VegasCon09 Finale: Three Spocks and a Shatner August 12, 2009by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Celebrity,Conventions/Events/Attractions,Star Trek (2009 film),TOS , trackback
The Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas came to an end on Sunday, with the biggest stars of the original Kirk and Spock (William Shatner & Leonard Nimoy. plus the new new Spocks (Zachary Quinto and Jacob Kogan). And of course much of the talk was about the new movie, including an update on what Shatner thinks of it. We have a full detailed report with tons of pictures below.
STAR TREK VEGAS CON – SUNDAY
The last day of the con kicked off with the new Spock, Zachary Quinto, who quickly jumped to Q&A, and throughout was quite witty, while still answering everyones questions seriously. The actor took a mix of questions from Heroes and Star Trek and his other projects. Regarding Heroes, Quinto said didn’t like where his character of Sylar went in the 2nd season, but felt the writers found his roots again in the third and he likes the new direction for the character in the upcoming fourth season, which is currently shooting. As for his future, Quinto says he expects Heroes to be his last TV series for a while, and he wants to focus on films and the theater, noting that his next big announcement will be a return to the stage. Quinto also talked about how his new production company Before the Door, is giving him a chance to be a producer, and that they just sold a pilot.
At couple of points during his time Quinto (who has attended many cons) agreed with the crowd that it would be nice to see other stars from the Star Trek movie in Vegas, quipping "where are those jokers?" But he explaining that they were all very busy. Quinto talked about how the new cast formed "a sense of camaraderie" on the set, partially due to how they bonded over dealing with the skepticism and expectations of the "life-changer" that Star Trek was. This camaraderie appears to be continuing as he detailed to the crowd what his co-stars are up to these days. Although he loved working with Chris Pine, Quinto did say his favorite scene with the new Kirk was when they were fighting on the bridge, noting "I kick his ass." As for his relationship with Nimoy, Quinto again talked glowingly about their friendship, saying it was a highlight of the project and apparently they still get together for dinner regularly. However, Quinto also joked about how last year he
appeared with Nimoy at the con, but "this year Bill Shatner shows up and who gets kicked to the curb?"
Zach was asked a couple of questions about the future of Spock in upcoming Star Trek films. Regarding if he felt Spock would undergo the Kolinahr, Quinto said he didn’t think so, explaining how Spock chose to not go to the Vulcan Science Academy "because they were such meanies." He also said that the things he really liked in the first film were surprises, especially the relationship with Uhura, and he would like to see more surprises, and more regarding that relationship. However he also admitted he really didn’t have any idea and trusted the writers, saying "I leave it in their hands."
One of the funnier moments came when a girl came up to ask a question of Quinto and completely lost it and just started babbling and even crying a bit. She finally spoke, saying that she forgot her question, apparently not being able to deal with being so close to Quinto. The crowd started chanting "hug her." and so the actor hopped off the stage and did just that…the crowd went wild.
One fan asked Zach what he had to say to the die-hard fans who didn’t like the movie. For this, Zach got a bit serious, saying:
The movie made a lot of money. I don’t mean that arrogantly, but to illustrate that a lot of people saw it. So the reality that everyone is going to like it is slim to none. There is going to be people who have problems and I am sorry they have problems, but they are their problems…I feel we did our best and I feel the majority liked what JJ [Abrams] did, and that makes me happy.
The final question actually came from a Trek celebrity. Star Trek Voyager’s Garrett Wang came to the mic and started off saying that he was bummed he didn’t get to go to the film’s premiere, but he did see the film at a screening on the Paramount lot and he was "floored" by it. He then recounted how he saw it eight more times at theaters around the country and even in Amsterdam. Wang showed how familiar he was with a detailed question about the scene after Kirk and McCoy sneak onto the Enterprise and we see Spock in the turbolift look down thoughtfully. The former Ensign Kim wanted to know what was on Spock’s mind. Quinto explained that this was the first time the audience saw Spock since it was announced there was a distress call from Vulcan and he had a "sense of foreboding" for the events on his home planet.
After that it was a quick "live long and prosper" and Creation’s Adam Malin announced "one Spock down, two to go."
The second Spock of the day was Jacob Kogan, who came out and explained to the crowd that this was only his second convention appearance, the first being a recent con in London. The young actor talked about how exciting it was to be in Las Vegas, saying:
I never knew the affect of being in this movie. I’m in it for two minutes and you still show up…it’s cool…it’s humbling.
