Destination Star Trek Europe ended its three-day run at the NEC in Birmingham, England in epic style -- with a large crowd, a cool team-up of Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis and Wil Wheaton, an epic appearance by William Shatner, and much, much more.
The Next Generation: A Look Back
One of day three's highlights actually kicked off the proceedings. Gates McFadden and Wil Wheaton teamed up for a Crusher family reunion, joined by Marina Sirtis and moderated by Greg Grunberg. Laughter ensued and the genuine affection between the trio was obvious.
Wheaton was super-, super-enthusiastic about the original Trek, even at his audition with McFadden. "I continued to explain to Gates," Wheaton recalled, "what warp speed was long after she'd already lost interest."
"Never grow up," Wheaton implored. "It's a trap."
"My space son," McFadden said, reaching across Sirtis to grasp Wheaton's hand. "My space mom," Wheaton replied, reaching back to her. Sirtis shook her head and said, "Maybe you two should sit together." Grunberg leaned in and said, "No, we need a counselor in the middle," eliciting laughs from the actors and audience.
"I'm one of the few people in the world," Wheaton said, "who can legitimately wear a Starfleet Academy sweatshirt."
Sirtis was afraid she'd be fired after season one, but Gene Roddenberry pulled her aside at Jonathan Frakes' wedding and said Troi would be the focus of the first episode of year two. "That was the best moment ever," Sirtis explained, tearing up, "that they trusted me with a season opener."
"If you said Marina will start crying at 28 minutes into the panel," Wheaton said, "you win the pool. The over-under was 32. I took under."
"I first realized Star Trek would be something special," Sirtis said, "when my husband, who is a musician, said, 'Being in Star Trek for an actor is like a musician being asked to join the Rolling Stones.'"
Comic Book Panel
Eaglemoss's Ben Robinson moderated a conversation with John Van Citters, Vice President of CBS Consumer Products, and James Swallow, veteran Star Trek author, and Trek comics history expert, during which they discussed past, present and upcoming Trek comics.
Eaglemoss has a new graphic novel and comics collection launching: STAR TREK THE GRAPHIC NOVEL COLLECTION. This will compile the entire history of Star Trek comics from 1967 through the present day.
"What we really want from our collection is it to be a true history of Star Trek comics, to include every incarnation of Star Trek comics from the early days to the more obscure newspaper strips to the new material being worked on now."
Speaking of incarnations, Van Citters teased that, "I'm really excited about what's coming with Star Trek: Discovery."
Asked about what Trek crossover he'd like to see, Swallow thought long and hard before commenting, "I saw some fan art of a Star Trek and Alien crossover and thought, 'That would be a really great crossover story.'"
Trek's biggest star was full of energy and detailed stories during his time on stage. Some of the conversation got too technical to recount, as when Shatner discoursed about string theory and quantum physics.
Grunberg asked, "How much Shatner is in Kirk?" Shatner replied, "I was a young actor, and it was a great part. I would play Captain Kirk differently now. I am Captain Kirk and Captain Kirk is me."
"I'm a newsaholic," Shatner revealed. "I also watch National Geographic and sports. That's what I do."
Shatner's thoughts on the J.J. movies? "He gave Star Trek a ride," the legend said. "He made the Star Trek franchise go through the sky."
Shatner shared a memory of talking to Leonard Nimoy about appearing in the first two J.J. movies. "I said to Leonard, 'You know you're old when you go back in time and you're still old.'"
Movies to Series
This cool panel featured Christopher Lloyd, who brought Kruge to life in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Alice Krige, the Borg Queen in both First Contact and the Voyager finale; Marina Sirtis, who, of course, played Troi on TNG and in the Next Gen features.
"I guess for me the legacy is I showed up on the set of First Contact and didn't know anybody," Krige noted. "I worked really only with Brent, Patrick and Jonathan. They just opened up their arms and I was part of the family."
The Borg Queen was a collaborative performance, Krige said, giving credit to make-up effects artists Scott Wheeler and Todd Masters. "The Borg showed up," Krige said, "and I was channeling her."
