STLV 2015 Day Three: William Shatner + Chakotay Makeup + Women of Voyager + Cosplay + More

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Today was by far the busiest day of the convention both in terms of guests and stars on the stage. Bill Shatner headlined the day in the way only the Shat can do. Karl Urban, who was supposed to make an appearance today, had a last minute cancellation leaving no one from JJ Trek at this year’s con. Today was also the day to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Star Trek Voyager, with lots of VOY panels.

William Shatner on Stage!
William Shatner made his entrance in classic Shatner fashion, dancing his way onto stage to the tune of, naturally, Elton John’s “Rocket Man”. The original James T. Kirk thrilled the crowd with a talk that was at times thoughtful, funny, and poignant.

He talked about his most recent documentary, “Chaos on The Bridge”, which chronicles the tumultuous first seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Shatner called it “the best documentary I’ve done”, and said that all the recent Star Trek documentaries he’s done have have given him more insight into the franchise than he had had when he was a part of it.

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He reflected on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and the challenges he faced making it and said that he “compromised my principle in order to be politic so that something would happen” and it subsequently caused his original vision to become diluted and resulted in the film that got released.

He spoke warmly about Grace Lee Whitney, calling her “a delightful light, so loving, so passionate, so THERE. She was a great gal.”

When asked about the passing of Leonard Nimoy, Shatner spoke at length about their long friendship and Leonard’s illness. In a very honest emotional moment, Shatner said that he hadn’t had a lot of close friends in his life, but felt a deep kinship with Leonard, saying “I loved him as the brother I wish I had.” He mentioned that the book he’s writing about their longtime association will be as much about male friendship and bonding as it will be about Leonard himself.

A fan asked him if he thought it was time for he and George Takei to make peace. Shatner completely disagreed, saying he “didn’t know” George, and didn’t understand where all the “mean-spirited comments” come from. He said that the rigors of being the lead of a television series consumed him, and that he was always friendly with George when he saw him, so he is completely mystified by the hostility. He said George has “blackened my reputation” over the last several years, and he has “no idea what he wants.” He ended by saying he wishes George peace.

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Michael Westmore Makes up Robert Beltran into Chakotay
For the first time in years, make-up wiz Michael Westmore put the signature Chakotay tattoo on Robert Beltran. While the actor patiently had the make-up applied, fans asked him a variety of questions.

One fan asked, “Who did you want to get together with on the ship?” Beltran replied, “You know my wife and daughter are here, right?”

“Who did you want your character to get together with?” the fan quickly amended. “That’s better,” Beltran joked, before noting he thought Chakotay should get together with Janeway, causing a huge swell of applause from the C+J shippers in the crowd.

But when it became apparent that such a relationship was off the table, he thought his character should wind up with B’Elanna Torres. This spurred a lot of boos and the cry from one particularly vocal fan, “She was taken!”

“No she wasn’t,” Beltran answered coolly. “Not yet. I was there. You weren’t!”

Another fan asked him if he personally had an animal totem, as Chakotay did. “I wish I could tell you I go to my teepee every night and talk to the spirit of my father, but I don’t,” he answered, a little tongue in cheek. “But I don’t.”

He elaborated that Chakotay’s spirituality was a touchy subject, because they didn’t want to offend anyone’s actual religious beliefs.

“It was a touchy situation,” he concluded. After that, with his makeup finished, his young daughter joined him on stage to uproarious applause.

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Michael Dorn Takes the Stage for an Absent Karl Urban
During Beltran’s appearance, it was announced at the last minute that Karl Urban – advertised as one of the event’s headlining guests – would not be appearing afterward. Urban’s absence meant that the rebooted franchise had zero representation at the convention.

Michael Dorn obligingly took the stage instead and answered questions from fans. Dorn took the opportunity to promote his efforts to get a Captain Worf TV series. Host Adam Malin joked, “Is it true the name of the series is Captain Worf and his Merry Men?”

Dorn paused while the audience goaded him on before erupting, in character, “Sir, I must protest. I am not a Merry Man!”

He later also said his favorite episodes were The Drumhead and The Offspring while his least favorite was Code of Honor.

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Thanks Michael for taking the stage in an emptying theater

Dame Joan Collins Talks About the Iconic Role of Edith Keeler
We were honored to have Dame Joan Collins, famous in the Trek world for playing one of the most iconic characters of all Trekdom, Edith Keeler. Joan was welcomed to the stage after a clip show of The City On the Edge of Forever and talked a lot about what the character of Keeler meant to her. When originally asked by her agent to consider a role on Star Trek Joan remember replying, “Star Trek? What’s Star Trek?” She went on to explain that her oldest daughter was a fan of the show and encouraged her to take the role.