The impressively articulate 14 year old (many fans noted that in their comments and questions), explained how he got the role of young Spock after JJ Abrams had seen him in the film Joshua and via an audition for the role of young Ben in Lost. At first he didn’t understand the significance of getting the part, recalling how adults had told him "you aren’t happy enough, you don’t understand." However he did watch the first season of the Star Trek: The Original Series and came to understand what "an honor" it was to be cast as Spock. Unfortunately this apparently has not extended to his school, with Jacob replying "alas, no" to a queries on if he was being treated differently or was getting more attention from girls at his school, except for the brief time when he came back from the shoot with shaved eyebrows and "everyone wanted to touch them."
Garrett Wang actually showed up again for Kogan, but he didn’t recognize him so Wang explained who he was and told Kogan how great he thought he was. Kogan replied "I’m sure you were great too."
Shatner and Nimoy
After a break it was time for the original Kirk and Spock. As they usually do when appearing together, they each get some solo time, with additional time together on stage. Shatner began, coming out and explaining that he hadn’t been to a con in years and how he didn’t know what to say. After going off on a tangent about taking his granddaughter to a Jonas Brothers concert, The Shat pronounced loudly "I haven’t seen the movie!" He repeated his previous reasoning about not wanting to deal with the embarrassment of facing people asking him in a theater "you are William Shatner, you’re not in the movie are you?" But he noted "I’m sure everyone is wonderful."
The actor then went into Q&A, first recalling a long story about how he used to steal Leonard Nimoy’s bike on the lot at Paramount during the production of TOS. Apparently they used to race to get to the cafeteria at lunch, but he was faster so Nimoy had to get a bike to beat him, and he wasn’t going to let that happen. Shatner explained why Nimoy needed the bike saying "he is of the arts, he likes esoteric things…I kick ass." Shatner may not have been to a con in years, but hasn’t lost it, keeping the crowd laughing with more stories, such as when he was in a hospital after a horse fell on him and he had to give a ‘sample’, saying "I am sorry to say, but Captain Kirk was peeing in a bottle, and then this nurse poked her head in and said ‘I am your biggest fan’".
Shatner spoke at length about the death of Captain Kirk in Star Trek Generations and how it helped him face death and how he was using that life lesson for a speech he is currently preparing on the subject of ‘fear.’ Regarding his ad-libbed final line as Kirk "oh my", the actor said he imagined "something awesome and wonderful was coming his way…and it was death."
It was during this discussion that Leonard Nimoy came to the stage to join Shatner for their joint appearance time. Nimoy immediately noted that he thought Bill played the death of Kirk "extremely well" but he didn’t understand why Kirk had to die, and it seemed to be for "no reason". Shatner quickly retorted that it was because "the producer [Rick Berman] wanted to kill off Captain Kirk."
Spock Prime then started asking Bill about the new movie. Shatner recalled how he met with JJ Abrams, but never understood what the film was about, and how he was upset that Leonard wouldn’t fill him in on the details. Nimoy quickly retorted "if you want to know what the movie is about, then all you have to do is go see it."
Nimoy noted he saw Generations, even though he didn’t enjoy it. Bill retorted "well I wouldn’t want to say the same to you about this movie so I didn’t see it" and at that moment it seemed many in the crowd turned on Shatner. Nimoy quickly recovered with a joke, recalling how on the SNL sketch he did recently, he said people who didn’t like the movie were ‘dickheads’.
After moving on to other subjects, Shatner was talking about what a great actor Nimoy was and how he always tried to get his friend to join shows he was on, but how Nimoy demurred. However, it was a different story when JJ Abrams called, such as Nimoy’s recent time on Fringe. Shatner then jumped up and started running around the stage mocking Nimoy ‘oh yes, JJ, anything you want JJ’, then screaming "whore!" at Nimoy, which Leonard thought was pretty funny.
Later in the appearance the subject of the new Star Trek came up again and Nimoy said to Shatner that he wanted "for the two of us to sit and watch the movie together." Shatner agreed on two conditions "one, you buy the popcorn, and two, you hold my hand." Nimoy went on to say how Shatner may like the film, noting:
Chris Pine honors you. You might find out are proud of this movie, proud of the way Captain Kirk, a character you created, is honored in this movie
I might, or I might have rather played it myself…but truly I am not sure what JJ and his cohorts could have done with a character that’s 40 years older or more if you go further back, and physically different. And what do you do with that character that wouldn’t get in the way of the new script…on the other hand, there was a marketing value to having me around
To which Nimoy replied "no question." But also noted that he personally put a lot of thought into it and couldn’t figure a way to get Bill into he movie.
