Destination Star Trek London Recap, Day 3
The third and final day of Destination Star Trek London kicked off nice and early on Sunday, with many fans rolling into the event space, coffee or tea in hand, ready for the day’s goings-on. Unlike most similar occasions, all of the actors and producers/writers were on hand all three days. So, for example, if someone missed William Shatner’s hour on stage on Saturday, they could see him on Sunday. And, for those who saw him on Saturday and couldn’t get enough, they could enjoy round two on Sunday. And so it was with Patrick Stewart, Kate Mulgrew, Avery Brooks and Scott Bakula, as well as Brent Spiner and the assorted actor combinations. Likewise, the talent was available for photo opps and autographs. And, of course, there were the vendor booths to check out, the stunt show to take in, the debates in which to participate and more, much more.
Determined to experience it all and report back for those who couldn’t make it, the StarTrek.com team split up and spread out. Up first, Avery Brooks on the Main Stage. As always, he delivered memorable quotes. Some nuggets: "I would rather play a president than be one." "I want to beam [up] in my lifetime." "I walk anywhere like I'm at home. Home is in here [points to heart.]" "I've lived long enough to figure some stuff out." "The question is not genius... It's what we DO with genius. We have to acknowledge when it's here."
Meanwile, over on Stage B, Manu Intiraymi talked about Icheb, his career and his current projects. Intiraymi, who was still a teen when he started on Voyager, elicited chuckles when he praised the show’s cast and added, jokingly, “I learned so much from everyone… except Garrett Wang.”
Next on Stage B was Brent Spiner, who preached to the faithful. “This is like church, isn’t it?” he asked rhetorically. He soon shared a story about having dinner at Patrick Stewart’s flat on Saturday night with Stewart, Michael Dorn and Scott Bakula. Stewart told the guys that he had just become active on Twitter. “Patrick said, ‘My goal is to have 250,000 followers by New Year’s,’” Spiner recounted. “I said, ‘Just take a photo of us and it’ll go viral.’ Have any of you seen it?” Spiner peered into the crowd. “See, there’s six people! It’s already gone viral.” The photo was then flashed on the Stage B video screen, much to the amusement of everyone.
Over on the Main Stage, Scott Bakula greeted a full room. His name is NOT a stage name. His family pronounces it Back-u-lah, but he’s heard every other conceivable pronunciation. He pointed out that his middle name is Stewart and joked that he nearly used that as a last name. “There would have been two Star Trek actors with the last name Stewart, and then I could have played Patrick’s son,” Bakula said, “and gotten involved (in Star Trek) much sooner.” A fan asked how it is he doesn’t seem to age. “First of all, thank you,” he said. “Second of all, you might want so see an eye doctor.” And, not surprisingly, a fan asked about John Barrowman having Bakula sign his bare butt cheek during the Opening Ceremony on Friday. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he said, feigning ignorance. “It’s like he’s dropping trou at a moment’s notice. All I can tell you was I was writing, ‘Patrick Stewart was here.’” And the crowd roared.
John de Lancie followed Spiner on Stage B. If he were Q in reality, he “would make everybody happy." His favorite TNG episode was “'All Good Things...' because each scene was a facet of the stone I had been creating for seven years." His favorite character? "From a Q point of view,” he noted, “I can only say myself... again!" And, according to the actor, "A well-written script has a vibration... like music. It speaks to you. The best written scenes were for Patrick and me."
Ten minutes after de Lancie beamed off the stage, Walter Koenig stepped on to it. He revealed that he was an indifferent student and had a tough time keeping up. Acting, he discovered, gave him a reason to get up in the morning. He was good, and his peers gave him positive reinforcement. A supportive teacher sent him to a New York drama school where his classmates included Christopher Lloyd, James Caan, Dabney Coleman, Elizabeth Ashley, Brenda Vaccaro and Jessica Walter. He was hooked.
Discussing favorite Trek memories, Koenig mentioned being invited to the Air Force Base when they were rolling out the Enterprise Shuttle. A band played the Star Trek theme. “A piece of fiction had achieved reality status,” he said. “It was an extraordinary moment.” And, yes, he saw Star Trek (2009) and Anton Yelchin portraying Chekov. “Anton is very creative,” he said. “I totally enjoyed it. Any competitive feeling seemed absurd. He was 19.”