Which was wilder, Kruge's Targ or Doc Brown's lovable dog, Einstein? "I think think the Targ was more in control of himself," Lloyd said. "Einstein was all over the place."
"My husband said to me after Star Trek was over, 'I waited seven years for you,'" Sirtis commented. "It's very hard to be married to an actor."
"I loved the theatricality of it," Lloyd said of playing Kruge. "I loved the costume, the makeup. If you have no moral fiber and just don't give a f-uck... I felt that Captain Kruge had a lot of that in him."
Celebrating The Legacy of Star Trek
On the panel were Chase Masterson and Jeffrey Combs, as well as Col. Alfred Worden, the NASA astronaut credited as the most-isolated person in history and for making the first deep-space spacewalk.
Combs, discussing the death of Weyoun, noted, "They said, 'Why did we do that?' But I love the writer that said, "'We can clone him.'"
"People ask us what our favorite moments are, and most people expect us to say an episode or a scene," Masterson said. "But my favorite moments are when people tell me what Star Trek means in their lives."
"Star Trek is a great incubator for ideas," Col. Worden explained. "My opinion is sci-fi will become sci-fact, and Star Trek is telling us what will happen in the future. And we are already halfway there."
"All I know," Jeffrey Combs said to Worden, "is I'm sitting next to a guy who went to the moon."
"We've got to have warp drive if we're going to go anywhere in the universe," Col. Worden said. "Star Trek is the role model that will get us there."
Replicating the Future from the Past
Chris Barnardo from The Wand Company talked about creating their latest Trek product, a working communicator. He detailed their process, picking the product, research and physical building of the communicator, all of which was preceded/involved 3D-copying a TOS communicator prop.
Michael Moore, who crafted thousands of Trek props across his years with the franchise, which spanned from season one of TNG to Star Trek (2009), chatted with the packed crowd at the Voyager stage about his work, collecting show- and movie-used props, and making your own as well.
"We never really had a lot of time on Trek," Moore explained, "to make things because of the schedules" and the turnaround time. A fan asked, "What is it that we don't see" about creating props? His reply: "We actually do a lot of physical sculpting -- out of clay, plastics."
"All collectibles are valuable... depending on the collector," Moore pointed out. "Are you willing to pay that much for a piece? And is it an investment piece or a collectible?"
Looking healthy and sounding strong, Walter Koenig took to the stage for his solo session joined by Garrett Wang, who served as moderator.
As Koenig spoke, an announcement blared over the PA system, revealing a time change for a William Shatner appearance. Wang got Koenig and the crowd laughing when he cracked, "Shatner's not even here and he's upstaging you."
"50 years," Koenig marveled, referring to the franchise's anniversary. "I hope it goes on, if for no other reason, for the best of reasons, that it indicates that there are people out there who want storytelling that promotes a better world, a better future. I hope if Star Trek endures it takes forward the message that we need to come together, that we can come together."
"He had such a future ahead of him," Koenig said of Anton Yelchin. "That was such an extraordinary loss, such an extraordinary loss." As for the announcement that Chekov will not appear in the next Trek feature, Koenig said, "I think that's good. I think they should stop. I think that's Anton's legacy as far as Star Trek."
Star Trek: Next 50
"This is the hodgepodge panel," joked moderator Garrett Wang, "but it'll be great." And it was both a hodgepodge and great, featuring Robert Duncan McNeill, Jeffrey Combs, Martha Hackett and Eric Pierpoint.
If McNeill could play any other role from Trek, it would be... "I'd want to be Seven of Nine. I would like to rock that outfit. I think I could rock that outfit."
"I'd love to pass the torch to the new series," Combs said, replying to a fan's question about possibly playing Shran on Discovery. "It's not my decision, but it's a great idea."
"I didn't know Seska was going to be a spy," Hackett said. "They don't tell you anything. The script arrives and there you are."
