VegasCon 08: deLancie, Curtis, Crosby & More Guest Stars Kick Off The Con

The official Star Trek convention in Las Vegas kicked off Wednesday with a gaggle of guest stars spanning the Trek series, including John deLancie, Robin Curtis and Denise Crosby. They all delighted mostly filled main auditorium with insights, jokes, and at times some serious discussions about their times on Star Trek.

Wednesday’s appearances (in order of appearance)

Susan Gibney
The actress that played TNG’s Leah Brahms and DS9’s Captain Erika Benteen opened the show on Wednesday and she looked great.


Susan Gibney

Barbara March
Barbara March (Lursa of the Klingon Duras sisters) apologized for appearing solo and without her usual cohort Gwyneth Walsh (B’Etor), but still was able to entertain the early afternoon crowd. After discussing her current playwriting work she recounted a funny story about how she was told during the shooting of “Redemption” in 1991 that Gene Roddenberry wanted to meet her. She was apprehensive and went to see him wondering what could he want and apparently his only question was “are those real” pointing to the prominent cleavage from her revealing costume, to which she said “yes.” March also talked about how when doing her parts on the TNG TV series she had grey hair and was the ‘older sister’ but when they made the Generations feature film they sexed her up “with false eyelashes and dyed her hair red,” only to then kill her off. She said she didn’t know why they killed off the Duras sisters, noting that was a question for producer Rick Berman, but guessed it might have something to do with difficulties that they always had to hire both of them. Regarding what she would have liked to have done with the characters, March said she had always wanted to do a scene were Lursa and B’Etor, known for the warrior-style leather outfits, would be wearing “pink nightgowns,” complete with the Klingon make up and teeth…that would be a sight to behold.


Barbara March

Robin Curtis
The TOS movie era’s second Saavik (for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock) hit the stage full of energy and even doing some voice affectations which she attributed to her ‘multiple personalities’ (she was kidding). Curtis then updated the audience on her life and how after retiring from acting and going through a divorce things weren’t looking good, but in recent years she bought a new house and then married her contractor (who she said ‘cleaned her pipes good’) and now they are happy running a real estate business. The most interesting parts of Curtis’ talk was discussing how Leonard Nimoy’s direction made her Saavik different and, more specifically, less emotional than Kirstie Alley’s Saavik (Star Trek II). Curtis said that the hardest scene for her was saying “David is dead,” but without emotion, going on to say that she felt “extremely constipated” and was so nervous that she even thought she might “get a pink slip.” However she admitted it may all have been by design, saying

Maybe that was party of Leonard Nimoy’s magic, that no matter how unemotional I tried, the emotion still came through.

Curtis got some laughs when discussing Star Trek III’s Pon Farr scene, saying she came to the set that day nervous and wondering “what constitutes Vulcan foreplay? What is Leonard going to have us do in that cave?” Regarding her guest spot on Next Generation as T’Paal, Curtis stated that it wasn’t easy and that she had to “grovel and audition like any other actor in Hollywood.” In fact T’Paal was actually her third try to get on TNG, with the first being a failed audition to play K’Ehleyr which went to Suzie Plakson.  


Robin Curtis

John Fleck
Although John Fleck has played six characters over four different Trek series, this was his first Star Trek convention or as he declared “I’m a virgin!” Fleck went quickly to Q&A and most of the questions focused on his recurring villain Silik from Enterprise, covering areas from make-up to what it was like hanging with Scott Bakula. Fleck nailed one question when asked who he thought the mysterious “Future Guy” was, and he replied “Gene Roddenberry.” Regarding the death of his character at the beginning of the fourth (and final) season of Enterprise, Fleck said “I wish it had gone on for seven years, that was a fun role.” Although the Sulliban were the primary villains for the first two seasons, the actor said that producers never provided him with any kind of back-story for the new race, with Fleck joking “so you just make it up yourself–The Suliban are from Cleveland, Ohio.” Fleck also noted that he will soon be seen on the F/X plastic surgery-themed show Nip/Tuck.  


