The stars really came out on Saturday, day three of Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas. But more on that later, as we're going to run through our recap in chronological order. First up was Hugh, the Borg... Jonathan Del Arco, whose easygoing nature won over the crowd; he also had enormous line of folks waiting for his autograph. It was the same thing with Anthony Montgomery, who's great with fans and chatted up his forthcoming graphic novel. Montgomery will be writing a guest blog about his comic for StarTrek.com in the very near future.
Around the same time, hundreds of fans gathered for the latest One Trek Mind LIVE event. Jordan Hoffman led the audience through a sometimes-very-animated effort to select the Best TOS Episode. At one point, Hoffman noted, "We could do a top 79, and they'd all be in there." Finally, a top 10 fell into place:
Later in the morning, veteran Trek writer-producer Ron Moore sat down for a conversation moderated by Creation co-CEO Adam Malin. Moore talked about the span of his career to date, commenting on TNG, DS9, Voyager, Roswell, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica and more. He also talked about the two TNG films he co-wrote with Brannon Braga. Of Generations, he said, "It just didn't gel." First Contact, meanwhile, was a far better experience... and film. "That was more fun," he said. "We were freed up from all the rules we were shackled with on Generations, and we could do what we wanted. The cast was more energized. The mood was different. We knew all the way through that it was a winner."
Other events in the big ballroom included a session with Dr. David Williams on asteroids, ion propulsion and NASA's Dawn Mission to Vesta; a joint appearance by Robert O'Reilly and J.G. Hertzler; and Professor Anthony Rotolo taking fans through his "Star Trek and the Information Age" class at Syracuse University.
Malin introduced the group, saying "Ladies and gentlemen, the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation," and the crowd roared in approval and gave the cast a standing ovation. Malin explained that Patrick Stewart sent everyone his best wishes, but was in his native England for the Olympics. Sirtis joked, "I have to cross my legs so you can't see up my skirt." Frakes led a "Volare" beck and call. Recounting Spiner's audition for Data, it was pointed out that he won the role over Eric Menyuk. "Of course they wanted Eric Menyuk, but everyone wants Eric Menyuk." Meaney didn't do much early on; his character didn't even have a name. "I wasn't cast as anything," he said. "I sort of snuck in the back door." Other revelations: Jenny Agutter came in second to McFadden for Dr. Crusher, while Mariska Hargitay lost out to Sirtis for Troi.
Discussing character development, Spiner joked that, yes, Data died in Nemesis, but added that after everyone left the movie theater, the whole ship blew up, killing everyone else. Sirtis cracked everyone up by noting, "And I had NOTHING to do with that!" Meaney wryly pointed out that as an engineer, O'Brien was no Scotty. "I was like a Teamster in space," he said. Sirtis, recalling how Troi seemed to come and go for stretches of season one, said, "I was gone a lot. They didn't know what to do with me. I was decorative. I was the potted palm on the bridge. I was supposed to be the brains of the operation. I know; stand back in amazement."
Other intriguing snippets of conversation: "I made peace with the VISOR," Burton said. "I also made peace with the fact that the VISOR will put my daughter through law school." Dorn thought he was done forever with Worf's makeup, at least on TV, once TNG ended its run. Then came DS9. "I'd said, 'Never again, never again.' Rick Berman called me. He said, 'We were thinking of bringing Worf over to DS9...'" Dorn pretended to be on the phone with Berman. "How much? Sure, I don't mind doing that (that being the makeup).' I surprised myself. I thought I was done. I love the character. I just wanted him to evolve more, and he did. It became a great experience." Malin asked each actor to describe his or her character in one word. A few of the cast members cracked jokes or changed their minds, but the final list read as follows: Frakes: derring-do, Spiner: Data, Meaney: awesome, McFadden: ethical, Burton: barrel-roll (and then he did one), Sirtis: sensitive, and Dorn: bad-ass.
As always, they shared tremendous chemistry and their mutual affection was obvious, too. Asked by a fan to name their respective favorite episode, Grodenchik replied, "Just for the technical brilliance of it, 'Trials and Tribble-ations." Shimerman asked to name two episodes. "'Far Beyond the Stars' was just brilliant science fiction, with brilliant writing and tremendous directing by Avery Brooks." His other choice was "Dogs of War," the penultimate episode of DS9. "I adored it," he said. "Also, I always thought my character was not as well developed as other characters. I came to the realization of how much the character really had changed. The writers did such a good job the actor didn't notice the changes." Eisenberg commented that any episode with Nog in it ranked among his favorites. However, "It's Only a Paper Moon" was his fave among faves. "They trusted an episode to me," he marveled. "I was honored.
Long-time Star Trek experts, Denise and Mike Okuda, arrived early for Sunday's The Next Generation High Definition panel to meet fans and sign autographs at Quantum Mechanix's booth.
A couple of hours later, fans got the other big, star-studded reunion of the day, as Malin introduced Voyager cast members Kate Mulgrew, Robert Beltran, Roxann Dawson, Tim Russ, Robbie Duncan McNeill and Garrett Wang.
The first 10 minutes were spent with the actors recounting the early, early days of shooting with Genevieve Bujold, who lasted just a couple of days as Janeway before the producers turned to runner-up Mulgrew. "The only thing I remember is I could barely hear her talk," McNeill said. "She say 'Engage' (in a whisper). Her performance was so soft." That conversation gave way to overlapping bickering, prompting Mulgrew to shout, "Seven years of this, ladies and gentlemen!"
Wang noted that he worried about the possibility of actually landing the role of Harry Kim. If Bujold fell through and Mulgrew did, too, the producers might have cast a man as Janeway. If that happened, Wang figured, then Kim would be recast as a woman to achieve the right character balance. Wang was ready to go all Tootsie for Trek and play "Harrietta Kim." Mulgrew cracked up. "I'm sitting here slightly stunned," she said. "You're a man?" Wang put his face in his hands. "I left myself wide open for that," he said. "Didn't I?" Uh, yes.
Other fun comments: Discussing the non-starter Chakotay-Janeway romance, Beltran at one point leaned into Mulgrew, but not quite on her. "Does this look familiar?" he asked, eliciting laughs from everyone in the room. Mulgrew responded "Commander, to my ready room!"
The bridge dress code was an ongoing joke throughout the panel. Mulgrew mentioned that she often had to do her bridge lines in the middle of the night. The 'boys' would never wore pants behind the console when on the bridge and often blew spit balls at her during takes. None of the 'boys' would deny it.
Finally, Dawson shared an anecdote about her then-baby daughter Emma being on set. "She knew me as much as B'Elanna as she did as Mom," the actress-director said. "I was afraid I'd take off my mask and she'd scream."
At that point, Malin invited questions from the audience. First on line? Some guy named Bob Picardo. He accepted the adulation of the crowd and joined his pals on stage for remainder of the Voyager reunion session.
The day ended with the annual Costume Parade. From hundreds of contestants, thirty costumed fans competed in the finals. And the winners were:
9:00 am The DeForest Kelley Theatre - Brasilia Ballroom
StarTrek.com presents One Trek Mind LIVE
StarTrek.com's humor, nostalgia and list-making columnist Jordan Hoffman invites fans to join him for four fan-centric sessions. Together they will debate and determine new "best-of"s for various Trek topics. Today's topic is: Most Useless Species. With luck, the session will confirm your most closely held beliefs and enrage you with their wrongheadedness – most likely at the same time.
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