The Next Generation Cast headlined Day Two at Star Trek: Mission New York. The Saturday afternoon panel Engaging the Universe: The Star Trek: The Next Generation Cast Discussion brought together Gates McFadden, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Jonathan Frakes and Michael Dorn for an entertaining hour in front of a packed house. Topics ranged from memories of living in NYC to advice for the Discovery cast to how they could possibly appear on Discovery… as their respective TNG characters.
“When I got, cast Gene Roddenberry said that it was his belief that by the 24th century mental health would be as important as physical health, and that you’d need a counselor on board a ship,” Sirtis said. “I think we need it sooner. We need it now. He felt and he was right, that it’s as important as physical health.
“I wasn’t that good, I wasn’t that bad,” Frakes said of his real-life trombone playing, which was heard, in bits on TNG. Dramatic pause. “It helped me get Minuet.”
What advice would the TNG cast give to the Discovery actors? “Don’t sign,” Burton cracked. Said Frakes, “We wish them the best.” And Sirtis replied, “Hit your marks and don’t bump into the furniture. And get ready… you have no idea what’s going to happen to your life. “
If Frakes could talk to Discovery creator-producer Bryan Fuller, “I would whisper in his ear, ‘We’re not dead.'”
Sirtis has a great idea for how she might be involved in Discovery. “I’d love to be the voice of the computer. Majel (Roddenberry) did it forever. I’d love it if we could keep it in the family. I think the fans would like it. It’d be a great continuity thing.”
A woman credits Sirtis for her becoming a social worker. After she hugs the woman, Sirtis says to the crowd, “That blows my mind because, look at me, loud and obnoxious. That I inspired anybody? Thank you. It’s a privilege.”
Burton elicited huge laughs when he commented, “I’d like to think I got a lot more sex than Geordi ever did.” Frakes joked, “I’m pretty sure he did.”
McFadden was impressed with the way Frakes the director pulled off the episode “Cause and Effect.” She said, “That’s the one where the ship kept blowing up. And you made it different every time. That to me was such a tribute to the way you directed it. It made it fun. I had a great time on that one.”
On Screen: Star Trek’s Hollywood Cast Speaks
A short while later, the main stage room filled up again as Jordan Hoffman welcomed two Kelvin Timeline stars, Bruce Greenwood (Admiral Pike) and Peter Weller (Admiral Marcus). Weller, of course, also appeared on Enterprise as John Frederick Paxton.
Back when Greenwood made Star Trek (2009) he referred to his younger co-stars, a la Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto, the “kids.” Greenwood smiled at the memory. “I did call them the kids,” he said. “They’re still really bright-eyed about the whole series. I started taking the piss out of them right away. But they’re good at giving it right back.”
Greenwood saw Star Trek Beyond the night before his Mission New York appearance. Can he share his review? “No,” he replied playfully. “It’s missing a character.” Weller leaned in. “No, I think it’s two.”
Admiral Marcus was a villain, but Weller didn’t quite see it that way. “Every antagonist has a point of view,” Weller said. “And every antagonist thinks he’s right.” Later, he added, “I’m going to say this again. Cumberbatch was the villain.”
Greenwood often plays authority figures. How that occurred, he had no idea. “Anyone who knows me knows I have none,” he joked. “I just fell into it. Maybe it’s my voice.”
Weller doesn’t have a next acting gig at the moment, but only because he’s so busy directing. He was a go-to helmer on Sons of Anarchy. “I tend to do things that are rough and tumble,” he said. “I don’t do warm and fuzzy. So, right now I’m doing a block, a couple of episodes of Shades of Blue, with Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta.”
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