In late October, Netflix began sending out emails to Trekkies inviting them to a fan screening on Sunday 5th of November at Millbank Tower, next to the River Thames in London. I initially didn’t receive an invite, so I emailed and asked to be put on a waiting list. The following day I received my invite.
It came with the additional information that there would also be an exhibition of props, as well as a Q & A with some of the talent- Aaron Harberts (Showrunner), Sonequa Martin-Green (Michael Burnham), Shazad Latif (Lt. Ash Tyler) and Jason Isaacs (Capt. Gabriel Lorca). We were told that doors would open at 12pm.
Knowing what Trekkies (including myself) can be like, I decided to arrive early. 9 am to be precise. Shortly after I arrived, some friends also turned up. They too were also decked out in DISCO tops, all sourced from an unofficial, popular online auction site.
We tried to get a coffee at a nearby hotel but it was jam packed so I headed back to the front of Millbank Tower to wait for another friend. Whilst there I met up with a guy from Netflix (who I would later find out seemed to be running the whole event) and he was surprised to see us there so early. He pointed me in the right direction and told me where to wait and that he would see me at noon.
Lots of friends arrived and as time went on, the crowds grew. It wasn’t really a line at one point, more of a loose assembly, but the guy I saw earlier came out, said ‘Hi’ and had a look around. He then told someone else to sort out a line, starting with me. After that I must admit I got a bit snappy if anyone tried to jump in front of me and my friends.
12pm came and we were let in. We all received a Netflix wristband and the first 25 of us would be allowed to meet the guests and get autographs. This was an amazing bonus!
An express elevator ride to the 29th floor deposited us in the Altitude 360 restaurant which had been transformed into an exhibition hall. At one end we had the Captain’s chair from the USS Discovery as well as props such as phasers, Klingon blades, uniforms etc. The other end had been transformed into a room holding the spore drive and console.
As fans we could wander round, take photos and interact with the items on display and each other, all the while enjoying the vast amount of refreshments generously laid on by Netflix.
At about 1.15pm we were directed down to the theatre to watch the 8th episode ‘Si vis pacem, para bellum’ (If you want peace, prepare for war).
Before the episode was shown, Jamie East (of Thronecast fame) who was presenting the show, introduced the guests. The four of them said a quick hello before settling in to watch the episode with the fans.
Once the episode was over, a hilarious Q&A followed. There is a video somewhere which I will post later. The highlight for me, apart from hearing all the behind the scenes gossip, was Jason Isaacs getting Jonathan
Riker Frakes’ name wrong! All of them were extremely humble and a joy to listen to. Jason was amazing at praising his fellow actors and the creative team. Hearing the gorgeous and very talented Sonequa tell us her own backstory for Michael Burnham was equally awesome and she brings a fresh outlook to the Trek universe. Shazad was very cagey about his character and I think there is more than meets the eye to Ash Tyler. It’s also quite clear that Aaron Harberts wants Discovery to be groundbreaking but also honour all the Trek that has gone before.
After that, it was back upstairs for a meet and greet with autograph and selfie opportunities. It was an awesome day and I would like to thank Netflix for putting on such an amazing event!