Salt Lake Comic Con 2016 Recap

This year’s Salt Lake Comic Con opened in the Vivint Smart Home Arena with Mark Hamill. Traditionally celebrity panels are held in the Grand Ballroom of the Salt Lake Convention Center, which accomodates around 5,000 people. This year two events (Mark Hamill and William Shatner) were moved to the Arena because it allows for up to 20,000 attendees and is located just west of the convention center.

Nothing definitive yet for the ongoing lawsuit between San Diego Comic-Con and Salt Lake Comic Con. The latest news reported in May says they are working towards a settlement and that a decision is expected to be made by mid-October.

Mark Hamill

There weren’t 20,000 people in attendance, but the lower bowl and the floor around the stage were almost completely full, with some people bleeding into the upper bowl. I heard one estimate that 10,000 were in attendance for Mark Hamill. Had the event been on Saturday instead of Thursday at 11:00am I’m sure it would have completely filled up, but as it was Mark Hamill had only one day in Salt Lake City before leaving to attend Fan Expo Canada the same weekend.

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Coverage of Salt Lake Comic Con 2016

It’s that time of year again (that time being all the time, it seems). Where 120,000 attendees will come out of the woodwork for Salt Lake Comic Con.

As always I will be attending the convention and checking out the panels and reporting back to you.

This year sees the introduction of the what I’m calling super attendance panels in the Vivinent Arena, allowing up to 20,000 participants to see Mark Hamill and William Shatner. In the past, the Grand Ballroom within the Salt Lake Convention Center was the largest panel space available, offering around 5000 seats. Whereas in the past people have had to stand in line for hours and sometimes still not get in to a particularly popular guest panel, the expectation is that anyone wishing to attend either of those panels should be able to.

The list of attendees is very broad (a full list can be seen here). If you have questions you might want addressed or specific celebrities or fandoms, please see my meta question. If they attend the press conference or I attend their panel, I might get a chance to ask them something.

Salt Lake Comic Con runs from Thursday September 1st through Saturday September 3rd.

Star Trek 50 Day 5: Getting deep into DS9, Star Trek writers reflect on the TNG era, and the Star Trek Rat Pack steals the show!

Star Trek 50 in Las Vegas!

Sunday, August 7th was the fifth and final day of the Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration here in Las Vegas. After the previous day’s three captains — Shatner, Bakula, and Mulgrew — in addition to Walter Koenig, Michael Westmore, and the crowd-pleasing Star Trek The Concert, one might wonder how Day 5 could hope to top all of that.

Quark's Bar

Upon arriving at Quark’s Bar this morning for some much-needed tea and coffee, it was clear that some of the festive spirit of the first four days had succumbed to the realization that the celebration was nearly over. There were hugs and even tears as some convention-goers were saying goodbye to friends, old and new, before rushing off to catch flights. The crowd of more than 6000 people who jammed themselves into yesterday’s Shatner session and last night’s Nevada Pops concert had been whittled down by Sunday travel plans (and perhaps also by raging hangovers), but it was nice to see that the Leonard Nimoy Theatre was still at near-capacity for the morning panel sessions.

Vendors' Area at Star Trek 50
Last chance to grab memorabilia or autographs from the Vendors’ Area!

Today’s programme had fewer items on it, but it was still an amazing day with some of the most candid and intense panel sessions of the entire convention — especially the incredible six-person DS9 session! You can read all about it below.

R2D2 at Star Trek 50
Characters from other franchises wishing Star Trek a happy 50th birthday…

(Coverage of previous days’ events can be found here.)

Day 5 Round-up

Q&A and Music with Casey Biggs (Damar, DS9) and Vaughn Armstrong (Admiral Forrest, Enterprise)

The day began with an energetic session with Casey Biggs and Vaughn Armstrong! Regarding Damar’s drink of choice, kanar, Biggs had this to say:

BIGGS: I want each of you to go home and pour yourself a two-and-a-half ounce glass of carob syrup. And pretend that you like it.

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Star Trek 50 Day 4: Captains Shatner, Bakula, and Mulgrew, Bakula’s talking to Fuller, more TNG stars, Walter Koenig, and Star Trek The Concert!

Today was one of the most anticipated days of the Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration here in Las Vegas!

