To take you backstage at Comic-Con 2016, I interviewed three sci-fi stars from “Star Trek Beyond” (Jason Matthew Smith), “The Expanse” (Cas Anvar) and “Sharknado 4” (Caroline Williams) about how science fiction is propelling science and technology forward. While Comic-Con is mostly a showcase of exclusive content for movie, TV and games, these answers were inspirational views about how this geek audience is making the world a better place.
When we spoke to Jason Matthew Smith (”Star Trek Beyond”) at the Wired Café, he reflected, “I think that’s the beauty of ‘Star Trek’. It’s inspired so many NASA scientists and scientists in general. They’re always pushing the envelope of what’s possible. And if you look at the original series, we had those communicators with Kirk and everybody, and now we have cell phones. The technology, we put it on screen, and then they find a way to make it happen, make it possible, and that for me is something that’s very exciting for the future.”
And it was really inspiring to see NASA scientists holding workshops at Comic-Con in the San Diego Convention Center. There was also a special preview of the new NASA and Angry Birds short: “Rocket Science Show: Next Stop Mars.”
When we interviewed Cas Anvar (Altair in Assassin’s Creed) backstage before his Syfy Channel panel for the “The Expanse” Season 2 (coming in 2017), we learned he wanted to be a scientist, and then became an actor.
From outside the talent greenroom at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel, Cas reflected, “You’ll look at science fiction from 50, 60 years ago, and then you’ll look at our world now, and you’ll see a lot of the things that were predicted in those times. Look at ‘Star Trek’ with their communicators, that’s are our cell phones now. Look at their tricorders, those are our iPads now. And you have people scanning bar codes. Everything that existed in the 50s as complete science fiction, 80-90 percent of that exists now.”
You can watch this full interview in our VIDEO: Comic-Con 2016 Cas Anvar The Expanse backstage talks Sci-Fi and Science.
We also spoke to Caroline Williams (“Sharknado 4: The 4th Awakens”) about how technology has impacted the movie business. Caroline expanded, “The technological revolution that is ongoing is one of the most bracing things about the times we live in. And if you’re in the movie business, it really redefines what it is to be in movies. My franchise “Sharknado 4”, four films, they live-tweet their red carpet. This year it will be July 31st at the Stratosphere Hotel in Las Vegas. They break away from the transmission of the film to share the experience with the audience, and this lasts for the entire time that the film is unfolding. It’s really sort of revolutionary.”
This science fiction and technology revolution is being promoted worldwide way beyond Comic-Con. Yasser Bahjatt is a TEDx Speaker, Author and UAE based Publisher Yatakhayaloon whose “big idea worth spreading” is that if we build a sci-fi culture, it can advance science. Yasser is dedicated to writing sci-fi books that inspire innovation to bring science fiction to reality.
When we interviewed Yasser, he gave this metaphor, “I see the universe as a huge dark desert. Sci-Fi is like a flashlight that a culture holds up to light the way. If only one culture held up the flashlight, the rest of us would only see one path that we can follow; no one would ever venture out in a direction other than the one that is light. However, when more cultures turn on their flashlights, the possibilities of humanity increase, and we might even find much better paths. And that is how we see sci-fi is propelling science and humanity forward, by showing us more possibilities to grow and advance.”
In all of these interviews, everyone confessed that they can’t wait for time travel and transporters. With a big grin, Jason Matthew Smith (“Star Trek Beyond”) added, “Teleportation has got to happen at some point in time. How much time would we all save, and how cool would that be if we could just beam somewhere instantly?” And to save you time, follow our Comic-Con content and updates @LizHKelly.