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.
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.”
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.
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…”.
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.”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.