Destination Star Trek touched down in Frankfurt, Germany, on Friday, kicking off a weekend filled with stars, parties, fans, friendship, autographs, all manner of Trek-centric product and, of course, tons of love for the venerable franchise. StarTrek.com was on hand pre-opening to get the lay of the land and for a press event in which nearly all of the Trek guests, some solo and some in groups, posed for photos and took questions.
Introduced first were Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, LeVar Burton and Michael Dorn. One reporter asked them to explain the secret behind the cast's immediate and enduring friendships. "It literally cannot be explained," Burton replied. "Chemistry is an organic response." Sirtis needed one word: "Serendipity." Dorn noted that Burton hit it on the head, adding, "it's the exception to the rule."
Up next were Armin Shimerman, Rene Auberjonois, Suzie Plakson, Robin Curtis, Hallie Todd, Jeff Combs, Carolyn Seymour, Connor Trinneer, Vaughn Armstrong, Dominic Keating and Gwynyth Walsh. Auberjonois responded to a question about what he missed most about Deep Space Nine by saying, "The people, the chance to work in a company, which is what I love about being an actor. Fortunately, experiences like this we can get together and reconnect.
William Shatner was next. Full of energy, he praised J.J. Abrams for refreshing the franchise. "He's opened up the audience for Star Trek," Shatner asserted. "He's ensured that Star Trek will be here for a long time."
And lastly, Karl Urban came out charging. He greeted everyone in fluent German, then expressed his love for Trek and paid tribute to the "late, great" De Kelley. And he noted, while talking about future projects, "The 50th anniversary is in 2016. We've got another film to make. I'm really excited to make more of these films that people cherish."
Now, the press event over, it was time to check out the joint. After picking up their tickets downstairs, fans ride two escalators to the main entrance of the event space.
Fans pass into a hall lined with framed TOS Art Prints by Juan Ortiz and then look right at a recreation of the TNG Enterprise that will be used for photo opportunities.
It's a massive, futuristic convention space, an awesome sight (see pics). To the right side are tables to relax at, a Klingon Zone decked out just as you'd expect (see pics), Stage B (where speakers will talk, trivia contests will be held, etc.) and, far back, Borg Regeneration Chambers perfect for photo opportunities. Food and drink kiosks line the wall.
Moving to the middle of the space, there are pop-up shops selling Trek wares from games and Blu-rays and tee-shirts to patches, autograph storage items and official DSTG merchandise. DSTG also has ticket booths for autographs and photo opportunities. Syfy Germany has a booth, too. Levaro also has one in which fans can enter, pose for 3-D photos and have 3-D action figures - in one of three sizes-- modeled in their likeness. Our verdict: very cool. Scattered around the middle space are photo shoot stations.
Then, to the left we go. The Trek talent sits at tables as fans line up for autographs. Nearby is Stage A, which holds 800-plus people. It's here that all the major guests will talk at length on Saturday and Sunday. Believe us when we say the sound system is tops and the video screen is aces, too.
Now, one thing we're leaving out is the Star Trek Museum.
Anyone who attended Destination Star Trek London back in 2012 got a taste of it, but this year's edition is twice as large and features mostly new/unseen props, all owned by Martin Netter, who runs a fan shop (encompassing all kinds of entertainment), but considers Trek his greatest passion. There are too many items to describe in detail, but here's a sampling: Kirk's ST:VI uniform, a Makeup Department Polaroid of Jonathan Banks, Porthos in an incubator, Brent Spiner's set chair, a trio of Rene Auberjonois Odo-evolution masks (that Auberjonois himself comes over to marvel at), Tuvok's ears, Majel Barrett's TNG computer script, a TNG Borg costume, Archer's NX-01 captain's chair, a phase cannon and our personal favorite piece, Gene Roddenberry's electric typewriter from his home. "This is only 100 of 10,000 pieces," Netter tells StarTrek.com after giving a personal tour of the museum to the visiting Mayor of Frankfurt, Peter Feldmann. "It's wonderful to share it. I love Star Trek fans, their passion. Star Trek has a history. It's a culture. So many of the pieces have been sold at auction and disappeared into the wind. This is why I collect as much as I can. My hope is to save as much of it as I can in one place for the future generations of Trek fans."
Throughout the day on Friday, as noted, fans posed for photos with guests and at the various stations. They queued for autographs. They sat at Stage B to help vote in a Choose Your Crew session. Yelling "Make it so" or "Eject" sealed a character's fate. The winners: Picard, Spock, Tom Paris, Hoshi Sato, Scotty, Seven of Nine and The Doctor.
Day turned to evening and all of the actors, including Brent Spiner, Tim Russ and Alice Krige, jumped on Stage A to greet the sold out room, as did writers Ronald D. Moore, Ira Steven Behr and Eric Stillwell, for the Opening Ceremony. Once again, they were presented solo or in groups as they'd been during the earlier press event.
Vaughn Armstrong perhaps put it best: "If you have half the fun I'm having, you're going to have a great weekend."
And with that, all the booths closed for the evening and fans and celeb guests alike gathered for a raucous party as Tim Russ and his band rocked the house.
The party was still going strong when StarTrek.com slipped away to tap out this recap.
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