SDCC 2016 [Panel Reviews]: Star Trek-The Roddenberry Vault / Aliens 30th Anniversary.
STAR TREK: THE RODDENBERRY VAULT (Saturday) – Comic-Con is the largest stage for all things geek. Huge reveals, surprising announcements, and the biggest stars on the globe inhabit the San Diego Convention Center’s hallowed halls. With much ado going on, it’s quite easy for a lot of things to fall through the cracks: geek panels that aren’t as prominent as DC/WB and Marvel Studios; panels that get stuffed away to a small room in the corner of the Con. On Friday I attended one of these panels, Star Trek: The Roddenberry Vault. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Hey, Star Trek is big!”. And you’re not wrong. Star Trek had a heavy presence in Hall H, what with the 50th Anniversary, Beyond opening into theaters, and an upcoming revival series on its way bringing Star Trek to the forefront for the masses. But this isn’t that Star Trek.
(Cont.) During the production of Star Trek: The Original Series, there were scores and scores of film canisters full of outtakes, extended scenes, and bloopers that were stored on the regular. For decades these rolls of film have existed, escaping the wears of dust, deterioration, and flood. Stockpiled in a warehouse somewhere in Van Nuys, this holy grail of Star Trek footage has been cleaned, restored, and composited into an upcoming documentary that details the goings on behind the scenes of Star Trek. Guests on the panel, Mike and Denise Okuda, spoke of their arduous 9-year journey to restore the footage and form it into a cohesive documentary full of interviews, production photos, the making of the special effects, and a bit of the personal side of the Star Trek creator, thanks to old candid/family photos from Gene’s son, Rod Roddenberry.
(Cont.) While not as capital G as many of the more mainstream panel offerings, this panel brought a feeling of genuineness. Trek fans are notorious for their elitism, but only because we hold such a revered place for the original series in our hearts. In fact the episode “The City on The Edge of Forever” is currently playing in the background as your Dynast types this. There was no doubt that everyone on stage and in the audience was a die hard Trekkie– especially considering the project was undertaken by them themselves, instead of sanctioned by a studio. It’s this authenticity that I personally look for in all of my Con experiences that makes the long ass lines, overpriced food, and blistering sun worth it. 4/5 Bibles.
ALIENS 30TH ANNIVERSARY (Saturday) – It is borderline impossible to believe that Aliens came out 30-years ago, because like many of James Cameron’s movies, it could be released today and would stand up against everything else out there. One of the major treats at San Diego Comic-Con this year was The Aliens 30th Anniversary panel, which was held in Hall H on Saturday afternoon. The panel may not have been loud and flashy, but it was very deserving of the premium billing. The fine folks at SDCC managed to wrangle together the entire central cast, including the now 4th grade teacher who once played Newt, Carrie Henn. James Cameron also showed up to talk about something that wasn’t Avatar, which was pretty awesome.
(Cont.) E-Weekly‘s Anthony Breznican did a fine job moderating, even if the energy was quite where it should have been for something this monumental. Everything went very simply. A question would be asked, the appropriate cast member would answer. Great. There were some very cool tidbits revealed during the panel. “We all thought the alien was real,” said Cameron when discussing the queen alien on set. #NeverForget. What was perhaps the most cool was when Bill “Game Over Man” Paxton and Lance Henriksen revealed that that the famous knife/hand scene was done for real, and what you see in the movie was in real time–not at all sped up. This may not have been the uproarious, light show heavy, movie trailer packed panel most people waited in Hall H all day for, but to see that entire group of people together was pretty damn special for a sci-fi geek. And, damn, Ripley is still looking good. 3.75/5 Bibles.