The convention was well run. Mr. Harris kept things right on time, especially the first day. When Kate was introduced at precisely 3 pm, the only delay was that Kate was with a UPN reporter for an interview and didn't come out on the introduction for about 20 seconds.
She started out by saying that many things have changed on Voyager and that it was an interesting year, last year. She mentioned the loss of Kes and personally felt the loss keenly as she loved Jennifer Lien and felt it was never a good thing to disassemble a crew like that, but added she was not a numbers cruncher. Kate continued about the introduction of the "splendid 7 of 9", who has enjoyed Star Trek success, and that she is provocative, challenging, a lovely girl and we are happy to have her. Continuing in this topic, she mentioned that 7 of 9 makes the stories very compelling for Janeway, et al. Then explained that "et al" means all you people of the other gender. Going on she explained that it doesn't matter if it's ER, Science Fiction or if it's the Simpsons, because you always have to have a pretty girl, because boys just like to look at pretty girls!
Someone in the audience called out "We already have one!" She responded with "Well thank you" then laughed and said "I'm assuming she meant me, but she probably meant B'Elanna!" A few more remarks on this topic ensued then she ended with "But anyway I am very cool with what's going on." (Ever the gracious lady.)
She mentioned Jeri Taylor leaving and that she had been very important for creating and fashioning Janeway, but is now on to live her life. As to writers and producers "Those people work like dogs up there, the producers and writers."
This then brought up this season and she mentioned Brannon Braga taking over, calling him 'Mr. Danger'. "He's dark, bold, brave. He's a risk taker because he doesn't know how not to take risks. He's compelling with the way he thinks so that his writing leaps off the page. He understands Mulgrew intrinsically so that Janeway now has a new voice. I'm very relaxed and feeling a little dangerous myself."
Kate felt this is true of the rest of the crew. "We're no longer lost in the Delta Quadrant." "Let's take a Quaalude" (said in a very morose tone). "We are going home!" (said very emphatically.) [NOTE: don't take this to mean Voyager is getting back to the DQ. What she was referring to was the attitude of the crew; i.e. ok we're in the DQ, we'll work our way home.]
"And that has infused the ship with a whole new mind set. There is going to be laughter. There are going to be mistakes. There are going to be new chemical matches on that ship that you wouldn't have dreamt of. Chakotay and Janeway are going to deepen their relationship", and after saying that she walked out from behind the lectern, threw her hands up in the air and said "I don't know what that means." [Note: The roar of the crowd was so loud on the 'deepen relationship' remark it took about 10 times running the tape with a friend to pull out those words.] She then went back to the lectern and continued, "Everytime I say that, I have to pay Robert Beltran, like a million dollars!"
Continuing on the JC topic she mentioned that she and Brannon Braga had dinner together before the season began and he asked her what were her "basic concerns". Her reply, "I said basic and major, is this relationship between Kathryn Janeway and Chakotay. What is it? WHAT is this relationship all about? Are they friends? Are they comrades? Are they acquaintances? Are they peers? Is he subservient to her in every way?" said in a lowering, double meaning tone of voice! (Of course, the crowd reacted to this ). Then quickly with a smile she added "Don't answer that question" and looking at someone in the audience laughed and said "Shame on you!" which immediately brought more laughter from the audience. "I said to Brannon, without getting into the actual fruit (?) erotic aspects of their potential, why don't we intensify their relationship the way EVERYBODY would enjoy seeing it intensified. Why can't they have a profound relationship and leave the rest to everybody's imagin......no, look at that he [refers to audience member] said forget it I want to see and I want to see it............" The rest was lost in everybody's cheering and laughter. [NOTE: I thought it was interesting she said 'he' which showed there are males who would like to see this relationship, not just women. ] Continuing on: "Anyway, I think that relationship will be enhanced without question."
She then changed topics and mentioned we were going to see things between Paris and B'Elanna, that she adored Roxanne Dawson, that Dawson had a baby last year and thought it was so funny the way they filmed B'Elanna in the beginning and then tried shooting her from the neck up, that it's funny when they try to deceive an audience. Kate felt they should have just showed B'Elanna pregnant, "but, of course, they couldn't figure out a way to do that."
The next two topics were interesting. She mentioned that Neelix is back in an unusual and wonderful way, that Ethan Phillips is the heart and soul of this ship, and that when mentioning that before, people would sort of look at her in a questioning way and say "how could that be?" "It could be because Neelix is utterly without style and if you were to take the soul of Neelix and the splendor of a great leader and courage of a great saint, you would have this composition. He is the license and a joy, the depth of an absolute allegiance that we need on our ship, so I think we are going to find new and very provocative ways for Neelix to reveal himself."
She then laughed a little and said "Uh....I don't know, they don't tell me everything.....they've learned the hard way.....I think there has been some talk of returning to the Alpha Quadrant by the end of the season," and looked out at the audience where there was groaning, shaking of heads and 'no'. She mentioned her concern for this, then followed with "But look on the bright side, it opens up Pandora's box. Who do we have on our ship that we love? We have the Maquis. B'Elanna and Chakotay, Ok? They're criminals by Starfleet standards, right? If we get home they have to undergo court-martial, do they not? I mean it opens up so many opportunities for wonderful stories. However, they have not said yes or no to me regarding that." When she mentioned they have two seasons left, three at the most, the crowd groaned and she asked if we would like to see Voyager go three seasons. When there was a resounding positive response to that she said "Good."