"I have emailed with Bryan Fuller," McNeill said when asked about possibly directing episodes of Discovery. "I know that they pushed their schedule a little. I originally couldn't do it. With the new dates, I may be able able to do it. I'm sure Discovery will be a very high-class production. It's going to be a very exciting show from the inside info I've heard about it."
"I was doing 'Barge of the Dead,'" Pierpoint recalled. "We were filming all night, like 24 hours. I was so tired. I was pulled over by a cop at 3 a.m. He said I was weaving and gave me a sobriety test. He said, 'Have you been drinking?' I said, 'No, I've been a Klingon,' paraphrasing Kortar. So I got out of a ticket by being a Klingon."
What were Wang's feelings about Harry Kim never rising in rank beyond Ensign. "It was very frustrating," he admitted. Wang talked to the producers, but "The response was 'Somebody's gotta be the ensign.'"
Voyager: A Look Back
The Voyager stage was absolutely packed, with fans standing and ringing the area around the chairs, for -- quite appropriately -- a Voyager panel with Robert Duncan McNeill, Martha Hackett, and Garrett Wang. "I liked any episode in the holodeck," Wang said. "We'd get to have fun and do something different. Sandrine's Bar (Chez Sandrine). We got to do 'Spirit Folk,' where I kissed a cow. That was fun."
"I got pregnant when I was doing Voyager," Martha Hackett recalled. "I hadn't told the producers yet when they told me they were writing in a pregnancy for Seska. There was this wonderful synchronicity. Martha and Seska were pregnant together."
"I hated this episode called 'Twisted,'" McNeill revealed. "I don't even remember what it was about. But it was confusing. Even the director couldn't explain it to anyone. It made no sense to any of us. I remember bickering among the cast, which never really happened. It was just miserable to make."
TOS: A Look Back
Longtime TOS co-stars George Takei and Walter Koenig were paired for their hour-long session. The two, taking turns, shared long anecdotes about their 50 years of Trekking.
"I wanted more lines," Koenig noted, answering a question about what he would have changed about his TOS experience. "I'm speaking for all the supporting actors. We were certainly capable of more than we were given."
"Everybody loved De," Takei said of DeForest Kelley. "He was a warm, dear man, a sweetheart, the sweetest of them all. He will always be a part of the family."
"I don't remember doing any ad-libbing, except for the famous scene in Star Trek IV, when I said 'Nuclear (cough; he can't say wessels),'" Koenig said. "It wasn't encouraged, but I don't think the word was gospel, but if we changed anything, we at least spoke to the directors about it.
Takei told a detailed story about the casting of John Cho as Sulu in the current movies. "I've known John Cho since he was a teenager," Takei said. But, at first, when J.J. Abrams' office called Takei to arrange a breakfast between him and Abrams, Takei thought Abrams wanted to discuss with him a cameo. But he wanted to discuss casting Cho. "I told him, 'He's going to be fantastic.' John is young and talented and good-looking. I love to be born again with Sulu being played by John."
Inside the Roddenberry Vault
Fans in the UK/Europe got their first look at the Roddenberry Vault Blu-ray set courtesy of the aforementioned tandem of Ben Robinson and John Van Citters. In addition to addressing the key elements of the collection, Robinson and Van Citters screened three videos with commentary and some clips from the set.
"This is something really special," Robinson noted. "You think you’ve seen and know everything about The Original Series, and then to find out that there is footage that has never been seen is amazing.”
Van Citters spoke to this being a decade-long effort to find the footage, cataloguing it and figuring out what was there and how it could be best utilized. Producer Roger Lay, he added, is working very hard on the project now, "even while we’re here talking about it, and Mike and Denise Okuda are very involved in the process."
Hundreds of fans trekked over to the Excelsior Stage for today's Cosplay Competition, and they weren't disappointed. And that's because many of their fellow fans went all out creating inventive, colorful costumes depicting their favorite characters.
Grand Prize Winner: Lee - Data
Runner-Up: Niall - Khan
Runner-Up: Helen - Droxine
Runner-Up: Shell, Vivi, Vincent and Nick - Orion Slave Girl and young science officers
Runner-Up: Abigail - Klingon