what we left behind deep space nine

You could be forgiven for wondering if ‘What We Left Behind‘ had been, well, left behind. While the team behind the much anticipated ‘Deep Space Nine’ documentary is unquestionably dedicated (the project is, after all, spearheaded by Ira Steven Behr, who served as showrunner from the third season onward), it has been months since the last substantive update. Given that the film was originally aiming for a 2018 release, the fact that it is now… not 2018 and a release date has yet to be announced could understandably be seen as cause for concern. But as it happens, those concerns were premature.

This week, it was announced via Deadline that worldwide distribution rights to ‘What We Left Behind’ have been picked up by Shout! Studios. The boutique distributor, which specializes in niche properties, plans to release the documentary across a variety of platforms by the end of this year. This includes the requisite Blu-ray and DVD releases, as well as streaming platforms and even a theatrical release. While a release date has still not been announced, an update sent to the backers of the film’s crowdfunding campaign states that this distribution deal means that they are “nearing a final release date,” and further hints that at the very least the streaming release may come “sooner than you might expect.”

While the primary appeal of ‘What We Left Behind’ lies in the ‘Deep Space Nine’ principles (both in front of and behind the camera) reflecting on the series and their experiences some twenty-five years down the road, that’s not all it brings to the table. In fact, there are two fairly notable hooks to the documentary – beyond the obvious. The first and most substantial is a sequence in which the ‘Deep Space Nine’ writing staff reunites to devise a hypothetical eighth season, breaking down the would be season premiere in some detail. They’ve even assembled some concept art!

The other is more technical, namely the fact that all of the featured footage from the series is being remastered in high definition. While both the original ‘Star Trek’ and ‘The Next Generation’ have been treated to HD makeovers over the last fifteen years (and everything from ‘Enterprise’ onward has been produced in HD as a matter of course), ‘Deep Space Nine’ and ‘Voyager’ have both languished in standard definition hell. While there are some technical concerns involved with this, the main reasons are financial, as the ‘Next Generation’ Blu-rays reportedly didn’t sell as well as CBS had hoped given the expense involved with the remastering process. Thus, by featuring remastered footage (and, by all accounts, as much of it as they can find an excuse to work in) doing everything they can to reach a wider audience, the producers of the documentary hope to demonstrate that sufficient interest exists to convince CBS to commit to giving ‘Deep Space Nine’ the full remaster that it so richly deserves.

For more information on ‘What We Left Behind’, you can head over to the film’s Indiegogo page. And as always, be sure to check back with ScienceFiction.com for more on the documentary as it begins to approach its long-awaited release.