Then she mentioned she had a wonderful hiatus. That she did a movie in Europe called 'Riddler's Moon' that has nothing whatsoever to do with Janeway. She plays a farmer in Indiana whose crop has gone under and that she really had a blast doing it. "I took my mother to Turkey, Israel, Germany and then London to see my baby sister who is having her first child. Uh.......I told my mother how much I loved her, I knew it would be the last..... probably the last opportunity to do so." [Note: She didn't explain this remark and I have wondered if her mother is ill.]
She then went on to explain that Janeway just isn't a character, she's ..(undecipherable).........a way of life, and that she (Kate) takes Janeway very seriously and what she represents for the future of women, "and as a result of that so do I." That she felt responsible but also very humble. She is first and foremost an actress and "I want to give you a Janeway that you love and (?certainly I'm going to give more than anything else?)."
At this point she opened up the floor to questions. Several women stood up and commented on how she had changed their lives and she was very compassionate listening to their stories, even having two of them come to the stage and gave them a hug. Kate's fan club, Now Voyager, gave her flowers and a check for her babies' charity and she talked of this for a moment, calling this place in NY "where babies can go to die." [Note: The charity is Incarnations Children's Charities in New York]
A man stood up and asked what is the most unusual thing she has ever autographed and she replied with much laughing "Oh naughty question...I'm going to have to think about that one and get back to you."
Another question about new uniforms? "We have them. What Brannon has done, and I love it, is a T shirt, bolero jacket and full riding pants. They will be more comfortable and I'm sure you will agree if you were lost in space you wouldn't look so 'spiffy' all the time." About the hair. "I said cut it off and put her to work! No more puffy hair!" Then added with a sly smile "You guys were fine with Patrick Stewart and his hair."
Other questions concerned the first day on the set, saying her lines, cut, and everybody clapped and saluted her and how great she felt on that; Sir or Maam...she likes maam although a lot of sirs now;. Alien voices; Grand Slam... she said "It's real difficult to be uncomfortable with Bill Shatner, because Bill is so........comfortable with himself" and that she had fun, was the only girl, etc.
Other questions concerned Gargoyles; Roots; when she started acting; theatre group in Seattle. Then someone asked about how she felt about 7 of 9 and the focus on her. "I know last year was a lot of 7 of 9, but we're all back, enough is enough, right. This is what Star Trek is all about: family. It was discomforting and I think there was resentment, and I think they felt they had to do it, but it was probably more a network choice than anything and they did it and now we have to move on. But Jeri is probably more delighted than anybody that it's done. That poor girl was worked to an absolute tizzy last year."
She then got into skateboards and wearing gear because "One month ago Alexander- her youngest son - was skateboarding and completely severed his right foot--a compound fracture and broke four metatarsal and won't walk for four months. (She didn't mean severed in the way we think of it.)
More questions: Feel typecast when ST is over? "If I give Voyager the most splendid Janeway and they remember that I wouldn't feel too bad about that; Playing a Klingon? Hard work, long rehearsal, boots weigh 50 lbs and the head weighed 20 pounds and the breast.. I could just stick my chest out and bounce everyone out of my way, then on top of all that they gave me a Bakleth (sp). I was exhausted, I did everything - do my own stunts except for the death defying ones; Her favorite car? Drive a Jeep Cherokee. Don't really care about cars, don't care about material things except s h o e s!!; Heroes? Not really....Mother Theresa, like the Pope for his strength and dignity, but not sure I agree with his dogma; The terror of the technobabble the first year--should have earned a million oscars trying to say that technobabble; Q? Would love for him to come back but there seems to be a creative problem because he's........aging...laughs ...but he is omnipotent.
The last thing she explained was her audition. She explained how her first was an embarrassment. Then when the first actress (Genevieve Bujold) quit, she went back and got into the final three and then to the "knockout" auditions where you stay and keep going back in until only one is left. When the woman ahead of her went in there was a lot of laughter and she sort of got the idea that that person was going to get the job. So she went in determined not to be funny and just gave them a Janeway, said thank you very much, good luck I'm going home. When she got home her two boys and her Nanny of 14 years were standing on the porch waiting for her and telling her to get her messages, it was Rick Berman "I just want to welcome you aboard, Captain."
The autograph session followed, and Kate was in a very "giving" mood as only reserved seats were to get them, but the Promoter ran onto the stage and said that "Kate has said she will sign for everybody."
As said in the beginning, Kate was simply tremendous. Her obvious joy at playing Janeway is very apparent. She has the personality and grace during a con to win over even the most ardent opponent of a woman in the Captain's chair. She makes you feel like you are the most important person in that room, and there are too many stars who tend to kiss off the fans once they become stars, but Kate is fully cognizant that the fans' acceptance of her has put her in a very rewarding position and she shows her appreciation openly. Simply stated, she was great and the star of the con, despite the fact there were four other actors there.
The other actors were Bruce Campbell (Autolycus in Xena) and he is a very funny man. Mark Alan Shepherd (Morn in DS9) and it was nice to see who is under all that makeup; Majel Barrett Roddenberry who gave an interesting talk, and Claudia Christian (Babylon 5) who was a riot. (She said she much prefers comedy to drama and virtually gave a standup routine with every question.)
~ Dee Price