Las Vegas is one of the top convention destinations is the U.S., with dozens of conferences held in the city each week. With hundreds of hotels and so much to do, it’s the perfect place to mix good times and business, and with its close proximity to L.A., it’s easy for celebrities to make an appearance.
Two of the more popular conventions that take place in Sin City are the Star Trek Convention and the Amazing Comic Con. The weird, wacky, geeky, nerdy — and everyone in between — come together for a shared love, whether it’s Captain Kirk or comic books. The conventions also give fans a chance to dress up like their favorite characters and immerse themselves in a passion that’s (usually) been burning since childhood.
The 2017 Amazing Comic Con just wrapped up, garnering its biggest crowd ever, while the Star Trek Convention takes place later this summer (Aug. 2-6, 2017) at the Rio Suites Hotel.
What can Trekkies expect at their annual Vulcan mind meld? And what’s in store for the future of Comic Con? Let’s find out as I take the odds-mobile to light speed!
Trekkies rejoice! Fans have been patiently waiting for a Star Trek reboot since Star Trek: Enterprise concluded in 2005 and, in just a few short months, Star Trek: Discovery (“Discovery”) will premiere. The show will be a prequel to the entire Star Trek series, set about a decade before the events of the original show. Understandably, that’s the news dominating the Star Trek universe in the lead-up to the convention.
If you’re the impatient type who thinks that “a few short months” is an oxymoron, don’t fret. We will most likely get at least a sneak peek at the new show (if not more) at the 2017 convention!
The convention won’t be all new-kids-on-the-block, of course, as the indomitable William Shatner himself will be in attendance. The original Captain Kirk has partnered with a space-entertainment company and is scheduled to go along with super-fans for a zero-gravity flight!
Is it actually going to happen? Will Discovery be a hit? Time for the numbers.
Trekkies are praying this will happen, and it definitely could (though it’s more likely that it won’t). Pilot episode previews are a great way to gauge interest, and if producers can get feedback about what fans like/don’t like, it could help them make a few changes before the rest of the season. It’ll also get people subscribing to CBS’ All Access channel, which will be streaming the show.
If a special preview is held, it might be for the select few who buy the Gold ticket packages. It’s clear these guys are the creme de la creme of Star Trek fans. Offering them an exclusive preview might be the kind of perk that gets people paying that extra money next year … and beyond.
Since the series is already garnering so much hype, though, showing an extended trailer is probably more inline with what series execs are thinking.
Getting a gig on Discovery is one of the hottest items on the Hollywood market. We know the bulk of the cast already, but the release date — originally scheduled for early 2017 — was pushed back so the producers could deliver a better and more expansive product. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if a big name or two has been added for at least a guest-spot in season one, and the convention is the perfect place to drop that news.
This is going to happen, I can almost guarantee it. Yes, Star Trek has been around for 50 years and has one of the richest histories of any franchise, but the new show is garnering the biggest buzz. Fans want to see, hear and learn about it, and what better way to do so than through someone who’s actually in the show?
Seth MacFarlane’s latest venture is a cheesy bit that mocks Star Trek, but actually looks entertaining. It’s a comedy-drama set 400-years in the future, and is thought of as a cross between Family Guy and Galaxy Quest. I think it could give Discovery a run for its money, but it’s on FOX and a lot of people have ditched their cable for streaming services. Discovery is available to watch anytime, while The Orville only airs once a week, so that right there might just answer the question.
With 50 years of Star Trek being marked last year, the Roddenberry vault was opened, giving a look at some never-before scene footage. This year marks the 30th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. There has to be a TNG episode that was left on the cutting room floor, right? And what better way to generate hype for a new series than showing unseen episodes/footage from previous ones?
In 2014, Amy Campbell and Mark Restucci got married at the convention. In attendance: friends, family, and a few hundred fellow Star Trek fans. The couple met at the convention two years prior, and knew it had to be the spot for their wedding. And what would a Star Trek wedding be without traditional Star Fleet garb? The bride and groom donned the same outfits that Deanna Troi (pink gown) and William Riker (white suit) wore when they exchanged vows in a scene in Star Trek: Nemesis.
While other Star Trek-themed weddings happen in Vegas during the convention, not many actually happen at the convention. My guess for this year is that, with the impending release of Discovery, there’ll be too much going for there to be a wedding in house.
Mila Kunis has stated her love for Star Trek started when she was ten. Rihanna has also been a longtime fan. Olivia Wilde says Star Trek is the reason she started acting, and Kim Cattrall actually played Lieutenant Valeris in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama hasn’t been shy about his love for the franchise and he now has a bit of free time on his hands. With the new series debuting this fall, could he be in attendance for a chance to meet his favorite characters? There’s not a great chance of that happening, but it’s probably more likely than Seth MacFarlane showing up. He is another well know Trekkie, but with his new Trek-mocking series coming out on Fox this fall, the convention might not be the best place for his smug smile.
Fans, are you prepared to fly in zero-gravity with Captain Kirk? As mentioned, Shatner has partnered with a space-entertainment and tourism company to offer fans a zero-gravity experience like none other. The specially-designed aircraft will give Trekkie’s a few minutes of weightlessness with the captain of their dreams.
