Day one of Destination Star Trek Birmingham, the world’s largest Trek convention, is in the books. Thousands of fans from across the globe descended upon the NEC for the event, which did not disappoint. StarTrek.com was there, too, and has tons of photos and highlights to share...
Jonathan Del Arco kicked off the day’s panels, recounting his recurring role as Hugh, the Borg, in a pair of TNG episodes and his appearance as Fantome in the Voyager hour, “The Void.” Asked by a fan to comment on the best part and worst part of being a Borg, he replied, “The best thing is United for All, all for one, one for all. It’s a collective. The worst thing is the inability to ever be alone. You’re never able to leave and have your own experience because you’re interconnected. If you could have both, you’d have a great society.” He later noted, “I like my privacy, so I don’t think I’d be great in a collective.”
Andrea Boyd of ESA, the European Space Agency, introduced Trek fans to the universe of real-world space travelers — how they’re recruited, what they endure before ever heading into space, what it’s like out in orbit, etc. So, what is Boyd’s role: “When the astronauts call earth, I answer,” she explained. “I’m a real life Uhura.”
Boyd noted that right now there are exactly three astronauts in space: a European, a Russian and American, all on the International Space Station. However, there should be five. Nick Hague and Aleksey Ovchinin were set to join them via the Soyuz MS-10 craft, but a booster failure forced them to abort and drop back to Earth. Boyd put it in perspective, pointing out that, “Any mission you have astronauts taking off and landing safely is a successful mission.”
Exhibits to Visit
Fans queued to check out two fascinating exhibits, one featuring props, costumes and art from across the franchise, the other filled with Mirror Universe costumes and props director from the set of Discovery.
The Costume and Prop Display
Among the first museum’s items on display are McCoy’s medical kit, Nomad, a Trek IV Klingon Bird of Prey model, a DS9 floor plan and Prophets’ box, a First Contact assault rifle, comic book art from TNG, DS9 and TOS titles. Also on display are various uniforms and costumes:
Vulcan Ambassador and a Mirror Universe Uniform from Enterprise
Reman Uniform from Nemesis
Data's Romulan Uniform and Picard's Robin Hood outfit from TNG
Spock's Space suit and undersuit along with Kirk's Uniform from The Motion Picture and Scotty’s Wrath of Khan engineering suit
Tellarite Costume from The Original Series
The Discovery Mirror Universe Exhibit
The display includes numerous items from the Terran Empire, including Emperor Georgiou’s full regalia and her sword, Mirror Burnham's costume, Killy’s costume, assorted Mirror badges and weapons, Mirror Lorca’s uniform and much more.
That’s a Rapp
As the ESA panel ended and fans started to leave, Anthony Rapp surprised everyone by bounding out on to the stage for a surprise solo panel. He invited fans to ask him anything — except about season two of Discovery — and engaged the audience in a wide-ranging conversation.
There were laughs aplenty when Vaughn Armstrong, Casey Biggs and Andrew Robinson gathered together to tease each other and recall their time playing Cardassians on DS9.
“I thought it was one episode,” Biggs said of portraying Damar. “It ended up being five years. I went from Marc Alaimo’s lackey to leader of the Cardassians.”
“Garak was so much smarter than I am,” Robinson admitted. “He was also a better liar. I didn’t know how to lie. I had to learn that. And I had to find the subtext.”
Armstrong paused dramatically when asked to pick his favorite song he performs as part of the Enterprise Blues Band. “That’s hard to say,” he said. “The first song I wrote was ‘The Enterprise Blues.’ That’s where the name Enterprise Blues Band came from. Then there’s the ‘Red Shirt Boogie. ‘“ And much to everyone’s delight, Armstrong crooned/spoke a few bits of both songs.
Fans relived their youth in the Retro Gaming Zone. Home arcade games from across the decades were played all day long. Also wildly popular... Four Star Trek pinball machines, including the iconic TNG machine.
William Shatner, you and... Tribbles?
You in the captain’s chair of a Klingon ship? Of the Discovery? With Jason Isaacs in the Discovery captain’s chair? On the bridge of the TNG Enterprise?
Pics with your favorite actors as you share a touching moment? All those opportunities and more are available to fans throughout the weekend.
An opening ceremony at the end of Day One is a tradition at DST, as nearly every single celebrity guest steps out onto the main stage to greet fans and say a few words. Tonight was no exception, as William Shatner, Jeri Ryan, the ESA team, and groupings of cast members from TNG, DS9 and Discovery implored fans to have a great time.
Discovery closed the ceremony, with Wilson Cruz telling fans this was his first time ever in Europe, followed by Kenneth Mitchell transforming -- vocally -- into Kol.
And so the stage was set for an out-of-this-world weekend.
Visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow for highlights of Day Two at Destination Star Trek Birmingham. And check our social feeds for photos and news all day long.