Why? CAPTAINS! We had William Shatner (Captain Kirk), Scott Bakula (Captain Archer), and Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway) — not to mention Walter Koenig (Chekov, TOS) and Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Michael Dorn (Worf), and Marina Sirtis (Troi) from TNG!

The evening entertainment was provided by the The Nevada Pops performing Star Trek The Concert, a programme of instrumental music from TOS to the reboot films and everything in between!

It was a crazy, jam-packed day and you can read about it all below! The sessions were spell-binding for the most part, although I do take issue with the Jonathan Frakes / Michael Dorn / Marina Sirtis session, which I felt was unnecessarily combative with the audience. My recap of that is also below.

The sessions with Kate Mulgrew and Scott Bakula were fantastic, and there’s even a little something for Babylon 5, Quantum Leap, and Star Wars fans below!

(Coverage of previous days’ events can be found here.)

Star Trek 50 in Las Vegas!

Day 4 Round-up

Costume Parade / Contest!

We finally made it to the Costume Parade, where hundreds of cosplaying Star Trek fans, some in incredibly elaborate costumes, marched around the convention centre in the early morning and arranged themselves for a massive photo-op in the Leonard Nimoy Theatre.

One awesome costume I spotted today was a fan dressed up in a homemade but extremely accurate white engineering suit from the TOS films. Later, I saw a group of fans dressed as a Minions version of the TOS crew!

Later in the day, the Costume Contest took place, during which Terry Farrell (Dax, DS9) was a guest judge. Here are the winning efforts:

  • 4th Place: a pair of space jellyfish from TNG “Encounter at Farpoint”Space Jellies from "Encounter at Farpoint"!Jellyfish Aliens at Star Trek 50
  • 3rd Place: a TholianTholian!Tholian at Star Trek 50
  • 2nd Place: a couple of guys with phaser rifles dressed in the spacesuits from First Contact
    Assimilate This!
    “Assimilate this!”
    First Contact Costume at Star Trek 50
  • 1st Place: a little more obscure, the aliens from the end of TOS “Catspaw”Sylvia and Korob from "Catspaw"(Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snap a photo of these costumes, but they were a nearly exact replica of the ones seen in the screenshot above.)

Michael Westmore Borgification Demonstration!

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Star Trek 50 Day 3: New TOS footage, George Takei, getting candid with TNG and Voyager stars, and a DS9 documentary in the works!

I’ve just finished the third day of my 5-day mission to bring you the best of the Star Trek 50th Anniversary celebration in Las Vegas!

Things are really heating up here! The festivities started early today with the Starfleet Academy Cheerleaders who gave us a pep rally as the crowds shuffled in for the morning programme. The Leonard Nimoy Theatre in the convention centre was bursting at the seams as attendees with weekend-only passes began to show up. At the high point, more than 5000 fans were packed into the theatre!

And today’s programme was nothing short of stellar, including:

  • An announcement of a project that will release long-hidden missing footage and audio from The Original Series
  • A deeply personal session with George Takei
  • A rare convention appearance by Kirstie Alley
  • A bunch of stars from TNG and Voyager with some hilarious interviews!
  • An announcement of a forthcoming DS9 documentary with a plot for Season 8, Episode 1!

(Coverage of previous days’ events can be found here.)

Star Trek 50 in Las Vegas!

Day 3 Round-up

Costumes

My favourite costumes today were:

  • A pair done up as the Borg Queen (complete with tubes in her occipital and parietal lobes and flashing LEDs embedded in her chest and abdomen) and the human skin-job Data from First ContactData and the Borg QueenBorg Queen and Data Costumes
  • A fan costumed as Armus from TNG “Skin of Evil” (the black slime creature who killed Tasha Yar) — I’m not sure how this fan was able to breathe with the full-body shiny black plastic encasing him and so he gets extra kudos!Armus from "Skin of Evil"Armus Costume
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Star Trek 50 Day 2: Ferengi fun, Whoopi Goldberg, and Klingon karaoke!

The Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration continues in Las Vegas with Day 2 (Thursday)! On today’s menu were

  • panel sessions featuring prominent guest stars from various Star Trek television incarnations over the years
  • Michael and Denise Okuda, who were promoting a soon-to-be-released massive update of the Star Trek Encyclopedia
  • Whoopi Goldberg, undeniably the highlight of the day!

