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Walter Koenig talks Star Trek's legacy, his new autobiography at C2E2 2020

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Feb 28, 2020

Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo 2020 has started off in full, and we've already set our nostalgic phasers to fun. Actor and Star Trek/Babylon 5 legend Walter Koenig kicked off the Chicago fest, opening C2E2 with a bevy of war stories from his time as, among other iconic characters, Lt. Pavel Chekov.

Koenig caught up with SYFY WIRE a few years ago, remembering Star Trek on the series' 50th anniversary, with little nostalgia for the past. Now that Star Trek is having a bit of a revival, with its new multi-show universe being kicked off over at CBS All Access with Picard and Discovery, Koenig is looking forward to the future of Trek, his acting career, and more at a wide-ranging panel. If Patrick Stewart can come back for a Trek series, why not Koenig?

The last fans saw of the now-Admiral Chekov was the fan-run Kickstarter project Star Trek: Renegades -- but who knows what the future holds? Koenig laughed that, over the years, he "learned that my contribution to Star Trek is vastly disproportionate to what I actually did." But the actor did remember that his time on the show envisioned a better future than the one he's experienced in the real world. "I do believe we're in trouble," he said. "I'm so concerned about where we are now." But Star Trek was ahead of its time, with messages Koenig wishes could be applied to the present.

"I think there's a subliminal message — regardless of what the story was — that there are seven people on the bridge, and they're very diverse," the actor explained. "Different races, different ethnicities, different creeds. And they work together and they like each other. And wouldn't that be wonderful if that's how the world was?"

Koenig also revealed he was releasing a second edition of his autobiography, which would add the past 20 years of his life to the previous edition, published under the title Warped Factors. This new edition, with two new decades of insight from the 83-year-old, is called Beaming Up and Getting Off - Life Before and Beyond Star Trek. 

The actor and writer explained that writing is a much different ball game than acting, where contemporary relevance is much more important. He was approached to update his book, something he said doesn't happen to him with acting gigs — except of course for the character of Chekov, which he's ready to retire. Especially since, as he says, he turned down appearing in a "pornographic Star Trek." The bonus? "I'd get to be the lead!"

Finally, what does Koenig geek out about? History and baseball: His area of expertise is the "1950s New York Yankees." Koenig's latest projects have been the sci-fi film Diminuendo and a voice role on the animated Netflix series Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters

Beaming Up and Getting Off publishes on May 1.

Read the rest of SYFY WIRE's C2E2 2020 coverage here.

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