It’s not cheap, though. Tickets range between $9,950 – $10,450, depending on whether you want to go with Shatner or not.
Shatner called it a “once in a lifetime experience,” but said he’s a little nervous for the ride, as he’s heard some people have gotten sick while on board. Hopefully he’s not one of them!
The annual auction of Star Trek memorabilia always features some eye-popping numbers. The command chair and platform from the original series went for a whopping $304,750 back in 2002, and there are quite a few items that have fetched between $57,000 and $125,000. Super-fans will pay a lot to get their hands on pieces from the set, and with the new series airing soon, it seems likely some newly available items from past series will be put up on the auction block.
But will they bring in more than $300,000? Unless it’s something fans have been dying to get their hands on, it’s not likely.
We could still see a London theme park similar to Universal Studios, but the chances of it being based on Star Trek and other Paramount projects are slim. Companies don’t reunite after divorces like this.
The 2017 Comic Con was a rousing success, bringing in more attendees than ever before. Security had to be beefed up after a scare at a comic-book convention in Phoenix, which saw a man bring a loaded gun to the event, but there were no incidents.
Going forward, organizer Jimmy Jay has to be thinking bigger and better. There’s really no reason why Vegas, which is basically the convention capital of the world, shouldn’t have the biggest comic con in America. The infrastructure is here to house legions of incoming fans, and the quirky personalities of convention-goers would jive nicely with locals.
Will Vegas ever become the go-to American Comic Con? Will that come with big celebrities and even bigger announcements? Let’s look at what’s in store for the immediate future of the show.
The short answer: not likely. The convention brought in about 20,000 people in 2016, and organizers say that number is steadily growing each year. But that’s nothing compared to the big kahuna in San Diego, where over 170,000 people take in the four-day event.
The Amazing Comic Con in Las Vegas is attracting bigger names and better entertainment with each passing year (Marvel creator Stan Lee was in attendance in 2017!) and eventually the ever-growing crowds will lead to a longer show. But the three-day event is working for now, and the next step is to match San Diego.
I hate to say it, but Nicholas Cage is probably the most likely to return. After attending the 2016 edition — and buying over $1 million dollars in comic books and art — the actor might be hungry for more. Megan Fox is also a huge comic book fan, and since she doesn’t have any comic-book related movies coming out next year, it could be a good chance for her to enjoy the events with a little more anonymity than usual.
As for Howard Stern, he’s been an attendee at Comic Cons across the US since 2011. Maybe 2018 will be the year he stops in Vegas. Something tells me the shock-jock has an interest in some of Sin City’s other entertainment, as well.
If you want to find the cast of The Walking Dead, look no further than any Comic Con across the country. The Las Vegas event is nothing new to them, so there is no reason to think a few members won’t be in attendance next year. It also seems ridiculous to think Ryan Reynolds wouldn’t make an appearance (in full Deadpool costume, of course) since he really seems married to that character and can already start boosting Deadpool 2. If there is a way he can promote the “merc with a mouth,” he’ll do it!
Same goes for Wesley Snipes. I would have his odds higher if it was 100-percent certain he’ll star in Blade 4. Last I heard, he was still begging to make it happen.
Which characters are cosplayed the most next year will depend on which stories and movies are hottest at the time. What will be capturing everyone’s attention next summer? Han Solo is getting his own spin-off movie, slated for a 2018 release, while Iron Man will be back in Avengers: Infinity War and the talented Alicia Vikander takes over as Lara Croft in a new Tomb Raider. Ryan Reynolds is also set to revive Wade Wilson in Deadpool 2 next year.
Aquaman has never been the most popular superhero, but with Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones) assuming the role in next year’s eponymous film, the Dweller-in-the-Depths could see a surge.
The 2017 edition set record numbers for attendance and we can expect it to keep growing (more on this below). But Vegas isn’t drawing the 100,000-plus crowds that major franchises love when making a big reveal. We’re more likely to see a major announcement or reveal from a small franchise like Blade than the biggest Kahuna of them all, Star Wars
Comic Con is at the LV Convention Center, one of the biggest convention centers in the world. It’s not maxing out the 200,000-person venue, but it draws a big crowd every year and is growing. The 2015 edition, held at the smaller South Point, had around 20,000 attendees, organizer Jimmy Jay told the Las Vegas Review Journal. And the 2017 edition set a new high.
The Star Trek convention features equally-obsessed fans, but with only one show to draw from, the crowds aren’t as big, roughly in the 10,000-person range. That’s why it’s still held at the smaller Rio Suites Hotel.
The Las Vegas Convention Center is basically the biggest venue in town, outside of taking over The Strip, and the convention still has lots of room to grow in that location.
The San Diego International Comic Con is the biggest comic-book convention in North America. Last year, it maxed out the 130,000-person capacity of the San Diego Convention Center. That means two things: (1) it has a big lead on Vegas right not, but (2) there’s not much room for it to get much bigger, unlike the Vegas show. As mentioned, the LV Convention Center can hold up to 200,000. Now it’s just a matter of getting the warm bodies in the building.
I guess we can’t count on the The Walking Dead helping with that. 😐 But give it eight to ten years in its new, bigger digs and Vegas should be pushing San Diego in popularity.
Photo credit: Marcin Wichary (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/].
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