John Fleck

Denise Crosby
TNG’s Tasha Yar kicked off her segment by joking about the pictures of her from the first season of Next Generation being shown on the big screens, noting “that was cutting edge back then, that haircut, the Yar! I was cute.” She quickly went into Q&A which turned to her return to TNG as Sela, noting that it was she who pitched Rick Berman on bringing her back after “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” Her original notion was to play the daughter of Tasha Yar and Lt. Castillo. Apparently the issue for the producers was that they thought “Yesterday’s Enterprise” didn’t establish enough time for Castillo and Yar to ‘get together,’ to which she joked “well I don’t know how long it takes you, but a couple minutes is all we need.” Also regarding “Yesterday’s Enterprise” Crosby stated she never thought that after killing her off in “Skin of Evil” she could return to TNG, noting “I didn’t want to do anything tacky–I didn’t want to wake up in the shower and think it was all a dream.” (a reference to the season of Dallas that turned out to all be a dream).

Things got serious when Crosby was asked if she left Next Generation to do more film roles. Crosby stated:

The decision was based on persuing the craft of acting for me. I had been trained and was dreaming of a certain place. Not in stardom…the only thing we can control as actors is what jobs we take and don’t take and how good we can get in our craft. The rest is so random. What happened was, after a number of episodes went by, it appeared that things were starting to settle. And the dynamics of the show were going to be that once in a while I would have a scene, but so many hours of my time was spent in the background and once in a while saying “aye aye, captain.” So my question to myself was “Is part of that goal and is this fulfilling that.” And ultimately I was frustrated by not being able to really act and at that age it is not an age to settle…It wasn’t a decision to be taken lightly. I talked with all the cast. I talked with my friends and family and it really was ultimately a decision to move on.

Crosby went on to say that after talking to Gene Roddenberry about her concerns he told her things would not change and that the show was “going to focus on the captain and the first officer.” She also noted that Roddenberry chose to kill her because he thought that would be dramatic and it was something he hadn’t done before.    

Crosby, who produced and narrated both documentaries Trekkies and Trekkies 2 said she would like to make a Trekkies 3, but it didn’t look good. She noted that even though the first film did well, Trekkies 2 did not make a profit. She holds out hope that the new Star Trek feature film make convince Paramount to back a new documentary and that she and director Roger Nygard “have a great idea for it” and saw the series as a trilogy.    


Denise Crosby

Carel Struycken
Known to Trekkies as almost-always silent Mr Homn, the ever-present attendant of Lwaxana Troi, it was a bit strange to hear Carel Struycken speak. The actor began by discussing his current photography work (at sphericalpanoramas.com), which he describes as being a bit like a holodeck. Although his character rarely spoke, Struycken said that it was actually more of a challenge to act without dialog. Regarding being typecast the actor noted:

I think when you have my kind of, of, uh, physical appearance, you don’t expect anything.

Struycken went on to say that he would like to do more comedy. Earlier he had shown that he might be able to do it. The actor got big laughs when answering a question about how he did a scene where he appeared to drink about a quart of something in one take, he spoke in his very deliberate and soft spoken Dutch accent saying “they had a special path laid out for me….from the stage to the bathroom.”


Carel Struycken

John deLancie
TNG’s Q was the headliner for Wednesday and greeted with huge applause. He started off by giving a recap of what he was working on these days, from the some new plays, a couple of films and music projects (including “The Music of Star Trek” symphonic show with Bob Picardo). He also discussed how his major passion these days is sailing (he recently sailed from Hawaii to the mainland US). Regarding his character of Q and how his multiple appearances varied, de Lancie stated “the best part of Q is when the episodes were of a larger nature than: does Q love Vash.” de Lancie specifically compared his appearances on the three TNG era series and was clear that he thought the best chemistry was with Stewart on TNG and that “it was a bad fit” on DS9. Regarding Voyager he felt the producers were afraid of it appearing that there was a love connection between Janeway and Q. de Lancie joked that people often think that he appeared in more than the nine episodes he did, and perhaps that was because he had so much to do in the ones he was in. In fact it apparently caused some jealousy, with deLancie telling the crowd:

One of the regulars came to me once, I will not tell you who it was, and said “you say more words in your one episode, than I say in the entire year”

So did he know that 22 years after he did his first guest spot in the pilot for TNG he would still be talking about it? “of course I did,” joked the actor “I knew it the second I hit that stage.” Although he didn’t know, there was someone who did. deLancie recalled that when he was working on “Encounter at Farpoint” Gene Roddenberry pulled him aside and told him “you have no idea what you have gotten into.”

