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London Comic Con Report & Photos: Walter Koenig On Shatner + Brent Spiner On Data’s Death

London Comic Con was held this weekend and on hand were Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Brent Spiner and Star Trek’s Walter Koenig. See below for photos from event along with a report of the star’s Q&A sessions including Koenig dishing on William Shatner and Spiner making it clear that Data is dead.

 

Star Trek: TNG Music Set Debuting At Comic Con

On Saturday London Comic Con was held at the aircraft hanger-like Earls Court Hall 2 in South West London. London Comic Con isn’t as big as some cons in the USA and doesn’t have studios promoting their upcoming tentpole films, but it does attract a good collection of film & TV stars to sign autographs, including Star Trek’s Walter Koenig and Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Brent Spiner.

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Earl’s Court – home of London Comic Con 2011

Walter Koenig: William Shatner is no Patrick Stewart

Walter came onto the stage to a packed out audience of several hundred applauding fans. The first question put to him was whether he felt that his appearance on William Shatner’s ‘Raw Nerve’ had gone some way to heal the wounds of the past. His reply was diplomatic, but to the point. Looking up for the appropriate words to use he said, “No, not really.” He continued by saying that Shatner had been “very generous, and in my old age I’d like to think it was genuine” having invited him on the show. Explaining the rift that himself, James Doohan and George Takei had had with Shatner he said , “Bill…just never got it.” He went on, “Bill wasn’t Patrick Stewart. We never had the respect for our Captain the way the TNG crew had with theirs.”

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Walter Koenig at London Comic Con 2011

Other questions dealt with his opinions of Anton Yelchin’s performance in the 2009 Star Trek, of which Koenig was gracious in his praise for the actor. In drawing comparisons with his own career he commented on how the new Star Trek cast seemed to be able to pursue avenues away from Star Trek and go on to other projects , to ultimately further their careers, which he inferred never really had the chance to do.

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Walter Koenig at London Comic Con 2011

Asked about the title of his favourite episode Koenig named “Spectre of the Gun” as the one in which he “Got the girl, got shot, what’s not to like", he added. He went on to describe how, during the making of the original Star Trek series, he had to pretend to be looking out at the viewing screen, though in fact he was “looking at the crew scratching themselves”. He continued by saying that his best acting turns generally came when a centerfold of Playboy was stuck on a board (just off camera) as a point of interest to hold the actors’ attention. In his best Russian accent, he declared, “Keptin, I don’t know what that is…”.

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Walter Koenig at London Comic Con 2011

The last question enquired whether Koenig had picked up any other Russian roles following the success of his Chekov character, to which he responded, ” Not one!!” responded to by rapturous laughter from the audience. He closed the 25 minute session by telling the gathered fans that he has completed work on his upcoming comic book entitled, “Things to Come.”

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Walter Koenig at London Comic Con 2011

Brent Spiner: Look at Me!? How Can I Play Data Now?!

Brent Spiner came onto the stage just minutes after Koenig had finished, bringing with him lots of energy. On seeing all the cameras that had positioned themselves in front of the stage he went into a dozen different comedy poses, which got a big laugh from the assembled crowd. Having met Brent once before, I knew what we were in for. In jest, he once asked my girlfriend at the time what she saw in me!

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Brent Spiner at London Comic Con 2011

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Brent Spiner at London Comic Con 2011

Spiner definitely likes to entertain the crowd , and entertain he did. Firstly getting into Jean -­Luc Picard mode, he proceeded to do an impersonation of Sir Patrick (in his best English accent ) in which he quoted the thespian from the initial first weeks on the set of TNG in the mid -­80’s, saying, “For Heavens sake, we are here to act!!” He told the tale of how Sir Patrick, having been a distinguished Shakespearean actor all his life up to that point, was becoming frustrated by the lack of seriousness on set and had lost his temper with the rest of the cast. Spiner went on to explain that Stewart, within months, became the worst behaved of all the cast on the TNG set, such was the influence of Spiner and the others. He also performed hilarious impressions of Michael Dorn.

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Brent Spiner at London Comic Con 2011

When asked about what he thought was the best part, or the peak, of his career, he replied; “Probably 1996-97…I had an amazing run there,” he said, referring to his appearance in Star Trek First Contact, Phenomenon, Independence Day as well as an extended stage role and other film roles.  When quizzed about playing the Data character again he self-­mockingly exclaimed “Look at me!!! I look more like Dr Soong these days!! How can I play Data now?!!”

Spiner went on to explain that Star Trek Nemesis was made with a lot of good intentions but when Stuart Baird came in he promised not to re­invent the wheel, and on the first day of filming, proceeded to reinvent the wheel. He also promoted his new show ‘Fresh Hell ’ as well as explaining his Twitter stories that have gone on for weeks, though he doubts that will happen again.

