The Wounded” came up with the species name. - “I came up with ‘Circassians’ which I thought had a vaguely alien sound, though something in the back of my mind thought it came too easily,” Taylor explained. “And someone (probably Joe Menosky) pointed out that the Circassians were a real people on Earth, in antiquity. So I just played around with the sounds and ‘Cardassian’ kind of fell into place.” -(Star Trek: Communicator issue 149, p. 21)
#2 They were supposed to be an “Alien Of The Week” and took some adjusting to become what we see in DS9. They were also not the original occupiers of Bajor.
They were only supposed to make one appearance, this episode. (“Who are the Cardassians?”, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 4)
The director of “The Wounded” Chris Chalmers explained that there was a Human quality to the species. - “We introduced a new enemy that’s finally able to speak on the level of Picard. They’re not grunting, they’re not giggling, they’re not mutes or all-knowing entities. Here are the Cardassians who also graduated first in their class and they’re able to carry on highly intelligent conversations with Picard, but they’re sinister as hell. It was fun to introduce a whole new alien race.” (Captains’ Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 214)
It took time for the species to grow on the entire production team. Michael Piller recalled that it took a few years before he was comfortable with them -“The Cardassians the first time we met them were very undefined [....] It took two or three years before I really felt good about them,” professedMichael Piller. (Captains’ Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 76). Robert Hewitt-Wolfe agreed.- “I think they started out as very much stock heavy bad guys.” (Captains’ Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 107). Marc Alaimo thought they were one dimensional. - “When they came on the scene, they were one-dimensional, in that they were aggressive and militaristic, and mean, and ugly.” (Cinefantastique, Vol. 29, Nos. 6/7, p. 44)
In the first script of “Ensign Ro”, Bajor was occupied by the Romulans. Rick Berman remembered the Cardassians from this episode and made the change to them being the occupiers. - (“Who are the Cardassians?”, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, No. 4). Imagine what DS9 would have been like if they hadn’t made that change?
#3 This was the first episode to focus on Colm Meaney’s Chief O’Brien
O’Brien had been on the show since the pilot and over time became a more important supporting character. He got his first name in ‘The Family” and this episode we learn about his past experience fighting Cardassians.
Colm gave his thoughts about playing the character in an intervbiew done in November of 2009.
“I don’t know. I think...you know, because of that world that we inhabited, with all of these extraordinary characters who could do extraordinary things, there was a terrific kind of humanity in O’Brien...and that’s due to the writing, of course, but it’s also in every sense, in that he was humanoid! But I think he brought that kind of contemporary sensibility to an extraordinary world, and it’s nice to be able to say that. And, of course, we had the storylines with Rosalind Chao, who played my wife, Keiko, which were great, just to be able to play those storylines of domestic tension or the problems facing a kid in that environment.”- http://www.bullz-eye.com/television/int…
In the book Star Trek:The Next Generation Companion, it was revealed that the scene where O’Brien and Captain Maxwell sing the The Ministrel Boy was suggested by Michael Piller. The song would appear again near the end of the DS9 finale “What You Leave Behind”
In that same book, Rick Berman and Jeri Taylor shared thier thoughts on the scene. Berman:“That was a wonderful English [sic] hymn that was used in The Man Who Would Be King. I always loved it and we worked it in where O’Brien and Gunton’s character sing it together.” - Taylor:“There is the wonderful device of the song at the end of the episode, in which Colm Meaney really came into his own and did a wonderful job. When he and Maxwell sing that song at the end, I really just loved that moment.”
The funny thing about this episode is that, in the end, Captain Mawell was right. With that, we will end another week of trivia. I will see you all next Wednsday for another edition of Midweek Trivia.