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TrekToday - LeVar Burton & Richard Arnold Talk Future Trek

LeVar Burton & Richard Arnold Talk Future Trek

By Christian
April 8, 2001 - 1:59 PM

Last weekend's Grand Slam convention was one of the most eagerly awaited science fiction events of the year, with news organisations anxious to find out more Star Trek news from the attending guests. Less hyped on the internet was the Fed Con 9 convention, taking place this weekend in Germany, though quite a bit more future Trek news was revealed at Fed Con than at the Grand Slam.

Courtesy of TrekNews.de, extensive reports of the convention are now online.

LeVar Burton at FedCon9 - courtesy TrekNews.de On Friday evening, right after the opening ceremonies, TNG star LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge) took the stage and began by talking about the next Star Trek film. He said that the film was expected to arrive in cinemas somewhere in Spring or Summer 2001, slightly delayed because of the strikes. In addition, Burton said he himself would likely be directing the film, which would seem to fit in with the recent comments by Michael Dorn (Worf) that "if anybody from the cast is going to direct the new movie, it'll be LeVar" (story).

The actor was also asked whether Picard would indeed die in the next film, as was 'reported' by British tabloid the Sun (story). Burton said that he didn't know anything about that, but he did say that casting for the film couldn't have started yet, making it even more unlikely that British actor Alan Rickman has already been selected as villain for the next film, as was also suggested by the Sun.

Besides wanting to direct the next Star Trek film, Burton is already a frequent episode director for 'Star Trek: Voyager', and he also talked a bit about this. He recently finished directing 'Destiny', one of the final Voyager episodes, and he confirmed that Neelix will indeed be leaving the ship during that episode. A bit more from Burton, including his comments on Geordi's VISOR, can be found in the full report, though you will have to be able to understand German to read it.

Richard Arnold at FedCon9 - courtesy TrekNews.de Also appearing at the convention was Richard Arnold, Trek archivist and one of the closest friends of Gene Roddenberry, who over the years has attended every single Fed Con but one. TrekNews.de had the chance to interview Arnold, who spoke at length about Series V and Trek X.

"Yes, it's legit," Arnold said when asked about the casting sheet. "The casting sheet is legit. But isn't it really scary that something like that reaches the media so quickly?"

Arnold himself wasn't at all happy with the prequel premise, something that he said a lot of fans agreed with. "At first, most fans held [the sheet] for a hoax. But as time passed, more believed that it was true - and the reaction wasn't good. I believe it used to be the case that the Enterprise from the Original Series was the first Enterprise, now there's suddenly one before that. Spock was the first Vulcan [in Starfleet], now there's another one before that. I'm not enthusiastic about it at all."

The casting sheet leaked last month included descriptions of Captain Jackson Archer aboard a 22nd-Century Enterprise, and his science officer, the Vulcan Sub-Commander T'Pau, though it did not mention whether either of these characters are in fact part of Starfleet.

Arnold moved on to talk about Trek X, and talked about the comments made by LeVar Burton a day earlier. "I think he meant that he would like to direct. He belies it's his turn. But while they do have a script, there is no director yet. But he is in negotiations with Paramount."

When asked whether Burton isn't too inexperienced to direct the next film, he laughed. "Jonathan Frakes was even more inexperienced when he directed 'Star Trek: First Contact'. Besides that, he is an actor and therefore closer to the subject, which is also important."

For the full interview, in which Arnold also talked about how Gene Roddenberry would feel about the current state of Trek, please follow this link. Please note that the above quotes may not have been literally said in this way by Richard Arnold, but were rather translated back to English from the German interview.

Prior to being interviewed, Arnold also spoke to the convention audience at large, and though he was able to say little new, he did confirm a few previously reported rumours. He said that Star Trek X would feature a completely new alien race and villain, and that the complete 'Next Generation' cast would be back.

As to Series V, he said that a few characters had already been cast, though he refused to name any specific actors. Arnold suggested again the show would be a prequel series, and responded to a question from the audience by saying really no one had to worry that the show would be set very far into the future. Finally, he said that previously seen characters would appear in the next series, though in another timeframe than where we previously saw them - likely this was just referring to the T'Pau character.

Other guests at FedCon were equally interesting, though they did not provide as much news.

Nicole deBoer (Ezri Dax) had to cancel her appearance, due to landing a role in the 'Dead Zone' series (story). He was replaced by Manu Interaymi (Icheb), who delighted the audience with his parodies on Hollywood blockbusters as well as several Voyager episodes.

Alexander Siddig at FedCon 9 - courtesy TrekNews.de Alexander Siddig (Julian Bashir) said that he was okay with his wife Nana Visitor (Kira Nerys) kissing other men on Deep Space Nine, as he had already gotten used to that before the two became a couple. Besides, based on Kira's track record with men, it was usually a kiss of death anyway, he joked. Siddig revealed that we would likely not be seeing him in many more sci-fi roles in the future, as he would like to focus on his directing career.

Siddig also spoke about his character's friendship with Miles O'Brien, and the dart games they often played. According to Siddig, in real life Colm Meaney doesn't know a thing about darts. Meaney himself (who plays O'Brien) was also present at the convention, and interestingly enough he said the exact same thing about Siddig. The audience was rooting for an on-stage darts competition between the two, but at press time it was not yet known whether this actually occurred.

During his talk, Meaney said that this was his first convention appearance in Europe, and that he liked it rather a lot. He said he also liked acting in European films better than appearing in American productions, as he said European films usually have more depth and story. Over the next few months, Meaney will be shooting a film in Serbia. When asked if he would like to take part in a DS9 film, where such a thing ever to happen, he said that he would play in any film as long as the script was good - and of course that applied to Trek films as well.

Jennifer Lien at FedCon 9 - courtesy TrekNews.de The final major Trek actress appearing at the convention was Jennifer Lien, who initially seemed to be a bit of a disappointment for the audience. She answered most questions with a simple 'yes' or 'no', but still managed to increase the mood when answering a question about whether she believed in alien lifeforms. Lien related a story about flying home from California to Chicago one day, and having to drive home through a snowstorm. After about 40 minutes, she saw a completely silver person walk slowly over the street and then disappear - she left it to the audience whether this was an alien or just a person completely covered in snow.

Other guests at the convention included TOS bit player Stewart Moss as well as actors from 'Babylon 5' and 'Earth: Final Conflict'. To find the very extensive coverage of TrekNews.de, please follow this link, but again take note that you will have to understand German, or else stick a Babelfish into your ear. Also please note that all the above photos are of course copyrighted by TrekNews.de. To find out more about FedCon itself, please head over to www.FedCon.de.

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