Star Trek Las Vegas – The Inner Light Panel

Saturday at Star Trek Las Vegas featured two of my personal favourite panels of the week. The Writers panel with Brannon Braga and Andre Bormanis and the Inner Light panel with Sir Patrick Stewart, Margot Rose (Eline) and Morgan Gendel (writer).

The Inner Light Panel

Most panels at conventions are actors coming on stage, cracking a few jokes and taking a bunch of Q&As from the audience. This panel was someone different. It was well moderated by Adam from Creation Entertainment and was an analysis/review of an episode hailed as one of the best Star Trek episodes of all time. In fact in a poll of favourite Star Trek episodes, Inner Light came second of ALL EPISODES EVER. (Poll by StarTrek.com)

In case you have Bendii syndrome and have forgotten, The Inner Light is the episode where Picard is given the memories of an alien from a civilisation whose planet is dying. He lives a lifetime as a man called Kamin. The story is about his journey, transformation and coming to terms with his circumstances.

Source: Trekcore.com

Focusing on one episode with key actors and the writer allowed for a much deeper and richer experience from a convention panel. The global questions (e.g. “what’s your favourite episode”) have been asked so often that regular convention goers know the stories by memory. It’s also kinda frowned upon when someone asks a very detailed question about a specific point in an episode. Often the actors don’t recall filming the episode, let alone have watched it. Those questions are usually better directed at the writer.

Therefore having the chance to delve into the specifics of this wonderful episode allowed for new questions from the audience and unheard content from the panelists.

Discssing how they used visual elements to help move the story along, Morgan Gendel explained the use of the Probe and the Flute.

Originally Kamin was going to see some text on his wife Eline’s pendant which he’d remember as being written on the Probe. The art department changed the pendant to the shape of the Probe so the audience would better recognise it. This would trigger the transformation back to Picard.

The flute was a way of showing the transition of Picard to Kamin – but also showed the audience in a powerful way that Picard retained all the memories of Kamin when they saw him playing in the final scene.

To demonstrate the passage of time, they made the jumps inbetween the acts. So after each commercial break you have another transition. Admittedly I hadn’t considered how seamless the jumps were, I suppose you only notice when something doesn’t work well.

Conclusion:

This panel went well beyond my expectations. What made this particularly special was the parallel process that occurred with the panelists and the story of the characters.

In the episode, Picard wakes up as Kamin and is cold and distant to his wife Eline. Eventually he grows to love her and becomes her husband. He has transitioned as a person but still retains that element of Picard.
Both Patrick Steward and Margot Rose spoke about the chemistry on set. It was as if a similar process had occurred on set.

As I sat watching the panel I felt I was watching this transformation occur again. Half way through the panel Patrick Stewart put his arm around Margot Rose. It was as if tapping into the memory triggered the experience and emotion again.

At the end of the panel an audience member asked about Patrick Stewart’s experience of domestic abuse from his childhood. At first Stewart and the moderator were reluctant to take the question as it wasn’t the subject matter of the panel. But in the end he did and the more he spoke the more he transitioned back to Patrick Stewart. It was as if the question was like seeing the probe.

The Inner Light Panel STLV

Highlight:

 This was well after the panel, but connected. In a random encounter in Quarks, I met writer Morgan Gendel. We chatted about the panel and I shared my thoughts as above how I thought it went. We had a thoroughly enjoyable time talking about everything from The Inner Light to Star Trek Conventions and life in general. I also had the pleasure of introducing Morgan to Star Trek Discovery writer Ted Sullivan who ever-so slightly fanboyed in his presence!

Weird bit:

Presenting the probe necklace to Patrick Stewart! Margot Rose took it and said “He got to keep the flute!” Well done Margot!!

See next post for Brannon Braga and Andre Bormanis

One thought on “Star Trek Las Vegas – The Inner Light Panel”

  1. I admit Inner Light is not among my favourites, I often skip it completely when binging.

    But, to answer your question on Twitter, this blog article is top blog journalism, I agree with the conclusion, and the Highlight is just #wow (and makes me envious of course).

    Very well done!

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