In fact deLancie admitted that he recently found what he described as “what Star Trek gets you.” He recounted a story about how his son told him he was planning on doing some work in Jordan and how he said to his son “I hear the King of Jordon is a Star Trek fan.” (which he is, he even had a guest spot on Voyager). Although de Lancie says that he never plays the Trek card, he did contact the King of Jordan, joking that the email stated “I know that you are the King, but I’m a God.” But it was no joke and as it turns out he and his son visited with the King and had a “very nice, very hospitable” one-hour meeting with the King. 

deLancie wrapped up with a question on what was the ultimate Q episode, to which he replied:

The show that had all the facets of the character I had been able to pull together was “All Good Things.” Each one of those scenes is quintessentially Q.


John deLancie

 

Vegas 08: We are just getting warmed up
There is much much more Vegas 08 coverage coming from TrekMovie.com, so keep checking back for more updates.

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MikeyPikey

hmm denise crosby sure does look “different” these days…

Sallah

Man I wish I was there right now…

EM

Denise Crosby Rocks!!!

Ali

Jordan not Jordon

star trackie

..hmmm. So Leonard is to blame for Curtis’ stale delivery. Interesting.

Samrock83

Susan Gibney’s still boner-riffic! Hi-oh!!

AJ

Anthony:

Great report!

I hope Barbara March was joking about her visit to Gene’s office!

I still remember deLancie as Eugene from Days of Our Lives. Fun to see him at convention.

I hope they do a Trekkies 3 also.

Susan Gibney is beautiful! I can’t quite picture her as Leah Brahms though. It somehow just doesnt look like the same person.

Duane

I sure hope that some of the “behind the scenes” contributors get to take the stage. I haven’t been to a Star Trek convention since 1979.

Others have noted that conventions have changed so much. It’s now ALL about the actors (or at least it seems that way), and that just doesn’t appeal to me at all.

And my opinion of Las Vegas? Don’t even ask. With these wonderful reports I’m happy to sit at home and read about it.

Any speculation as to the Voyager regular that deLancie was referring to?

star trackie

#11 Others have noted that conventions have changed so much. It’s now ALL about the actors (or at least it seems that way),

No, you’re right on the money. Creation pretty much turned their versions of “conventions”, and I use that term loosely, into a dealer room/autograph show. I really miss the old days when you had an art contest in one room…model builders showing their work in another. Down the hall you might have panel discussions of science fiction in general and its impact with real science while a panel with David Gerold, talking about tribbles, is two doors down. Fans in costumes ranging from A vulcan “Spock” to Robby the robot would roam the halls waiting for the costume contests while projectors in another room would screen classic sci-fi movies along with Trek episodes around the clock.

And amidst all that you stars like Jimmy Doohan and Mark Lenard would join in panels, have Q &A’s and signing here and there. Maybe even put on a short play. There was a lot of fan-made merchandise and doors didn’t shut at 6.

Those were the days. Good times.

7

And great report if she was’nt.

starfleetmom

I AM here! And it is awesome…and there are costumed fans roaming around, #11.
And I have my little girl…age 5…with me. She is a Little Trekkie and getting lots of attention. She has become “buddies” with Anthony Vitale, the welder in the teaser trailer. He is SO AWESOME….he actually bought HER autograph! We are having the time of our lives….much different experience than 2 years ago when I came with my best friend and we went to every event/party….but great fun from a whole new perspective. And I appreciate the atmosphere being kid-friendly….so unlike Comic Con 2 weeks ago where I was even concerned about my teen accompanying me….I’d never take a little kid there.
Creation may not be able to please everyone, but they do get the starts, get you face time with them, and they don’t oversell the venue. Adam met Sophia and was wonderful to her. The actors have been sweet, the volunteers very understanding of the “special concerns” of having a little one there, and the fans have been extremely friendly. She wants a picture with every Klingon, Andorian, and Ferengei she sees…and they all comply. No worries here, except for the Borg….she is terrified of them!
Being here with Sophia is a little like taking a puppy to the park….everyone wants to stop and play with her!
Thanks to Creation….and to Anthony for the reports which I will print out and save for our scrapbook.