Back over at the Main Stage, it was time for William Shatner’s appearance. He entered, looking dapper, with a red rose in his breast pocket, matching the red lining of his jacket. He declared, “There’s no better way to spend a rainy Sunday morning.” Shatner then promised that he would answer questions, riff for a while, forget the question and so on. And he delivered on the promise – often riffing, sometimes forgetting, but always answering. Is there life after Star Trek? he was asked. “Although there is life after Star Trek, right now we’re celebrating life with Star Trek,” he replied to sustained applause.
The subject of Star Trek (2009) came up and Shatner wasn’t without comment. On Chris Pine as Kirk: “He’s a wonderful leading man,” Shatner stated. “He has the looks, body, the talent. He makes a wonderful Kirk; I’m so happy he got the job.” How about Nimoy’s appearance? “You know you’re old when you go back in time and… you’re still old.” How about Shatner in a J.J. Abrams Trek adventure? “I would love to be in a movie with J.J.,” he responded. “He has given us a ride. He has made Star Trek commercial. But those big movies for an actor are really boring (due to FX demands)… and they take forever. I don’t know that I can afford the time.”
Much of the afternoon action occurred on Stage B. The trio of Marc Alaimo, Casey Biggs and Jeffrey Combs had a blast. The room was filled entirely and among those in attendance was DS9 producer Ira Steven Behr. “We wouldn’t be here at all were it not for this man,” Combs said, pointing to Behr. “He gave me the great gift of having two recurring roles on the show.” Biggs explained that he, at another appearance, asked fans WHY they come to conventions. He discovered that they come because of “what the show means to them,” he said. “They like the autographs and meeting us, but it’s about what it means socially, politically, and philosophically. It’s a real honor to be a part of it.” Alaimo grinned when asked if it’s true that the Cardassian look, the makeup/prosthetics, were based on his face. “The story, as I heard it, was that Michael Westmore liked my neck,” Alaimo confirmed. “I have a loooong neck… I loved Dukat. And the makeup was a big part of it.”
Then came David Warner, a genre favorite thanks to his many sci-fi and horror credits: The Omen, Time Bandits, Time After Time, Tron and, of course, Trek V, Trek VI and TNG. Walking onto the stage, he said, “How many lights are there?” The crowd shouted, “Four!!” “OK, good. We’ve got that out of the way.” How did they cast him for Trek VI? “They asked me,” he replied. Of his role as a family man/torturer on TNG, he explained, “We read about it all the time. It happens. They love their kids and literature and classical music. And... they kill people. It baffles me. I don’t understand it. I can’t.”
Many fans then jumped over to the Main Stage for Patrick Stewart. He spoke for a few moments before taking questions. He noted that he’s been to conventions the past year in Melbourne, Philadelphia, Columbus and more, “but nothing gives me so much pleasure as to be in my home city.” Someone asked about a TNG reboot, with another actor playing Picard. Could anyone else do Picard justice? “A lot of justice has already been done in the recasting of Professor Xavier by James McAvoy,” he said. “I’ve told him that and I’ve also told him I look forward to him having his head shaved. I would be intrigued to see a prequel TNG movie. Of course, you wouldn’t have Data. That’s a flaw in your question. He wasn’t born. He was made. I… don’t know. Bill, Leonard, Walter… These were truly iconic individuals, characters. It makes sense to me to look back with them. I’m not quite so sure it’d make sense that they should look back at the TNG characters. I’m not sure it would be as interesting to see where these guys were before ‘Encounter at Farpoint.’”
Other Stewart comments of note: “Star Trek changed my life completely.” “My recent casting shift into comedy has brought me more joy than anything else.” “For a very long time Gene Roddenberry didn’t want me.” “Sitting on the thrones of England was nothing but preparation for sitting in the captain’s chair.” Who was the best Trek captain? Stewart did not hesitate: "Of course, James T. Kirk. He set the benchmark for captain of the Enterprise.” And, departing, he spoke of returning to London for another convention, saying, “Next time, I want it to be the entire cast of The Next Generation.” Hopefully, someone will make it so. Sorry; couldn’t resist.
