The second day of the Star Trek con featured a whole bunch of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine regulars and guest stars including Armin Shimerman, Nana Visitor, Rene Auberjonois, and Chase Masterson. Also on hand were Voyager’s Tim Russ, TNG’s Jonathan Frakes and the original Star Trek’s Walter Koenig. See below for full report and photos.
STAR TREK LAS VEGAS CON – FRIDAY
DS9 Aliens Panel
Friday kicked off with a big Deep Space Nine Aliens panel featuring Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun and Brunt), Nicole de Boer (Dax), Vaughn Armstrong (DS9: Danar, Seskal), Casey Biggs (Damar), Max Grodenchik (Rom), Armin Shimerman (Quark), and Chase Masterson (Leeta). Creation’s Adam Malin moderated, noting how the different aliens represented different aspects of the human condition, like Shakespeare characters. Combs agreed and noted that he never played his many Trek characters as bad guys, just people with different agendas. Armstrong talked about how he has played a record 12 different Trek characters, including 2 on DS9, noting that the writers like his drunken interactions with Quark and wrote more parts for him.
Armin and Max talked about how they both auditioned for the role of Quark and in the end they knew they were the final two choices as they were the only short actors left. They and Masterson also talked about how they were happy to move the Ferengi away from the one-dimensional opportunistic version portrayed on TNG. Masterson also noted how she appreciated the writers making Leeta and Rom a "happy couple" while still being interesting.
Biggs said he was happy with his arc over the years with Damar, including how eventually the Cardassians became the good guys like the Klingons before. He enjoyed exploring Damar’s descent into heavy drinking, but was glad for the last time he had to drink Kanar which was actually Karo syrup. When discussing how she dealt with taking on the role of Ezri Dax for the final season, Nicole said tried to make it her own but also would clasp her hands behind her back when walking, as a tribute to Terry Ferrell’s portrayal of Jadzia Dax.
TrekMovie has already reported on one aspect of Koenig’s appearance at the con, but that is not all the actor had to say. The first question for Koenig complimented him on his Russian accent, which surprised him. He noted that over the years he had got a lot of criticism for it and said he had a "special hate" for Internet bloggers and commenters who critiqued it. Koenig also thanked all the fans who lobbied to get his recently awarded star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Regarding his appearance in Star Trek: Generations, Koenig said that he originally turned down the role because there was nothing special about it for his character. The actor said his original refusal surprised producer Rick Berman, who agreed to give him a reaction scene to Kirk’s death, but it was cut. Walter also entertained the Vegas crowd with stories of appearances with James Doohan and George Takei at store openings and the like, including once in uniform where he was mistaken for a bellman at his hotel.
Star Trek: Voyager’s Tim Russ hit the Las Vegas stage by singing a Star Trek version of the Love Boat theme. Talking about working on Voyager, Russ commented that Kate Mulgrew (Capt. Janeway) was very much the captain of the cast, and that she never flubbed her lines, including the technobabble.
Talking about a future with Star Trek, Russ said that there have been three different people who have pitched ideas to him for new Trek series, none of which have been pitched to CBS. He also said that he would consider directing an independent Trek film again, like he did with Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. The actor says he keeps busy with voice acting and he does not expect to return to play the principal on iCarly because the show has moved away from the school. He also noted that these days he is more recognized for his work on iCarly than Tuvok on Voyager.
Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonois
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine stars Nana Visitor and Rene Auberjonois appeared together at Las Vegas, showing that same chemistry the head on screen. The pair started off talking about recent projects, with Visitor noting she had recently finished shooting for Torchwood Miracle Day with John de Lancie (TNG: Q). Rene says that his time is mostly taken up with voice work, doing 5 different cartoon voices in the last week. Auberjonois also says that he expects to be returning to Warehouse 13.
The pair reminisced about some DS9 episodes, with Nana revealing that she needed a special baseball coach to help her in "Take Me Out to the Holosquite," because she didn’t know how to hit the ball. The actress also said that Ira Steven Behr was her favorite writer because he was the one who always wanted to do Kira focused stories. As for the finale of DS9, Visitor said she cried for two weeks leading up to the final shoot. For his part Auberjonois noted that he wasn’t too keen about his final scene being in a tuxedo, and he wished Odo went into the Great Link wearing his traditional Bajoran uniform. But they both agreed that returning to his people (and leaving Kira) was the right thing to do. Both also revealed they took home souvenirs from the set, with Rene taking home his bucket, joking "you need to have a wastebasket."
Jonathan Frakes, Star Trek TNG’s Riker, opened up his set singing Volare, and continued the light-hearted tone throughout, such as calling Star Trek: Generations "Two captains in search of a good hair piece." Much of Frakes’ time was spent ribbing fellow actor Brent Spiner (who was appearing the next day). Frakes also ribbed Creation for the big stage backdrop which included a picture of Spiner, but not himself. Frakes showed he is a man of the people by hopping off the stage and he even roamed the crowd taking questions.
Jonathan also talked about a few Next Generation episodes. He said "the one with Minuet" (“11001001”) was his favorite. He also noted that most of his trombone playing on TNG was done by a professional musician. As for bad TNG, Frakes described the first season episode "Code of Honor" as a "racist piece of S#@*." The actor also revealed that his trademark beard began as a result of something he grew during a writers strike, which Gene Roddenberry decided he should keep once the show returned.
At one point a fan asked Frakes about the story reported on TrekMovie.com about a comment he made to UGO about pitching a Star Trek series to CBS. Frakes seemed to not remember the article so I went up to the mic to note that TrekMovie later reported an update that the pitch never happened. Frakes agreed noting "I was approached to pitch to CBS, but told ‘don’t bother, Shatner has been turned down and Bryan Singer has been turned down."
The day wrapped up with a "Rat Pack" performance with Max Grodenchik, Vaughn Armstrong, Jeffrey Combs, Casey Biggs and Armin Shimerman.
More from Vegas con to come
TrekMovie will also have more daily wrap-ups, news, photos, videos and live reporting to stay tuned. Sorry for the delay, but technical issues got in the way.
Erica Anderson contributed to this report. All photos by Anthony Pascale/TrekMovie.com unless otherwise noted