Big crowds and a full calendar of panels greeted fans on Day Two of Star Trek: Mission New York.
Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast Live
Jordan Hoffman kicked things off by welcoming fans to first-ever live recording of Engage: The Official Star Trek Podcast, during which he conducted a joint interview with Ethan Phillips and Armin Shimerman.
Hoffman noted that humor has always been a part of Star Trek, dating back to TOS and Harry Mudd and Cyrano Jones.
Shimerman, however, noted that the Ferengi were never supposed to be comic. “That was not the plan,” he said. “I wanted to be taken more seriously (as Quark on DS9) than the Ferengi were portrayed (as he played them) in TNG.”
“I never looked at Neelix as comic relief,” Phillips concurred. “The other characters (on Voyager) were more rigid, militaristic. So I knew from the start he was different from them… They wrote Neelix with an emotionality and exuberance. There was an openness that he had. He wore his heart on his sleeve.”
Shimerman stopped at one point when he noticed that Phillips was wearing both a Robert Duncan McNeill Fan Club tee shirt and button.
Later, Phillips joked, “I have an Armin Shimerman tee shirt, but my wife is using it now as a dishrag.”
Beam Up the Authors
The morning panel welcomed to the stage Andrew Fazekas, (Star Trek: The Official Guide to Our Universe), Paul Ruditis (Star Trek Visual Dictionary), Richard Michaelson (Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy), Derek Tyler (Strange New Worlds) and Robb Pearlman (Redshirt’s Little Book of Doom). The group discussed writing Trek and writing about Trek, which are two very distinct skill sets.
“Star Trek fans have an incredibly fun sense of humor,” Pearlman said.
“Star Trek has been a part of my life since early childhood,” Fazekas explained. “It’s a Vulcan mind meld of my two passions. I’m hoping to plant a new generation of stargazers because of this book.”
“When you see what the artists bring to the book and you see it in reality, it’s an amazing thing,” Ruditis noted. “An artist’s imagination is on another level.”
“I know a man who came over to America and learned English from listening to Star Trek. Leonard (Nimoy) and I traveled together for years,” Michaelson said. “We just talked about stuff. It was amazing how he brought so much life into his character. He reached back and he created this character.”
Putting the Galaxy in Your Pocket: Star Trek Timelines
John de Lancie, TNG’s Q, moderated the panel joined by Disruptor Bean CEO Jon Radoff and David Heron, lead game designer. The aim, they said, was to add more ships to the game, push for constant expansion and they want player input. “Any time you ask if you want to do this, the answer is probably yes,” Heron said. “Going to the bridge crew is a good way to interact with us.”
“The big vision about the game is about storytelling,” Radoff noted.
As for Easter Eggs, Heron offered the following: “There isn’t a secret crew, but there is a secret.”
Commenting on his involvement with Timelines, de Lancie joked, “I slept with Gene Roddenberry and Jon and I have a special relationship.”
So who is on the Timelines wish list? “We would love to have Guinan,” Radoff replied.
Growing Up Star Trek
The Growing Up Star Trek panel featured Julie Nimoy and Adam Nimoy, the children of Leonard Nimoy, and Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, the son of Trek creator Rod Roddenberry. All three have made documentaries dedicated to/about their fathers. For the Love of Spock is Adam’s project, opening next week. COPD: Highly Illogical: Remembering Leonard Nimoy is Julie’s, set for release in November, while Trek Nation, which centered on Rod’s relationship with his father and Trek, was released in 2010.
“The impetus for For the Love of Spock was the anniversary,” Adam said. “The idea was to create something to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. Dad said ‘Let’s do it.'” The project, of course, morphed into something else as Leonard grew increasingly I’ll and then passed away in early 2015.
“I was oblivious to Star Trek,” Roddenberry admitted. “I had no idea TV could be so thought-provoking. As I got into it, I became so proud of my father.” Roddenberry was still in his teens when his dad died. He explained that he’d actually been jealous of the fans because people would come up to him and say, “Your dad was like a dad to me.” Roddenberry said, “At first, I was like, ‘No, he’s my dad.’ But I came to accept it. Now I have millions of brother and sisters out there.”
Julie Nimoy had a different but not entirely dissimilar experience. “At the beginning I was really very excited,” she said. “We just loved watching our dad on TV, and we’d watch his shows as a family. Star Trek came along and it was exciting. It was so surreal this was happening. But as it went along, fans were in our lives, coming along on the perimeter. You get thrown into something like that so quickly. It was difficult at times. Then you realize the fans support this person you love. You grow up and you understand what’s happening and you accept it, assimilate it.”
Replicating the Future from the Past: Making a Working Communicator
Chris Benardo and Richard Blakesley of The Wand Company detailed how, 50 years after the hero prop was built and issued to the Enterprise crew, they brought the iconic TOS prop to life and put it in fans’ palms as a working device.
“What we realized about people who own props is they want two things: something that looks like the real prop, but something that actually worked. Our goal is to make something that feels like a real piece of equipment. We felt the history when we held it,” Benardo marveled of holding the last original communicator prop. That’s what was used to craft The Wand Company’s version.
StarTrek.com Presents: Star Trek Into High Definition
As the day’s festivities neared an end, Roger Lay, Jr., Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth previewed the upcoming Blu-Ray releases of The Star Trek 50th Anniversary TV and Movie Collection and Star Trek: The Roddenberry Vault.
“I will say I probably destroyed some footage,” Roddenberry admitted as he explained how, as a kid, he used TOS footage to make volcanoes.
“We all knew for a long time that we had something special,” Roth said of the Vault material. “But we didn’t know exactly what we had.” He added that, “Denise and Mike Okuda are the heroes of this project.”
Of the 50th anniversary collection, Lay noted, “The best way to describe it is as a time capsule.”
Star Trek: Mission New York Cosplay Contest
And, the day closed with the Star Trek: Mission New York Cosplay Contest, with Anna Marquardt, Charlie Beckerman and Terry Farrell serving as judges. And there was plenty to judge, as the whole stage was filled with costumed fans.
Best LikenessLeigh Targaryen as Seven of Nine
“Star Trek was something I watched with my father as kid, and it means so much to me to be here for the 50th anniversary.”
Most ElaborateDesiree Hykes as the Enterprise
“It took me six months to make during my first year of medical school,” Hykes said of her costume. “If it weren’t for the Voyager, I wouldn’t be in the career I am today.”
Best GroupDana Tiel & David Bailey as Kim Cardassian & Khaaaaanye
“Star Trek brought us together and it’s amazing to be here on the 50th anniversary, on the verge of a new show celebrating Infinite diversity in infinite combinations!” — Dana Tiel and David Bailey
Best in ShowHaleigh Ciel as Khan from Star Trek II
“There’s no words…,” Haleigh Ciel professed. “I can’t express it. There’s no words to describe this experience. It’s my first official Star Trek convention and I grew up watching Trek.”
Visit StarTrek.com again tomorrow for a recap of Day Three’s activities including the arrival of the Captains.
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