Classic Trek stars George Takei (Sulu) and Walter Koenig (Chekov) updated fans on their latest projects while Q actor John de Lancie bantered with attendees at the Las Vegas Hilton on the first day of the annual Las Vegas Star Trek Creation Entertainment convention.
Koenig opened the convention, expressing his gratitude to fans for their enthusiasm. “No matter what happens, when I come to a convention, I feel a certain viability, and that’s you guys,” Koenig said. Koenig also received condolences from a fan on the loss of his son Andrew, who passed away earlier this year.
When asked about plans to return to television, Koenig said, “I don’t know what the future holds in store, but there’s nothing I can point to now that says you’ll see me on the silver screen.” Koenig did add that he just completed a 25-page treatment for a project that he hopes to turn into a feature film one day, but will first be produced in the form of a graphic novel. “It’s about vampires,” he revealed.
Takei followed Koenig on stage, greeting fans with the Vulcan “live long and prosper” hand gesture. Takei promised he would be appearing in another TV ad this fall. “I’m still going to be selling Sharp TVs, but this time in three dimensions,” he said.
“I’m in a feature film with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts called Larry Crowne,” he continued. “It’s a comedy about unemployment. [Tom Hanks] co-wrote it with Nia Vardalos, and he’s directing it as well as starring in it.” Takei most recently shot a pilot called Super Ninjas in which he played the Master Sensei of the group. In addition to his recent film and TV work, Takei is also working on a musical about the Japanese internment camps in the United States during World War II entitled “Allegiance,” which is scheduled to debut on Broadway sometime in 2012. Fans can catch Takei on Sirius radio on the evening of Monday, August 9th discussing his own personal experience living in one of the camps.
Takei had nothing but praise for the cast of the recent Star Trek film. “I’m glad the new movie was made, and the cast was brilliant,” he said, going on to add, “Certainly I’m proud of me as a dashing young man—aren’t I handsome?”
The actor, who married his longtime partner in California in 2008, lauded Wednesday’s judicial decision to overturn Prop 8, saying, “Yesterday was a glorious day. Propostion 8 was defeated and equality won.” He added, “I respect everyone’s right to their faith, but no faith has a right to write their values into civil law.”
Takei was followed by Star Trek casting director Joseph D’Agosta, who worked closely with Gene Roddenberry to cast the original series. After working with Roddenberry on his pre-Star Trek show The Lieutenant, Roddenberry brought D’Agosta over to Desilu to help cast the classic series. Leonard Nimoy (Spock), Takei, Koenig and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) had all appeared on The Lieutenant. “Nimoy had a leg up and easily won the part,” D’Agosta revealed of the Spock role.
When asked whether the diverse cast was his idea or Roddenberry’s, D’Agosta said it was “all Gene.” He said of the Trek creator, “He thought one day we’d all be one world, one species.”
The only guest appearing on the main stage who was not from classic Trek was Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s John de Lancie, who portrayed the playful and mischievous Q. De Lancie shared that he has been writing a lot of shows for symphony orchestras in addition to appearing on stage in the plays “Tartuffe” and “The Constant Wife.” He compared appearing at Star Trek conventions to “having a dinner party people are still talking about 25 years later.” He also reminisced about his time on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, describing it as “the most fun I’ve ever had as an actor.”
When asked about his favorite power of his omnipotent character, de Lancie said it was “living with the notion that I had infinite power and no responsibilities.”