From Deep Space Nine's 25th anniversary to the future of Star Trek: Highlights from the opening day of Destination Star Trek
Yesterday saw the opening of Destination Star Trek, the biggest three-day Star Trek convention in Europe. There were an amazing group of actors from the original series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise and the cast of Star Trek: Discovery who literally flew in from the set of season two to take part in the event before zipping back to continue filming.
But most of all, was the fantastic array of actors from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The legacy of this show, largely lauded as some of the best television Star Trek has produced following its black sheep days, was a key theme of the convention, with everyone from showrunner Ira Steven Behr to the entire Ferengi clan taking part for the celebrations. And of course, day two will see the UK premiere of What We Left Behind, the documentary on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine featuring cast and crew alike and a tease for a scripted season eight opener too. The red carpet event on Saturday evening is sure to be the toast of Destination Star Trek.
The Digital Fix was fortunate enough to attend the opening day of the convention, and there were plenty of things to celebrate in the opening press conference that saw actors from across the franchise come together to discuss the show. Here are some of the highlights from the conference.
Walter Koenig talks the legacy of Star Trek...
While William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols were unable to make it to the start of the convetion, Walter Koenig (Star Trek's Chekov) was on stage with actress Sandra Gimpel, who guest starred in many roles on the original series, including the creature in The Man Trap. In addition to sharing what it was like to appear on the series, Walter also gave a heartfelt response on the legacy of Star Trek and how it impacted his life.
"I feel very lucky. Life in general is unpredictable, with Star Trek it is capricious. I thought it would be something I'd have trouble remembering in a couple of month's time, but it consumed my life. I might sound like a company man, like I'm meant to say these things, but if you'd asked me about Donald Trump, I'll have a whole different story."
We also had the pleasure to interview Walter Koenig directly at Destination Star Trek and we'll be brining you our interview with the actors in the coming days.
Star Trek: The Next Generation - will we see these characters on screen again?
Of the many actors on stage were Marina Sirtis (Troi), Michael Dorn (Worf) and Gates McFadden (Crusher). Naturally questions were asked about their potentisal involvement in the upcoming Star Trek series featuring the return of Patrick Stewart's Jean Luc Picard. Fans hoping for the actors to reveal their upcoming involvement will be disappointed. All three actors expressed interest in reprising their roles but stated they wouldn't want to appear in cameos. Marina made it very clear that they haven't been approached. This is a Picard show and not the return of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
It wasn't all doom and gloom though; there was great rapport between the cast - Gates joked about playing Worf with Michael donning a red wig to play Crusher, while Michael also delved a little deeper into the oft rumoured Captain Worf series.
"I would definitely do it again, but it would have to be the right situation."
Marina also gave some fascinating insights into the early days of the show while talking about mental health - something she hadn't really been focused on when playing the character, but was briefly discussed with Gene Rodenberry at the time. Gene believed mental illness would be cured in much the same way as other illness in the 24th century, making her role a little redundant. When there was tall that there were too many female characters on Star Trek: The Next Generation, she was the obvious choice to go. Fortunately for Marina and Troi fans everywhere Denise Crosby made the decision to leave, resulting in the death of Tasha Yar late in season one.
Deep Space Nine and the success of the show 25 years on...
With Star Trek: Deep Space Nine celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the show was a big part of the focus at the convention and there were numerous stars from the show at the press conference - Rene Auberjonois (Odo), Nana Visitor (Kira), Casey Biggs (Damar), Andrew Robinson (Garak), Robert O'Reilly (Gowron), Alexander Siddig (Bashir), Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax), Armin Shimerman (Quark), Aron Eisenberg (Nog), Max Grodenchik (Rom), Chase Masterson (Leeta), Cirroc Lofton (Jake), Nicole de Boer (Ezri Dax), and showrunner Ira Steven Behr.
The passion for the show after all these years was clear and talk naturally came to its legacy and success. Nana Visitor talked about how Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was much more focused on the inward journey of its characters, while Rene talked about how the success was down to the storylines, depth of cast, texture and depth. The issues the show dealt with, from religion and xenophobia to terrorism and gender, were all big topics; Terry Farrell and Alexander Siddig in particular talked passionately about how these have resonated with fans.
Again, there was huge camaraderie and fun - the Ferengi family on stage were a particular highlight and Armin and Chase were both passionate in their discussion over what still makes the show relevant today; "The long form storytelling, the diversity and the quality of the cast and crew "and "the transcending themes of DS9 and relationships." Other highlights were Chase trying to conduct selfies with the Ferengi gang while the compare tried to usher them off stage, while Nicole de Boer talked fondly of how it was so easy coming into the final season of the show. "It felt so easy and natural, everyone was so welcoming."
We'll also be bringing you our own interview with Quark himself Armin Shimerman later this week.
The Borg Queen talks the sensuality of her character
Taking the stage alone, we were treated to an intimate discussion with the Borg Queen herself Alice Krige, who still holds a huge affection for the role many years later. It was great to hear her discuss the look of the Borg Queen and her her sensuality was brought to life in her sleek look. Again, there were some interesting tidbits of information, from the original plans to have her in an actual Borg-like dress to the sheer amounts of KY jelly needed to give her head that sleek look!
A talk with a real life astronaut...
Another highlight of the conference was a talk with real life astronaut and member of the Apollo 13 mission Fred Haise. When asked if he felt young people were still inspired to become astronauts, Fred believed that this was true and that it was something that should be encouraged the way the human race was going. On whether he had that same inspiration as a child, Fred said:
"When I was young there were no astronauts, except Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers - you couldn't want to be an astronaut."
Ira Steven Behr talks the development of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Not only did showrunner Ira Stevn Behr appear at the press conference, he also sat down with Ben Robinson later that day to share his thoughts on the making of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine with the audience at Destination Star Trek. There were lots of fascinating insights into the making of the show, the challenges from breaking away from the utopian ideals of Gene Roddenberry's vision and the opportunities that having a space station setting afforded. Here are some of the highlights from the discussion...
- The original plan was that Odo would never find out about his people. That lasted two years!
- There was great resistance to adding a ship. The Network wanted to add engines to the station so that it could move...very slowly. When it came to the Defiant, Ira told the production team to make it a war ship in secret
- There was a big resistance to the Bajoran politics on the show. It's switched to Bajoran religion instead.
- The network originally wanted to fire Alexander Site if but they fought to keep the character. Ira admitted that they brought into the genetic enhancement story far too late and they weren't able to milk it for all its potential.
- Ira also admitted the wise old man in a beautiful woman's concept didn't work for Dax in the beginning. When Ira decided to focus on the reckless, card free nature of Dax, Terry Farrell was very happy.
- Ira wasn't happy at all with the decision to make Sisko a commander or have him lool like a white man (The network was resistant to a non-white lead). He had to gradually faze in the gote and shaven head, which made Every Brooks much more comfortable in the role.
- Worf and the Klingons were forced upon the show in season four. The original focus was to have a season-long focus on the Dominion that became two-parter Home front / Paradise Lost.
There was also some lovely sentiment from Ira too. When asked if humanity is getting closer to Gene Roddenberry's vision of the 23rd /24th century, Ira responded "no. But if we can keep the vision of Star Trek alive, we might just be there." Some lovely, prophetic words from the man himself...
Join us again this week as we bring you interviews with Walter Koenig and Admin Shimerman as we tall Star Trek, Chekov, Bester, Snyder and our favourite Ferengi Quark.