Destination Star Trek Europe: October 2016
We had the honour of attending Destination Star Trek 2016 for Star Trek’s 50th anniversary convention.
As always the stars were generous with their time and shared their stories, feelings and personal opinions to us at a fast paced press conference.
William Shatner opened up the morning’s press call with his usual warmth and humour. Asked how Captain Kirk’s Facebook page might look, he was first to admit that James T Kirk would be most likely to use Facebook to sort out romantic assignations. But that he would be honest about it and everyone would find his Facebook page funny and good natured.
Candidly he answered his next question that while he knows he can’t sing, he is going to be performing at a string of events in 2016 with Billy Sherwood covering their new album and cover songs. While he doesn’t think he can sing, he covers for it by looking for the poetry in the lyrics!
His positive outlook showed in his answer to the next question- how does he stay feeling young? His answer? Denial! Through never admitting his age and his passion for all things equestrian, he has recently entered a reining competition coming 3rd and 4th within a competitive population of 114 18-20 year olds.
William Shatner was humble and engaging as he talked to us but his tone shifted immediately to passion when the subject moved back to Star Trek and would he have done anything differently if he had been creating the show 50 years ago. ‘Absolutely not!’ he said and opined vigorously that Star Trek is the reason he is here now. The magical thing about Star Trek he explained was that the show came out 50 years ago and we are still coming back to talk to him about it and to share the experience 50 years later. He compared the mythology of conventions, through his research, to religion. He explained that science fiction is a mythology to try and explain all that goes on in the universe. Religion uses ritual, clothing and community in the same way that science fiction and conventions unite us in ritual, uniforms and costumes and most importantly creates a supportive community in which people can engage with other like minded people and aspire to better things.
Following the Captain we were treated to some show favourites- Marina Sirtis, Dominic Keating, Connor Trinneer, Greg Grunberg among a fantastic line up. This group were very vocal and having been asked about the recent decision to step up against Donald Trump in what is an extraordinary and unprecedented event in Star Trek history, strongly held and very eloquent arguments were summed up. Dominic Keating’s impassioned speech on Trump’s policies and their place, or lack of it, in our modern world can be summarised by saying that our society has evolved to this point, it is astonishing that we are now going back to being isolationist and exclusionary. Star Trek is the essence of diversity and acceptance and is always an aspiration that we need to protect. His plea was inspiring and raised cheers and applause from the audience.
Walter Koenig and George Takei were next on stage and were greeted with one of the biggest cheers of the morning. I asked George how it felt to have a new generation of actors take on and interpret their roles for the next generation and had he offered any tips or coaching? He answered that John Cho had called him as soon as he had been offered the job and asked him how to handle the fans as he was very daunted by joining such a well known franchise with such an established following. George told him that Star Trek is a wonderful family and the fans would embrace him and that it would just be a great thing and sure enough that is what he discovered to be true.
Walter Koenig was asked how he felt about being part of Star Trek 50 years on. He said that he was amazed that he played the role of Chekov at the age of 31 and here he is at 80 still talking about it. In the best of both worlds Star Trek has given him acknowledgement, sustained him and reinforced him through all these years.
Our final group line up was spectacular. With Adam Nimoy, Terry Farrell, Nicole de Boer and Armin Shimerman among them.
Adam Nimoy was first up and was asked how Leonard Nimoy had felt being part of Star Trek and reaching the 50 year milestone. Adam answered that being part of Star Trek had been a source of constant joy and pride to his father. He always said that it was a genuine privilege to have been one of the only characters to have survived the pilot episode and then so many years later to have been invited by JJ Abrams to be a part of the new films. He never got tired of it and was sorry that he had not been able to participate in Star Trek Beyond due to ill health.
This line up were also asked about Star Trek against Trump. Armin Shimerman let us know how it had started. He had brought up the subject amongst fellow actors and they had all agreed that Star Trek was about teamwork. They came together again as a team to show a united front demonstrating that Star Trek should use its ethos and aspirational qualities to get their message to the population showing just how passionately these actors have embraced the qualities of the Federation, Star Fleet and the Star Trek franchise.
The final question of the morning went to Terry Farrell and Nicole de Boer. What was the collective noun for more than one Dax? The answer offered to them was ‘a beautiful’ which they graciously accepted.
I have to say that the collective noun for Star Trek cast members and crew should be ‘a beautiful’. For the community and aspirational values it has brought to so many, for their generosity of time that they give every year travelling to meet and greet fans and for the huge amount of charity work that they do amongst them usually very quietly and without fanfare.
Star Trek continues to be a source of inspiration and hope. 50 years have passed and I know that it will live long and prosper.
GS Blogger: Amy B