Authors & DirectorsRonald D. Moore

Ron Moore’s “Pern” a No-Go

Wonder if this means that Ron will still be around for Roswell Season 3?

From Sci-Fi Wire:

9:00am ET, 5-April-01

Creative Split Sank Pern

Producer Ronald D. Moore–whose pilot for a Dragonriders of Pern TV series was abruptly dumped by The WB–told SCI FI Wire that the network pulled the plug only days before production was set to begin in a dispute over the show’s creative direction. “It’s dead,” Moore said in an interview. “We were supposed to start shooting the day before yesterday [April 2]. We were very, very close. We were shooting in Santa Fe [N.M.] We had the cast. We had the production team. We had the CGI [computer graphics]. We had the whole enchilada, and they pulled the plug last Wednesday.”

Moore said he had been trying to develop a serious adaptation of Anne McCaffrey’s popular series of SF novels of the same name. But The WB ordered a “dialogue polish” from a second writer, and when Moore saw the rewrite, he felt the series had changed “fundamentally.” “It was a different show,” he said. “I had tried … to keep the spirit of the books alive … and make it a classy, interesting show. And … what was evident in the draft they commissioned, they wanted a different show. It was more Buffy-esque and Xena-esque. It was something they felt more comfortable with on The WB. … There wasn’t a way to split the difference. Ultimately, they decided we should just let the project go. It was their decision. It was very disappointing for everybody. … A lot of people put a lot of hard work into it.”

Moore did not sound angry about the decision, though he was clearly dismayed at the pilot’s cancellation just as it was set to shoot. “We … had to shutter the offices, let the crew go, and it was too bad. But ultimately, I understand and respect the position of the network, because it’s their network. But I had a responsibility to the material and the source of the material. … And I think the fans–while they may be disappointed that the series won’t go forward–would have been more disappointed if we had made a series that contradicted the world that Anne had created and was so wonderful.”

Among the scenes fans will never see: A recreation of the books’ Ruatha Hold in a New Mexico box canyon; an interpretation of Bendan Weyr as a series of pueblo-like cliff dwellings; and the birth of a dragon under the night sky and a blanket of Southwestern stars.

Moore said that Pern’s complicated rights will likely prohibit the pilot’s being picked up by another network this year or in its current incarnation. As for whether he’ll try to mount an effort to revive the Pern series later on, he said, “I started talking about and looking for the rights to this series when I was [a writer] on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. … The thought of doing it all over again is not something I’m eager to do at this moment. But maybe with a little time and distance, you never know. … I have no regrets, and I’m glad Anne’s property is still Anne’s property and won’t have been damaged in any way.”