by Sara Van Cleve
Today was another momentous day at the Las Vegas Star Trek convention as four captains came together on one stage to the joy of thousands of fans.
The morning started off with stage appearances by Classic Trek stars George Takei (Sulu) and Walter Koenig (Chekov). The two shared stories and laugh just as two old friends would do. They shared memories, talked about much of the cast’s shared feelings about William Shatner, which Koenig has worked out with him, and talked about their upcoming projects.
One particularly funny story was shared by Koenig. A few years ago, he and Takei were invited to Tennessee for the grand opening of a family-owned video store. Koenig said the family was very gracious and took the two out to dinner. The owner thanked them for coming out for the opening, and Takei, with his eloquent way of speaking, thanked him for having them there and said they were happy to be there. Koenig, who said there was no way he could meet Takei’s eloquence, simply said “We had a great f****** time.”
Another funny story came when a fan asked if the two created backstories for their mirror universe characters. Koenig said he used the anger the character would have felt in his spinoff series, where Chekov was marooned and built his own metropolis. In the spinoff, his character lost limbs because of conflict and that’s where he got the Mirror anger. While this might sound like an entertaining idea, Koenig couldn’t even finish his “spinoff idea” because he burst out into laughter at his own joke.
The two then talked about their upcoming projects. Takei is rehearsing for his stage performance in “Allegiance.” Koenig announced the pre-order of his graphic novel, “Things to Come,” which is about vampires living in a post-apocalyptic world where they are the only sentient beings remaining. The novel is available for pre-order on Amazon.
Following the classic duo, was longtime fan and former assistant to Gene Roddenberry, Richard Arnold. He shared well-known and unknown details of Roddenberry’s personal and professional life. He also shared pictures of Roddenberry in the early and later years of Star Trek and TNG.
Early afternoon brought what many fans were waiting for—the four captains live and in person. Each captain came out for a bit on their own, starting with Kate Mulgrew, then William Shatner, Avery Brooks, and finally Scott Bakula.
Mulgrew spent a few minutes appreciating sci-fi fans, calling them incredibly intelligent and saying non-fans don’t understand them simply because they don’t understand sci-fi; she seemed to truly appreciate her fans. Then, in between the audience’s bursts of laugher from the entertaining leading lady, Mulgrew gave inspiring advice to her fans about living life to the fullest.
Shatner then came out and mostly took questions from the audience, yielding many about his role of Captain Kirk and other aspects of TOS. Then out came Brooks. In a surprise appearance, Brooks brought out his on-screen son, Cirroc Lofton. Lofton said Brooks was a father to him in more than one way and dedicated a painting he did of the Captain, which he made with scripts from scenes they shared together. The painting featured a rendition of the American flag with the United Federation of Planets logo and Brooks’s portrait on it. Lofton said he hopes to do one for each captain someday, but wanted to do Brooks’s first.
After Brooks, Bakula came out. Almost as soon as he was on the stage, he was off, running to the back of the ballroom and back to the stage to see all of his fans. Once back onstage, as he was catching his breath, he answered questions from the audience, both about Enterprise and Quantum Leap.
Soon, all four captains were on one stage. Before taking questions from the audience, Adam Malin, Creation co-owner, asked them some questions, including what they’re driving forces are and what charities they advocate. For Avery, his driving force is his music; for Shatner, it’s his family and horses; for Mulgrew, it’s the world, finding out ‘why I am here,’ personal relationships and writing; For Bakula, it’s his family and improving the world in which we live.
Each captain also has charity advocacies. Avery’s is the United Negro College Fund in honor of his grandfather, who was the first black man to graduate from a Mississippi college; Shatner’s is horse therapy for children and veterans; Mulgrew’s has been Alzheimer’s since her mother died; Bakula’s is the environment, performing arts programs in schools, and Broadway Cares.
In between jokes and jabs at each other, which Bakula and Shatner seemed to be quite good at, the captains yielded fans questions and entertained many during their time on stage.
Immediately following the captains’ appearance, Creation screened Shatner’s new documentary “Get a Life,” which he filmed mainly at STLV 2011. The documentary was well received and showed Trekkies in a way that many people do not see—as regular people who share a common passion. The documentary told several fans’ stories, including those of Star Trek helping people heal, stay strong, and even bring them together through marriage.
The documentary also shared the touching story of Captain Dave, a Star Trek fan who was featured in Shatner’s “The Captains” and had muscular dystrophy since he was born. In the documentary, his mother said Star Trek helped him live life; she said he had gotten near death many times, but he couldn’t let go because there was a new episode coming on, or he had a convention to go to. He has since passed away, but his memory lived on in the documentary. He embodied everything Star Trek is—acceptance, hope and passion. This year, the vendors’ room was also named in his honor as the “Captain Dave Vendors’ Room.” Star Trek fans and non-fans alike should see “Get a Life” to fully understand the culture of Star Trek and its amazing fans.
Though STLV 2012 has come to end, the memories of great events and good times with good people will live on in fans’ hearts and memories until next year, when Starfleet again takes shore leave in Las Vegas—the closest we’ll get to Risa for some time.