Brannon Braga on Terra Nova

We talk time travel and dinosaurs with Terra Nova executive producer, Brannon Braga.

Fred Topelby Fred Topel

Terra Nova

Lots of sci-fi fans are fans of Brannon Braga’s work. Apparently, that includes sci-fi giants. Gene Roddenberry hired him for Star Trek: The Next Generation and Steven Spielberg hired him for Terra Nova. After a Terra Nova presentation to the Television Critics Association, I got some questions of my own in about the show, but first about the Trek universe and the status of 24, which was also sci-fi if you think about how fast Jack Bauer traversed L.A. geography.


CraveOnline: What went wrong with the Billy Ray script and were you surprised they couldn’t get the 24 movie going right away?

Brannon Braga: I have nothing to do with the development of the film so I can’t answer that question. I have no idea.


CraveOnline: If you’d known they weren’t going to be able to do a movie, would you have ended the show differently?

Brannon Braga: No, the way we ended 24 had nothing to do with setting up the movie. We had no idea what the movie was going to be at that point and by the way, I have no idea what the movie is about if there is going to be one.


CraveOnline: Would you be interested in incorporating a version of The Next Generation into the new Star Trek timeline?

Brannon Braga: Personally, yeah, of course I would but you’d have to ask that question of J.J. Abrams.


CraveOnline: On Terra Nova, are there limits to what supplies they can bring from the future?

Brannon Braga: Yeah. The portal, when they dilate the time fracture, it can only stay open for 18 minutes. So as much as you can get through and that will fit. A lot of the stuff they build they have to build there.


CraveOnline: What kind of supplies do they find in this environment?

Brannon Braga: Well, within reason, trees and metal, meteoric iron. One of the first metals ever used by humans came from meteor hits so there’s a meteoric iron quarry that they’ve developed and stuff like that.


CraveOnline: For the time travel junkies into butterfly effect consequences, is some of that addressed for us?

Brannon Braga: There’s tons of fun to have with that stuff, believe me. It’s not going to be the focus, but we can’t ignore that there is time travel in this show and there are going to be unexpected twists and turns that occur as the series goes on for sure.


CraveOnline: Are special effects on TV at the point where you can do Jurassic Park level dinosaurs on a show?

Brannon Braga: Yes. The answer is a resounding yes. They’re going to look great.


CraveOnline: Does Spielberg have access to any of the old Jurassic Park files? Would those effects still be useful?

Brannon Braga: No, not only is this obviously a different studio, I don’t think Universal would be thrilled at the idea, but we don’t want this to be like Jurassic Park at all. We want to set it apart. It wasn’t difficult because it’s really a very different premise.


CraveOnline: Did you see the episode of Community that was all about being a bottle episode?

Brannon Braga: No.


CraveOnline: Could there be a bottle episode on Terra Nova, just staying in the enclosure?

Brannon Braga: I am so not thinking that way right now. We’re thinking big. Or a clip show, maybe episode 7 we’ll do a clip show of the first 6. No, we’re not. Even our sets are so expansive, even if we did a bottle show it wouldn’t feel like one.


CraveOnline: Where is there room for guest stars given the premise of this show is a defined group of people?

Brannon Braga: First of all, we have a whole town of people to meet. We have 1000 people, 1000 characters. Think of this as Gunsmoke. There will be people in town. There are plenty of people to do stories about in this place. Maybe people who snuck in under mysterious circumstances or bought their way in. There are all sorts of stories to do. Then we’ll have other people arrive and that will be the equivalent of people riding into town.


CraveOnline: Do they use money in Terra Nova?

Brannon Braga: It’s a community, it’s more communal at first but free trade is encouraged in terms of exchanging goods. There’s no currency yet. Not yet.