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

'Real Deal' Las Vegas Convention Report - Day Two

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at August 8, 2002 - 3:12 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.


On the second day of the Creation Convention in Las Vegas it was the Original Series cast's chance to shine. Saturday, August 3rd, featured four members of the original cast - George Takei (Hikaru Sulu), Walter Koenig (Pavel Chekov), William Shatner (James T. Kirk), and Leonard Nimoy (Spock). The day began with George and Walter taking the stage in the ballroom of the Las Vegas Hilton. They discussed the 20th anniversary and Special Edition DVD release of 'Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,' which George jokingly referred to as "Walter's best movie."

During the question and answer session, several fans mentioned Babylon 5, in which Walter had a recurring role as the Psi-Cop Bester. Walter praised the cast, saying that they were "quintessential professionals." Another attendee brought up the 'Excelsior' campaign, which involved fans petitioning for a series set on the U.S.S. Excelsior under the command of Captain Sulu. George described the "incredible" Internet campaign that pushed for the show, and also reiterated his continued enthusiasm. "I'm raring to go to be the captain of the Excelsior again."

Michael Piller and Anthony Michael Hall, creator and star respectively of the new hit television show The Dead Zone, took the stage to answer questions about the show, which airs on the USA network.

Kate Mulgrew (Kathryn Janeway) was up next, full of energy and enthusiasm. "I miss her," she said of her auburn-haired alter ego. When the subject of Janeway's constantly-morphing hair came up, Kate groaned. "Let's not talk about the hair! It's extraordinary what they did to my hair. How many hair changes [did I go through] in one season? Ten?"

When asked what she missed most about Voyager, Kate replied good-heartedly, "What I really miss is my friends. I have eight great friends for the rest of my life. I miss the laughter, the absurdity, the naughtiness - and we were very, very naughty. Within two days on the set, I got spitballed, bare bottoms were exposed to me...[it was] seven long years on the bridge."

Kate said she was proud to be part of the Trek phenomenon. "It gave me the best, finest role I have ever played in my life. I loved [Janeway]. I loved that I never had to be less than myself for seven years."

The actress will also appear in the upcoming feature film 'Star Trek: Nemesis' as Admiral Janeway. "Don't blink, but I'm in it. I am giving Captain Jean-Luc Picard his orders," she said.

Enterprise co-creator and executive producer Brannon Braga immediately opened up the floor to questions when he took the stage. One audience member asked what it felt like to kill Captain Kirk. "I felt really bad after that movie came out," he said. "[Killing Kirk] was really bittersweet." However, he said it was not his idea. "I assume it was Rick's [Berman] or William Shatner's."

The producer did address the 'gay question' when it came up. "Have you ever heard of a character called Commander Riker?" he joked when the question was first asked. Turning serious, he said that there would have to be a reason for that character exist, beyond simply being homosexual. "I get that question a lot, and it's nothing we take lightly," he said. "You never know. We'll see."

When asked which episode he wrote he is the most proud of, Brannon said, "the final episode of The Next Generation."

Brannon also discussed Enterprise briefly when asked about the Temporal Cold War, but didn't give much away. "I can't say revealing things about it, but [we will] reveal how Daniels may not be human. Daniels is not really what he seems to be," he hinted. "We'll stay with [the Temporal Cold War arc] as long as it's fresh."

After Brannon's question and answer session, William Shatner blazed onto the stage, joking to the audience that he had to take his shoes off at the airport as people walked by, pointing to him and saying, "Hey, there's William Shatner!" He also told the audience about a charity event he'll be participating in at the end of August in Joliet, Illinois. Bill will be playing paintball to raise money for physically and emotionally challenged children. "I need some red shirt volunteers!" he exclaimed.

Bill's latest book, 'I'm Working on That,' has just been published, and he talked a bit about the premise. He interviewed scientists who were working on projects either inspired by Star Trek or progressive in a similar way, and related it in his book in a way that makes the science understandable to the common reader. The new Captain Kirk book, entitled 'Captain's Peril,' is due out in September of this year.