The festive spirit was even more palpable today than yesterday, with participants continuing to arrive, bringing with them an increasing number and complexity of costumes, and musical acts such as The Roddenberries treating fans to impromptu gigs in the corridors! Not to mention the copiuous amounts of Romulan ale flowing at most times of day from Quark’s Bar….

Below, I’ll fill you in on what went on during the panel sessions and on some generally interesting things I spotted during the convention.

(For coverage of yesterday’s events, click here.)

Star Trek 50 in Las Vegas!

Day 2 Round-up

Costumes

The concentration of costumes is increasing with each day as we approach Saturday’s Costume Parade. While I saw many notable ones on Day 2, the one that struck me the most was a fan done up as the injured Christopher Pike from TOS “The Menagerie”. Not only were his facial wounds a perfect match for those on Pike, the individual was confined inside a 23rd-Century wheelchair exactly like that seen in “The Menagerie”! The wheelchair was mobile and he was accompanied through the convention halls by a Talosian in equally perfect costume.

Christopher Pike in "The Menagerie"

Pike and Talosian

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Star Trek 50 Day 1: Gorn Santa bearing gifts, Leonard Nimoy memories, and a raucous Klingon talk show

As promised, here begins our coverage of the Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas!

Star Trek 50 in Las Vegas!

Star Trek 50

To ensure smooth access to the panel sessions and special events on Day 1, we took advantage of pre-registration the previous evening. Despite this, we were still faced with a depressingly long queue. We were rewarded for our wait with a surprise in our registration packs: a Star Trek 50 commemorative coin. This was a nice touch!

Star Trek 50 Commemorative Coin

I rounded out the evening with a preview visit to the Vendors’ Area. Although the convention hadn’t officially begun, Garrett Wang (Harry Kim, Voyager) was already there manning his own table. I happily purchased a Captain Proton t-shirt from him while he complained at fans about not being promoted from ensign. Clearly, time doesn’t heal all wounds. He bid me farewell by offering me a “sci five” (a high-five in the shape of a Vulcan salute).

Garrett Wang at Star Trek 50
Garrett Wang (Ensign Harry Kim, Voyager)

What struck me upon arriving at the convention centre is how broad the appeal of Star Trek is. People from all walks of life were lining up for their registration packages. I couldn’t count the languages I was hearing. There were couples, families, groups of friends, and (c’mon, it’s Star Trek) distinguished loners. There were elderly folks and children. There were Klingons and Romulans, Bajorans and Cardassians, all brought together in a mutual love of all things Trek.

Leonard Nimoy Theatre at Star Trek 50

Resistance is Futile

Day 1 Round-up

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Coverage of Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration for SFF:SE!

We’re in for an exciting five days: the Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas!   Organized by Creation Entertainment, the fun starts on Wednesday 3 August and continues until Sunday August 7.

Star Trek 50 in Las Vegas!

I, Praxis, will be your (un)official SFF:SE correspondent. That’s right: I’m here in Las Vegas and will be reporting on each day’s worth of Romulan Ale-fuelled debauchery. I’ll endeavour to deliver any juicy morsels of little-known Star Trek lore that happen to be uttered in the panel sessions and generally report on the goings-on in this sea of special guests, rabid fandom, costumes, and merch.

Speaking of guests, the list is nothing short of incredible. Apart from a few notable absences (Patrick Stewart and Avery Brooks, unfortunately), nearly every living Star Trek actor will be present, including the indomitable William Shatner. We even have that poor guy who played Apollo in TOS whose nipples were taped over!

The full guest list is here.

I’ll also report any stray details regarding the new Star Trek TV series and upcoming films, should they be revealed.

So stay tuned over the next week as I provide your daily feed of Star Trek mania live from Las Vegas!

In the meantime, you can read about how a full-scale USS Enterprise had almost been built in downtown Vegas:

The Enterprise Has Landed

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Salt Lake Comic Con FanX 2016 – Celebrity Panels

Thanks to the more intimate experience at FanX 2016, I was able to attend several celebrity panels. Here are some notes from these experiences. Included here are Levar Burton, Alan Tudyk, Chandler Riggs, Gillian Anderson, and Kate Beckinsale.

