An estimated 10,000 fans filled the NEC for day two of Destination Star Trek Birmingham. Those fans made great use of every nook and cranny of the complex as they enjoyed the many options available to them throughout the day. StarTrek.com was in the house, our team taking it all in, and is pleased to share day-two highlights...
Isaacs Kills It
Jason Isaacs, at DST, made his first-ever appearance at a Trek convention in his native land... and he nailed. Funny, honest and not afraid to drop a curse word for an adjective, Isaacs had the crowd in his palm from word one.
“All of the best jobs I’ve had in my career I said no to initially,” he said, acknowledging that his role as Lorca was one he rejected. He went on to note that he knew in advance that Lorca would be revealed to be from the Mirror Universe, so he left crumbs along the way. “If you watch it a second time,” he suggested, “you’ll be saying, ‘Oh, how did I not catch that?’”
Isaacs lied to the press, to his family and to the fans about Lorca early on. It was tough, but “It was just to make the reveal more delicious.”
The Man Himself
William Shatner was full of energy as he regaled fans in the packed main room with stories about his current projects, meeting Dr. Stephen Hawking, his charity efforts, smashing stinky fish on Terry Bradshaw’s head while making Better Late Than Never, and more. At one point, Shatner heard the cheering generated by another room. “Is that for me?” he joked. He suggested that our crowd out-cheer the other group, which we did, much to our delight and Shatner’s.
One of the day’s highlights was no doubt a nearly full-cast panel with the Discovery’s Mary Chieffo, Kenneth Mitchell, Sonequa Martin-Green, Mary Wiseman, Sam Vartholomeos, Doug Jones, Jayne Brook, Wilson Cruz and Anthony Rapp. These shared stories from the set, poked fun at each other, discussed Discovery’s segue from war to hope, and more.
Rapp explained his reaction to meeting fans old, young and in between at DST. “That’s really beautiful to see, the passing on (of love for Trek) from some of their grandparents. It’s been really incredible.”
Chieffo recalled meeting Doug Jones at the initial table read and telling him Discovery was her first prosthetics role. “He said, ‘Oh, precious,’ and he rubbed my cheek. Doug was just so supportive. Everyone was.”
“Our job is to tell the truth,” Cruz argued, “and to live in the light of the positivity that comes to us.”
Rapp noted that he and Cruz have been “out” for more than 25 years each, despite warnings from friends and agents that going public would be career suicide. “This was an instance where being out helped us get these roles,” he said. “That was a nice little turnabout.”
Isaacs heaped praise on Martin-Green, who in turn praised the rest of her crew.
Though she’s #1 on the call sheet, Martin-Green stressed the importance of cast and crew as “family” and added that “the only star is the story.”
Several members of the cast answered a question about where they think their respective characters will be by the end if the show runs seven seasons. “I think Saru will have a happy retirement party,” Jones said. “And then he’ll go back to Kaminar and help his people progress and adapt.”
Could Tilly become captain by then? “That’s what all three of us (Tilly, Burnham and Saru) want, right?” Wiseman asked rhetorically. “Or maybe she gets really dark and gets a long scar along her face. That’s the other direction.”
“I’m going to play Prime Lorca,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been working on my voice for it.” Then, to lots of laughter from fans and his costars, Mitchell unleashed a high-pitched Isaacs imitation, joking about his beautiful blue eyes and how he wears blue jackets to accentuate them. No one laughed harder than Isaacs.
Welcome Back, Walter
Walter Koenig thanked DST for welcoming him to Birmingham for a second time. Looking good and sounding strong, Trek’s original Chekov went silent when asked by a fan if he has a favorite amongst the Trek spin-offs. He admitted that he only has seen a couple of TNG episodes and the DS9 hour, “ Sanctuary,” that featured his son, Andrew. “I wouldn’t have watched TOS if I wasn’t in it,” he mused. “I knew nothing about Star Trek. I thought it was a day’s work. I had no concept this would be an enduring presence in my life.”
“As much as I complain about how small my role was, I am so grateful for the opportunity and to have some measure of fame,” he said. “Not everyone gets that.” A lot of fans would love to see Koenig play Chekov again. Koenig’s not so sure. “How would they explain it?” he asked aloud. “I’m so freaking old!”
Fans love Kate Mulgrew and she loves them, and it’s in large part because Mulgrew tells it like it is, about life, her experiences and herself. “I think that with Janeway, they broke the mold,” the actress commented. “Janeway embodied goodness as well as boldness, passion and intelligence. Her directive was the Prime Directive. Her compass was her moral compass.”
Would she ever consider putting her spacesuit back on, a fan asked. Mulgrew replied, “ Shatner, Stewart and myself in some sort of a movie… I’d love to do that. So the answer is yes.”
Astronaut Fred Haise talked about his time in space, the power of Star Trek to influence people to pursue the sciences, and more.
Fans joined Kenneth Mitchell and Mary Chieffo on the Klingon bridge as they sat in the throne.
Cosplayers got their moment to shine. Take a look at some of our favorite cosplay from the day below:
Visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow for highlights of Day Three at Destination Star Trek Birmingham. Check out our Day One highlights. And check our social feeds for photos and news all day long during the event.