When asked what was the best thing that happened on the set of Star Trek, Bill said, "Kissing Uhura!" This was greeted with applause from the audience. He went on to praise all of his fellow cast members. "The people have been wonderful. Deep friends I've made - people like Leonard [Nimoy], a great friend of mine. The people of Star Trek. Daily there would be some beautiful thing that would happen between people. For me the role of Captain Kirk was marvellously written - at times - but I'd say the people."

Leonard Nimoy took the stage next, "hurt" that Bill had chosen kissing Uhura as his favourite moment, because, as Leonard said, "my most exciting day was the day I met [Bill]." Leonard had a different experience at the airport - he had no trouble with security, but as he was getting into his car, one of the airport people said to him, "a little while ago this weird guy came through imitating Bill Shatner!"

The Vulcan actor joked with the crowd, especially those who asked him questions. He inquired where people were from, and when the Vir-Con representative explained that the convention was being broadcast over the Internet around the world, he deadpanned, "this is a twisted situation."

One fan asked about Spock's death scene in 'The Wrath of Khan,' and whether he knew Spock would return in 'Star Trek III.' "No, and it was a depressing day," Leonard replied. But he did have a clue that Spock might return, since he was asked to come up with something to foreshadow a future scene.

The friendship between Spock and Bones was also mentioned. "I think the loyalty and friendship expressed behind the bickering was once of the things that made the classic series so much fun to watch," Leonard said, to much applause. He also praised Bill Shatner's energy, claiming that set the tone for the show.

An audience member addressed a rumour that Leonard had been approached to create a new Star Trek series before Gene Roddenberry and Leonard chose his words carefully in replying. "Very interesting. I don't think I will [comment]. We had some conversations [around the time of Star Trek 4]." The actor didn't hesitate to praise the newer Trek series. "When they came up with the idea of a new series, with new actors, my ego kicked in and I said, 'how can they make it without us?' But they did, and it was great."

To Leonard's surprise, his fellow Original Series cast members began to file onto the stage to present him with Creation's Lifetime Achievement award. George Takei talked about Leonard's generous cultural donations and Walter Koenig praised his immortal portrayal of Spock, saying that, "I don't think anyone else could have played Mr. Spock." Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) saluted Leonard with a special 'Spock version' of the song 'One of a Kind,' while Bill Shatner read tribute letters from both himself and Leonard's son, Adam. Upon accepting the award, Leonard said, "I am deeply appreciative." The five original cast memebers - minus the late DeForest Kelley (McCoy) and James Doohan (Scotty) - who was kept away by health problems - posed together for pictures as the audience clapped enthusiastically.

The dynamic duo of Robert Duncan McNeill (Tom Paris) and Roxann Dawson (B'Elanna Torres) were the next to take the stage. Robbie asked the crowd if they missed Voyager, a question which was greeted with applause. Roxann then joked that Robbie and Ethan Phillips (Neelix) still get together on Tuesdays and Thursdays to go over old episodes. Both have been busy directing - Roxann has been helming Enterprise episodes, while Robbie has been directing several instalments of Dawson's Creek, including next season's premiere.

While Robbie misses the "free food" on the Voyager set, Roxann said she missed her fellow cast members. "It was like a family," she said, though perhaps she took that analogy too far on one occasion. Roxann brought her then three-year-old daughter onto the set, pointed to Robbie, who played her husband on the show, and said, "look honey, there's your other daddy," before realising how it sounded.

Both have been doing charity work as well - Robbie raised over ten thousand dollars on a charity bike ride for AIDS, and Roxann auctioned off two Voyager crew caps at convention.

The Voyager couple were followed by a promo of the movie, 'The Core,' starring Hilary Swank. Both Hilary and writer John Rogers were present to answer questions about the film.

Festivities in the evening included another party at 'Star Trek: The Experience,' with Max Grodenchik (Rom), Aron Eisenberg (Nog) and former pre-production coordinator Lolita Fatjo on hand for more Ferengi family fun. The evening cabaret show was a performance of David Hare's play, 'The Blue Room,' starring Roxann Dawson and Robert Duncan McNeill.

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Kristine Huntley is a new contributor to the Trek Nation.