Saturday, July 25, 2020

SDCC 2020: Comic Con@Home Roundup of Star Trek Universe Panel



It is disappointing but also not unexpected when the nerdvana of all nerdvanas, aka San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), was cancelled this year.

Postponing the physical event to 2021 was the wisest thing to do as most of us are trying hard to keep ourselves and our families safe during the coronavirus pandemic. The risk of getting infected or infecting others in such a large scale event, where attendees are oftentimes stumbling along the convention halls in a human crush, was simply too high.

To help soothe our souls, Comic-Con International planned for a safer option - a virtual event held on the same weekend called Comic-Con@Home. Unlike the ticketed physical event, Comic-Con@Home is free for everyone. which made it a great opportunity for casual geeks and international fans to get a taste of what SDCC is like. Best of all, there are no long waiting lines or overnight Hall H campouts necessary!

Just like SDCC, Comic-Con@Home has an array of online panels ranging from discussions about indie publishing, cosplay and representation in comics, to updates of the upcoming seasons of show favourites like The Walking Dead, Star Wars and What We Do In The Shadows. It might be hard to choose which panel you would want to “attend”, but not to worry - the panels have all been pre-recorded. So, after they have been launched on Youtube, you can watch as many as you like whenever you have time to catch up!

Despite of that option, Red Dot Diva stayed up past midnight on Day 1 to get the feel of excitement of “attending” Comic-Con@Home, and to watch the virtual panel on CBS All Access' Star Trek Universe, moderated by Dominic Patten, senior editor of Deadline.

Here's the roundup of what happened during the lively panel.

NEW SHOWS IN THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE

Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman mentioned that there will be 10 episodes for the new Star Trek: New Worlds, a series set on Captain Pike's (the yummy fan favourite Anson Mount) ship - the USS Enterprise. In fact, there had been active conversions about the new series since last year's Comic-Con, but nothing could be said at that point.

It was one of those shows that I think everybody came in with such enthusiasm and so much love,” Kurtzman added.


Heather Kadin, Executive Producer, then revealed the official title of the animated series they are currently working on with Nickelodeon. The all-animated series targetted for kids will be called Star Trek: Prodigy. The series showrunners will be Kevin and Dan Hageman, and it has already received a two-season order from Nickelodeon.


STAR TREK: DISCOVERY


Star Trek: Discovery's co-showrunner and Executive Producer Michelle Paradise gave a short introduction this segment, which features many of the Season 2 finale cast members, including the radiant lead actor Sonequa Martin Green (Commander Michael Burnam), Michelle Yeoh (Philippa Georgiou), Doug Jones (Commander Saru), Anson Mount (Captain Christopher Pike), Anthony Rapp (Lt. Commander Paul Stamets), just to name a few.

Director of the Season 2 finale Olatunde Osunsanmi, who also directed the season two finale, then lead the cast in a table read of Act 1 of the finale “Such Sweet Sorrow, Part 2”. What made the read really interesting was watching the cast deliver their lines, many of them who were very invested in their characters, interspersed with original storyboards and VFX renders, including the scene when Burnam puts on the Red Angel suit, and the space battle with the enemy drones swarming everywhere. So awesome.


After the table read, the cast answered a few questions, including the one about Burnam's fate and her hopes in Season 3. (To recap, USS Discovery went into a wormhole, and has been hurtled 950 years into the future in the Season 2 finale.)

We, the crew, of Star Trek Discovery, have decided to sacrifice everything for the future and there's that obvious hope that that worked. That the plan works. And even logistically, that we land where we're supposed to. That we defeat Control. That we saved the world, and saved the universe, so there's the inherent hope of that,” said Sonequa Martin-Green. And then, there's also a hope of continuing to discover myself as Burnam. That will always be there. That hope of unveiling, continual unveiling. And finding that sweet, sweet balance between all the forces that wage within me.

Doug Jones answered the question about Saru's difficult decision to leave his family again for the second time, and whether we will get to see more Kelpians in the Federation.

... so after liberating his people, feeling great about the future the Kelpians can have now, living in peace with the Ba'ul. It was a peaceful resolve, and now they can absorb each other's culture and technology. Now, he's made the decision to follow Burnam into the wormhole with the crew to the future, and he had to leave everything behind again. But, in those final moments, he saw his sister Siranna is piloting a fighter ship, and it was like, I guess it works! The Kelpians have joined the post-war society and he feels good about that, and yes, with every hope, jumping ahead that Kelpians will have a place in the table in the Federation for sure.

There was also discussion about what's Philippa Georgiou's attitude in being flung into the future (“I think she's really pissed off!” according to Michelle Yeoh), and the evolving relationship between Stamets and Dr Culber (“it is more on an equal footing, I think,” Wilson Cruz said).

Season 2 of Star Trek: Discovery has also paved the way for the new series called Star Trek: Strange New Worlds about the beloved USS Enterprise, bringing most fans into the timeline that they are familiar with.

... when you see how it's gonna end and that it is not so pretty, you know what do you do with that?”  Anson Mount, on Captain Pike having seen his own sad fate. “I think he's going to wrestle with how best he can utilise the rest of his life for the good for the world, the universe.



STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS


Star Trek: Lower Decks is an animated series about the support crew of USS Cerritos, a ship that is marked for 'Second Contact'. The best thing that came out from this segment was when creator and showrunner Mike McMahan gave fans a screening of the opening scenes of the series' first episode.

The teaser introduced audiences to young eager-beaver Ensign Brad Boimler (Jack Quaid) and rowdy Ensign Beckett Mariner (Tawny Newsome), which ended up with Boimler getting bloody and badly injured by a bat'leth.

The fast dialogue and dark humour was so fun to watch. Red Dot Diva is definitely putting this on her watchlist!

Check out the clip below:



... she doesn't always play by the rules even though she could, says Newsome about her character Ensign Beckett Mariner.

Quaid describes his character Ensign Brad Boimler as 'the ultimate Starfleet nerd'. “He's the complete fanboy for all the captains and the first officers, basically anyone who works on the bridge. And he wants to be like them so bad that he is obsessed with rank and ranking up.”

Other voice actors include Noel Wells (Ensign Tendi), Eugene Cordero (Ensign Rutherford), Dawnn Lewis (Captain Carol Freeman), and Jerry O'Connell (Commander Jack Ransom). Star Trek: Lower Decks premieres on CBS All Access on August 6th.


STAR TREK: PICARD


The Star Trek: Picard panel was particularly amusing, in that Sir Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) confessed that his greatest challenge was trying to remember the names of the younger and newer cast members. Old time colleague Martina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) mercilessly ragged on Sir Patrick and said, “we allow for that, because you are very old.”

And then Alison Pill (Dr. Agnes Jurati) said that she was attracted to the role because of S.P.S. When there was hardly a reaction from Sir Patrick to her statement because he did not know what S.P.S. meant, she declared, “That's you, Patrick. You're S.P.S.! The first S. is your knighthood.”

Michelle Hurd (Raffi Musiker) added later on,  “I, like the rest of us, the first meeting with S.P.S. .. it's pretty, er.. it's intimidating.” All these comments about working with the well-respected Sir Patrick was making Martina Sirtis quite horrified. “Stop it all you guys. He's going to be unbearable!” she yelled jokingly, as Sir Patrick guffawed in the background.


I can't believe we are calling you that now,” Jonathan Frakes (William T. Riker) chuckled.

Later on the segment, Sir Patrick quietly said that he much preferred the moniker PStew, and the crew said in agreement, PStew is good! PStew, it is!

Martina Sirtis also had sweet words to say to Jonathan Del Arco regarding the return of Hugh. “You were special. When you came on the show, it was a really special episode and the fans loved you, and of course they are going to bring you back when there's a Borg story. Because you're it. You and Jeri.” 

The camaraderie was so adorable to watch.


If you want to watch the entire Star Trek Universe virtual panel in full, click to this Youtube link!




Friday, July 10, 2020

Red Dot Diva Announces Local Writer Wayne Rée as Guest for Second Facebook Livestream


Last month, in an era where most people are staying at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Dot Diva decided to launch a Facebook livestream, hosting a zine launch party with local writer Joelyn Alexandra.

The live event turned out to be more fun and interactive than expected, as their friends joined the two online discussing about Joelyn's new “UNSTABLE UNIVERSE”, a fictional world that is set to expand from the graphic novel UNSTABLE FOUNDATIONS, published by COSH Studios in 2019. There were hiccups like awkward sound echos, and ‘uh-oh where did Joelyn disappear to’ moments, but the live session felt casual and cosy, as if a bunch of friends dropped by to yak about geeky stuff.

For the second installment of Live with Red Dot Diva, she has roped in fictional writer Wayne Rée, to talk about “HORRORS, REAL AND OTHERWISE”.

Wayne Rée has a knack for writing short stories that will haunt one's mind for days. His originality shines in the anthology book TALES FROM A TINY ROOM, a collection of fantastical stories with a suspenseful twist or two. He is also the co-creator of the the supernatural/ martial arts comic book MR MEMPHIS, a collaboration with Charsiew Space, whose fluid and entertaining wuxia-inspired artwork makes the tale even more memorable. Wayne's other works can be found in LONTAR, the audio narrative GHOST MAPS, and the science fiction zine INFINITE WORLDS #3 (available for pre-order here).

In the “HORRORS, REAL AND OTHERWISE” livestream, Red Dot Diva and Wayne Rée will talk about the horror genre, writing horror stories as well as the real life horrors that has happened in the comics community. Recently, the community's own #MeToo moment has brought the issues of sexual harassment and abuse to light in a highly prominent manner. Red Dot Diva feels that it is also time to talk about this issue within the local context.

So, do join us for an hour of bone-chilling chatter for the next Live with Red Dot Diva session.

DATE: 25 July 2020, Saturday

TIME: 1 PM, Singapore Time (GMT +8)
 
TO RSVP: www.facebook.com/events/3291326067601665/

LIVESTREAM: www.facebook.com/reddotdiva/live

For more information on Wayne Rée, check out his website at waynereewrites.com, and subscribe to his newsletter!



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