Day one of Destination Star Trek Germany on Friday felt like a practice run compared to day two on Saturday.
The hall opened earlier, soon after 9 a.m., and thousands more people poured through the front entrance, and DSTG replied in kind with a day full of top-flight activities filling Stage A, Stage B and everything in between. It all started at 9:30 am with Eric Stillwell talking on Stage B. He co-wrote the story for the landmark episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" and then served Trek in several other capacities. Stillwell discussed Michael Piller's then-unheard of policy of accepting for consideration unrepresented script submissions... Such as his own. "He had to convince Paramount to do it'" Stillwell recounted. Piller won the battle- and so did fans. Among those who got their foot in the door? Ronald D. Moore.
Later, on the main stage, Stage A, LeVar Burton and Marina Sirtis joked, shared old stories and brought out the best in each other as they reminisced and took questions from the filled room. "I didn't mind Nemesis," Sirtis noted. "I mean, I was in it quite a lot." Asked who they'd like to see play Troi and La Forge in any TNG reboot, Sirtis replied with Mila Kunis while Burton settled on Dule Hill or Donald Glover. Quote of the session from Sirtis: "That exploded Brillo hair in the first episode... That was my real hair." Quote of the session from Burton: "Wearing the VISOR was a huge pain in the ass... But I do believe it made a better actor out of me.
"Meanwhile, on Stage B, fans were treated to a special grouping of Trek guests: Alice Krige, Suzie Plakson, Hallie Todd, Carolyn Seymour, Robin Curtis and Gwynyth Walsh. They bantered and recounted great anecdotes and really made the most of their time on stage. Several, in fact, were meeting each other for the very first time.
They were followed immediately by Ron Moore and Ira Steven Behr, who talked a great deal about recent projects - The 4400, for example, and Battlestar Galactica - before dipping into their respective wells of Trek memories.
Up next on Stage A were Gates McFadden and Michael Dorn. They played off each other with ease and charm. "I thought my character was going to be the funniest one on the show," she explained. "And she turned out to be the most serious." Up next was Brent Spiner, flying solo. Spiner replaced Rene Auberjonois in the Broadway production of Big River. "He originated the role and was nominated for a Tony," Spiner noted. "And I came in and improved on it... Please don't tell him I said that." Moments later, Armin Shimerman popped into the room. "Ladies and gentlemen," Spiner announced, "the great Armin Zimmerman."
The two bantered for a couple of minutes before Shimerman exited to hearty cheers. Spiner then declared the yellow lenses he sported to play Data the "worst part of the job," and pondered a Doctor Who/TNG crossover film, an idea put in his head by taking his 11-year-old son to a Doctor Who convention, where they came across the TNG/Dictir Who comic book crossover. Then off he went to wild applause.
Karl Urban was next on Stage A and he had the crowd in the palm of his hand from the get-go, greeting everyone in German and giving thorough, respectful replies to each and every question. At one point, Gates McFadden made a cameo, creating a rare moment between Dr. Crusher and Dr. McCoy. He told the faithful that he expected the next Trek film to shoot later this year, in time for the 50th anniversary of TOS in 2016. Asked what he'd be if he weren't an actor, Urban revealed that he probably would be a builder... Or anything but a doctor. "I can't stand disease...," he said. "I have the greatest respect for doctors, but I could never do it."
As all the talks were going on, fans filled every nook and cranny of the hall.
They queued for photos and autographs. The line for a pic with Sirtis was insane, for example, but moved efficiently. Urban attracted a monster line of fans seeking his autograph. Not sure why, but it seemed to be dominated by the ladies. The food and beer kiosks looked busy, as did the booths selling merchandise.
Back on Stage A, attendees participated in an auction. An autographed 8x10 of Nichelle Nichols fetched 40 Euros, while someone paid 150 Euros for LeVar Burton's script of "The Offspring," which he'd autograph later. A James Doohan signed 8x10 went for 175 Euros, while a Star Trek Into Darkness mini-poster/photo sighed by J.J. Abrams brought in 35 Euros. And so on.
Over on Stage B, Suzie Plakson came out as herself. But it wasn't long before makeup maestro John Paladin, before everyone's eyes, transformed her into a certain fearsome Klingon. The crowd ate it up, as some thunderous music and lighting tricks heightened the moment. Stage B would later welcome Mars One, a Trek trivia challenge, a conversation with Martin Netter, owner of the Trek museum items on display at DSTG, and more, most notably the day's costume contest.
A mom, dad and daughter dressed as T'Pol, Trip and Naomi Wildman won Best Overall Costume, and the daughter won Best Kid Costume, too. And a very cool Ferengi won Most Authentic Costume.
StarTrek.com spent the next several hours back on Stage A, taking in Dominic Keating and Connor Trinneer, then William Shatner, followed by the DS9 grouping of Armin Shimerman, Rene Auberjonois, Jeffrey Combs and Casey Biggs. A short while later, the evening's main event awaited: Shatner moderating a TNG reunion session with Spiner, McFadden, Dorn, Sirtis and Burton.
