DST Wraps Blockbuster Weekend
And that’s a wrap. Destination Star Trek Birmingham came to a close Sunday evening, concluding a massively successful weekend that saw more than 20,000 fans have the experience of a lifetime immersing themselves in everything Star Trek. The StarTrek.com team spread across the floor, capturing everything we could from morning to night, and we’re pleased to share one more set of highlights from the event.
Dorn and Farrell
Terry Farrell and Michael Dorn spent the better part of their time on stage bantering and playing off each other like an old married couple, often interrupting each other’s sentences and making each other laugh.
Dorn smiled when he was asked if his inner Worf ever came out in real life. “There was a time I had a meeting with an IRS guy,” he explained. “I told him that if he didn’t give me the deductions I wanted I would... kill him... where he stands. I thought it was funny. I don’t think he did. No, actually, I like what Worf believes in, but I don’t think I used things he thought or did in my life.”
Farrell recounted that she and Dorn knew each other before he joined the cast of DS9, adding that it helped quickly establish the Dax-Worf relationship. “I was really excited that Michael was coming on the show,” she said. “We were already friends. I remember thinking, ‘I hope we get to work together’ (laughs). The trust that you have when you work with a friend, it’s honest. You know they’ll forgive you if you’re having a bad day. And that carried over to Dax and Worf once they became lovers.”
“Star Trek: The Original Series was my Trek,” Farrell said later. “Kirk was my captain. Spock... it was f—ing Spock! Now I’m married to his son. It’s so weird!”
Meet the Admiral
Admiral Cornwell went through the wringer in season one of Discovery, from near-death experiences to the betrayal of her friend. A fan asked Jayne Brook how that all affected the admiral and how it will carry over into season two. “At the end of season one, boy, she really, really went through a lot, almost dying several times,” the actress replied. “Now, she’s hopeful because she’s hit rock bottom. And there was that light of hope, with Michael’s idea of how to get us out of the situation. I knew season-two questions would come up, and I asked what I could say. They said, ‘You are allowed to say you are in season two. ‘ So, I am I season two.”
Cornwell is the top-ranking character that Brook has portrayed in her career so far. “I try to bring the humanity to every role I play,” she told the crowd. “And the (Discovery) writers have written to that. But with her rank, the stakes are highest of any character I’ve played."
Jeri Ryan admitted to the audience that she was reluctant to sign on for Star Trek: Voyager as Seven of Nine. “Star Trek was notorious for its actors being pigeonholed,” she commented. “But it worked out. A month after Voyager ended, I was on a David E. Kelley show, The Practice. I’ve gotten lucky. I’ve done lots of fun things since then and I was able to have this amazing character, too. I’ve been very blessed.”
Ryan unleashed her trademark hearty laugh when a fan wondered if she ever had an interest in performing more of her own stunts, either on Voyager or any other show or movie. “Hell, no,” she said emphatically. “Hell, no. That’s what they are paid and trained to do. Hell no. Knock yourself out, stunt people!”
Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn and Marina Sirtis joined forces for an entertaining panel that touched on everything from the TNG cast’s enduring friendships to their thoughts about Discovery, and everything in between.
Early on, Sirtis addressed a policy that’s becoming fairly standard at conventions. “The reason we ask you not to shoot video is so that we can be honest with you and say things and not get in trouble for them,” Sirtis explained. “So, please don’t film us. Otherwise you’re going to get the same old, patented lies. We want it to be just you with us.”
Dorn was the first to reply when a fan asked about the actors being directed by their costars back in their TNG days. “LeVar was very strict as a director,” Dorn said. “Jonathan was great. He was always fun. Patrick, he turned on us because he was Mr. Actor, and ‘We’re not going to have smoke on set!’ As a director, he smoked the place up. It was ' A Fistful of Datas.’ It was a cramped space, a saloon. And all you heard was Patrick shouting, ‘More smoke! More smoke!’ Gates had a moment in the devolving thing. Maybe I was annoying. She wanted me as a devolving being to get into... moss. She said, ‘OK, Michael. Ready? Feel the moss.’”
“I like Discovery,” McFadden said. “I think it has a great vibe to it.” Later, she talked more broadly about the franchise. “What I like about Star Trek is that it teaches you to think. It doesn’t tell you how to think.”
Thanks to DST Birmingham offering the world premiere screening of What We Left Behind, much of the cast and crew of DS9 and the documentary were on hand. And they all gathered together on stage for a pretty epic panel and photo op. Those on hand: Max Grodenchik, Nicole de Boer, Aron Eisenberg, Alexander Siddig, Terry Farrell, Chase Masterson, Nana Visitor, Jeffrey Combs, Ira Steven Behr, Andrew Robinson, Rene Auberjonois, Armin Shimerman, Casey Biggs, Vaughn Armstrong, Steve Rankin, Cirroc Lofton and Michael Dorn.
“I’ve only seen two (DS9) episodes,” Behr noted to the surprise of many, “since 1999.”
Biggs voiced his appreciation for What We Left Behind. “It made me very, very proud to be a part of this family,” he said. “It made me proud to be a part of these people’s lives. It showed how important this series was... is, to so many people.”
A fan wanted to hear more about Farrell’s love scene with Avery Brooks in her guise as Mirror Dax, and also about why no one seemed to remember it within the episode. But she could barely hear the question, prompting her to ask, “What about sex with Sisko?
Shimerman recounted that Iggy Pop didn’t exactly come to set of “ The Magnificent Ferengi” eager to play a Vorta. “Mr. Pop was terrified to be acting on our show,” he said. “Fortunately, we all owe a great deal of applause to Cecily Adams for calming Iggy Pop down.”
Several members of the cast voiced the opinion that DS9 still doesn’t receive the respect they feel it deserves. Their comments, one by one, drew applause from the crowd, which wowed Masterson, who summed it up perfectly by acknowledging: “You guys get it.”
As the panel concluded, Shimerman took the mic to wish his wife, and DS9 guest star, Kitty Swink, a happy birthday. Also set to celebrate his birthday... Behr (whose big day is Tuesday). A cake with candles was rolled out on stage, and Shimerman led everyone in attendance in singing “Happy Birthday” to Swink and Behr.
Mary Chieffo and Kenneth Mitchell — L’Rell And Kol on Discovery — paired up for a session that proved yet again that these two actors, and especially Chieffo, truly appreciate the history and culture of Trek’s Klingons. But the conversation covered all sorts of interesting ground, eliciting both lots of laughter (both Chieffo and Mitchell) and more than a few tears (all Chieffo, all happy tears).
“When people talk to me about L’Rell, they’re talking about my work,” Chieffo said. “It’s not about my looks as a woman. As my first first real foray into the business, I am so grateful for that.”
Playing a Klingon has carried over to Mitchell’s real life. “Now, when my children are naughty, I get the bat'leth out,” he joked. “And then they are no longer naughty.”
What kind of shoes does Mitchell wear? “Kenneth Kols,” Mitchell joked to big laughs.
All day long, at the various sets and booths, fans enjoyed photo shoots with family and friends and, of course, with the events stars, several of whom were in costume as their familiar characters.
Fans had the opportunity to take the equivalent of a Discovery class photo.
Right after the closing ceremony, it was announced that Destination Star Trek will return to Birmingham in 2019. And the first confirmed guest is... George Takei. Mark your calendars now: October 25-27. Tickets are on sale at www.DestinationStarTrek.com.