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Brent Spiner at London Comic Con 2011

Around London Comic Con

Following the Q&A sessions I bumped into John Carrigan, who plays the Klingon Kargh in the Star Trek: New Voyages/ Phase II series and we had a chat – a really nice guy.

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John Carrigan (from New Voyages) at London Comic Con 2011

I also spoke to Giles Aston, the Patrick Stewart look-­a-­like, who was actually dressed as Charles Xavier. He mentioned to me that he had appeared in the Star Trek TNG spoof porn film, much to my amusement.

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Giles Aston (from New Voyages) at London Comic Con 2011

There are, as usual at these types of events, thousands of people who dress up as anything from Stormtroopers to Voldermort to Professor Xavier. And there were a few showing their love for Star Trek as well, here are some of the costumed Trekkies from London Comic Con…

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Trek fan Sarah Beasley at London Comic Con 2011

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Trek fan  Sam Darragh at London Comic Con 2011

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Trek fans (L-R) Ruth Bloxam, Jack Sweeney & Lota Bantic at London Comic Con 2011

All in all London Comic Con 2011 was a good day out.

All photos by Daniel Lewis

Daniel Lewis is a commercial and editorial photographer based in London with work published in magazines and newspapers in the UK. Daniel is currently working on an ongoing personal photographic project about UK science fiction fans. You can visit Daniel’s website at www.daniel-lewis.biz.

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chain of command
July 10, 2011 6:09 pm

Walter Koenig. Good man. I always thought he was one of the most down to Earth of the cast (Along with De Kelley and James Doohan).

July 10, 2011 6:20 pm

Love these shots, especially of Spiner on stage. Out of curiosity, what kind of camera set up were you using for those?

Davidj
July 10, 2011 6:37 pm

2, agreed. Whoever shot these should be the regular photographer for this site. Wow.

MJ
July 10, 2011 6:39 pm

““Bill…just never got it.” He went on, “Bill wasn’t Patrick Stewart. We never had the respect for our Captain the way the TNG crew had with theirs.”

Harry Ballz, you and I can just sit back and relax on this one….Koenig did all the work for us this time around!

Buzz, care to offer your “spin” on this one? :-)

Red Dead Ryan
July 10, 2011 6:46 pm

I find it sad that Walter Koenig is still holding a grudge against William Shatner. I find it interesting how him and George Takei like to criticise him when he’s NOT around to defend himself, and if he didn’t like Shatner why did he go on his show in the first place?

MJ
July 10, 2011 6:50 pm

@5. Well that was there “treating them like pions for several decades” thing, but other than minor issue, Shat has been a true gentleman. :-)

trekker 5
July 10, 2011 6:55 pm

#5,I was going to say something,but you said it all for me!! I agree with you 100%!!

July 10, 2011 6:57 pm

I only wish Daniel could be our regular photographer, but he is based in London. Dont exactly have the budget to fly him around the world.

Unless i could start charging for TrekMovie.com Platinum….how does $99.99/month sound? ;)

Red Dead Ryan
July 10, 2011 6:58 pm

#4.

Actors like Walter Koenig and George Takei rode the coattails of William Shatner (as well as Leonard Nimoy). So I’d have to think they’d be grateful to Shatner for creating a character that saved and drove the show and got people tuning in to watch and care about not just Kirk and Spock, but Chekov and Sulu, who were always secondary characters at best.

I realize that maybe Shatner has had conflicts with people in the past, and that perhaps he does have a big ego, but he did help rescue “The Original Series” after Jefferey Hunter left, and the lack of enthusiam about the character of Chris Pike.

It’s very rare to hear the surviving TOS actors, save for Nimoy, to say anything positive about Shatner. Heck, Patrick Stewart, who only worked with Bill once (“Generations”) has nothing but positive things to say about the man.

People have good and not-so-good qualities. William Shatner is no different. But I think overall he seems to be a good guy who has done a lot more good than bad.

Browncoat1984
July 10, 2011 6:59 pm
RE: Koenig on the new Trek crew and their careers – I think that the big difference is the new Star Trek series was started as a movie series, rather than TOS which was a TV series, so you have a lot more freedom when you do one, two, or even three because you can always go on to different projects. Also typcasting is not a big of a problem these days in hollywood but back then especially with TV it was a big problem. I was watching a biography program on Adam West the other day talking about the problems he had getting roles outside of his work as Batman, so its not a phenomenon limited to Star Trek. RE: Spineron not playing data anymore – seirously, WHY DO FANS KEEP BEATING THIS DEAD HORSE? This is about the dozenth time I’ve seen him make that comment in recent months. If you want to know if Spiner is going to play Data again, you just have to google it! Even if Spiner WANTED to play Data again, most fans should be smart enough to know ITS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. They’re not going to ask him to be in the next movie anymore than they are any other Star Trek actors, and there will never be another TNG film. And contrary to what Spiner said, Data is very much alive he just isn’t playing him right now. I would be interested to hear Spiner’s opinions on Data’s status as… Read more »
MJ
July 10, 2011 7:03 pm

@9. “It’s very rare to hear the surviving TOS actors, save for Nimoy, to say anything positive about Shatner.”

