PHXCC AUDIO: Star Trek Stars Leonard Nimoy, George Takei and Robert Duncan McNeill

Three main cast Star Trek stars were at Phoenix Comicon and we have highlights, photos and full audio of the panels for Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy and George Takei, plus Star Trek Voyager’s Robert Duncan McNeill. Check it all out below.


Leonard Nimoy tells his life story

On Saturday Leonard Nimoy appeared at Phoenix Comicon filling up the big hall with a capacity crowd in the thousands. The veteran actor, director, and photographer had a pre-planned presentation with photos telling the story of his life from his beginnings in Boston, through his early struggles in acting, into the Star Trek years and to today. Nimoy delighted the crowd with fun stories and anecdotes and engaged them with more serious reflections as well.

Here is the full audio (via VTWProductions)


And here are some photos

Leonard Nimoy showing a behind the scenes image from his original Star Trek days at Phoenix Comicon 2011

Leonard Nimoy explains origins of the Vulcan salute at Phoenix Comicon 2011

Leonard Nimoy at Phoenix Comicon 2011

George Takei on Shatner, Star Trek and more.

On Sunday at Phoenix Comicon I had the honor of moderating the panel for Star Trek’s original Sulu, George Takei, in the big hall for the event. George talked at length about his new series Supah Ninjahs, his upcoming play Allegiance, and working with Tom Hanks on his film Larry Crowne (coming out this summer).

George Takei at Phoenix Comicon (taken by my iPhone from podium)

One of the more interesting comments came from when I asked George (who worked with Jeffrey Hunter on the film Hell to Eternity), if he thought Star Trek would have been as successful if Hunter decided to return for the second pilot, or if Shatner made the big difference. Here is what he had to say:

Actors are important to a project, but the core to the success is the idea and what it is all about. It is really Gene Roddenberry that made Star Trek a success. Jeffrey is a wonderful actor and a very good looking guy and a nice guy and I enjoyed working with him. Bill is a singular kind of actor and has his own qualities [audience laughs] I am trying to be diplomatic, tangential, nice. I think that is such a wonderful part. I would have liked to have seen what Jeffrey would have brought to it since he is such a great actor. But what made Star Trek this long-lasting is that core idea that Gene Roddenberry had of a human future.

George also said he was still not interesting in going on William Shatner’s Bio show Raw Nerve, saying "there is no reason to go on his turf"

Here is the full audio (via VTWProductions)


George Takei
George Takei at Phoenix Comicon 2011 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

George Takei
George Takei at Phoenix Comicon 2011 (Photo: Gage Skidmore)


Robert Duncan McNeill on Paris, Voyager, and Chuck

Robert Duncan McNeill, Star Trek: Voyager’s Tom Paris, had his own panel on Saturday and shared a panel on his show Chuck with actor Adam Baldwin on Sunday. Both panels well well attended and well received with lots of Trek fans at both. 

Robert Duncan McNeill at his solo panel at Phoenix Comicon

Here are highlights from the two talks:

  • On transitioning from actor to director, McNeill says he owes "everything to Star Trek"
  • Began bugging Rick Berman to direct in Season 1 of Voyager. Berman said maybe by Season 5 but he got his chance during Season 2 when Jonathan Frakes had to drop out to direct Star Trek First Contact
  • Says that Tom Paris is the favorite character he has played on TV or film because he was "rotten on the outside, but not on the inside" (vs. TNG character he played who was the opposite)
  • Happy with the arc for Tom Paris but wanted to do more Captain Proton, but producers were worried they would over-use it
  • Hoping to bring more Star Trek actors in for guest spots on upcoming final season of Chuck, especially Wil Wheaton and Jeri Ryan
  • Was open to the idea of appearing as himself on Chuck "possibly doing a signing or mini-con at the Buy More"

Here is the full audio (via VTWProductions)

Spotlight on Robert Duncan McNeill


Chuck with Robert Duncan McNeill and Adam Badlwin


Robert Duncan McNeill and Adam Badlwin at Phoenix Comicon "Chuck" panel

Robert Duncan McNeill and Adam Badlwin at Phoenix Comicon "Chuck" panel


Photos by Anthony Pascale ( unless otherwise noted

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Nimoy is one first class man and a great Actor. I liked what Takei had to say about Trek and about Gene and hunter and the Shat. Mcneill is a good actor and a good director. Would love to see him on Chuck.

Anthony how do you get all these great gigs? You seem to always be doing something with Trek!

“George also said he was still not interesting in going on William Shatner’s Bio show Raw Nerve, saying “there is no reason to go on his turf””

I really think that George Takei has no class. He seems so petty.

Contrary to what George Takei said, “Star Trek” would NOT have become what it is today had it not been for William Shatner. Shatner had a special chemistry with both Leonard Nimoy and DeForrest Kelley that Jeffrey Hunter most likely wouldn’t have had. I just can’t picture Hunter’s Pike being the archetype that Kirk is. Plus, Shatner brought things to the role, like the Kirk-fu, and speech patterns, that nobody else can emulate.

I had a great time there. Here’s a vid I put together with these guys. Anthony, it was really exciting to “meet” you in the panel with Takei. That was really cool and it’s nice to see the face behind the website. Thank you for all the work you do….Trek is wonderful!

I usually agree with George, but in this case I feel that the personal animosities (which are well-founded) get in the way of objectivity. Hunter would have been an interesting captain, but not the dynamic and memorable character brought to life by Shatner.


Agreed Red Dead Ryan,

I’ve always thought Shatner was THE reason the show was what it was. Special.

I would like to have seen Nimoy’s presentation. Looks like there’s some cool behind the scenes photos there. Shame I didn’t get in to see him in Dallas.

It was absolutely surreal seeing Nimoy that day! I fought for a seat up front after Max Brooks left the stage. And it was totally worth it. It was pretty amazing hearing his life story, from “Zombies of the Stratosphere” to his photography books. I couldnt stop laughin when his wife called in the middle of his panel too. “Honey…Im talking to a few people right now”
I also liked how he told everyone about all of his movie projects in a partially secret way. (star trek, transformers, fringe, etc.)

Nimoy = class act.

Brought tears to my eyes.

Proud to call my self a Trekkie. Something of Honour.

#4 Red Dead Ryan,I am in full agreement with you! We would not have the Trek we have today if not for The Shat;and Mr.Nimoy,and De Kelley,i Mean,thats the big 3 man!! And I can’t see them any other way.

*sigh* So many mixed feelings about Takei these days. He is hilarious, and I don’t use the word lightly, but when it comes to Shatner he’s wearing two eyepatches or something. He is overdoing the meds if he thinks Star Trek would’ve been a success with Hunter in the lead role. “Roddenberry’s vision” is also a vastly overused phrase that completely blanks the contributions of Justman, Solow, Coon, Nimoy, Shatner, Fontana, and the other people that enhanced that original idea and made it into a show worth watching.

As far as Shatner-Takei goes, the latter should just suck it up.

Great audio and I’d have LOVEd to have been there. I had the good fortune to meet Mr Nimoy once at a book signing of ‘I Am Spock’ at Forbidden Planet here in the UK – complete gentleman. Notice you NEVER get Nimoy taking pot shots at other cast members…

I really think this whole Shatner/Takei thing is getting VERY boring, and somewhat irritating now. I have to say it seems to be Takei who won’t let it lie these days, not Shatner…

OK. George has, for me, finally proven he’s lives in a different universe. In George’s universe he captain’s a starship on a series that lasted 14 years and won dozens of Emmy’s. In George’s universe he went on to star in Hollywood blockbusters as a dashing handsome swashbuckling galactic hero. In George’s universe William Shatner plays his under utilized helmsman. In George’s universe….ah, I think you get it. Get a life, George.

I agree completely with # 11. Yes, Roddenberry had the initial vision and drive to get Trek going but it was the contribution of many, many others that made it all work and come together. Shatner owned Kirk and turned him into a cultural icon. News alert for Mr Takei – Trek would have gone on just as strong and enduringly had any other asian actor been cast in the Sulu role. Get over yourself, George.

