Creation Entertainment's Official Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas went supernova as it neared its end. The big event, the reason why thousands of people gathered together as one, was a joint appearance by Kate Mulgrew, William Shatner, Avery Brooks and Scott Bakula. But that came as the day concluded, so we'll circle back to it later.
Up first, at 8 a.m. Creation held a Trek Classic breakfast with George Takei and Walter Koenig. The two legends posed for photos and then bounced from table to table chatting with fans. One man wore a bright green shirt that read, "It's OK to be Takei," eliciting a smile from Takei. Someone asked Koenig about Trek's longevity. "It's phenomenal," he said. "The only thing that has lasted so long is General Hospital. And I was in the pilot of that, actually."
Jordan Hoffman led his last of four One Trek Mind LIVE panels on Sunday challenging fans to rank the ten "Most Useless Species". Following a lively discussion, fans locked in their choices:
Takei and Koenig grabbed the spotlight again soon after, when they took to the main stage in front of several thousand adoring fans. Takei, recently fired from Celebrity Apprentice, got a huge laugh at the expense of the man who axed him. "I am someone who believes there's decency in everyone... even Donald Trump."
Sharing many stories with the fans, Koenig disclosed that it was at his urging that his name is above Takei's in the credits of a couple of the TOS features. To which Takei replied, "I was more concerned about the character and the character's promotion rather than petty actor things."
Koenig recounted telling William Shatner how he felt about Shatner's behavior during their TOS years when they sat down to talk on Shatner's interview show, Raw Nerve. "I said, 'You were the captain of the ship, but not the leader of the cast. We couldn't come to you. You were not the Patrick Stewart of the original cast. You did not help us or protect us."
Before finishing the session, and in response to a fan question about the buttons on the console, Koenig said "I pressed the blue buttons when I was depressed, the purple buttons when raged and yellow when I felt cowardly."
Sticking with Koenig and Takei, StarTrek.com caught up with them again as they settled in for photo opps with fans. Creedence Clearwater Revival blared in the background, prompting the two men to dance for a few moments. Koenig then sat in Takei's lap, and the photographer fired away. "I," Takei joked to the fans nearby, "would not stand in line for me!"
The production team behind the conversion of Star Trek: The Next Generation to high definition gave fans a behind-the-scenes look at the process and some sneak peeks at season two. The panel, led by Rob Burnett, included Roger Lay, Mike and Denise Okuda, and the surprise appearance of David Gerrold. The team revealed that season two's Blu-ray will include an extended version of "Measure of a Man" which will show the episode as it was intended.
Back in the main room, Alice Krige commanded the stage as she spoke about her life, career and role as the Borg Queen in several Trek productions, most notably First Contact and Voyager. "I think I did a really bad audition," she recounted. Yet she won the part in First Contact. "She was a fascinating character. She goes on and on being interesting."
Finally, she talked about having to go to the ladies' room during production on First Contact, a problem considering she was shoe-horned into her Borg Queen costume. "It took 45 minutes to get me out of my costume," she said. "It was the most expensive pee in the history of cinema."
Despite all of the events throughout the day, fans were in attendance to see the captains. Mulgrew, full of energy, kicked it off with a solo session which included her disclosing that she was 11 years old when she first decided to become an actor.
Mulgrew later said, "People say to me, 'You do these conventions? They're for nerds.' To them I say, 'You should live to be such a nerd. You should live to be such a geek.' Most people just don't get it. I'm not only privileged by it, I'm honored."
After several minutes, Mulgrew passed the microphone to William Shatner. Shatner immediately mocked comments Mulgrew made about the importance of Trek having had a female captain. "Now I've pissed you off and I have to work 15 minutes to get you back," he told everyone assembled. "I was just kidding."
One fan asked if Shatner would do things differently -- in hindsight. To the delight of the crowd, he replied, "if I played Capt Kirk again I might have played him a little more subtle. Then again..."
Next to step onto the stage was Avery Brooks who introduced a surprise guest, Cirroc Lofton. Lofton, who played Jake Sisko, is now 34 years old, father of a baby, and several inches taller than Brooks.
He hailed Brooks as a father figure, mentor, friend, leader, shield and guide, and presented Brooks with a piece of art he'd made for Brooks. He asked Brooks autograph it, joking, "I'll pay the fee!"
Bakula finally appeared and noted "I'm last and, Bill said, 'and least.' No, he didn't." Bakula then ran through the auditorium, to the rear of the hall and back, playfully collapsing on stage. At the request of a child whose mom was too afraid to ask, Bakula sang a bit of "The Impossible Dream."
Replying to someone who asked what Bakula hoped to see for Archer on Enterprise had the show gone seven years, he said that they'd been building toward Archer becoming the seasoned figure who helped pave the way for the formation of the Federation. "We got a taste of it," the actor explained. "We never got there, but we had a great time doing it."
The four captains then sat together, with Creation co-CEO Adam Malin moderating the conversation.
Brooks noted that "People ask me what I'm doing now. I say it, with great convection, that I'm staying alive. We need to care more about each other in order to stay alive. I'm old enough now to say that, So what else am I doing? Music." Brooks was, as always, compelling and enigmatic. His dramatic pauses even out-Shatner-ed Shatner, and Shatner pointed that out later.
There was plenty of banter and teasing throughout their time on stage, much of it at Bakula's expense. He accepted the ribbing with grace and got a couple of zingers in at Shatner. Malin asked all four actors what their driving passion is today, and all four answered seriously. "Music," Brooks replied. Shatner said, "After my wife and kids, horses," Mulgrew responded, "The world, and the big question: why? Why are we here?" Bakula said, "I'm passionate about my family, certainly. I'm passionate about improving the experience. If everybody on the planet treated everybody like they were movie stars, what a great place the world would be."
Shatner couldn't let that one go by without a comment. "If everybody was treated like movie stars," he wondered, "what would the movie stars do?"
Fans also learned a few things from the actors:
Bakula's mustache and sideburns are for a HBO movie about Liberace, to which Mulgrew exclaimed that she is relieved that he will not be playing Liberace.
Brooks, Shatner and Bakula were all Boy Scouts, and Brooks was an Eagle Scout.
Shatner continues to support NASA's exploration efforts, adding that what the Curiosity team did in landing the rover on Mars was "phenomenal."
And while the day was not quite over, the standing ovation for Shatner, Brooks, Mulgrew and Bakula seemed to be the perfect way to celebrate all things Star Trek.
Follow us for more news at StarTrek.com
and via our social media sites.