And what would be the most logical and likely conclusion from this?

Vultan
July 10, 2011 7:13 pm

I don’t think De Kelley ever said a negative word (in public) about… anybody. Man, I miss that guy. A real gentleman.

Vultan
July 10, 2011 7:17 pm

Funny to hear about Patrick Stewart going from deeply serious to class clown in a few months. You could see the change in his performance over the course of season one as well.

MJ
July 10, 2011 7:17 pm

@12. De Kelley was the best Trek actor, in an out of the part, of all time, bar none.

the Dogfaced Boy
July 10, 2011 7:19 pm

Yeah, there was a popularity contest during the original series. There doesn’t seem to be as much animosity between people when they’re trying to see who can bore an audience the most. Though I do think Picard did win.

(Can I get away with saying, “Just kidding”?)

VOODOO
July 10, 2011 7:25 pm

Wasn’t it established in the comic prequel to ST 09 (that I believe was written by the guys who wrote the film) that Data was alive?

July 10, 2011 7:32 pm

I like the choice of conventioneer/crew woman shots.

the Dogfaced Boy
July 10, 2011 7:34 pm

I already feel bad about my comment above. I should have just said, TNG could have used a talent like William Shatner, even if it took screen time from Data, Worf …etc and caused a resentment later on.

July 10, 2011 7:40 pm

The quality of those photos is FANTASTIC!!!

MJ
July 10, 2011 7:55 pm

@18. No problem. We’ll chalk it up to mental stress from all your years being exploited at carnivals.

Red Dead Ryan
July 10, 2011 7:59 pm

#18.

You’re barking up the wrong tree, Dogfaced Boy!

andrew
July 10, 2011 8:08 pm

First of all, a little nitpick, but it’s “Spectre” of the Gun, not Spector. That would be a music producer who shoots people.

And this is obviously just my opinion, but I think the reason that Walter Koenig didn’t get “the chance” to do things away from Star Trek like Yelchin, etc is that he is just not a very good actor. I find that idea a bit more plausible than the system, or William Shatner, or whoever, keeping him down.

MJ
July 10, 2011 8:13 pm

@21. And let’s not confuse him with “the bonar-faced boy” in post #17 above. :-))

Red Dead Ryan
July 10, 2011 8:22 pm

#22.

Walter Koenig did star on “Babylon 5” during the ’90’s, so I don’t know what he’s complaining about.

#23.

I think you meant “boner-faced boy”. I’ve never heard of the word “bonar”, though it could be like using a boner to pinpoint hot chicks just like sonar and radar are used. :-)

Red Dead Ryan
July 10, 2011 8:24 pm

oops, I meant “…just like sonar and radar are used to detect various objects underwater, or in the skies.”

MJ
July 10, 2011 8:41 pm

@22 “First of all, a little nitpick, but it’s “Spectre” of the Gun, not Spector. That would be a music producer who shoots people.”

Hilarious!!!

Daoud
July 10, 2011 9:22 pm

Koenig had a sweet part on B5 as Bester. Can’t he count that for something? He wrote a TAS episode. And he’s been a convention regular (and usually most cons pay for TOS actors to appear all these years.)

Jon Spencer
July 10, 2011 9:22 pm

@ Dogfaced boy. If you don’t like it, don’t watch it. Just dont knock it to those of us who love it.

Harry Ballz
July 10, 2011 9:28 pm

4.

MJ, a day off? Thanks! :>)

Jonboc
July 10, 2011 10:01 pm

Sad to say, Walter is the one who just doesn’t “get it”. He was little more than an extra…his name, along with George’s came at the END of the episode, not the beginning…IF they were lucky enough to have it there at all. Shatner spent the lions share of his time being with his co-stars, Nimoy and Kelly, both whom had great things to say about the man.

Fandom put George, Nichelle and Walter on such a pedestal for so long, I think over time they actually believed they belonged there. How dare the star of the show get all the lines while the guy who was hired to sit there and push buttons has to, well, sit there and push buttons. The nerve.

Anthony Thompson
July 10, 2011 10:37 pm

Daniel, I hoped you hooked-up with Sarah afterwards! WOW!!!

