Today the doors to Comic Con opened earlier and we wanted to try and get in on at least one panel. After a couple of days with the hotel’s Wi-Fi being down, I had hoped it would be working today so I could compare prices of some items with what we’d see them for in the UK, but alas for the second day running it didn’t work.
We got to the convention centre at around 08:30 and thought we’d be queuing until 12:45 as that was the time of the panel we were waiting for. Unlike San Diego Comic Con the halls are emptied after each panel which means for the main rooms it’s unlikely you’re going to sit and watch back-to-back panels, but it also increases your chances of getting in. On the flip side of that it means that if there are two back-to-back panels you want to see in one of the main halls then you’re almost guaranteed to only be able to see one of them. As I was with my sister I had to hold back a little on the panels I’d have liked to have seen so this didn’t really affect us.
In order to avoid you queueing all day they also give out wristbands at some point during the morning whilst waiting inline which provides access later when you return to the queue. If you’ve got a wristband for a panel then you’re guaranteed entry. We were in the line until about 10:30 when we got a wristband for the Elementary panel.
To kill some time we went to the autographs area, and unusually I decided I’d go ahead and get William Shatner’s signature (he is best known for his role as Captain James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek), even though he was charging $80. It seemed an awful lot but I decided it was one of the few opportunities for it, and I didn’t want to pass that up. Finally we got his signature at around 10:55 – 5 minutes before he was scheduled to start signing!
We then stood in line for John de Lancie, the actor who played Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation as his was the shortest of the lines for the other Star Trek actors there. This actor and the others from the Next Generation were all charging $40, so seemed far more reasonable. I also got Michael Dorn (Lieutenant Commander Worf) and Denise Crosby (Lieutenant Tasha Yar) to sign my Star Trek book. I also paid $20 for a photograph with Eddie McClintock who played Agent Pete Lattimer on the Syfy series Warehouse 13.
By this time it was getting reasonably close to the time for the Elementary panel so we returned to the queuing hall and stayed there for the next hour until we were let in. When we got into the hall we were in the third row so had a great view of the panel. To start with they aired the first episode of season 3 which had not yet been broadcast in either the US or UK. This was then followed up with a really great Q&A panel with the cast which was one of the funniest I’ve been to. This panel actually encouraged my sister to decide to start watching the show (she set herself a reminder to buy the series on Blu-ray or DVD).
Returning to the autographs hall I managed to get signatures from more of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast: LeVar Burton (Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge), Brent Spiner (Lt. Cmdr. Data), Gates McFadden (Doctor Beverly Crusher), and Marina Sirtis (Cllr. Deana Troi). Brent Spiner was brilliant and joked about having remembered seeing me before at San Diego Comic Con – whilst I had seen him there once before it was in 2013 and not 2011 as he thought. Marina Sirtis also had a good chat with us commenting how she’s also British, but that she’s never been to Leicester herself.
It cost quite a bit to get all of these signatures, but it was something I thought that was worthwhile as it’s not often you get to see the (almost) full cast in one place. Star Trek: The Next Generation was a TV series I had watched when I was growing up and was a series I’d enjoyed with friends whilst in primary school and later in high school. To see and speak to them, even those I’d seen before, definitely made it seem worth the price.
We headed back to the show floor to look around some more and this time I got many more photographs of cosplayers in some pretty great costumes. From one of the stalls I got a Kenner Super Powers Red Tornado figure for $20, and a free novel from another stall. We didn’t spend as much time looking around as we’d already seen the majority of the stalls, and everyone we looked at during this afternoon were ones we’d seen previously. This time around I spotted Sgt. Slaughter – a wrestler who was popular in the 80s and had been turned into a G.I.Joe character for the animated movie.
We also went back to the Toy Hunter’s stall – this time we had a bit of a chat and my sister had her photo taken with him. I think my main focus during this afternoon had been to see what cool costumes I could photograph – though with how crowded it was most of the time I didn’t manage that many.
We left the convention centre at around 16:00 as we needed to be at the Star Trek event in the evening and I didn’t want to be late. To save some time we decided after dropping our things off at the hotel, to eat at the Five Guys place over the road from the Manhattan Centre. The food there was greasy and awful; both of us were not that keen on it at all. It was easy and convenient though, the purpose of “fast food” I suppose, but I imagine neither of us would eat there again.
After about an hour in the line for the event, we were let in to find out seat just after 18:00. It turned out that our seats were far better than I had realised and we were not only in the centre of the centre block, but also only 9 rows from the front. I could probably have used my DSLR for this event as it turned out, but I got by getting pictures with my phone instead.
The event started at 19:30 and before we knew it the time had flown by and it was 21:00 and the end of the panel. It was a really great evening getting to hear stories from the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation and we were both really glad to have paid the extra to attend this. There were stories such as Patrick Stewart believing his new car to be faulty when one day on the way to the set there had been an earthquake. They were even asked by the audience if any of them would like to be in the next Star Trek movie, though only Marina Sirtis said she would.
Each of them also recounted funny times they remembered behind the scenes and also stories of fans that had told them how they had inspired them. I wished the evening had lasted longer; a good sign that it had been worthwhile.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped by a grocery store to pick up some lunch for the next day.