She also spoke a lot about her role in Dynasty, working with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, and her interactions with the Royal family.

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Brannon Braga Talks Trek
Long-time Trek writer/producer Brannon Braga took the stage after the Voyager panel dispersed, joking to the much-smaller crowd, “I’m glad that some of you stuck around!”

Braga spoke candidly to the crowd about the highlights and lowlights of his career with Trek, which started as an intern on TNG and ended 15 years later when he was the “last guy standing.”
“Michael Pillar was my mentor and I owe everything to him,” he said.

A controversial star in the Trek cosmos, Braga often gets more attention for the lowlights than the highlights. Recently he went to Twitter to list his personal five worst episodes.

But nonetheless he has always been a fan first and is happy to engage (no pun intended). He started his session by saying, “I come because I like to see the fans, I like to talk to the fans.”

Braga’s career also includes winning one of very few Hugo awards for the franchise for co-writing All Good Things… He worked on that while simultaneously writing Star Trek: Generations.

“As most of you probably realized, the final episode turned out better than the movie,” he said. “I think the reason is we put more or our heart into it because we wanted it to be great.”

Along with Rick Berman, Braga co-created Enterprise.

“People seem to have warmed up to the show over the years, I’m glad that it’s finally getting its fair shake,” he said. “When Many Coto came in on season 4, it was like what the show should have been like from the beginning.”

One fan asked him about a complicated conspiracy theory wherein Cardassian Seska from Voyager was actually the same character as the Romulan T’Rul from DS9 – both were played by actress Martha Hackett.

Braga quickly dispelled the theory, noting, “Writing staffs of DS9 and VOY didn’t interact very much, but we had a friendly competition with each other.”

Braga discussed the difference between the serialization on DS9 and the more episodic nature of VOY, which he said works better in reruns.

“I don’t think 24 (which he’d worked on) works very well in reruns.”

Regardless, Braga did want Year of Hell to be a season-long arc instead of merely a two-parter.

Host Adam Malin asked Braga about the huge frustration he must feel when he develops a show that “tanks in the first season,” such as Threshold, whose stars included Brent Spiner and Peter Dinklage.

“It was just on the wrong network,” he observed. “I don’t know why CBS even picked it up.”

On the other end, Braga’s had success with his work on Cosmos, which is being considered for a second season. His show Salem has also been renewed for a third season.

And with success there, maybe Braga will someday be able to help bring Trek back to TV.

“I’ll tell you, as a fellow fan, I want to see another Star Trek show,” Braga said. “It’s a TV show more than it is a movie. I’m waiting for Star Trek to come back right along with you.”

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The Role of Women in Voyager
TrekMovie was represented by Kayla Iacovino at the Women of Voyager panel today, hosted by Mary Czerwinski and panelists Jarrah Hodge and Amy Imhoff. The quartet talked about strong female roles on Star Trek Voyager and the influence those characters have had on strong female characters in TV and movies in the 20 years that have passed since Voyager first aired. Fans chimed in from the audience about how they were inspired by Trek’s strong female characters and what Star Trek and other modern franchises need to do to properly represent women.

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Great Couples of Cosplay
One of the great things about Star Trek costuming is hearing about how people got started and for many couples it has been a great way to have fun together!

Juliet Hamak and George Yefchak (Fremont, CA) have been coming to STLV for several years. They are both professional musicians and met in an orchestra. Juliet recalls that she was a little apprehensive to costume at first because she wondered how many people really costume at conventions. After arriving at the convention she realized that almost everyone does! She immediately changed into costume in a nearby bathroom and has been proudly donning her Starfleet colors ever since. She said, “Something we really look forward to is that everyone is really nice and [the con is such a] positive environment.”

So costumes are not only a great hobby for Trekkies but Trekkie couples as well. More to follow!

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Juliet and George

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Oren and Bill

More amazing costumes!

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Prodigal Son

Beltran’s a nice guy and a good actor, but the poorly drawn (by the writers) character of Chakotay never really did go anywhere interesting.

Prodigal Son

Absolutely love the dude in the Pike-mobile….awesome costume!!!

Cygnus-X1

Wow, it’s cool that Joan Collins participated.

And, of course, Shatner. I really hope George Takei doesn’t feel the need to respond in public to what Shatner said there in answer to a question.

