Shatner, Brooks, Bakula convene Captains summit

Comic-Con 2011: Kevin Smith hosts Star Trek legends panel to discuss upcoming documentary The Captains.

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Who was there: Former starship captains William Shatner, Avery Brooks, and Scott Bakula, with director/professional nerd Kevin Smith moderating.

What they talked about: Comedian Kevin Smith took the stage to a packed house at this year's San Diego Comic-Con convention. After Smith's opening salvo, a brief trailer for William Shatner's The Captains was shown. This upcoming documentary compiles a series of interviews the actor conducted with other starship captains throughout Star Trek's many incarnations. Once it concluded, Avery Brooks and Shatner took the stage to thunderous applause.

After they exchanged pleasantries, the conversation turned to Brooks' role in the documentary, as both a subject and a musician. Shatner noted how impressed he was with Brooks' skill as an improvisational jazz musician, which Brooks demonstrated during their musical interview in the documentary. He was so impressed that he later invited Brooks to pen the film's score. Brooks added that this was a "wonderful challenge" since Shatner wanted him to create a score that would complement the conversations and not just be background noise. "One of the most important things to learn in music is to listen," Brooks added.

At this point, Bakula slid onto stage invoking a sudden rush of cheers from the audience. "I am here to represent the other captains who were not asked to score the movie," he said. After bantering with Smith and the other panelists, Bakula discussed how he and Shatner had never truly met until the documentary and how impressed he was at all the similar experiences the two of them had shared as captains. He then thanked Shatner for all his hard work in the original series, adding that "without him we wouldn't be here today."

Of the few questions asked during the Q&A, the one that elicited the best response was: What do you think each Star Trek series has given to the world? Brooks took the lead, and after considering his words for a moment, he stated that it is the viewers who hold all the power; they give the show its meaning, and without them none of this would exist. Shatner echoed this sentiment while also taking the opportunity to promote another documentary he's working on about the Star Trek fandom. Bakula had a much simpler answer: "Hope."

Quote: "The piano is the only keyboard I know."--Brooks on social media.

"Anything you write in science fiction may be right, because we know nothing."--Shatner on our place in the universe.

Takeaway: Judging by Shatner's teaser of The Captains, Star Trek fans aren't likely to gain any deeper insight into quasars or warp drives. Still, for those who have become enamored with the cult of personality that is The Shatner, laughs should be had.

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