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Panel Name: Star Trek: The Next Generation Reunion
Topic: Most of the cast from Star Trek TNG discuss their time on the show and their experience working with one another
Featured Guests: Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Gate McFadden with William Shatner as moderator
Have you ever had a time where you got together with family for a holiday or a reunion, and sat around a table and had one of the craziest and uncontrollable conversations you could imagine, since you are so very close but never see one another? Well then you most likely know exactly how this panel went. A lot of attendees seemed to think it was out of control, but honestly it did just seem like a bunch of family members getting together with an audience. Shatner tried to control the whole panel and ask questions but with The Next Generation cast feeling so comfortable with one another, he just melded into that and was acting like the crazy uncle to the TNG family.
Once questions began, we sometimes got full answers and other times they moved on before the entire answer was finished, for example Michael Dorn was asked how he liked working with his fellow cast members as directors. He went into almost each one but ultimately described them using one word, sometimes followed by a story. Dorn said that Jonathan Frakes was loud, Gates McFadden was like a dancer because she had everything organized perfectly and seemed to glide from place to place, and for LeVar Burton he said “No” because of a time Dorn had done a take wrong and the way LeVar told him to change his action seemed like a person rolling up a newspaper and tapping a dog on the head saying “NO.”
The next question was about how influential Star Trek has been to the world and how it has changed the way we live from our technology to our entire culture and because of this, what are the best inspiring stories they have heard from fans. Gates McFadden told a story about a man who thanked her for helping him in his childhood because he was in foster homes that continually changed so everything in his life changed a lot but the only constant was that he got to watch Star Trek and felt like these characters were his family since they were always there for him. Definitely an awesome story which really gives a different look at how film, television and the entire entertainment industry makes people violent. Another good story that they all commented on was that of an amputee they met who had a wonderful spirit and during his recovery Star Trek and how they portrayed everyone in Starfleet even those with disabilities. The young man credited Star Trek as the reason he had the courage to continue. Now is when Marina Sirtis interrupts and says, “Man… Things just got real, how about a joke?”
If you saw the Gargoyles panel, you may have known what was probably coming and of course it was a joke about the French (hey, she is British, so of course it was about the French) This led to a more lighthearted discussion about what was the worst thing about their experiences on set. Michael Dorn wished his make-up was just for a movie and not a television show, and he mentioned another time his make up ended up with no eyebrows, which if you know Worf you will know how weird that may look. An obvious answer was that LeVar Burton hated his visor, not only could he hardly see a thing, but the actual vizor was screwed into his head to fit and the pad would press right against his temple and it gave him headaches all the time. At this point Shatner leaned over to Michael Dorn and asked if anyone had sex on the set, after a long and awkward pause, LeVar Burton raised his hand and said, “Yes, there was sex, but not between us.”
Going back to fan questions, everyone was asked their favorite villain and all at once they respinded, “Q”, but quickly Gates McFadden added in that she thought the Borg were excellent and that she would say those were her favorite, then Jonathan Frakes also mention the Romulan leader as a favorite for him. After this we got question like “Why are you so awesome?” to William Shatner, and acting advise, where LeVar Burton had a great answer saying, “Don’t. I say this because I try to talk everyone out of being an actor, because if I do, you were never meant to be.” Definitely deep and 100% true as this exact experience (just replace LeVar Burton with Futurama) is why I stopped acting.
Possibly one of the funniest moments was when they asked the person who asked William Shatner why he was awesome to ask a real question and he asked how old they were. All of them reacted the way just about the way everyone does to that question, children aside, but Marina Sirtis got up and walked up to him and make him correct himself to ask the women how young they were. We then get an announcement Shatner has to leave early to catch a filght, which left me kind of wondering, then why did you schedule him to be here? But the panel continued and the only real interesting things that happened were an anti-bullying conversation where a lot of personal stories were told by a bunch of the cast members where Marina Sirtis said that you should let it bother you, where Michael Dorn quickly added that sometimes it is more than just words, so always make sure you can take care of yourself and try as hard as you can to be peaceful but always make sure to be able and defend yourself.
The conversation moved to Michael Dorn’s run on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as Worf. Marina Sirtis lets out a huge grunt and says ,”Deep Sleep Nine, or as Jon calls it, Deep Throat Nine.” It basically just covers the, “what is your favorite?” and “what is your least favorite questions we already have and always have at any panel. The panel ended on a sour note as we hear one question is left and some rude woman asked what all the women thought of playing such stereotypical girly girl roles for Star Trek. I don’t really want to go into much more because if you know what Star Trek even is you should know how absolutely ridiculous that claim and question is.