I have sympathy for Brannon Braga and appreciate his contrite attitude over the years, but his remarks to raise the question of why he and Rick Berman didn’t “put their hearts” into Generations as they did with the TNG finale. Seems like potentially a whole area to explore there that wasn’t followed up on.

Harry Ballz

Shatner looks like he’s lost some weight!

Quick, slap him in a girdle, hide that double chin and cgi about 20 years off his face!

Then stick him in a cameo for the next movie!

Uh, Star Trek will go on, but he won’t.

For the 50th anniversary, it’s a no-brainer, no?

IDIC Lives

#4 Harry Ballz

Yes, it is a no-brainer.

The Captain is nearly the last man on the ship, which perhaps is as-should-be. Shatner has done more than anyone for a number of years now, to keep Star Trek alive. He doesn’t need the $ made for hectic con appearances. He refers to Trek as a human myth along the lines of the Greek gods and the ancient Egyptians; only Trek is a future-myth, a guidepost tour evolutionary path. He has become wiser.

But he might be immortal, Harry (yeah, dream on). He is an audience member and there is a brief interview with him on Ray Kurzweil’s “Transcendent Man” video on immortality, the singularity, and the future being a bold, good place if we make it so.

IDIC Lives

should read “a guidepost on our evolutionary path.”

IDIC Lives

#3. Cygnus X1
I agree, George Takei is powerful as he presents the history of Japanese Americans like his family and himself who were put in internment camps during WW2 in America. He is powerful on gay issues.

But he does himself a disfavor at this point to keep knocking Shatner from 50 years ago.

Kev-1

Nice convention coverage. Thank you!

Tom

#4 Harry Balz

Without a doubt a no brainer. I still cannot believe they are not putting him in the movie for the 50th anniversary. Mind boggling choice by Paramount, JJ, Lin, Pegg

Surprised nobody asked him about the new movie at the convention

kmart

cyg3,
I imagine the dif regarding ALL GOOD THINGS and GENERATIONS has to do with studio notes as much as anything else. The studio probably didn’t give a hoot about the series finale, except to get it done so they could prep the feature and get VOYAGER sets in place.

Plus on the finale there wasn’t enough time to incorporate a ton of back & forth (I think the only major change to AGT was dropping a 4th timeline involving the Borg and having Picard steal the Enterprise out of a museum.)

But there was time for interference and interaction on GEN, plus it was uncharted territory for these guys to do a feature. Berman even had a ‘real’ movie producer, Bernie Williams (formerly on THE PRISONER and A CLOCKWORK ORANGE), riding herd on the production, though my take is that he did more harm than good in how he dealt with the film’s director.

Too many boxes to tick off, not enough creative brilliance (they really couldn’t come up with a story to go with the poster notion of the -A and the -D shooting at each other? I bet the Reeves-Stevenses could have done that on the fly!) … plus they’re just not telling the right story, let alone in the right way. Themes in GEN are of interest … but the whole thing just seems so haphazard, and it is a shame as I think Director Carson has a very strong eye and that his DP delivered very good work.

I tend to blame Berman for nearly everything and Braga for large hunks of the problems in later ModernTrekEra, but on GEN there is blame enough to go around to pretty much all concerned.

kmart

Oh, and BRIAN DREW:
This is very belated, as your review of RETURN TO TOMORROW ran quite a ways back, but I only just found an online source for my print review of RtT in the March issue of ICG magazine of RtT. It is at:

http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/b4a2bd2f?utm_content=buffer5236b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer#/b4a2bd2f/72

and I hope you enjoy it (there are a couple typos and an editorial goof in it, plus a couple of pics of the ship that must be grabbed from some CG site cuz they’re sure not from the movie, but I’m 90% satisfied with it.)

Herb Flynn

Shatner’s full statement was a little more detailed than covered here and shed a lot more light into his side of things.

His full response was posted on the “Roddenbery” Facebook page with a pix of Shatner.

https://www.facebook.com/roddenberry/photos/a.398525478143.175643.39143388143/10153017993218144/?type=1&theater

Cygnus-X1

10. kmart – August 9, 2015

Blaming Generations on Paramount’s creative intervention seems a plausible enough explanation, though it still leaves the question of why Braga attributed the greater success of the TNG finale to “putting their hearts into it to make it good” and why he and Berman did not do likewise on Generations.

