Links to previous posts on Star Trek Las Vegas:
Now it’s the end of Day 4, and by now the whole internet is ablaze with the bombshell dropped here earlier today in the Leonard Nimoy Theatre. In fact, I was there, in the middle of that auditorium, when the announcement was made.
I came back in at the end of the William Shatner panel (which I didn’t see most of) because I’d read earlier in the day that a ‘surprise’ was supposed to be dropped by “Star Trek: Discovery” producer Alex Kurtzman (who also cowrote and produced the Bad Robot Trek films). To be honest, I thought the announcement had something to do with a CBS-All Access spinoff of Discovery, or maybe that oft-rumored Khan miniseries.
Kurtzman came out, teased out a surprise announcement, but said that someone was here who was better qualified to make the announcement…
… so then Sir Patrick Stewart comes out, and gives Kurtzman a big hug. He immediately received a standing ovation from the crowd. Stewart then told a the story about how the role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard changed him from an ‘unknown British actor’ (as he was once called in an early review) to well, the legend he is today. He capped off the story by saying that a deal had been reached, and that after 16 years (since 2002’s “Nemesis”), he was returning to the role of Jean-Luc Picard. Stewart said there was not yet a script, but he was committed to returning to the role. He also implied that Picard may not return as a captain. No one seemed to mind the lack of details; it was enough to know that the beloved character of Jean-Luc Picrad (captain or not) was returning! The crowd’s reaction to both him and the news left Stewart visibly moved, and he received a second standing ovation.
Needless to say, I was on social media pretty damn fast after that announcement, and I’m glad as hell that I was curious enough to come back into the Leonard Nimoy Theatre (nee: The Pavilion) to hear what became the news of the convention.
While that was a huge announcement, and worthy of the buzz it’s created, it wasn’t the only event today. Earlier on, I’d attended a Q&A session with the original “Hikaru Sulu” himself, George Takei; who talked mainly about political/social activism, and his Broadway musical “Allegiance,” which he called his “legacy project.”
He also talked about his childhood spent in a Japanese-American internment camp in Arkansas during World War 2 (a barbaric chapter in American history that seems to be repeating today, along the US border with Mexico). These and other stories you may or may not have heard if you’ve seen Takei speak in interviews, but I still enjoy hearing him speak. I also think US television networks really missed the boat not giving this man his own sitcom series. Could’ve been a helluva lot funnier than “S#!t My Dad Says.”
He did touch upon his disappointment with the character of the rebooted Mr. Sulu (John Cho) being portrayed as gay for the film “Star Trek Beyond” (2016). I never really understood Takei’s disappointment with the move, since it was intended to honor Takei’s passionate LBGTQ activism, but I think I understand it a little better after today. Takei said he didn’t want the original series’ Sulu to be perceived as being closeted, and that perspective made a bit more sense to me. Nevertheless, I would argue that perhaps Sulu (TOS and reboot versions) was simply bisexual, or pansexual. At any rate, I get Takei’s perspective a bit better, even if I don’t agree with it entirely.
I’ve always liked and admired Takei’s activism, but unfortunately I didn’t get his autograph as planned, since I didn’t want to spend precious hours waiting in line. My arthritis was killing me at this point, and I had other events I wanted to attend. I had a hard ticket, purchased at the convention, and they were low priority for signings. In fact, there was no guarantee that I wouldn’t have received my autograph today anyway, so I pressed and managed to get a refund. Takei is also signing tomorrow, but I have three events planned for Sunday, and no time to wait hours for it then, either.
If I have one major gripe in what has been an otherwise delightful convention, it’s that the Creation Entertainment ‘big ticket’ autograph system is both confusing and unwieldy. They really need to streamline it. Those autographs cost the same whether one buys them online or not, so why prioritize one over the other? What’s the incentive? If I buy a ticket at the convention for the exact same prize, why am I relegated to the end of the line? If my chances of getting a same day ticket are reduced because of the long queue, why isn’t that lesser ticket cheaper? Frankly, the tickets are costly enough as they are, and if you are unable to get that autograph on the day, then it should be easily refundable with no questions asked.
Just my opinion; forgive the mini-rant.
Anyway, back to today’s convention highlights. There were other panels I’d attended as well, some only for a few minutes, others for the duration. With so much to see and do at this convention, you feel like you’re missing something somewhere if you stay in any one place too long. There are also some celebrities that, frankly, I’ve already seen so many times at other conventions that I can almost recite most of their talking points verbatim (for me, Shatner is one of these). Sometimes I really enjoy the smaller, less-attended panels because they’re often about things that you truly don’t hear anywhere else.
There was also the touring exhibit of “Star Trek: Discovery” mirror-universe artifacts. I saw the exhibit in San Diego for Comic Con a few weeks ago, though it was a bit better set-up here; with better lighting as well.
Speaking of Star Trek: Discovery, I saw an excellent cosplayer dressed as the Klingon Kol.
There were many cosplayers. In fact, foot traffic was pretty intense today. In some corners of the convention, the crowd sizes seemed to rival the size of San Diego Comic Con (though the math is hardly equal, I know…but the lack of elbow room felt about the same).
Most of the cosplayers I saw today really brought their A-game. Others were truly hilarious!
I also ran into Glenn Hetrick, makeup artist, conceptualist and owner of Alchemy Studios. He also does some of the complex makeups and intricate designs for “Star Trek: Discovery.” Hetrick is also a judge on the makeup competition series, “Face Off”, which my wife and I are huge fans of.
“Face Off” is currently threatened with cancellation after multiple seasons on SyFy network, though Hetrick told me that the cancellation may not be so final just yet. I’m hopeful, anyway. Hetrick also has an IMDB credits list as long as my arm, but very personable. It was nice to see him just roaming the Dealer Hall like everyone else, as it reminded me that he is every inch the passionate fan as anyone here at Star Trek Las Vegas.
I also took a few money shots of the ANOVOS booth replica of the starship USS Discovery NCC-1031 once more; I’d taken many shots of their revisionist USS Enterprise, but I hadn’t really taken a good long look at Discovery. It kinda grows on you, doesn’t it? Especially seeing it in three dimensions.
Lastly, my interview with “Deep Space Nine” actor Aron Eisenberg (“Nog”) was postponed today; his table was swamped with foot traffic, so we rescheduled for tomorrow. He was genuinely contrite, but I assured him it was okay. I have another event to cover tomorrow, and some Discovery cast autographs to get later on in the day, but I’m sure we’ll make the interview happen somehow. But if it doesn’t pan out? That’s okay, too. Conventions don’t always happen on a perfect schedule; but when they’re over, I try to focus on what did happen rather than what didn’t.
Anyway, that about wraps up the end of Day 4 for Star Trek Las Vegas, 2018. More to come tomorrow, the final day of the convention. To quote “Mr. Adventure” (Scott McGinnis) in “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock”…
Thanks again for reading! Live Long and Prosper!