DS9 Cast Celebrates 25 at Destination Star Trek Germany
Destination Star Trek Germany 2018 came to a rousing end on Sunday with a full slate of activities that included celebrity panels, unique star pair-ups, a cosplay parade, a hilarious game show, autographs, photo ops, a blockbuster DS9 celebration, and much much more. StarTrek.com was once again on the scene in Dortmund with the highlights:
Klingons Are Coming
The Klingons came, saw and conquered. Mary Chieffo and Kenneth Mitchell told stories of playing L’Rell and Kol on Discovery.
“I remember bumping into a director at a party and saying, ‘Hey!’ and they looked at me like, “Who are you?’” Mitchell said. “And I said, ‘I did episode four with you... Kol.”
“Sci-fi is our modern mythology,” Chieffo notes. “We’re kind of an embodiment of so many cultures that we’ve seen, and that’s something you can only achieve in sci-fi.”
Not surprisingly, the audience went nuts when Robert O’Reilly, in full Gowron gear, briefly joined Chieffo and Mitchell on stage. They bowed down to him and then he wowed them by singing two Klingon songs before bidding farewell to tremendous applause.
ESA's in the House
ESA, or the European Space Agency, brought real science to the occasion with panels throughout the weekend.
On Sunday, Dr. Paul McNamara discussed gravitational waves and whether they could have destroyed the U.S.S. Enterprise. Among the cool details: Our universe is made of about 4% dark atoms, .4% bright atoms, 23% dark matter and 73% dark energy. We’re not sure what that means, really, but we’re impressed. Dr. McNamara also noted that the TOS episode “Tomorrow Is Yesterday,” in which the Enterprise encounters a black star, “aired before the first mention of black holes by John Archibald Wheeler.” Once again, Star Trek was ahead of its time.
Star Trek’s beloved Chekov was in fine form during his session on the Voyager Stage, full of energy and sharp, funny replies and anecdotes. Perhaps the most memorable involved his audition in advance of joining TOS for its second season.
“When I first auditioned for Star Trek, they were very serious lines,” Koenig recounted. “I read the lines with intensity and then I was done and there was no reaction that would make me feel confident that I had done a good job. They said, ‘That’s not what we’re looking for. Can you the same lines and make them funny?’ Funny?! How can I make these serious lines funny? But I did. They just wanted to know if i had that sense (to be funny).”
Deep Space Nine Reunion
The single most anticipated event of the day was the DS9 25th anniversary reunion pane that featured Nana Visitor, Rene Auberjonois, Nicole de Boer, Cirroc Lofton, Max Grodenchik, Aron Eisenberg, Chase Masterson, Casey Biggs, Jeffrey Combs, Robert O’Reilly, Vaughn Armstrong, Alexander Siddig and Terry Farrell, all of whom reminisced about their time on the show and their love for each other, as former executive producer Ira Steven Behr looked on from the front row.
Visitor: “ I had no idea there’d be the relationships with the fans. Now, I’ve known some of you for 20 years. I had no idea that I’d be able to get together with this wild pack of dogs (the cast on stage with her) so long after the show ended. It is so much more than a job at this point.“
Combs: “Deep Space Nine is the gift that keeps on giving.”
Armstrong: “I only did three episodes, so I don’t even know why I’m here. My relationship with DS9 is really the Star Trek Rat Pack and hanging at the bar. So thank you for including me.”
Auberjonois: “Odo was a great gift to my life. And the make up was one of the worst experiences of my life.”
Farrell, asked who she’d choose, Worf or Dr. Bashir: “Look who’s here. Hands down... my man, Bashir.”
Grodenchik: “I put on the Rom makeup and costume yesterday, and his voice and walk and mannerisms were right there. Rom is still a part of me, and always will be. I think that’s a really nice thing because I really, really like Rom.“
Eisenberg: “We saw each other over the seven years. Nog showed the humanity of the Ferengi.”
