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The Trek Nation - 'Real Deal' Las Vegas Convention Report - Day One

'Real Deal' Las Vegas Convention Report - Day One

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at August 7, 2002 - 11:32 PM GMT

Last weekend saw a massive Star Trek event take place in Las Vegas: Creation Entertainment's 'Real Deal' Convention. The event was attended by Star Trek actors from all periods of the franchise over three days at the Las Vegas Hilton.


The convention kicked off a day early, with pre-registration from 6-8pm on Thursday August 1st, a peek inside the dealers room, and the new TNN's party at 'Star Trek: The Experience.' After ticket holders pre-registered, they were allowed in the dealers room, where many of the vendors had already set up shop, and a few guest stars were signing autographs.

Matt Winston, who plays the mysterious Daniels on Enterprise, was all smiles as he revealed that this was his first convention. While he stayed mum on the subject of Enterprise's second season and his character's involvement in it, he did comment on the cast of the show, and Scott Bakula in particular. "Scott is a fantastic man, and very down-to-earth. He sets the tone for the set - he really is the captain [in that sense]." Winston also marvelled at the Trek phenomenon itself: "I didn't realize what an amazing universe Trek is."

TNN's party, held at Star Trek: The Experience, began at 8pm, and featured a very special guest: Robert Picardo (the EMH). Though Picardo was not appearing at the convention itself, TNN invited him to perform in Quark's Bar for the guests at their party. Picardo sang some parody songs with a Voyager spin, and also mingled with guests, posing for photos and chatting briefly.

On Friday, August 1st, the doors to the dealers room opened just before 11 a.m, allowing fans to meet the many guest stars present and also to check out the plethora of merchandise being sold. Guest stars from all five Star Trek series were present, as well as actors from other sci-fi shows, such as Babylon 5. John Fleck(Silik), revealed that his character survived the first episode and will indeed be back to square off with Captain Archer again. "I'm finally getting used to the contact lenses," he laughed, referring to just one aspect of his character's elaborate make-up.

The first speaker of the convention in the ballroom was none other than Majel Barrett Roddenberry, who gave a speech about the science of Star Trek that is being developed to day. Calling Star Trek "science fact waiting to happen," she discussed cell phones, lasers, computers, and the potential for colonizing Mars - all developments which have happened since the original series first aired in 1966. She took a few questions from the crowd, and stated that she's "not doing anything with Star Trek right now."

After Majel finished up, Max Grodenchik (Rom), Chase Masterson (Leeta), Aron Eisenberg (Nog), and Lolita Fatjo took the stage for 'The Ferengi Family Hour', a comedy review in which Max, Chase, And Aron reprised their roles from Deep Space Nine, and script supervisor Fatjo played various parts, including that of Moogie. They performed both musical numbers and skits, the highlight of which was when the four performed an abandoned B-story from the DS9 episode 'Change of Heart.' In the story, Rom's first wife, Primadora, who is also Nog's mother, comes to DS9 to try to steal Rom away from Leeta. Nog tries to keep Rom away from Primadora, but Rom is unable to refuse her anything. So the two develop a ploy: Rom and Nog go to Primadora and start treating her like a typical Ferengi wife and mother. Sure enough, it sends her packing!

Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) was up next, and she began by talking about her newly published book, 'Saturna's Quest.' She told the audience that she is also at work on the third novel of the trilogy. Nichelle spoke graciously of Star Trek, saying, "I am proud of being a part of this incredible phenomenon called Star Trek. It has such a beautiful philosophy running through it. For young minds, [Star Trek is] a wonderful teaching medium... [for] what is right and what is wrong. Star Trek will go on living as long as people want better."

When asked about her film career, most notably her recent role in the movie 'Snow Dogs,' Nichelle revealed that Disney is mulling over a sequel. She also talked about two African-American women she inspired, astronaut Mae Jemison and Whoopi Goldberg.

Nichelle told the famous story of her encounter with Martin Luther King, Jr., around the time when she was considering leaving Star Trek to pursue other things. Dr. King told her that she couldn't leave the show. "For the first time, people who don't look like us, will see us as we should be seen: beautiful, qualified, and going into the future with dignity. It will change people's minds all over the world." Nichelle, inspired by his words, stayed on with the show. Following a request from the audience, Nichelle sang a brief song.

