Destination Star Trek is organised by Massive Events Ltd in association with Showmasters Ltd, under license from CBS Consumer Products.
This was my third time visiting Destination Star Trek at the NEC, Birmingham. It took place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday 25-27th October 2019.
Shuttlebay Doors Open
The doors opened for the public on Friday afternoon, with thousands entering the hall which featured four stages: Enterprise, Excelsior, Discovery and Voyager, an original series Enterprise bridge set and a Klingon bridge set, a props and costume exhibition, several art exhibits and lots of merchandise stalls selling everything from Vulcan ears to model starships.
Meet Your Heroes from Star Trek
Actors from each of the different series of Star Trek, The Original Series (TOS) George Takei, The Next Generation (TNG) Brent Spiner and Levar Burton, Voyager (VOY) (Fintan McKeown), Deep Space Nine (DS9) Chase Masterson and Discovery (DIS) Shazad Latif, Harry Judge, Anthony Rapp, Wilson Cruz, Ethan Peck, Alan van Sprang, Anson Mount and Harry Judge were available throughout the weekend for photoshoots and autographs.
Professional Photographs and Free Photo Opportunities
There were professional photo opportunities with many of the guests including Walter Koenig on the Enterprise NCC-1701 bridge or with JG Hertzler on the Klingon bridge set. There were also some professional greenscreen photograph opportunities, as well as a variety of free photo opportunities such as a Horta monster from the original series episode The Devil in the Dark, a Borg regeneration alcove and a Starfleet shuttlepod - all of which were thoroughly enjoyed by fans and myself!
Thousands of fans bought tickets to get an autograph, or to be photographed with their favourite actors. Virtual queuing worked very well to enable fans to be in the right place, at the right time without having to queue for long. And the crew members (blue shirts) and pit bosses (red shirts) - who let’s not forget are all volunteers did an excellent job of making sure everything ran smoothly. Standing in a queue, may sound boring, but at DST you are always going to be standing next to another Star Trek fan. I had some great conversations with fellow fans and I saw plenty of others using the time to talk trivia, swap stories and exchange ideas for photoshoots or inventive ways to have books, or props signed by guests. DST is all about shared passions and enthusiasm for Star Trek. Fans make a genuine effort to meet with friends they’ve met over social media, myself included.
My Interviews with the Guests
I was privileged as press to have the opportunity to interview several guests including Harry Judge (Admiral Gorch, Enterprise), Shazad Latif (Discovery), Wilson Cruz (Discovery), Anthony Rapp (Discovery), Stephen Manley (Young Spock, The Search for Spock). Scott MacDonald (Enterprise) and Sonita Henry (Kelvin Doctor Star Trek 2009).
Dominic Keating Interview
Suzie Plakson Interview
Star Trek Brought To Life By Dedicated Fans and Cos-players
Destination Star Trek is a wonderful place where the outside world doesn't exist. The worries of work, the tribulations of life, they’re all forgotten for three days.
Everywhere you look you can see, meet and talk to likeminded people. The dedication shown by the fans to this event is truly impressive. They feel strongly about the storylines, the characters and the actors. Everywhere you look theories are being debated and expectations of what might happen in new shows such as Star Trek: Picard, or Lower Decks are being discussed.
Cos-playing fans get a real kick out of meeting other Trekkies and are always happy to pose for photographs with them. I spotted many characters from Star Trek and even a few other TV shows. There were enough human starfleet officers to fill San Fransisco and a brilliantly costumed Benzite walking around in the Hilton Metropole bar. Back at the convention I saw a Gorn with furry paws shopping for a replica spaceship, a group of Ferengi's autograph hunting, and even a Kelpian hanging out at a merchandise stall reading comic books and graphic novels. A real highlight, that drew a crowd, was watching two cos-players dressed as Spock and Kirk staging a rather fierce and frenetic mock battle. It turned out to be father and son. Destination Star Trek is the place where this is reality. One species that I’ve never seen represented at Destination Star Trek is a Tellarite. Maybe next year!
A Touching Tribute
The event organisers put on a touching tribute to Aron Eisenberg who recently passed away. Fans were able to leave their thoughts and tributes to Aron. I wrote in the book of memories and got rather teary-eyed thinking about having met Aron only one year ago. He was a generous, warm and intelligent man. His presence will be missed across the Star Trek Universe. I know when I say that my thoughts are with his wife Mallisa and his Deep Space Nine co-stars at this time and that I speak for all Star Trek fans.
Talks and Panels
Over the weekend, the four stages offered a variety of well over 50 free and paid talks and demonstrations, including:
- Celebrating the Classic Star Trek Movies (George Takei, Robin Curtis, Stephen Manley). Paid.
- Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart). Paid.
- Discovering Season Two (Anson Mount, Ethan Peck, Alan van Sprang, Shazad Latif, Anthony Rapp and Wilson Cruz). Paid.
- Make It So, (Brent Spiner). Paid.
- Star Trek: Lower Decks Live satellite link up with Mike McMahan. Free.
- Star Trek The JJ Generation (Alice Eve, Sonita Henry). Free.
- Good Morning Klingons (JG Hertzler, Suzie Plakson). Free.
- Powerful Women of Star Trek (Denise Crosby, Alice Eve). Paid.
- Trek’s Ultimate Fighting Champion! (Lower Decks Radio Podcast). Free.
I absolutely loved visiting Destination Star Trek. I had three epic days! There was a great selection of Star Trek guests and talks. The Picard talk was especially fantastic. But the absolute highlight for me was meeting all my brilliant friends from Twitter.Rashid Uzzaman @rashiduzzaman82
I've always been interested in science. The character of Janeway inspired me to follow that path to become a physicist. The women in Star Trek are role models for me. DST is so exciting as it’s a celebration of the Trek universe I feel I know so well. Not just seeing the actors and writers but also the fans. I have a big group of friends on Twitter and meeting them at a Trek convention is a fun experience.Rachel Kirk @rvkirk
This was the first convention of any kind that I’ve ever attended. It was an amazing day. I got to meet and see my heroes today and it’s an experience I will treasure forever. Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart were excellent and I’m so pleased I was able to see them.Ryan Johnson @hapshade
What a fantastic event! I got three photos and five autographs and treated myself to some new Trek outfits. I met other fans that I only perviously knew through social media and did joint bridge shoots with them. Watched a screening, visited the museum, the gallery and the Picard exhibit. My highlight was seeing the Patrick Stewart talk, but every meeting, every conversation and every interaction was special.Val Green.
My first Trek convention but not my last! I had a great time meeting the actors I’ve watched on TV since I was a child and those that are now making great new Trek. I enjoyed the Picard panel, because Sir Patrick is a legend. The talk by Anthony Rapp, Connor Trinner and a couple of real ESA engineers was very entertaining. I even made a costume which being quite self conscious I never thought I would do.Allan Norris.
We have had a wonderful time at DST this year. It was great to see the toy display, the museum and the Picard exhibit. We attended the opening ceremony, Picard, the Oh My and Data talks, which were fun and insightful. The guests have been warm and friendly despite jet lag and tiredness. Stephen Manley had some amazing stories.Dan Lindley.
The venue for DST 2020 is announced as the Excel in London on the 13-15th November. Guests already announced are Kate Mulgrew, Jeri Ryan and Roxann Dawson. The event will be, in part, a 25th anniversary celebration of Voyager, which will be fantastic.