Lofton and Eisenberg bantered about a scene in which Eisenberg couldn’t say a line involving “self-sealing stem bolts.” It took 19 takes. Lofton blew a few takes himself, even though he had exactly one line of dialogue. He said “Who” instead of “What” when the camera panned to him.
Siddig, asked if he shared any character traits with Bashir: “About 99 percent. True answer.”
Biggs: “I thought it was one episode, and one episode only. And it was five words. ‘They are in range, sir. Fire!’ I started out a peon and I ended up the leader of an empire.”
Masterson: "The risk was internal. There was physical risk, but the greatest risk was boldly going inside the characters. I think that’s part of the reason why we’re still talking about the show 25 years later."
Tilly & Tyler
Mary Wiseman and Shazad Latif seemed like old friends and longtime con guests, as they played off each other beautifully and replied to fan questions thoughtfully.
Among the revelations: “Killy’s hair was a wig,” Wiseman said. “The secret is out!” It would have ruined her naturally curly red hair if they’d steamed it straight.
Asked if Tilly has a dark side, she answered, “She consistently chooses to be good and put people first. She must have a dark side, because we all do, but she chooses to be a good person. She’s a soldier, but she works from a place of compassion. The Federation is about exploring and learning about a species before shooting. And she is very much of that school.”
Latif got a kick out of showing up at Discovery pre-premiere events, but not being able to say anything. “‘Who is this guy? Why is he here?’” Latif said. “It was fun to know what was coming and playing that behind the scenes. I knew people would figure it out. So it was fun to see the reaction.”
As for killing Dr. Culber? “I’m sorry. So sorry,” Latif said. “We wanted it to be a brutal death. A total shock. And it was.”
25 Years of DS9
In addition to the DS9 reunion, fans were treated to a session featuring former executive producer Ira Steven Behr and David Zappone, who is teaming with Behr to produce What We Left Behind, the long-gestating (six years!), upcoming DS9 documentary. They have more than 120 hours in hand for what will be a 2-hour doc.. with LOTS of extras.
Fans were treated to clips that might not even make the final cut, including behind-the-scenes footage from the making of “Trials and Tribble-ations;” a look at the production of DS9’s toughest episode to film, “Rocks and Shoals,” during which the heat over the three days of outdoor shooting melted shoes and caused the 17 Jem’Hadar actors/stuntmen to shade themselves with umbrellas, which only partially worked, as one guy passed out; and a look at how there’d been not a single stunt injury over the course of DS9’s entire run... until Avery Brooks inadvertently connected with a blow to the face of Marc Alaimo on the very last day of production... ever. It was thrilling stuff to see.
Behr also excited the crowd with the following nugget: “We brought the writing staff together for a story-breaking session. It’ll be about 20 minutes in the doc. You’ll see what episode one of a mythical season eight would be like.“
To Boldly Go
William Shatner returned to the main stage for his second talk of the weekend. He discussed interviewing and having dinner with the Dr. Steven Hawking a couple of years back; speculation in Sci-Fi; an upcoming college commencement speech; whether or not there’s life beyond the stars (he believes there is, that there must be), and much more.
To a fan who expressed disappointed that Shatner’s not been in the current Trek features, especially after the death of Leonard Nimoy, he said, “I don’t know what they’d do with an overage, overweight Captain Kirk.” Then he came to an epiphany, based on his connection to a new business project: “I’ve got an answer for J.J. Abrams... Virtual reality.” And to the woman who wanted to know how/why Kirk got all the ladies all the time on TOS, the Trek icon bellowed, “Because I demanded it!” And the crowd roared its approval.
It's A Wrap!
Craziness ensues when you invite Kenneth Mitchell, Mary Chieffo and Shazad Latif to battle Ethan Phillips, Robert Duncan McNeill and Aron Eisenberg in a Trek-themed game show to wrap the final day at Destination Star Trek Germany. We’re talking a multi-round competition featuring Trek trivia, drawing games, character questions and more.
Team Disco won 17-15. That prompted Mitchell to jokingly tweak the losers: “Were you guys even on Trek?”