Throughout the presentation, even though there was a lot of ribbing, it was clear that these two are truly the close friends with both heaping compliments on each other and demonstrating a chemistry that is stronger than ever. As they wrapped up Nimoy said to Shatner "you’re my dearest friend," to which he replied "I love you Leonard."
Eventually Shatner left the stage for Nimoy’s solo time, which quickly went into Q&A. The actor took questions leading to discussions of a lot of his non-Trek projects, including his upcoming ‘Identity Project’ photography exhibit (see LeonardNimoyPhotography.com), his play Vincent, past films like A Woman Called Golda, narration work on NOVA, and more.
Regarding the new Star Trek movie, Nimoy said he and Zach Quinto had spent up to fifteen hours together before filming, but they focused on the philosophy of Star Trek and the Vulcans and they didn’t get into specific scenes. He felt Quinto did an "excellent job" and it was "appropriate" that Quinto’s Spock was different due to the different time in Spock’s life. Regarding the relationship with Uhura, the original Spock joked he was "jealous", but that even though it was surprising he thought it was well done. He went on to say:
It reminded us that we are not watching exactly the same people, we are watching people in another timeline. I thought that was a real intelligent construction of this movie. It feed them so they can do things like that that and not deal with those that say ‘that isn’t he way it was in this or that episode’
As for if he will return to directing, Nimoy said that he "had enough" of that side of the business, with the time and politics, and that it was never as much as a draw for him as much as acting. He then used that question as a transition to talk about JJ Abrams and the new movie, saying:
When I had these conversations with Abrams and [Roberto] Orci and [Alex] Kurtzman, I realized that I was hearing people who talk about Star Trek in a way that was touching to me. They were talking about these characters in a way that I recognized, that I really really felt at home with. I thought ‘they get it.’ They really know who these people are. I found that very attractive, it was flattering, and in fact I was very emotional in those meetings. I thought this is something I should support and be there. And it worked out very well. Mr. Abrams is a director who can handle the gigantic scene with great action and also great moments between the characters, very funny and touching moments. Not a lot of directors can do both.
When asked what he has left on his Bucket List, Nimoy said that it was a profound question and wasn’t going to joke about it. He noted that he was getting up there in years, but that he does not have any ‘somedays’, as in "someday I will…". He told the crowd his life is perfect with his photography, his new acting, his family and his wife, effusing: "I am extremely fulfilled…I am just so happy."
As Nimoy was wrapping up, there was a big surprise as out came the two other Spocks, Quinto and Kogan, to join him on stage. This moment was actually the first time Nimoy had met the youngest new Spock, but he immediately embraced Kogan, telling him "you did a great job".
Nimoy then told the crowd "get out your cameras" as the three Spocks posed for the fans.
After that the two other Spocks left the stage and Nimoy talked a bit more, then gave the crowd a "live long and prosper" and Vulcan salute and it was over.
TOS guest actresses close out the show
Although Sunday was all about Shatner and the Spocks, there was one additional panel with two TOS Season 3 guest stars: Sabrina Scharf (TOS: Miramanee) and Susan Howard (TOS: Mara). Both former actresses looked great, which was noted by a number of fans who came to the mic to ask questions. Sharf was asked about the mood on the set during Star Trek’s last season, and she noted that even though the cast and crew were "worried about being picked up", she was impressed with how cohesive they were. When asked if she would want to appear as a cameo in the next Star Trek Howard said "that would be a hoot." The former Klingon also joked about seeing a Star Trek exhibit in the Smithsonian featuring Mara, noting "you know you are old when you are in the Smithsonian."
We have dozens of photos from Sunday, watch them all in this slideshow.
Best VegasCon Ever
I have only been going to to the Star Trek Las Vegas Con, so maybe I can’t say if it is the best one ever, but it is the best I have attended. There was a renewed energy at the con, fueled both by many first time guests and first time attendees. The night time activities, both official Creation parties and off site parties and events (like the Roddenberry, TrekMovie and TrekCast events) couldn’t be more fun.
Here is our complete coverage of the VegasCon events:
All reports have many photos, plus additional slide shows.
More to come
But there is still more as TrekMovie still has some gaming and merchandise coverage coming out of Vegas.