“To boldly go where no man has gone before”. There are few phrases that are more globally-recognized than this one. “May the Force be with you” is a just as well known but Star Trek has boldly gone into so many aspects of our lives that every year in Las Vegas Creation Entertainment celebrates the anniversaries and birthdays of the shows, its creators, and celebrities who are considered synonymous with Star Trek. This year was extra special with the celebration of what would have been show creator Gene Roddenberry’s 100th birthday and the 55th anniversary of Star Trek’s first voyage into our living rooms. Between these anniversaries and birthdays and those from the cast and shows this year was a busy, star-filled event.
Gene Roddenberry’s name is linked to Star Trek for all time as well it should be. Roddenberry flew 89 missions during WWII before becoming a commercial pilot for a while. He eventually followed his father and got a job with the Los Angeles Police Department which gave him the geographical advantage to start writing freelance scripts for shows like Highway Patrol but it wasn’t long before he created his own series called The Lieutenant. Two years later and 55 years ago he got a show on the air named Star Trek which went for three seasons and was cancelled. After a series of failed shows Roddenberry’s television career was saved by syndication where Star Trek did so well that movies were green-lit as well as an animated series and eventually spinoffs. 100 years after his birth Trekkies from all over the world came to Las Vegas, despite COVID-19 still being a global epidemic, answering the call to boldly go to be among like minded people who are quick to make friends and are all there to honor this vast universe called Star Trek.
Creation Entertainment, the company behind Star Trek Las Vegas, and lots of other conventions with fierce fan bases for everything from the soap opera General Hospital to Stranger Things to Xena, always treats STLV as a near religious experience which is how many of the fans consider it. People with troubled lives turn to different things to help and fandom in shows like Supernatural often help and Creation gives fans a chance to find this outlet. There are photo and autograph opportunities with not only the lead actors but favorite characters as well and lots of panels where they get to ask questions of the stars, sometimes breaking into tears. Though the convention is technically a “Star Trek” one there are folks from all different sci-fi universes from Star Trek Discovery like Anthony Rapp to Holly from Land Of The Lost who makes it every year with a huge winning smile, this year hidden behind a Land Of The Lost face mask but you know it’s there.
Creation has been around for 50 years and it shows, with 10 years under their belt in Vegas where keeping cons going can be particularly tricky. This year they managed to get William Shatner who is celebrating his 90th birthday, George Takei (though never on the same stage with Shatner), Walter Koenig, Rainn Wilson, Shohreh Adhdashloo (great in The Expanse), and Kelsey Grammar and those were just the top billed. They had 100 celebrities lined up, and though a few celebrities and concession booths backed out understandably due to COVID, the panels were terrific and creative. From a LEGO Master Samuel Hatmaker teaching how to make a zombie red shirt to an all ladies DS9 panel. My personal favorite was What Shakespeare Leaves Behind by Jeffery Combs, Vaughn Armstrong and Casey Biggs. The themes for this year were United We Stand and We Are One, One Are We. The second one sounds a little Borg-like but if you stop to think of it both are about unity and acceptance as just being one, despite religion, politics, skin color and sexual orientation. During a Star Trek Discovery panel Blu Del Barrio was welcomed enough to open up about not just their experiences in Trek but in life in general. One thing that you take away from when it comes to Trekkies is they make you feel welcome, more so than most other fandoms. The other fandoms good about caring wind up with representation at STLV or/and a Creation convention to be around like minded people.
One of the nicest things at the convention was the main hallway where numerous quotes and photos of Gene Roddenberry were on display. They showed he was more than just the creator of a television series he was a deep and caring individual and his belief in caring for each other regardless of differences came through in not just his show writing but in quotes from his whole life. He would have been 100 and yet he is still dearly missed.
Creation Entertainment’s Star Trek Las Vegas chose to call this year’s convention “United We Stand” and it showed in the guests, the Creation people and most importantly in the fans. It is one of my favorite conventions I cover every year and I’m already looking forward to the next one. And if Star Trek and science fiction in general isn’t your thing there are so many other cons to choose from, just check Creation Entertainment’s page to find one maybe more to your liking. After seeing a panel with a few Supernatural stars, who also had been on a Star Trek series, in it I found I really want to catch Supernatural Con when it hits Las Vegas next year.