Creation Entertainment, which has traditionally held the license to host “official” Star Trek conventions was forced to rebrand their world-famous Star Trek convention in Las Vegas this year, after losing the official Star Trek license to ReedPop. ReedPop will now host the official Star Trek Convention next year, in Chicago. The 55-Year Mission convention in Las Vegas was plagued by a swarm of last minute guest cancellations (including Jeri Ryan, Nichelle Nichols, Sonequa Martin-Green, and many others), yet it still managed to create some memorable Star Trek fandom moments, despite the turmoil…
“And now the conclusion…”
Despite some curiously renamed attractions at the convention (the Borg alcove photo op set was awkwardly rebranded as the “Threll Teleportation Terminal”), there were still a few points of interest scattered throughout the 55 Year Mission to appeal to the convention’s core audience of Trek fans.
“And the stars are still there, Bones…”
Despite the onslaught of cancellations, a number of celebrity guests still made appearances, such as William Shatner and George Takei of TOS Star Trek, as well as actors Anthony Rapp, Mary Wiseman, Noah Averbach-Katz, Rainn Wilson, Patrick Kwok-Choon and Kenneth Mitchell, of Star Trek: Discovery. Also on deck was one of my personal favorite stars in science fiction TV right now; Shohreh Aghdashloo, who played the acid-tongued UN Secretary General Chrisjen Avasarala in “The Expanse.” Many other actors from the other Star Trek series were autographing in the Dealer Hall as well.
“And dress you in the same metal fabric they wear?”
One of my favorite aspects of conventioneering is the fan-made cosplay. The current COVID-19 pandemic, with its recent Delta and Lambda variants, has meant that all attendees to the convention were under a mask mandate. That mandate curtailed some traditional cosplay makeups and other facial accoutrements fans use in their creations. However, some cosplayers manage to make masks part of their cosplay, or simply choose costumes where the wearing of a mask didn’t significantly alter their overall effect. The creativity of the fans never ceases to amaze me…
One of my favorite aspects of these events is reconnecting with friends and even with favorite celebrities. I spent a sizable portion of the convention just hanging out with my camera-shy midwestern buddy George, whom I hadn’t seen since the 2019 Star Trek Las Vegas convention, as well as seeing a few other familiar and memorable (sometimes masked) faces.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, a slew of cancellations, and the loss of the official Star Trek license, Creation’s 55-Year Mission felt a bit waning this year. Nevertheless, there were still some pleasant surprises, intriguing guests, and enough creative cosplayers to make it worth a Trek fan’s time. From information given in the online program for the event, next year’s Star Trek Las Vegas convention (under whatever new name is chosen) will be moved to Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, which is just down the street from the convention’s current location at the Rio Hotel. Hopefully, if more people obey current mask recommendations and/or get their vaccinations, the current COVID-19 pandemic will not play such a dominant role in next year’s event. That said, I applaud Creation Entertainment for having a mask mandate and on-site COVID testing for all convention participants. COVID-19 has killed over four million people worldwide, with 618,000 of those deaths in the United States, so the precaution is certainly understandable. The lingering sense of mortality underlining this year’s event did drain some of its spirit, but certainly not all of it. Star Trek fans can also be a plucky and resourceful bunch.