Trinneer and Keating have their routine down to a fine comedy tandem. Keating does most of the joke cracking, sharing bawdy tales, dropping the F-bomb now and then and telling it like it is. Trinneer is the voice of reason. Commenting on Enterprise's early demise, Keating noted, "I blame Voyager. If they'd gotten home in a timely fashion we would have run seven years." At one point very early on in Enterprise's development, Trip and Reed were going to butt heads, not be buddies they became. There were hints of friction in the pilot. "They took that from us," Trinneer noted. One episode featuring some camaraderie and some comedy paved the way for "Shuttlepod One," which established their friendship for good. "We never looked back after 'Shuttlepod One,'" Keating pointed out.
William Shatner was next. Asked if he believed we are alone in the universe, he cited current events on Mars and more as reasons why we can't be the only living things in the universe, drawing applause. Someone joked about getting Denny Crane in a Trek movie, prompting Shatner to say, "I don't think Denny Crane will be in a new Star Trek movie, nor will Captain Kirk." Shatner then noted that he didn't necessarily feel a "responsibility" to keep Star Trek's message alive, but added "I certainly admire the message." Finally, he pointed out that most often in scenes, he'd walk onto set as Kirk hearing "Captain on the bridge." Well, for his death scene in Generations, "I wanted them to say, 'Bridge on the captain,' but they wouldn't do it."
The DS9 gathering felt like the fastest 45 minutes of the day. The boys had a blast telling stories, poking fun at each other and doling out compliments, too. Shimerman revealed that Behr and Moore were seated in the audience, meaning, "Now we can't tell you the truth about anything."
How would Auberjonois and Shimerman describe the relationship between Odo and Quark by the end of DS9? Auberjonois summed it up in one word: "Sexual," drawing chuckles from the crowd. Shimerman admitted he disliked the episode "Profit & Lace," in part because they made him a female Ferengi, but more because "Quark didn't learn anything" from the experience. All the actors marveled at the fans' ongoing passion for DS9 so long after its run ended, calling the fan support "oxygen" to all of them.
Following that session, fans exited Stage A to shop, eat, relax, etc. Some headed home. Most, however, had separate event tickets for the weekend's most-anticipated activity: Shatner moderating the TNG reunion. Shatner joked that "I'm here to help moderate and bring some intelligence."
But before Shatner could moderate anything, Dorn asked Shatner how he felt when he heard about the imminent arrival of TNG.
"I started to cry. I sobbed helplessly like a little girl," Shatner joked. "I felt a tinge of jealousy and envy and... Great hatred, actually... I was delighted. These are wonderful actors as well as great human beings."
A fan asked what other iteration of Trek each of the actors might like to have appeared in. McFadden said the new Abrams movies. Sirtis replied, "The new movies because the those guys are hot, man!" Dorn said TOS era Scotty. Burton revealed, "I would love to have been a guy in a red shirt." Shatner pointed out that they died fast and only got one paycheck. Burton was undaunted. "It's like a horror movie. The black guy always dies first." Raucous laughter filled the room. And Spiner? "Star Trek: The Empire Strikes Back," apparently the ultimate mash up. Another fan asked each TNG cast member if they were stuck on a deserted island for a LONG time and had to be there with one of their TNG cast mates, who would they pick. Sirtis lobbied Dorn to select her, leaning on his shoulder, but he said, "I'd kill you in about a week." She then sat on Burton's lap and he wisely said, "Marina." Spiner wondered, "Can you be alone? Would that be OK?" And then Shatner buttoned the exchange, cracking, "I'd take LeVar... So I could get Marina."
And on it went, pushing past the allotted hour. Spiner marveled that the franchise's 50th anniversary was a year and a half away. Shatner made a sad face. "I know," he said dramatically. "I think about it... A lot." Everyone agreed that Jonathan Frakes was the loudest TNG star, the wildest, too. Sirtis revealed that she passed on a sci-fi movie because she'd done too much sci-fi in order to do a project no one ever really saw. The movie she passed on was Men In Black (the Linda Fiorentino role). Shatner stoked the mini-war between himself and George Takei. Shatner gave Spiner the nickname "Silver," which became a running joke. Spiner took Shatner to task for not knowing Data died in Nemesis. "Obviously," he said directly to Shatner, "you missed all the films after the one you were in." Spiner did his Patrick Stewart imitation and even sang Happy Birthday for a woman, in Stewart voice, joined at the end by Shatner. Dorn and Spiner did dueling Gregory Peck imitations. And, on a serious note, everyone sent their love to Leonard Nimoy following his announcement that his years of smoking have left him with with COPD.
It all came to a close with each actor sharing what they missed about the show. Spiner missed the cast and crew, as did Sirtis, while Burton missed laughing with his pals every day... And the barrel rolls. Dorn cited cast and crew, too, as well as the chance to work with actors he grew up watching, like John Anderson, Jean Simmons and John Colicos. McFadden misses the friendships, seeing people like Mike Westmore every day for her six years... And the Spandex... Not. And Sirtis summed it up wonderfully, saying "It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience." With that, everyone departed to extended applause and a standing ovation.
Of course, the night was far from over. Fans gathered for the evening's big party featuring live music by the esteemed Enterprise Blues Band, which consists of Steve Rankin, Casey Biggs and Vaughn Armstrong. The party was still going strong when StarTrek.com slipped out into the darkness to write this recap.
Visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow for a recap of day there's events at Destination Star Trek Germany. And click HERE to read our day-one recap.