The NSU team had the good fortune to attend the “Captain’s Panel” featuring the first appearance of all five Star Trek Captains (William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Kate Mulgrew, Avery Brooks and Scott Bakula) at a single event during Wizard World Philadelphia on June 2nd and we had fun at warp speed!
The panel started out with the Captains speeding around the hall in utility carts utilized by the convention center, apparently they highjacked these vehicles as they were getting bored waiting for the panel to begin, not unlike commandeering a Romulan ship or two as they have done over the years as Star Fleet Captains!
After the raucous start panel moderator Claire Kramer (“Glory” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) got things started by asking the actors several questions such as their experience and memories during their roles on Star Trek. Patrick Stewart shared that he was uptight and took his responsibility seriously and he was not happy with the other actors having fun on the set, but on a “legendary afternoon” meeting with the cast about his concerns the ongoing production of Star Trek: The Next Generation changed thereafter for the remainder of the series run, after Stewart decalred “We are not here to have fun!!” but the other actors soon showed him the error of his ways and his fondest memories was that of enjoyment for the rest of his work with the series cast.
William Shatner cleary enjoyed the spotlight as oppossed to Avery Brooks who answered several of the questions posed to him with a simple “no”. Patrick Stewart and Scott Bakula were entertaining and were not lacking for energy and enthusiasm, and Kate Mulgrew discussed her experiences as the first female Captain.
Scott Bakula spoke about his trepedation being asked to play the part of Captain Kirk but after learning that he would predate Kirk he had no problem accepting the role. William Shatner was asked of his opinion of actor Chris Pine in his role of Kirk in the new Star Trek reboot movies and he had nothing but praise for the work Pine did. Patrick Stewart shared a humorous story when asked about his relationship with Majel Barrett (Lwaxana Troi on ST:TNG) who he described as “Elegant and Chamingly Vulgar!” He told the audience that it was not until the third season that he realized that she was also the voice of the computer!
The panel concluded with convention attendees having an opportunity to ask questions, one of the most memorable was a women in need of a kidney transplant and how the on-line Star Trek communities had come out to support her, with one fan from England offering to donate his kidney to her. The actors were interested to hear her story and they all commented on how Star Trek and science fiction in general was much bigger than any of them could comprehend and how important a role it played in everyday in people’s lives. It was a fitting ending to a great event, it’s not too early to start making plans for next year’s Wizard World Philadelphia! The show takes place May 30-31 and June 1-2. As Captain Picard would say “Engage!”