The last day of the convention was headlined by none other than Star Trek legend William Shatner, who gave a preview of his new TNG documentary and talked a bit of Trek, including giving opinions on JJ Abrams and Chris Pine. Sunday also had another Harlan Ellison panel, this time with longtime friend Walter Koenig. The pair had an interesting exchange talking about fan productions. More details and photos below.
Shatner previews TNG Doc + Talks Star Trek V & JJ Trek
William Shatner walked on stage to the Las Vegas Con with the help of a crutch, the result of being thrown off one of his horses a few weeks ago. He described the situation as a case of “a young horse and an old rider”, but said that he was healing nicely, and should be off the crutch within a week.
A highlight of his talk was a clip from "Chaos on the Bridge", the upcoming documentary he produced that details TNG’s tumultuous first season. The program will have it’s world premiere on August 25th in Canada, and will make it’s U.S. debut later this year. The clip featured Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and other cast and crew and made great use of animation to tell it’s story. It looked absolutely sensational and should be something every fan will want to see. [Editor’s Note: TrekMovie is endeavoring to get this video to show here so stay tuned]
The original James T. Kirk touched on a variety of other Trek-related topics during his 50 minute talk, including his friendship with Ricardo Montalban, noting those famous pectoral muscles we saw in The Wrath of Khan were a byproduct of all the trouble he had with his legs after years of dancing or horse riding. He joked that Montalban’s pecs were so big that "he [Montalban] entered a room preceded by his pectoral muscles."
Talking about how he happened to catch Star Trek V on television the night before, Shatner spoke of the trouble he had convincing Gene Roddenberry to let him do a story about meeting God, and he believes that his concessions made to Gene and others were compromises that hurt the movie. In the end, he said, he felt it was "not bad. I just wish Leonard Nimoy had directed it and that I’d directed Star Trek IV!"
Regarding Kirk’s death scene in Star Trek: Generations, Shatner explained that he was trying to imbue "awe and wonder" when Kirk utters his final "oh my."
The subject of the 2009 Star Trek movie also came up and Shatner said that JJ Abrams knows how to "give it a ride." He also praised Abrams and the new films for opening up Star Trek to a larger audience, especially a larger international audience. He spoke highly of Chris Pine, and feels that "everything is going in the right direction", and would like to see "more emotion" in the next installment.
Bill also spoke of his experience making the 1962 film "The Intruder" with Roger Corman, a motorcycle he’s helping to design, a cooking show he just sold called "MILF" (Mothers I’d Like to Feed), and a show he’s pitching called "Good Grief", where two comics have 24 hours to cheer someone up.
He closed out his time on stage to a rousing ovation. For those who missed him this year, fear not: he’s already booked for next year’s convention, August 6-9, once again at the Rio.
Ellison and Koenig: Reunion of lifelong friends
Sunday also featured another panel with writer Harlan Ellison, this time joined by Walter Koenig. The pair recalled have they have been close friends for over 50 years, meeting even before Star Trek.
Walter talked about how he plays "Chekov as a 143-year old" in Star Trek Renegades. When moderator Adam Malin asked Walter what he thought of "this new generation of fan Star Trek content which looks very professional," Walter said "I think it’s great," noting how far things have evolved from "Kirk in bed with Spock, which is pretty much what all the fanzinies were about." He admitted he has only actually seen the episode of Star Trek Phase II that George Takei did and Star Trek Of Gods and Men, in which he had a part. But he was aware of all the other "rival groups" and said he thought it was "really amazing" what they were doing.
This lead into Malin talking about the issues these productions have with intellectual property, where Harlan (famous for suing over his ideas) quipped "Intellectual property? I have some experience in that area," garnering laughs from the crowd. Ellison then picked up on a point Malin said about how access to technology was "democratizing" productions, countering "when you say there is access to technology, it means there is very little way of differentiating between that which is genuinely excellent and innovative, and the ninety-hundred million wannabe efforts by the by people who aint got it." He went on to say "we are a culture that does not seem to be able to make the distinctions anymore between excellence and availability, so everything gets out there."
At one point talking about his stage work, and actors Walter made a comment about Leonard Nimoy’s skill as an actor saying that he had an "inner strength to play Spock. There are a thousand people in Hollywood who could play Spock, but there is only one person that I know of who is Spock and that is Leonard Nimoy."
One fan asked Walter his favorite and least favorite episode – "City on The Edge of Forever" (written by Harlan) and "And The Children Shall Lead" respectively. "It was a horror episode,” Walter said about "Children," a widely disliked episode. “It was a tremendous insult to the whole idea of Star Trek.”
Harlan also had some kind words for the fans and Creation saying "this has been a sensational convention." However, before you think he is going soft, Harlan finished his time with, “The experiment of the human race is not worth doing.”
One more to go
This is almost it for TrekMovie’s wall-to-wall coverage of the Star Trek Las Vegas convention. We just have one more wrap-up of Sunday panels along with more photos from around the con, including the Star Trek wedding.
More STLV Coverage: