As we at Trek Movie are preparing to deploy to Las Vegas for the largest annual Star Trek convention in the world, I am forced to pause and ask… do we really need conventions just for ourselves any more? Just because we always did it, just because we started fandom and cosplay, do we need to keep doing it?
Indeed I am reminded of when the Federation President said, “Let us redefine progress to mean that just because we can do a thing, it does not necessarily mean we must do that thing.”
While no one had gone to fan conventions before Star Trek, boldly or otherwise, everybody does now. The recently concluded San Diego Comic-Con drowns not just geekdom but everyone with a deluge of material, while similar gatherings have sprung up everywhere. There are so many fans gathering to share their costumes and nerdy T-shirts it feels like that scene in First Contact where Data says the Earth has a “population of 9 billion, all Borg.”
For myself, in the last year I was able to see Leonard Nimoy at the Salt Lake City Comic Con and William Shatner at the Washington, DC, Awesome Con. So do I really need to go to a Star Trek convention when I could go somewhere else and see folks in Starfleet uniforms and Final Fantasy costumes and Deadpool cosplaying as Gandalf?
I wasn’t sure about this question in 2014, when I went to my first STLV, so I asked some friends I made there: Marina Molnar, Justin Molnar, and Crystal House, who all made the trek (sorry) from Southern California to Nevada for the con.
They answered me with an overwhelming “yes.”
“I like the fandom. That’s what I love about coming to these,” said Marina, dressed up like a flapper from A Piece of the Action. “It’s like a big family reunion. Vegas Con is like coming home.”
Her brother Justin (with a matching zoot suit) continued, “Star Trek has always been a tightly knit community. You see people you met previous years. Everyone shares something very intimate. I wouldn’t want to dilute it from the Trekdom to general fandom.”
I agree with that, but only kind of. I mean, if this girl shows up again in Vegas this year, I think we should let her in.
While the big stars of the franchise, like Shatner or Patrick Stewart, will be widely accessible to the broader fan community, a dedicated Trek convention is the best place to rub elbows with someone like Vaughn Armstrong or Mark Allen Shepherd.
“A celebrity who’s only know for a supporting role on Star Trek is a huge celebrity here, but may not get as much attention at Comicon,” Crystal said.
With all the money generated by Star Wars and comic book movies, Star Trek cons are also a great way to remind The Powers That Be that Trek fans put their latinum where their mouth is.
“Star Trek Cons brought the franchise back. The studio realized the huge fan interest because of the cons,” said Crystal, whose love of Star Trek inspired her to pursue a career as a film/TV editor. “There’s so much more of a purpose to these conventions.”
And when the popularity of comic cons wanes, I suspect that Trek cons will still be going – if not at warp speed – at least at a strong full impulse.
“It’s still super relevant. Star Trek lasts forever,” Marina said. “I love that people dress up everywhere now, but we started this shit.”
The 2015 Creation Entertainment Star Trek convention runs from August 6 to 9 in the Rio Suites hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Learn more about it here. And look for TrekMovie’s guide to STLV coming up later this week!