I know I am in the minorty among Trek fans, but I actually prefer Robin Curtis’ Saavik far more than Kirstie Alley’s… she just seemed more on the part than KA, and she seemed to be struggling with her emotions instead of, well, I am not sure how to explain the way I took KA’s version of Saavik.

From her look, to her delivery, to her mannerisims, RC owned the role of Saavik.

#11 – I haven’t been to a convention in several years, the last one being a Thanksgiving Weekend one in INdianapolis in, I think, 2003. I was majorly disappointed. Sadly, it’s the only one in Indy, and given the fact that I am married, Thanksgiving weekend is generally taken up with, well, family commitments. My wife generously told me I could go, but I can just imagine if she went to the family thanksgiving (held out of state on Saturday) and told everyone that I was at a Star Trek convention…. I would be persona non-grata for a year or more, unless I had a good reason to be there.

Conventions used to be fun, but I’ll tell you one thing that eventually got my dander up about conventions was the way they used Star Trek clubs to run ‘security’ at some of these gigs. It got to the point where some of the folks would taunt you if you were from a different club, or they would walk around acting like they owned the place. Not enjoyable at all, and I don’t think they ever did a particularlly good job of ‘securing’ anything.

I wish Indy would get a decent con some other time in the year; failing that, I may look elsewhere to try to go to a halfway decent one.

Rob+

Out There

RE: The last comment by Barbara March:

For some reason it brought to mind the image of Lursa and B’Etor doing an adult movie called:

“Duras Sisters do Dallas”

Seriously now, how many Star Trek fans would add THAT movie to their collection, lol.

krikzil

deLancie was great and looks so good in that beard. All the guests have been gracious and interesting. And I have to say Creation is doing a good job. if you email with an issue, they are dealing with it pretty fast.

Some pretty nice stuff in the dealer’s room. Oh, to hit a big jackpot and be able to run amok….

Peter Lemonjello

I love Denise’s white button up dress. Would look even better on my bedroom chair.

Denise de Arman

krizil#17- Oh, to be able to run amok with Leonardo on Sunday and hit the jackpot… le giggle…

Ed G.

I’m thinking Denise would like to take that decision of leaving the show back. Sure, she was a “bit” player, but I’m sure the other “but” players have fatter bank accounts from all the other opportunities that arose.

Out There

Susan Gibney played a DA trying to convict Kate on “Lost” earlier this year. It was a nice treat.

She looked really good, but to be honest it was sad to see that she looks older than she did almost 20 years ago. How dare she age, lol!

Not sure if it’s true or not, but the Wiki article about her says that they considered her for the role of Captain Janeway, but the studio thought she was too young. Man, that might have been a whole lot better than Kate Mulgrew, I have to say. Sigh, maybe in an alternate universe . . .

The Wiki article also says she was considered for the role of Boobs of Two, I mean Seven of Nine. But she didn’t have the body Berman was looking for.

The Underpants Monster

“I know I am in the minorty among Trek fans, but I actually prefer Robin Curtis’ Saavik far more than Kirstie Alley’s… she just seemed more on the part than KA, and she seemed to be struggling with her emotions instead of, well, I am not sure how to explain the way I took KA’s version of Saavik.”

Count me in on that, Father Rob. I just had trouble taking Kirstie seriously as either a Vulcan or a Starfleet officer.

Dr. Image

Robin’s Saavik rocked, I agree.
Many pleasant con memories with Robin… yes…. and Seatrek, too… in the old days… when cons were very different– fan-run, and FUN.
(Wish I was there as your photographer, Anthony!)

Michigan guy

# 1: Yes she does look different. With the passage of numerous seasons (Spring – Summer-Fall – Winter)
age does creep up on you. She looks like she takes in more calories then what she burns. As a result she had a bit of round and pudgy face. Definitely NOT a MILF!

I had such a crush on Gibney when I was a kid.

She portrayed intelligence so well and was(is) so beautiful.

