Star Trek Fan Event: Recap

So May 20th, Paramount held a one-night-only “Star Trek Fan Event” celebrating the upcoming film “Star Trek Beyond.”

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Invitations were largely won through a variety of sweepstakes (how I got in,) although there were the usual assortment of media and industry types.  They gave somewhat conflicting information about what you could and could not take into the event–I was told that I couldn’t take so much as a purse in, whereas other people walked in with large bags, cameras, etc.  After the usual check-in procedure, we were ushered through a mock-up of an Enterprise corridor into a circular bridge-like area for a series of presentations.

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The MC for the evening, Adam Savage from “Mythbusters,” started off with a quick discussion between “Star Trek Beyond” producer J.J. Abrams and director Justin Lin.

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Some of the topics discussed:

  • Abrams said that the lawsuit against the “Axanar” filmmakers will be dismissed, partly due to Lin’s insistence that it was a bad way to treat Star Trek fans.
  • Lin announced that “Star Trek Beyond” will premier at San Diego Comic-Con this year, July 20th, with outdoor IMAX and a live orchestra.  All the fans in attendance at the Fan Event will be given tickets.
  • Abrams hated the chair he was sitting in.

They then played some behind-the-scenes footage reminiscent of the behind-the-scenes footage Abrams brought from “Star Wars:  The Force Awakens” last year to SDCC.  This was followed by the introduction of Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Karl Urban.

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The three stars then fielded some questions from the Savage, the audience, and Twitter.

  • On whether they would be attending SDCC:  Pine–“I haven’t gotten an invitation.”  Urban (as McCoy)–“are you kidding? Comic-Con is full of disease and and danger and darkness!”
  • Bones and Spock end up spending a lot of time together in the movie and end up with a better understanding of each other.
  • Quinto’s favorite aspect of filming is getting together with the rest of the cast and crew which he considers family.
  • Urban liked that they filmed in Vancouver, which forced them all to hang out together and get closer.
  • Quinto says the theme of the movie is all of the characters trying to get back together and understanding the power of their unity.
  • Pine notes that past films have dealt with Kirk trying to live up to his father, while this film sees him searching to define himself on his own terms.

After they finished up, TV Producer Scott Mantz conducted a short trivia game in which audience members won props from the film for answering questions such as “what was the name of Edith Keeler’s mission in ‘City on the Edge of Forever?'”  (Answer:  21st Street Mission)

The entire room then adjourned to bleachers outside the soundstage for a short ceremony renaming the street after Leonard Nimoy.

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It was a particularly nice touch, given that it was right outside the soundstage where they shot ST: TOS back in the day.

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Then, a bevy of Orion Slave Girls sealed our phones into green pouches, and we went inside to watch the new trailer and a couple scenes from “Star Trek Beyond.”

Some thoughts:

  • The trailer looked much better to me than the initial one, but still seemed pretty similar to the action-filled trailers of the last two films.
  • The additional scenes they played really sold it to me, however.  Some quiet moments with Kirk and McCoy made it feel much more like a movie than a video game cutscene, and the obvious mirroring of a similar scene in ST: TWoK seemed much more respectful than the last time these movies referenced ST: TWoK.
  • The plot mechanics appear to be setting up one of those tried-and-true character development devices where unusual groups get marooned and isolated together and have to take their relationships to a different level to survive.
  • Karl Urban is terrific.

After getting our phones unlocked, one of the walls to the screening room opened up to reveal a party complete with DJ, open bars, appetizers, desserts, custom printed t-shirt stations, and costumes and props from the movie.

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Kirk’s suit
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Transporter photo op
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Krall’s throne
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I want Kirk’s coffee cup so bad.
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Spock’s uniform
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Krall’s…body suit? Armor? Skin?
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Kirk’s other uniform. He gets a pretty good wardrobe for a guy essentially in the military.
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Med kit and tricorder. I like how the tricorder went from the cassette player look back in the 60s, to the iPhone look in the 10s.
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Go on. You know you want to sit in it.

At the end of the evening, everyone (or at least everyone until they ran out) received a swag bag with limited edition poster, tribble, Spock ears, and premiere credential!

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In all, it was an amazing event–way more than I had imagined it would be when I showed up for it.  Probably one of the best parts was knowing that I’ll get to see the Star Trek premiere at SDCC without having to resort to homicide and espionage, as I almost certainly would have otherwise.  Thanks J.J.!

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