Among all fandom and its variations, perhaps none are more ardent than Trekkies. While trends come and go, Trek fans continue to fill convention sites, and never seem to tire of hearing about the show. Witness the capacity crowd for “An Hour with Walter Koenig” on Friday.
Better, and perhaps eternally, known as Chekov from the original series, Koenig continues to be sensitive, witty and patient, relating anecdotes and answering questions about his favorite moments, characters, and movies.
On the other hand, it’s apparent Koenig is, and always has been, in it because he is an actor first. He’s been on stage, film and television, and is an author and playwright. When asked which he preferred, he immediately said writing, if he could do it as well as he thought it ought to be done. “I have more respect for writers than anyone,” he said.
Much of the discussion turned, in one way or another, on writing. The parts he prefers to play, he said, depend on the story. While he was happy to be a part of “Star Trek,” he said he felt he was “riding its coattails,” while playing a very basic supporting character. As Bester on “Babylon 5,” on the other hand, even though the show was not as successful, the character had much more complexity and impact on the story line, and as such, was a role he found more fulfilling.
Likewise, his favorite Star Trek movie was the fourth one, he said, because of the writing. “It wasn’t laundry-list dialogue… This was dialogue that was inherent to the character – that only Chekov would say.”
The issues of the movie were also important for him, he said, and the statement that the movie made about how “we are destroying our world,” without directly preaching it to the audience.
Although conventions have all the perils and aggravations one would expect, he said, they afford him the support of the fans and ongoing opportunities to perform and have the response of an audience.
For those who cannot get enough of the original Star Trek and the stories around it, there is Koenig’s book “Warped Factors,” which should provide as many insights and amusements as anyone could wish.