Shatner is also an incredibly versatile actor. Many of Tos storylines are what they are Because Shat could do them. 3rd season Tos is nearly all based on what he can do. He didn’t chew the decor, he was the decor.

George really needs to clue up a bit, especially holding onto the Shatner resentment. It makes him sound so bitter. Shatner is a bigger star and a much busier man, even busier than Leonard, and frankly this continued bitching and sulking has made a mountain out of a molehill. Hell, if even Jimmy Doohan can bury the hatchet with Shatner isn’t it about time George just tries to build bridges? Neither of them are getting any younger.

That said, I nonetheless have always found George a very personable man, and hell, he’s grew up on Superman like I did so that earns extra points!

Leonard Nimoy looks great as always! :-) :-)

“Bill is a singular kind of actor and has his own qualities [audience laughs] I am trying to be diplomatic, tangential, nice.”

Anthony Pascale… after this statement of Mr. Takei… he well deserved, if you had asked… if he reads the comments here about him… regarding Mr. Takei into the Trek universe I mean… before somebody get me wrong!

:-) :-)

Brent Spiner’s not the one in an alternate universe (reference to his internet series) but Takei is.

#3 – “George also said he was still not interested in going on William Shatner’s Bio show Raw Nerve, saying “there is no reason to go on his turf””

My understanding is that this broohah between Takei and Shatner has to do with George Takei inviting Shatner to his wedding, when same-sex marriage was legal in California, and Shatner not going to the wedding. Takei claims that Shatner did not even bother to send an RSVP informing Takei that he could not come to the wedding. Shatner did not reply at all and did not turn up. Shatner says he does not recall hearing or receiving any such invitation or something like that. Anyway, George Takei has been in a snoot ever since.

Anyway, this, and possibly other stuff that I am not aware of, has been the basis for the latest animosity. I do recall William Shatner asking George Takei to come on his show, or anywhere, to discuss this and other issues in public, since it was George Takei who brought his wedding etc into the public arena. George has so far refused.

So it seems that George Takei is totally peeved because William Shatner did not come “on his turf”, for whatever reason but does not want to go on Shatner’s “turf” or even neutral ground.

Honestly, Mr Takei really needs to grow up. Frankly he is not as good as he thinks he is acting wise and he has been quite gross in the way he has brought criticisms, gossip among TOS cast and various issues relating to William Shatner since TOS days into the PUBLIC arena with his autobiography from 1994. Now this wedding stuff. What’s with George Takei, honestly?

George Takei choses to make certain situations PUBLIC, which most other people tend to keep private, and then refuses to be held accountable for the VERY PUBLIC statements he makes.

Whoever William Shatner may or may not be, I have a lot more respect for him than I do for George Takei. George comes across as being petty, mean and cowardly.

I agree that William Shatner brought a uniqueness, memorable and pleasant quirkiness to the Kirk character, which I don’t believe any other actor could have done in the same way. As they say, it’s all in the chemistry and there is no doubt that Shatner/Nimoy/Kelley chemistry is the best ever. Moreover, people the world over think of Star Trek in terms of Kirk and Spock and there is a good reason for that. Fact. Reality.

I understand that George is so angry with Shatner, but it doesn’t do anything for him if he makes very public, and lashing statements about it. I understand and sympathize, and I’ll say this: Shatner should have been there. If they weren’t close, then it’d have been okay, but when fans like I see their favorite people at odds, it saddens me. No matter how different his beliefs were, just him going would’ve said to me that he respected his costar enough not to dampen such an occasion. It wasn’t about Shatner, it was about supporting a friend. But that’s a dead issue.

But I am upset with George about this; Shatner seems to want to talk, and squash it. George is the only one who is standing in the way of that. I love Shatner, and that he is willing to come to a resolve about it.

Basically, I understand why George feels this way, but it’s not appropriate to publicize such a personal issue,