And, yes, just more testimony from yet another cast member that Shatner was a jerk. But his usual defenders come out of the woodwork to deny the obvious. Will the Takei-haters now morph into Koenig haters? : D

Browncoat1984
July 10, 2011 10:39 pm

#27 What he was asked was if he had any RUSSIAN roles since TOS and his reply was no, which is correct. They didn’t ask if he had any roles at all. Though I will say that his role on B5 seems to be under-played by Trekmovie sadly :(.

MJ
July 10, 2011 10:59 pm

@31 “And, yes, just more testimony from yet another cast member that Shatner was a jerk. But his usual defenders come out of the woodwork to deny the obvious.”

Agreed!

Buzz Cagney
July 10, 2011 11:22 pm

#4 lol i’m flattered to be singled out as Bill’s Standard Bearer, MJ! Truly, I am! All I would say is what I always said- Walt and Tacky and Jimmy were bit part players. No more, no less. TOS was about its Big 3. The bit parters were lucky to have Bill leading the charge and shouldering the burden of the show. They could rock up, sit in the back ground, say their three lines and go home!

TNG was more of a collaborative show. They all got their moments in pretty much every show. Its tHE shows big weakness imo. Bland characters (Stewart aside) who clearly recognised they weren’t in Patrick’s League- hence their respect for him.
Sadly the TOS support acts all thought they were the star of the show!
There you go. All quite simple if you’d have given it just a little though, MJ.

Buzz Cagney
July 10, 2011 11:24 pm

Oh darn it, all I had to say was read #9! RDR said it better and sooner! lol

Buzz Cagney
July 10, 2011 11:27 pm

#20 I did laugh at that post though, MJ. When you concentrate on something other than your Bill resentment you can actually be quite funny! You should try it more often.

Buzz Cagney
July 10, 2011 11:31 pm

#33 ok, so how about we call a truce? I’m keen to leave the whole Bill issue alone. Unless I’m called on it by name, as I was @ #4. In which case I will fire up!
Lets face it. nobody is having their minds changed on Bill. I think he’s bloddy brilliant. MJ and Harry merely think he’s bloody marvellous. Funny how that gap in thinking can appear to large, isn’t it! ;-P

Vultan
July 10, 2011 11:49 pm

Well, I think Shatner was probably a bonafide jerk to some people in his youth, but the fact he now TRIES to make amends to those he insulted in the past is a positive sign that there is indeed a good guy in there… somewhere. I mean—could be worse. He could’ve pulled a Garbo and shut himself off from the fan community and Hollywood a looong time ago and retire to his horse ranch. And what fun would that have been for us?

Vultan
July 10, 2011 11:51 pm

Good idea, Buzz. You guys meet at Camp Khitomer already and get those peace accords moving!

Buzz Cagney
July 10, 2011 11:56 pm

Who hasn’t been an ass at some point in their life, Vults?
But the bottom line isn’t about that- its about the Trek supporting actors just not getting their place in the great scheme of things.
To be still carrying these grudges around after all these years displays a huge lack of insight on their parts.

somethoughts
July 11, 2011 12:01 am

With time travel, alternate realities, no trek character is ever dead

Buzz Cagney
July 11, 2011 12:03 am

#8 I wouldn’t pay that, Anthony, but I would miss it! :-P

Vultan
July 11, 2011 12:07 am

#40

Good points, Buzz. I think the remaining TOS cast should just get together and have a big group hug… and maybe a little group therapy. Anyway, enough with their silly bickering. I mean, you’d think they were Trekmovie readers! ;)

Harry Ballz
July 11, 2011 12:11 am

Can’t we all just get along??

Buzz Cagney
July 11, 2011 12:14 am

We do, Harry. This is all just for fun.
We are all part of the Trek family after all mister. ;)

July 11, 2011 12:17 am

Koenig, Takei and others were effectively extras who never got over the fact that they were not the major stars. Time for them to stop acting like bitches. You guys got a lot longer run than any other background actors in any other show, be grateful.

I find his comment “William Shatner is no Patrick Stewart” to be vulgar and distasteful. In what world is a statement like that seen as diplomatic?

Harry Ballz
July 11, 2011 12:20 am

46.

Maybe they consider it diplomatic compared to what he COULD have said.

Jeffrey S. Nelson
July 11, 2011 12:35 am

I really thought Koenig had come to terms with Shatner on Raw Nerve…disappointing to hear otherwise.
Koenig looks really youthful in these photos.
Brent Spiner could still play Data. Obviously Data has an aging program as part of his matrix!

July 11, 2011 12:47 am

@48 “Brent Spiner could still play Data. Obviously Data has an aging program as part of his matrix!”

Using an advanced technology called “rust”.

July 11, 2011 12:49 am

Perhaps so Harry.

How do people live holding on to stuff like that though.

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