By far the biggest failure with Generations was the writing. That’s almost always the case with Trek movies. The production and performances were all fine. The exceptions to this rule that I’d note are TMP, which suffered from over-indulgent editing/pacing and TFF which, in addition to its script, suffered from some production flaws. But, most of the time, the weakest link in Trek movies is the writing, the writing, and the writing.

kmart

13 Cyg,
Have you ever read the unpublished Piller book on the writing of INS? It’s a pretty good look at how ideas get changed during development, and how a writer can lose objectivity about what they have done too.

TUP

If Takei outlives Shatner you can bet he will be the first “Trek” guy to stand in front of the cameras and gush about what a wonderful person he was. He will do that because he’s a shameless whore.

TUP

Shatner’s full statement is very interesting. You get a sense of frustration and its true that Takei has tried to sully Shatner’s reputation for no reason.

Shatner really comes across as a professional actor and someone that takes it seriously. At his age, to still be working and being committed to his work as he is, its obviously very important to him. He doesnt seem emotional about the work.

Wheras someone like Takei who is a supporting cast member of a huge franchise and nothing more, he probably does have a lot of emotion about the one thing that made him a lot of money.

Obviously Shatner loves Star Trek, but its a part of his professional career, not an emotional thing to him, or so it seem to me.

Takei owes Shatner a lot. He should send him a big bouquet of flowers every day of his life because if not for Shatner, Takei doesnt get to make a boat load of cash off Star Trek all these years and in 2015, no one gives a rat’s behind what George Takei has to say if not for William Shatner.

Shatner is also far more gracious than I would be. He could easily attack Takei for being an average-at-best actor, a bit player in a TV show…if Bill’s ego was so out of control, Takei is lucky he doesnt hold a grudge because at any time if Shatner had said “Fire George or I wont be coming back”, George would have been out of a job.

Funny how GT really ramped up his BS after the TOS films were well in the past. I would LOVE to have heard the JJ films wanted to cameo all living TOS actors and Shatner had George blocked…but you know he wouldnt do that.

Takei can &*%@ right off already.

Tom

I wish he were talking about appearing in the new movie and generating excitement for it and the 50th anniversary. Instead we get talk about the ongoing issues with Takei. I guess we are coming up with 50 years of that as well.

kmart –

Great review! I really enjoyed it. Loved how you placed TMP within the context of other sci fi pictures of the time, which is something I should’ve done, since it was such a seminal time for sophisticated FX like TMP was attempting.

Question – the stills you used of the Big E looked fantastic. What is the source for those?

Again, great work.

Brian

Cygnus-X1

14. kmart – August 10, 2015

Have you ever read the unpublished Piller book on the writing of INS?

No, but I did read that he began writing that script as a Heart of Darkness-themed story, but it was deemed to dark and so he largely re-wrote it.

IDIC Lives

#11 kmart

Well, now I know why you are “kmart.” :-)
Loved reading your review, excellent.

Disinvited

#11. kmart – August 9, 2015

FWIW the entire issue, worth a read in and of itself, is retrievable as a pdf from a link provided on that page:

http://viewer.zmags.com/static/production.zmags/j4X_pdf_8f85e790c6cc8c24e6cc33ba77742abb

And I second Brian’s kudos for that article and the other contributions that you made in that issue.

kmart

Brian,
I sent them a bunch of grabs from trekcore as reference, and captioned those, but the E shots in dock and sunrise in the article are, I’m pretty sure, from a guy who did CG recreations. I remember going through google images when I saw the article, cuz I couldn’t understand how they could have altered the original images so extremely. Theres’s something soft and undetailed about the ship in dock that really bugs me, but then I am extremely model-centric with my focus, so I have an allergy to most (not all) Cg renders.

Thanks to you all for the feedback; they only cut one really big chunk out of my review, which focused on Leon Harris’ comment about Kirk’s rec deck scene being mis-staged. I postulated how much more effective it might have been if Kirk went among his crew, like Dax (no relation) does before battle in Kubrick’s PATHS OF GLORY. But losing one graph is no biggie, really.

raffie

I have no idea what Braga is mumbling about in that tweet, I liked 4 out of those 5 episodes as much as any other TNG episode that isn’t “Shades of Grey”.

TUP

Star Trek: The Cruise announced for January 2017 on the NCL Pearl. William Shatner will be on board. Intrigued…..

IDIC Lives

#25 TUP

Mind boggling? Why do I say that?
So I’ll settle for “intriguing!” as well.