Levar Burton

After receiving the first three questions in panel, which were all relating to Reading Rainbow, he made a comment that the people in Salt Lake City were a lot more sophisticated than those at other conventions. About half of the questions in the 50 minute session were focused Reading Rainbow.

The TV mini-series Roots has been remade and will be released Labor Day weekend. 4 two hour parts with 4 different directors. Levar Burton, a producer of the mini-series (and star of the original series), said it was an amazing feeling to be working on the project 40 years after making the first one.

Question: Why didn’t you have more relationships on TNG?

Burton: I don’t know. I mean, I think I’m a decent looking guy. Every member of the crew had sex on that ship, except for me. Even the android.

Question: The Leah referenced in “All Good Things…”, was that Leah Brahms?

Burton: Yes.

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Salt Lake Comic Con 2015 Summary

According to the founders, this year’s Salt Lake Comic Con had over 120,000 attendees, breaking their previous record. Thanks to better management the traffic moved smoothly and everyone was able to enter in a timely manner. Wider lanes in the main hall meant less congestion, and overall it was a very smooth event. SLCC also broke the Guinness World Record for having the most comic book costumed characters assembled in the same place. Which I guess… is something.

Here is a short summary of the panels I attended.

Designing the Starships of Star Trek Panel

This panel was hosted by John Eaves.

John Eaves is a designer and illustrator best known for his work on the Star Trek franchise, starting with Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. He served as a production illustrator on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Enterprise and was involved in all four Next Generation movies, specifically being responsible for the design of the Sovereign-class Enterprise-E. He also worked on a variety of films, such as Top Gun, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Valkyrie and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. – Wikipedia

John Eaves showed a number of design art pieces from Deep Space Nine, Voyager, Generations, First Contact, and Nemesis, and all three of the new Star Trek films. One thing that was interesting to me was when he said they used to receive a full script of the show or film, but with the secrecy today they only receive a 4 page summary of the parts they need to work on. He said he did a lot of design work for a character named Alice, only to later learn that it was Kahn in Into Darkness. ~

At the end of the panel he said he didn’t only work on Star Trek. He said that he had just finished working on Captain America: Civil War, and that he would be starting on Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on Monday, September 28th.

~ Some of these details may have come from the State of Trek: Looking Ahead to Star Trek at 50 Panel, I can’t necessary remember.

Ian Somerhalder Panel

I can’t tell you much about this panel, other than it started 30 minutes late (making it only 20 minutes total). Ian Somerhalder finally appeared on stage, answered a few questions, and departed.

Con Man Web Series: Sneak Peek Panel

The panel opened with guests Felicia Day, Sean Astin, and P.J. Haarsma. Alan Tudyk, who was on location in London for an unnamed role in the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie, was meant to participate live via Skype. When the time came to get him connected, he suddenly appeared on stage. The audience went wild.

Con Man is a crowd funded web-series starting Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion, with guest stars of Felicia Day, Sean Astin, and others.

Wray Nerely (Tudyk) is a struggling actor who starred as a spaceship pilot on Spectrum, a canceled science fiction series that went on to become a cult classic. Wray’s good friend Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion), who starred as the ship’s captain, has become an A-list movie star. Frustrated by Jack’s success and his lack thereof, Wray travels the science fiction convention circuit, makes appearances at comic book stores, and visits pop culture events. He navigates the odd people and incidents he encounters along the way while learning to love the fans he has. – Wikipedia

The panel showed two clips and premiered a trailer for Con Man. Based on those clips, it looks like a very funny series. The series is available on Vimeo on Demand starting September 30th.

Disney Infinity 3.0 Panel

I asked if any of the playsets deviated from movie events, and if so, were their stories canon. I received this reply:

The TWILIGHT OF THE REPUBLIC PLAY SET is a completely new story which went through all the approvals and is considered canon along side the movies, cartoons, and recent novels.

The panel also gave away 900 free Disney Infinity 3.0 characters to the participants of the panel. I received a Darth Vader figure. Later I came back and saw they hadn’t given them all away, I asked why not and the man behind the counter said they’d probably have extras, so he gave me a second figure, Sam Flynn, from Tron Legacy.