3000 enthusiastic fans attended the Toon Boom sponsored “Reunion of the Generations” at Montreal Comiccon 2012 last Saturday.
The reunion referred to the meeting on stage of two Starfleet captains – Kirk and Picard.
The auditorium opened at 7:00 pm and the first of the VIP guests came in and sat themselves front row and centre. On the left of the stage was a large white Toonboom.com banner, in the centre were a red Montreal Comiccon panel and two simple high-backed stools placed in front, to the right was the host’s podium. The organiser’s played a video of the Toon Boom “Out of this World Contest” on the screens which flanked the main stage at Montreal Comiccon.
Some ten minutes later the doors opened to the fans, who had stood patiently in line hoping to get good seats and maybe catch a smile from one of their heroes. As the fans ran to get the best position the atmosphere became one of excitement and anticipation. Once the fans settled in their seats, the host for the evening, local CTV newscaster Todd van der Heyden, came on stage. He spoke a few words of welcome and then introduced the sponsor for the evening Toon Boom Animation.
Joan Vogelesang, Toon Boom’s President and CEO approached the podium and spoke with Todd about the role of animation and how Toon Boom had recently worked with the MyOuterspace team to create the “Out of this World Contest” in which we asked entrants to animate William Shatner. The winner of this contest was Jeremy Appleman and as part of his prize he got the chance to work on the new sci-fi animation series The Zenoids.
Ms. Volgelesang concluded her informative speech and left the stage to a very appreciative round of applause from the audience.
The fans sat on the edge of their seats and the theme to Star Trek Generations played. Todd van der Heyden announced the guests, but was drowned out as a roaring cheer went up and the two captains walked on. The fans stood to celebrate these two sci-fi icons. William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk) and Sir Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard) were now standing centre stage and smiling broadly, delighted at the enthusiastic reception which they were receiving. They said “Hello” to the audience and a cheer went up!
Once the fans calmed down, the guests sat on the stools and turned to each other. William Shatner commented on the fact that this was a new thing for them to be on stage together like this and it should be fun. The host, Todd van der Heyden welcomed them both to Montreal Comiccon 2012.
The two actors quickly got into the swing of things. Patrick Stewart relating that it was his first visit to Montreal, he jokingly said that he had been told to forget anything you know about Canada because Montreal is just different. He then mentioned that Montreal was Shatner’s home town and that William Shatner could speak some very respectable French. He found this out when they went on a caleche ride the previous evening, he had called it a pony and trap but was told by Shatner that it was a caleche, a word Stewart had never heard before. The two actors continued to discuss Montreal and Patrick Stewart told the audience how they were out at dinner with Brent Spiner (Data on Star Trek Generations) on Friday evening and a constant stream of people went up to Shatner ignoring the other two actors and made comments like “I knew your Aunt Louise!” William Shatner said, that it’s always like that, having grown up in Montreal and attended McGill University and the fact that his father had 8 or 9 brothers he knew everyone.
The evening continued in the same fashion until the host announced it was time to have the fans ask questions. Patrick Stewart announced that he hoped he would not get asked what his favorite episode was as he always got asked that question. This led to a long comical exchange where William Shatner tried to get him to answer the question. Finally, William Shatner replied that this was Montreal his home town and the fans here wouldn’t ask such mundane questions.
A few lucky fans had been chosen earlier and were standing in line on to the far left of the stage. Some really interesting questions were asked including one fan who asked Patrick Stewart himself an accomplished Shakespearean actor, what was his favorite line from Macbeth is and could he recite it. After thinking for few seconds he spent some minutes reciting the speech. Everyone was spellbound.
Patrick Stewart also spoke about how he got the part in the Star Trek franchise and took it even after he received advice from several of his close friends in Hollywood who had thought that, while it was a very good thing to do – a sequel to such a successful TV series just wouldn’t last.
With question time almost over a dramatic voice makes comment off stage breaking into the reply to the final question. Unexpectedly, actor Malcolm McDowell (Dr. Tolian Soran in the film Star Trek Generations) walks onto stage to uproar from the fans.
Malcolm McDowell walked up to William Shatner and playfully put him in a headlock. Patrick Stewart, delighted, introduced his very old friend to the audience. Patrick Stewart first worked with Malcolm McDowell at the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK in 1966 18 months later McDowell was in a star playing a rebellious student in the Lindsay Anderson film “If“. He went on to make “A Clockwork Orange” which developed a cult following. Malcolm McDowell played opposite William Shatner and Patrick Stewart as Dr. Tolian Soran in the film Star Trek Generations in which he kills Captain James T. Kirk.
The three stars talked and reminisced for several minutes before Malcolm McDowell picked up Stewart’s hat and, holding it towards the audience, jokingly pan-handles for contributions as he leaves the stage.
The two actors continue to talk and relate anecdotes, including one about working with horses on Star Trek Generations. – In the movie there is a scene where Kirk and Picard are required to ride horses. William Shatner said that he has always had a passion for equestrian sports has ranch and breeds his own horses. For the scenes in Star Trek Generations he had one of his own horses while Patrick Stewart was provided with a studio horse. As William Shatner had more experience he suggested to Stewart that in order to avoid any chafing from riding a horse for a few days, he should buy some ladies lingerie and wear those on his legs. This would protect Stewart’s inner thighs from the rubbing of the horse’s withers. Patrick Stewart said that he understood and dutifully went off to get some suitable ladies lingerie. When it was time to do the scene, Patrick Stewart appeared on set wearing the ladies lingerie outside of his costume!
William Shatner then told the audience to think about that the next time they watch the scene and see those strong Starfleet captains riding horseback..we are wearing ladies lingerie!
The event came to a conclusion Patrick Stewart and William Shatner thanked the fans for a wonderful evening and said they might to it again sometime. The host thanked Patrick Stewart, William Shatner and special guest Malcolm MacDowell for spending time with the fans and making it an evening to remember.
Photographs; Copyright Peter Cawthorne, all rights reserved.