TUP

I did an NCL cruise last year. Boston to Bermuda. Had a lot of fun. Was supposed to take another this year, New York to Bermuda but my travel buddy had to cancel. He’s a bigger Trek nerd than me. He seems interested in this too.

Good itinerary also. Three ports (if I recall), out of Miami. Could be fun!

BatlethInTheGroin

I’ve spent a good deal of time with both Takei and Shatner on a number of occasions, in a professional capacity. Both are quite likable, approachable and downright hilarious at times. But both can also be self-absorbed and single-minded in their determination to be the center of attention. The big difference between them, in person, is that Takei is too focused on what happened to him in the past to move forward, while Shatner is too focused on what happens to him in the present to look back–and the end result is that both seek the spotlight a bit too much, to the detriment of those around them. As such, it’s no surprise that these too don’t get along. Deep down, they’re far more alike than either would care to admit. That being said, I have a lot of respect for them both. Despite what some folks are saying here, Take and Shatner have each had fascinating and varied careers beyond Star Trek, and both are truly interesting people to talk to. I wish this stupid feud would end–it’s been 50 years guys–and they could just focus on enjoying the final years of their careers. If they each agreed to stop answering questions about their disagreements, the issue would quickly fade away, and everyone involved–Takei, Shatner, their co-workers, and the fans–would be much happier.

Disinvited

#28. BatlethInTheGroin – August 13, 2015

In SoCal we have our 3 PBS stations tied to educational institutions in one way or another and George was on one with a student interviewing him about WWII, et al, and the conversation turned to STAR TREK and then the “Feud”. And Takei took a sort of “let me teach you a little something about the entertainment biz” with the student interviewer. From his response, it doesn’t appear he takes Shatner’s overtures and public statements about it seriously. He went on to explain how PR driven the industry is. And he didn’t even seem to blame Shatner for a lot of it as he explained how managers, agents and pr people try to goose air time by manufacturing headline grabbing statements. He seemed convinced this is just a buzz generator rolled out whenever some new project or event requires a piece of publicity, and he’s more than willing to play along to get likewise for his.

Disinvited

This Examiner interview from June of this year:

http://www.examiner.com/article/george-takei-on-shatner-feud-it-s-all-coming-from-bill

comes closest to expressing George’s sentiments as I recall them.

*

Also interesting in digging that up I came across this, ‘Shatner Dishes on His (Fake) Feud With J.J. Abrams:

http://www.amc.com/talk/2008/12/shatner-dishes

which has been covered before at Trekmovie but it just occurred to me:

“There’s more of a game going on than most people realize. The game reached its apex when J.J. said somewhere on-camera “When did my life become William Shatner talking to me on YouTube?”

That made the whole thing worthwhile to me. I laughed out loud because that was the whole idea, to goad him into some kind of reaction — to manipulate the airwaves to get to him. It was really just for fun, and he obviously got it: It’s a public love letter to J.J., and I hope he’s laughing as much as I am because I’m having a delightful time.

What’s funny is that when they [Bad Robot] were talking to me before the movie started filming, they showed me a script. They said, “Now don’t tell anybody about the script.” I read it and thought it wasn’t very good, but it turned out it wasn’t the script at all. I think it was a fake script they were giving to people!” — William Shatner

What script had they showed him that he thought wasn’t very good? And at that point he claimed to have never seen the film so how did he come to the conclusion that it was “fake”?

Cygnus-X1

It was probably the actual script of STID.

TUP

Why would they show him a script for STID if he wasnt in it?

And honestly, its more disrespect to William Shatner. Can you imagine them handing Harrison Ford a fake script, telling him it’s the real one?

Shatner is very, very active with his fanbase. And he brings a ton of press. He got more positive press for Trek 3 than Bad Robot or Paramount have managed to at all.

Even if someone at BR or Paramount doesnt like Shatner, from a business perspective it makes very little sense to not include him. Quite frankly he deserves to be treated a lot better.

If Im a top exec at Paramount, that’s my first edict – bring Shatner back into the fold. FIlms, TV shows, attractions. This guy is a wonderful ambassador. The problem is, he is exceptionally wealthy, very busy and isnt going to bend over for the studio just “because”.

Disinvited

#32. TUP – August 17, 2015

“Why would they show him a script for STID if he wasnt in it?” — TUP

As the character, Senator Beauregard Claghorn, inspiration for the WB’s animated Foghorn Leghorn, from Fred Allen’s old Allen’s Alley segment of his Radio Show would say, “Ah say. Ah say. That’s a joke, son.”