The Main Stage then cleared and the DSTL staff prepped for an auction. They put out signed photos, various screen-used props and the chairs used throughout the weekend by the five captains. The auction started and items sold like crazy; just a few examples follow. Jeri Ryan 8x10 photo: 35 British pounds; a Bat’leth guitar signed by many DSTL attendees: 750 pounds; Bakula’s chair (to be signed by Bakula): 160 pounds; a one-of-a-kind piece of art made of starship models and signed by the five captains: 2600 pounds; an Enterprise costume with Paramount tags: 750 pounds; Avery Brooks’ chair (signed): 375 pounds, a Voyager prop phaser (made for the show but not used on screen, and signed by Mulgrew): 750 pounds; and Shatner’s chair (signed): 400 pounds.
Returning to Stage B, fans heard from the combo of Arlene Martel, Robin Curtis, Denise Crosby and Martha Hackett, and the combo of Rene Auberjonois, Nana Visitor, Chase Masterson, Andrew Robinson and Cirroc Lofton. Michael Dorn then flew solo, followed by the entertaining pairing of Robert O’Reilly, J.G. Hertzler and Gwynyth Walsh. Auberjonois and Robinson discussed actors who inspired them. “Alec Guinness,” Auberjonois said. “I always wanted to hide behind dozens of characters." And noted Robinson, “I saw David Warner in a production at the Royal Shakespeare Company when I was in college, and this week I finally had the chance to tell him how much [his performance] meant to me!" If DS9 had been produced in a post-9/11 world, Visitor suggested, “I don't think my character would have been a major player" given her terrorist past. Asked if he was a Trek fan before being cast on DS9, Lofton responded, “I would watch Star Trek as I was flipping channels, and stare at Marina Sirtis."
Things got loud when the Klingons arrived. Once everyone settled down, O’Reilly, Hertzler and Walsh answered questions. Was Gowron’s death… good enough? “It was a quick ending, wasn’t it?” O’Reilly mused. Hertzler shook his head and said, “Not quick enough.” O’Reilly shrugged and said, “Well, it really was nine years.” The two men then bickered about who created the Bat’leth, unable to recall the name Dan Curry. “Two Klingons… in an old age home,” Walsh teased. Hertzler turned all Klingon, bellowing, “How quickly they turn.” One fan then wondered if the actors would have wanted to play any other Trek role. Walsh said a Klingon, O’Reilly insisted he wanted to be a Klingon and was, in fact, a Klingon. Hertzler had a conspiratorial look on his face. “I want to be Connor Trinneer because... didn’t he take that shower with T’Pol?” he asked. “I wanted to be the shower guy.”
Last up on Stage B were Dominic Keating, Connor Trinneer and Anthony Montgomery. Trinneer mostly chuckled at his two pals. Montgomery played host, running to fans with his microphone to field questions. Keating was the bawdy one, recounting a story about him calling Enterprise producer Brannon Braga after reading that Malcolm Reed was to be Trek’s first gay character. If you weren’t there, well, you should have been.
Last up on the Main Stage was… Kate Mulgrew. She asked for four fans older than 50, but a dozen took the stage. She welcomed them all, and answered their questions. What’s her favorite technical part of the Voyager? “The men,” she shot back. Archer or Picard? someone asked. “Kirk,” she shouted. Which of the crew would she have wished were gay? Mulgrew smiled and said, “Seven of Nine!” The crowd howled in laughter. Before Voyager, Mulgrew knew nothing of Star Trek… “and that was good.” And she noted, proudly, “I bet every woman would have captain envy. A lot of actresses… My heart goes out to them.”
And that was a wrap. The first-ever Destination Star Trek London was a smashing success. Fans had a blast, and so did the guests. The final count of attendees will be determined soon, but DSTL exceeded all expectations. To read our previous DSTL recaps, click HERE and HERE, and be sure to check out all of our Instagram photos, too.