By Jason Delgado
Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry had such an optimistic view of what our future could be like, it’s hard not to envy, especially during times like these. Different people or beings, from all different backgrounds, races, religions, and gender, coming together in a mission of peace, “to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before!”
William Shatner has played the legendary Captain Kirk for three seasons of television and seven films, yet he still does not know why Star Trek has been so successful. At least that’s what he said during his panel at Creation’s 55 Year Mission in Las Vegas. Shatner threw out many different guesses as to why the Trek franchise has had such staying power (the most amusing hypothesis to me was that in his younger days, he attributed the success to himself. A humorous admission for someone who has often been accused of being an egomaniac by certain co-stars), but the answer that rang true the most is that Star Trek is a message of hope for the future.
We’ve all experienced isolation to varying degrees during this pandemic, so what toll has that taken on us? I personally have noticed more anger and aggression from people out in public. More yelling, more fighting, more impatient drivers and people in general, which is a frightening thing to think about. We all have these pent up frustrations and emotions, but what would Roddenberry do? I believe that he would say that it’s time for us to put our differences aside and come together as one.
That’s why being at a pop culture convention again has meant so much to me. I’m sure it sounds like a trivial thing to many, but being amongst my people is of a value that cannot be measured. I came here to see stars like William Shatner, buy some memorabilia (I had Shatner sign a beautiful George Perez drawn Star Trek comic cover, and bought a Michael J. Fox autograph at a booth in the exhibit hall), and to check out the elaborate costumes, but much like San Diego Comic Con, it’s the people that I met in line who end up being the highlight of the show to me.
I was in line for a photo with William Shatner, when the person in front of me noticed a funny coincidence. I was wearing a T-shirt featuring the devil-like fortune teller machine from the Twilight Zone episode “Nick of Time,” featuring William Shatner, while the man in front of me was wearing a prop of the same “mystic seer” strapped around his waist. We struck up a conversation, and it turned out that his son, who was also in line with us, had built the prop as a special gift for his dad. That struck me as such a kind gesture, and it brought me back to how I used to bond with my grandfather over Star Trek and the Twilight Zone when I was young. My favorite part of the convention was chatting with this genuinely nice family from Oceanside, something that I normally would not do in other settings due to my introverted nature.
William Shatner went on an entertaining rant during his panel about the circle of life (since as he says, everyone assumes that he’s near death’s door at age 90), and about how everything is connected. What you put out into the world can and will affect other people, so why not be like Roddenberry and put out positivity? Live long and prosper my friends, everyone one of you, because we’re all in this together.
More about the Con:
The 55 Year Mission convention by Creation Entertainment was well-organized, despite a number of notable show guests canceling due to concerns over the COVID-19 numbers rising from the Delta variant. All attendees were required to either be fully vaccinated and to show proof, or to take a rapid COVID-19 test prior to entry, which takes about fifteen minutes. All attendees, regardless of vaccination status, were also required to wear a mask at all times (with signs posted in many locations and with staff enforcement), except for the photo ops outdoors, where a clear partition was between the celebrity and the guests. There were a large number of attendees, but it never felt crowded to me, even in the exhibit hall area. I felt quite safe at this convention due to all the measures taken by Creation Entertainment, and this may serve as a blueprint for future conventions to follow until we emerge from the pandemic.