Over the weekend four of Star Trek The Next Generation’s stars appeared at the Las Vegas Trek con. This included Jonathan Frakes talking frankly about the movies and Enterprise, Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart joking around (with Spiner also weighing in on his Star Trek Future), plus Michael Dorn going in depth into the character of Worf. Check out the full report with quotes and photos below.
Frakes gets frank
Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Will Riker Jonathan Frakes was the sole TNG star on Saturday at the Star Trek con, noting he had a "tough act to follow", coming on after William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, but even solo he kept the crowd entertained with a high energy and frank appearance. Here are some of Frakes’ frank talk
On the Star Trek movies
First Contact, now that was a good movie…in deference to Leonard [Nimoy], that was the second best Star Trek movie, of our era. [meaning prior to 2009 Star Trek film]
On 2009 Star Trek movie
I have movie envy for the great Star Trek movie from JJ Abrams, which I thought was spectacular. Especially Karl Urban, who actually channeled DeForest Kelley – he was awesome.
On Star Trek: Nemesis
Nemesis was not my fault! Nemesis was not my fault! Nemesis was not my fault!!
On appearing in Enterprise finale "These are The Voyages":
It is going to be like a valentine to the fans, that is how Rick [Berman] sold it, and I thought "where is the valentine." I thought it was ill-conceived frankly, and to the credit of Scott Bakula and the company, they let us come in. The first thing I said to him was "if it was my show, I certainly wouldn’t someone coming in from another show to close us down" and he was such a gentleman and so patient and thoughtful and gracious. It was ill-fated and not a great idea, but it was fun to do with Marina [Sirtis]. It wasn’t really rooted in the show.
Frakes told the crowd of thousands of Trekkies that he is in "movie jail" following the Thunderbirds "flop" in 2004, but that he is very busing directing for television. The actor-turned director rattled off a list of series he has recently worked on (or will be working on soon), including Burn Notice, NCIS, Chuck, The Glades, Castle and The Good Guys. However Frakes says his "new home" is the TNT heist show Leverage. He also revealed that he is prepping another "Librarian" movie, which will be shot in China. As for acting, Frakes noted that the roles just aren’t coming, retelling a story of a director saying excited to meet him saying "hey you are the guy from Star Trek!" and then not being able to cast him because "you are the guy from Star Trek."
Frakes also told a touching story about how he "gone into hiding" around the release of Star Trek First Contact and how DeForest Kelley found out where he was and called him to congratulate him, noting "he was the sweetest most thoughtful man, he was lovely" As for Riker’s famous lean forward walk, Frakes demonstrated the stride and revealed that even though it was similar to the swagger of John Wayne, he actually copied the walk from actor John Cullum, who he worked with on Broadway.
Patrick Stewart on Hornblower + Brent Spiner on his Star Trek future
Sunday offered up three more TNG stars, starting off with a joint appearance by Sir Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner speaking to a capacity crowd, second in size only to the crowd for Shatner and Nimoy on Saturday. Stewart started off solo, spending much of his time auctioning off a custom made jacket from the X-Men movies to support Huddersfield Academy (it sold to a fan for $10,000).
Stewart talked about doing "theater, theater, theater, plays, plays, plays", highlighting his upcoming six months on Broadway and the PBS versions of Hamlet and MacBeth (airing this fall, which he said "one of the most extraordinary things I have done"). He also revealed that he hopes to do one more run of A Christmas Carol, taking it on tour in the US and hopefully to the White House.
Stewart did talk a little bit about his time on Star Trek: The Next Generation, recalling an early meeting with Gene Roddenberry where gave him half a dozen Captain Horatio Hornblower novels to "instruct me on how to play the role of Jean Luc Picard…and nothing more" As he was familiar with the character, Stewart got the idea, but decided that there was one element of the character that he would not bring to TNG, that of how Hornblower would throw up with the sea got rough, noting "can you imagine, Engage- blech…it wouldn’t be pretty."
Brent Spiner took over for Stewart and as usual he spent much of his time joking around, even saying that he really didn’t remember his time on Star Trek and he spent a lot of time speculating about doing a one man play in an elevator for $10,000 a ticket. But he did get serious or semi-serious at times as well, and here are some highlights of his comments.