I geeked out when she played Captain Benteen on DS9, too.

Joe Schmoe

#24:

Yeah, for some strange reason all these young hot actresses eventually end up looking like our mommas.

And then our grandmas.

Go figure.

It’s a shame we all have to grow old. We lose hair where we want it, and grow hair where we don’t.

P.S. I just saw Terri Garr being interviewed yesterday on a cable news channel. She has MS and is 63 years old now.

Star Trackie

If you want a taste of that type of convention, you need to get down to Dragon*Con in Atlanta (Labor Day weekend). The types of activities and rooms are quite prevalent there.

-CR

Daoud

#1, #23 Well, if you guys can’t handle that, rent an uncut version of Eddie Murphy’s 48 HRS from 1982, and somewhere in there among the other topless actresses flashing you can see Denise the way she was 27 years ago in 1981. Of course, she was 24 then. She’s 51 now. C’mon. For 51, she’s doing fine.

Daoud

^ Or that 1988 Playboy issues that has her 1979 pictorial.

steve

Leah Brahms – I loved that TNG episode(s). The thought that you can program the holodeck to recreate a scientist to assist with a dilema is just …cool.

But, a larger issue I really enjoy is when the story explores holodeck characters that become aware of their existence. (Or any “machincal” lifeforms for that matter).

The instant of self awareness is always interesting. And the way in which the AI assimilates that knowledge. That point at which artificial intelligence becomes, simply, intelligence.

Maybe, even more, it’s that precarious point at which the AI discovers things are not as they had been. That they might be to grow beyond or…terminated.

21)
I agree, Kirstie Alley’s Saavik seemed more like an elf (the pointy ears) than a vulcan. She just acted like a slightly annoyed human.
She also didn’t have the correct eyebrows which is just……sad.

Robin’s Saavik was much more believable.

peace :)

Closettrekker

#14 and #21—I think it is only fair to take the Saavik backstory into consideration when judging KA’s performance in TWOK.

She is a Vulcan/Romulan hybrid discovered at the age of ten by a Vulcan team of researchers. While she has been taken under Spock’s wing since that time, she is not supposed to be in complete control of her emotions. Her reaction to Peter Preston’s death, in particular, is supposed to cause an emotional response due to her fondness for the eager young cadet. In many ways, her struggle against the loss f control over her emotions is every bit as fascinating as that of Spock—and certainly an even more formidable challenge.

Had certain scenes not ended up on the cutting room floor or changed from the original screenplay, KA’s portrayal of the Saavik character probably would have made more sense to you. I would encourage you to read Vonda McIntyre’s novelizations of TWOK, TSFS, and TVH. Although they are not officially “canon”, they do follow the original intent for the character. If you read those works and watch her performance again, you will see that KA nails it.

krikzil

Taking a quick rest before the Experience Party tonight. Just had to comment on the guests today. Garrett Wang is a very funny guy. He’s got George Takei down pat. Gene Roddenberry’s son is quite something too — that Trek Nation documentary about his dad is going to be very good if the clips we saw are any indication. He’s also a good looking guy ladies. It was also nice to see Majel on stage.

Marina & Brent were entertaining. Marina looks amazing and is always a hoot at cons.

Beam Me Up

I always thought Alley was great. She was really into her part. Curtis was wallpaper.

The Vulcanista

Great report!

Thanks, Anthony!

#33: It would have been nice had they given us just a *little* more onscreen characterization of Saavik. She’d have made a hell of a lot more sense.

I didn’t particularly care for Curtis’s performance, as I had already discovered that very important little tidbit about Saavik being a Vulcan-Romulan hybrid. right before SFS came out. I thought she was just a little *too* control, given that lineage.

Just had a thought and, surprisingly, didn’t hurt myself. It’s not officially official, but Saavik was supposedly pregnant by Spock by the them TVH rolls around. What if we’re wrong about the Rom Cmdr.-Spock union producing a child? What if Nero is the love child of Saavik and Spock?

Hey, wild, rank speculation is fun!

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

krikzil

I was always sorry they dropped the whole Romulan/Vulcan angle for Saavik in the films and the pregnancy. But then, the novelizations always gave us so much more a lot of the time.