Tim Russ (Tuvok) began his set with a song, changing the lyrics of 'Love Boat' to describe the plight of the Voyager crew. Russ then showed a blooper reel, which revealed him be quite the joker, running away from the entrance to a cave after a child on the show had just gone in, and performing an over-the-top dramatic fall after being hit with a phaser blast. Later he described a practical joke he played on the rest of the cast. In the episode where Tuvok had a dream in which he was naked on the bridge, Tim had a member of the wardrobe crew fashion him a prosthetic to wear underneath his robe. When he walked onto the set, he removed his robe and his fellow cast mates stared in shock for approximately five seconds before bursting into laughter.

When an audience member asked Tim about playing a Klingon on DS9, Tim quipped, "I understand why Klingons are so grumpy," and went on to talk about the 3 and 1/2 hours of make-up Klingons require. Another audience member asked about the possibility of a Voyager movie, and while Tim said he didn't know, he did hazard a guess and say that a future movie - after 'Nemesis' - might be more likely to be a composite of members from all of the Star Trek shows. Tim also talked about Genevieve Bujold's brief involvement in Voyager, stating that while she was a "very nice lady," she was a "method actress, and it was a tough role for her to do. Kate [Mulgrew] was more suited for it personality-wise." Tim finished with a parody sketch of the end of the show, which ended with Janeway telling Paris to "set a course for the unemployment office."

Richard Arnold, Creation's Star Trek Consultant, showed the Nemesis preview and the Entertainment Tonight clip on the movie. "I haven't been as excited about a Star Trek movie since [Star Trek] four," he said. Most of the questions from the audience were not about Nemesis, but about the possibility of movies following it. He hypothesised that if 'Nemesis' is successful, most likely the next film would feature the Next Generation cast as well.

Eugene Roddenberry, the son of Majel and Gene Roddenberry, followed Richard, and told the audience that he's at work on a documentary about the positive influence of Star Trek. While he admitted that he was never a fan of Star Trek while growing up, after his father passed away, he attended a convention and saw what a big influence Star Trek had on people. He then showed two blooper reels from the original series.

The ballroom was packed for the final guest of the day: Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi). She launched right into talking about Deanna's wedding to Commander Riker in 'Nemesis.' Her wedding dress will be pink. While the Enterprise is en-route to Betazed for the traditional Betazoid wedding, Marina revealed that they will never actually make it there.

"I think it's going to be a good movie, and I know we say that about all of the movies, but I mean it this time," she promised. She also revealed that Troi is going to pilot the Enterprise again. She does not seem pleased that this might be the last Next Generation movie. "They yank us off the air when we were so successful, and now they threaten [to have this be the last TNG movie.]" She encouraged the crowd to write letters to Paramount and the producers.

When a member of the audience asked about rumours that the cast had "mixed feelings" about director Stuart Baird, Marina stated bluntly, "There weren't any 'mixed' feelings, but if the movie is good, then all is good." She said that while the TNG cast was used to working with people who knew Star Trek, Baird didn't. He often asked them to do things that they felt were out of character for the TNG crew. But Marina did add, "I won't say it wasn't good. It was just different." As for the effect on her own character, she said, "In Nemesis, it's a Troi you've not really seen before. She's really emotional." She also praised the writing, "It's a really nice role John Logan wrote for me. I hope you like it."

She also addressed the fans initial reaction at the beginning on TNG's run. "We didn't think [the show] would be huge. [The fans] weren't nice when we started. [They're] nice now, but not then. It was a lot of hard work trying to get [the fans] to accept [TNG]."

She finished with returning to the subject of 'Nemesis.' "Being as this movie is 'a generation's final voyage,' it feels as though a safety net has been pulled out from under my feet. Just in case [it is the end], I want to say thank you." She exited to thunderous applause.

The evening continued with a party in the Experience which featured Nichelle Nichols and Chase Masterson singing, and a cabaret with Tim Russ's band.

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Kristine Huntley is a new contributor to the Trek Nation.