Spiner on if he "intended" to appear in future Star Trek movie:
It is really not up to me. It is not like I can say, sure I am intending to, whether it will happen is anyone’s guess – probably not. I definitely don’t think I will be playing Data again probably. I thought about it, gave it real serious consideration, and took a good hard look at myself. I don’t want to see it, to see Data with white hair. I am hoping to play other things, but Captain Data will have to
Spiner on Data being resurrected using B4 in the Countdown comic book:
That was our idea! We were going to do that in the next…oh yeah
Spiner on his role in Star Trek history
I think Star Trek is the biggest thing that has ever happened in entertainment in American history. What else has gone on this many years with this many incarnations? The film came out last year and it was huge and gigantic and to be part of something like that – one never imagines one would be part of something that is part of American history, even though Patrick was in it too.
When Patrick Stewart came back out to join Spiner the pair showed again that they have a great rapport, with lots of joking around. The pair agreed that on the set of The Next Generation there were "no bad eggs" and that everyone got along well and still do. Patrick recalled that just this year the entire cast and Rick Berman got together to celebrate his knighthood, with Brent joking that "the amazing thing was Patrick paid". The pair also recalled how Michael Dorn (because his station was at the back of the bridge) was always the last to get his close-up shots and so by the time they were all finished and out of their wardrobe they would go back to the set and poke fun at him and openly take bets on how many takes he would need for his lines.
Star Trek The Next Generation’s Michael Dorn was the final guest for the Star Trek con on Sunday. The actor continues to look svelte and noted to the audience that he has now not only a vegetarian but also a vegan.
Throughout his time on stage, Dorn showed that he was a true fan of Star Trek, with a lot to say about his character Worf and his time in the franchise. Here are some highlights.
Dorn on appearing in Star Trek VI:
You know I got the job and that was cool, but nothing was really clicking, like great job, get another airplane, cool. But on the last day with the big conference with all the aliens and the assassination and I am sitting there back stage with all the guest stars, and on the other side are all the chairs for the original guys and they were sitting in their chairs and all of a sudden it hits me and I am "oh my god, it’s the original guys!", of course outside I am cool, but on the inside I was all "oh my god it’s Sulu…hi Scotty"…it hit at that moment, I grew up with these guys, it was a wonderful experience, but it was one of the hardest experiences. I mean the last day I was there I spent 24 hours in makeup
On working with "icons"
The closest I came to working with an icon was John Colicos, who played Kor. I grew up with the original series and he was just fabulous. The episode "Once More Into The Breach" he was just incredible
Dorn on death of Jadzia and romance between Worf and Troi on TNG
I wish that they had not killed Jadzia. I don’t question that much, but I was "are you guys sure about this?" There should be one of you [fans] in every production meeting. Like for instance when Worf and Troi got together, it was all sort of "honey" you know, it wasn’t very Klingon ritual. They kind of dropped the ball on that. And so when this guy kills Jadzia, who he is nuts about, the Klingon thing is you are supposed to kill him…in that last episode [Worf] should have gone over and sliced him up.
On playing Worf in TNG vs DS9
Personally I loved Next Generation because of the camaraderie and the stuff we did and the launching of the franchise and was wondering and great to part of that. And working with those actors was fantastic. Looking at the Deep Space Nine episodes now, Worf was truly a three-dimensional character. They wrote incredibly beautiful stuff. The Klingon episodes were Shakespearean in scope and the Jadzia Dax thing, even Marina [Sirtis] said that was a relationship she loved because they had such great chemistry together.
One of the most fun elements of the appearances of the Next Gen stars were some ‘cameo’ surprise visits from other stars attending the convention. Here are some photos from the surprise visits.
More Vegas Star Con 2010
For more from the con see our full reports:
- Thursday: Takei, Koenig, deLancie + TOS guest stars
- Friday: DS9 Stars and Guest Stars
- Saturday: Costumed Trekkies Record Setting
- Saturday: CBS Consumer Products Panel
- Saturday: Shatner & Nimoy
- Saturday: Jeri Ryan & Voyager
- Saturday: Brannon Braga
- Saturday: Costume Contest
…And more to come with coverage Enterprise stars from Sunday, plus more follow-ups.