Magic_Al

TNG began my junior year in high school and I had this poster of Tasha Yar on my bedroom wall.
http://img85.imageshack.us/img85/9874/tasha37he.jpg

Most of us have read that Marina Sirtis cast to be a Star Trek version of Vasquez from Aliens before the security and counselor roles were reversed. Denise Crosby’s version of the 1980s sci-fi woman badass, especially including the “cutting-edge” hair, is very similar to Frank Miller’s Lieutenant/Commissioner Ellen Yindel from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, published the same time TNG was developed. Mine may not be an original observation, but googling “Tasha Yar Ellen Yindel” gets squat so let’s say it is original. :-)

#11

I remember those convention days as well. Fan based.

Were you by any chance at the Central Coast Galacticon in Pismo Beach circa 1978?

Jim Nightshade

Was Majel Barrett in a wheelchair? She was when I went to the Vegas Con 2 years ago. Cant afford it since..but I am going to vegas mid aug 19-21 to see the experience one more time and say bye and thanks to all the awesome staff there…

I envy everybody at the con the last year the experience is up and running…is anybody mentioning that or treating anything differently??

Especially those of you with gold and capt chair status let us know how the experience parties are this year…

HisDivineAssassin

Great report, !!!

ace

it’s not denise crosby that looks rough in these pictures, it’s robin curtis. between the unflattering profile, the um, added mass, and the outfit, she recalls the last days of Elvis

star trackie

Iostrod- never made it to that one. Sounds great though, a con at Pismo beach sounds like a blast.

And Charles Root, thanks for the tip on Dragon Con in Atlanta. I’ve heard the name tossed around but I didn’t know it was an old school convention.

#6: grow up, please.

The Underpants Monster

Whether or not Alley’s performance would have made more sense with the deleted scenes or not doesn’t really change my opinion. Sense or no sense, it just wasn’t as enjoyable. To this viewer, anyway, she came off as a bit of a space bimbo.

I tried ta’ go ta’ tha’ Khan Con in Cannes once… got beat up by Chippendales…

Arrrrr…

Closettrekker

#44—-What’s wrong with “space bimbos”?

James Kirk made a career out of spending time with them!

Closettrekker

#35—-I always just imagined that Saavik and Spock ended up together. It made sense to me. Both were “outcast” to some degree—or at least “alien” in two worlds. Spock meant a great deal to Saavik, and planned or not, they were “bonded” on the Genesis planet. I think Spock would find such a union completely logical, particularly “in her condition” (whether her child was a result of their Pon Farr encounter or her affair with David Marcus) after the events on Genesis.
I cannot see Nero being the spawn of Spock and Saavik, though. I can hardly imagine any other scenario than such a child being raised on Vulcan.You know how I feel about Spock and the Romulan commander, however. Alas, it is probably not to be.
As much fun as that would be for TOS fans, it would require some sort of explanation to the average moviegoer—not only as to who the mother was, but as to why Nero would be so angry with his absentee father (presumably over his and his mother’s “place” in Romulan society after “The Enterprise Incident”).

#36—Me too. Without the backstory, Saavik comes off as simply a poorly portrayed Vulcan.

krikzil

Last night’s Eperience Party was fun. Food seemed better than in previous years but then maybe I was just hungier having not eaten all day. :) Suzie Plakson (sp?) has a great voice. One more complaint was that there weren’t enough places for everyone to sit so many of us ended up eating while standing. I did enjoy Nichelle Nichols performance a great deal. She can still sing and looks amazing.

I did learn one thing. Don’t go on a motion ride directly after drinking a Warp Core Breach.

The pics look like they were taken with a camera phone.

SciFiMetalGirl

I just got home from my 2 days worth of VegasCon! I could only go to 2 due to darn work, but I have to be able to pay for all those autographs somehow!

Nice reporting, Anthony! You capture the escense of being there quite faithfully! Nice to be able to re-live those treasured moments! I’m sorry that I was unable to track you down :(

re: #49 Those pics are actually quite good, considering the lighting conditions within the convention center are good for the event itself, but not so much for photography. I gave up years ago of ever being able to get any really good quality photos of the stars on stage, even using special camera settings and close-up lenses.