FedCon XXI, Day 2 Recap

By Stephanie Scherr - May 18, 2012

The second day of FedCon XXI in Düsseldorf, Germany, began rather early, with the first lectures and panels starting at 9 a.m. But the convention area had been vivid for hours, as at 8 a.m. the counter for next year's FedCon was started. And, for a lot of people it is sort of a ritual to get up really early on that second day of the convention and get in line to secure the best-possible seats for the following year.

After the gates of FedCon XXI itself opened, there were numerous options at hand: On the one side, of course, the lectures and panels, but on the other side, another important part… the photo sessions. For an additional fee, visitors were able to have their photo taken with their favorite actors. The photos were taken by a professional photographer and printed out later the same day, enabling visitors to hold them in their hands really soon and to use them for autographs. On Friday, not only Eddie Paskey, Jonathan Frakes and Walter Koenig held their photo sessions, but there was a very special one with the two “flagship Klingons,” Robert O'Reilly and J.G. Hertzler. Fans could pose with them in their familiar costumes and full Klingon makeup.

Meanwhile, a large number of panels also took place on Friday. One that was highly anticipated featured Eddie Paskey, who played in almost every episode of Star Trek: The Original Series in a supporting role. Since he is well known for having played “redshirt” characters, it was really funny to see that Paskey actually wore a red shirt when he came on stage. On the stage itself were two chairs, one for Paskey and the other for the Master of Ceremonies, Garrett Wang, who remained there during Eddie's panel, talking to him and the audience, asking his own questions and sharing memories related to the work of Eddie and Star Trek: The Original Series in general. Of course, during the panel, the topic of William Shatner came up. Eddie Paskey remembered several heartwarming moments, telling the audience different stories, which of course amplified their curiosity for the first appearance of Shatner, which is scheduled for the late afternoon of Saturday, 19th May.

For the Star Trek fans in particular, Friday offered many interesting panels. O'Reilly and Hertzler held their second one in the afternoon, as the first had already been on Thursday. But they were not alone on the stage for long, as a whole choir of fans dressed up as Klingons joined them to sing a Klingon song. The two of them are used to being on the stage together, which could be observed in the way they interacted, feeding each other lines and playing with the audience. Years ago, they had told the German fans that they wouldn't be doing conventions in Germany anymore, but yet here they were. They seem to have missed the audience as much as the audience missed them. Their panel was less about what they had to tell, but how they told it: Singing an opera, rapping about it, inventing stories... They knew how to handle the crowd.

After different, non-Star Trek panels during the afternoon, which included Matthew Bennett from Battlestar Galactica, Erick Avari from Stargate SG-1 (and Trek, too, actually) and Casper Van Dien from Starship Troopers, it was time for Walter Koenig to have his talk with the fans. As he was the first actor to ever attend a FedCon, he still is always a welcome guest here. He confessed that this time he actually asked organizer Dirk Bartholomä to have him at the convention again, because of his own love for FedCon and the German fans. As it turned out, Koenig is still very young at heart, making jokes and even impersonating various TOS colleagues, including James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols and George Takei. When asked about the new Star Trek movie and especially Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov, he stated how much he liked it and that he was really impressed by Yelchin, whom he found “terrific.”

Koenig told everyone that he is still working, and not only acting, but also directing. He made a short film which was shown after his panel and really moved the audience; it was a rather sad, yet arty film. Koenig's panel didn't put an end to the evening for the Trekkies, however, as the following star guest on stage was Jonathan Frakes. He had been to two FedCons before, but, as the last one had been five years ago, the fans were eager to see him again. And he didn't disappoint, especially when one of his first actions on stage was the well-known ritual of singing a few lines of “Volare,” getting the audience to join in. The stage itself seemed to be too small for Frakes, as he kept moving around in the big hall, personally greeting the people asking questions. He shared some funny moments from the TNG set, making fun of his colleagues, especially Sir Patrick Stewart, and he also invented a number of stories. He, for example, wanted to make the audience believe that Michael Dorn once snuck up on Stewart, smashing an egg on his head.

Everyone, including Frakes himself, found the story very funny nevertheless. He also explained that the beard he got to wear in the later seasons of TNG was the result of a writers' strike. He grew it during the strike and didn't want to shave when the strike ended. He came back to the set that way, Gene Roddenberry saw him and Roddenberry decided that the beard looked so “beautiful and nautical” that it had to stay for the rest of the series. After those funny moments shared with Frakes, the day gradually came to a close. Of course, another Conparty was to be expected, providing the chance to share the experience of the day with others, as well as to discuss the two remaining days, as there is still a lot to come.

Click HERE to read our recap of day one’s events at FedCon XXI and visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow to read a recap of day three.

