Article and Photo By Jason Setnyk
Cornwall Ontario – The 2016 Cornwall & Area Pop Event (CAPE) is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek with six guest from the original series.
BarBara Luna, Sean Kenney, Michael Forest, Sally Kellerman, Louise Sorel, and Beverly Washburn each appeared in the original Star Trek along side iconic characters like Captain Kirk (played by William Shatner) and Mr. Spock (played by Leonard Nimoy). Each will be “beaming down” to Cornwall for the second annual CAPE that takes place April 23rd and April 24th at the Benson Centre.
The following are excerpts from an interview with Star Trek actress and CAPE celebrity guest BabBara Luna.
Luna practically grew up on Broadway, and her last show being “A Chorus Line”, has an impressive Hollywood resume. She has appeared on Star Trek, Walt Disney’s Zorro, The Outer Limits, Hawaii Five-O, Dallas, The Big Valley, Mission: Impossible, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and the iconic soap opera One Life to Live with the role of Maria Roberts.
She has also appeared in movies like The Devil at 4 O’Clock, directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Spencer Tracy and Frank Sinatra. Luna played Camille, a blind girl, and love interest of Sinatra’s character. She also appeared in the movie Firecreek with James Stewart and Henry Fonda and in Ship of Fools with a star studded cast.
However her most well known role was on Star Trek. She played the character of Lt. Marlena Moreau in the episode “Mirror, Mirror”. In this episode Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, Chief Engineer Scott, and Communications Officer Uhura accidentally travel to a parallel universe after a transporter malfunction. They meet doppelgangers of the Enterprise crew including Spock with a beard.
Luna’s character shared several scenes with William Shatner. She was the “Captain’s Woman” in this parallel universe and (spoiler alert) she saves Captain Kirk’s life using a secret weapon called the Tantalus Field.
“When I went on the set of Star Trek I saw a guy with funny ears, a black woman, a Russian guy, a Scottish guy. It was so different from anything I had ever done before. What is this Star Trek show? I didn’t know anything about it. It was just a job. Nothing special. Just Sci-Fi in the 1960s, not a big deal”, Luna recollects.
However in retrospect it was a big deal. Star Trek portrayed a future where diversity and ethnic equality were the norm. The main characters were American, Scottish, African, Japanese, Russian, and even alien. They were cast to represent diversity, but their ethnicity was not relevant to the characters they played as Luna explains.
“I’m so thankful to the fans and Mr. (Gene) Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek) to be treated in a special way. The fans are so loyal. It’s phenomenal. I didn’t quite understand it at first. When I was offered the role of Marlena (Moreau) the character had no accent or ethnicity, she was just a cool character. It wasn’t stereotypical. Look at the cast: (Nichelle) Nichols, (George) Takei, and Walter (Koenig). There was something so different about it. I don’t know if this is the biggest reason for it’s lasting success, but the fact that they cast actors not because of their ethnicity was groundbreaking”.
What was groundbreaking for 1960s Sci-Fi is now the norm in Hollywood. The success of actresses like BarBara Luna paved the way for others.
“It paved the way for Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Salma Hayek and other Hispanic actresses who were hired for their talent and not their ethnicity. That’s one of the reasons I loved playing Marlena Moreau”, explains Luna.
Nowadays Luna enjoys meeting fans by attending various Comicon’s and conventions like CAPE.
Fans come for autographs and to hear stories about Luna working on the Star Trek set, however sometimes it’s Luna that learns something new from the fans. For example Luna has three action figures based on her Star Trek character. She learned about that at a San Diego Comicon.
“They make Star Trek action figures, and I guess there are three action figures of Lt. Marlena Moreau… the fans are loyal and outstanding. They know more than we do”.
Luna continues to attend conventions both in Canada and the United States. She is excited about her first visit to Cornwall Ontario.
“Conventions are great fun. I’ve also been to Calgary and Montreal, but never to Cornwall.”
There will be many people dressed as super heroes at CAPE cosplaying, but according to Luna, one of the super heroes is the co-organizer of the event.
“Randy and Carol are super. I’ve met them at other conventions. Carol is Wonder Woman. She is planning a wedding and a convention at the same time. That is a tremendous amount of work”.
In addition to Luna, Kenney, Forest, Kellerman, Sorel and Washburn, another Star Trek alumni will be in attendance at the Cornwall & Area Pop Event too.
Star Trek and Buffy the Vampire actress Noelle Hannibal will be beaming up to the Benson Centre. Hannibal portrayed the first female Vulcan to step foot on earth in the Star Trek movie First Contact.
Other celebrity guest include Brian O’Halloran, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Scott Schiaffo, and Ernie O’Donnell who each appeared in the Kevin Smith movie Clerks.
Walking Dead, Furious 7, and Hunger Games actor Steve Coulter is a featured guest too, along with Walking Dead zombies Jeremy Ambler, Chris Harrelson, and Coleman Youmanswill.
Award winning comic book artist Dan Parent, best known for his work in Archie Comics, will be in attendance. So will artist Geof Isherwood who has done work for Marvel Comics including such titles as Silver Surfer, Conan the Barbarian, Daredevil, and Doctor Strange.