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In German:

FedCon XXI – Tag zwei: Freitag, 18. Mai 2012

Der zweite Tage der FedCon XXI in Düsseldorf begann schon früh.  Bereits um 9 Uhr gab es die ersten Vorträge und Panels zu sehen. Aber das Congelände war schon davor sehr gut gefüllt, da man sich bereits ab 8 Uhr für die nächstjährige FedCon anmelden konnte. Viele Besucher der FedCon lassen es sich ja für Jahr nicht nehmen, sich in die Schlange einzureihen, um einen der begehrten Sitzplätze in den vorderen Reihen zu ergattern.

Nachdem sich die Tore der FedCon XXI schießlich öffneten, hatten die Besucher einige Möglichkeiten zur Auswahl. Nicht nur Vorträge und Panels, sondern auch die so genannten Fotosessions mit den Stars fanden statt. Für einen Aufpreis konnte man sich mit seinen 
Lieblingsstars fotografieren lassen, sich somit eine tolle Erinnerung schaffen und auch die Möglichkeit, eine eigene, persönliche Autogrammvorlage zu bekommen. Neben Richard Dean Anderson, Eddie Paskey, Jonathan Frakes und Walter Koenig, gab es ein besonderes Highlight: Man konnte nicht nur mit Robert O'Reilly und J.G. Hertzler zusammen ein Foto machen, die beiden Vorzeige-Klingonen steckten in ihren alten Kostümen und waren geschminkt, was die Session mit ihnen zu einem noch größeren Erlebnis machte.

Abgesehen von den Photosessions fanden am Freitag auch eine Vielzahl von Panels statt. Eines, das von den Star Trek Fans mit Spannung erwartet wurde, war das von Eddie Paskey, der in beinahe jeder Folge von Star Trek: The Original Series mitspielte. Da er unter anderem ein “Redshirt” war, war es umso lustiger, dass er auf der Bühne auch wirklich ein “red shirt” trug. Garrett Wang begleitete ihn und das Publikum durch die Frage und Antwort Stunde, stellte selbst Fragen und teilte seine eignen Erinnerungen, vor allem im Bezug auf TOS. Eddie selbst hat nur gute Erinnerungen an diese Zeit, vor allem an William Shatner, den er als guten Freund bezeichnete. Das trug natürlich dazu bei, die Neugier des Publikums auf Shatner, dessen erster Aufritt für Samstagnachmittag angekündigt ist, noch zu steigern.

Der Freitag bot vor allem den Star Trek Fans eine Vielzahl von interessanter Panels. So teilten sich am Nachmittag Robert O'Reilly und J.G. Hertzler die Bühne und holten sogar einen Klingonenchor auf die Bühne. Bei den beiden merkte man, dass sie es gewohnt sind, miteinander auf der Bühne zu stehen: Sie spielten einander die Bälle zu, bezogen das Publikum mit ein und hatten sichtlich Spaß. Vor einigen Jahren hatten sie zwar angekündigt, keine deutschen Conventions mehr zu machen, doch offensichtlich vermissten sie das Publikum so sehr, wie es sie vermisste.

Nach einem Nachmittag voller Panels von Nicht-Star Trek Schauspielern wie Matthew Bennet aus Battlestar Galactica, Erick Avari aus Stargate SG-1 und Casper Van Dien aus Starship Troopers, war es Zeit für Walter Koenig auf die Bühne zu kommen. Er war der erste Schauspieler, der jemals auf einer FedCon zu Gast war und ist immer noch ein gern gesehener Gast. Er selbst kommt so gerne wieder, dass er in diesem Jahr den Veranstalter Dirk Bartholomä bat, ihn wieder zu holen. Koenig erzählte Witze vom Set, erinnerte sich an lustige Geschichten und machte sich sogar einen Spaß daraus, seine Kollegen der Serie nachzuahmen, vor allem Jimmy Doohan, Nichelle Nichols und George Takai. Auf den neuen Star Trek Film angesprochen betonte er, wie sehr er die Neuverfilmung mochte und vor allem Anton Yelchins Darstellung von Chekov. Im Anschluss an seiner Panel zeigte er einen Kurzfilm, den er vor kurzem realisiert hatte, ein sehr künstlerischer und ein wenig trauriger Film, der das Publikum dennoch begeisterte.

Auch nach dem Panel von Walter Koenig war für die Trekkies nicht Schluss: Jonathan Frakes stürmte die Bühne, schmetterte sein wohlbekanntes “Volare” in den Raum und begann mit einer unterhaltsamen und witzigen Stunde voller Witze und Geschichten vom Set. Aber er erzählte nur nur Wahres, sondern erfand auch Geschichte, wie zum Beispiel eine, in der Michael Dorn auf dem Kopf von Patrick Stewart ein Ei zerschlug. Wahr ist allerdings die Geschichte von Rikers Bart: Nach einem Drehbuchautoren-Streik kam er unrasiert an das Set zurück. Gene Roddenberry sah den Bart, fand ihn gut und so blieb er.  Nach diesen witzigen Momenten mit Jonathan Frakes fand der Abend nach und nach ein Ende – aber natürlich nicht ohne eine weitere Conparty und somit der Gelegenheit, sich über die vergangenen Tage auszutauschen und über die noch folgenden zu diskutieren.

 

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