Having lived long and prospered for almost a half-century, the 50th anniversary of the "Star Trek" franchise will be celebrated Saturday at Comic-Con International at the San Diego Convention Center.
A panel featuring William Shatner, who portrayed Capt. James T. Kirk in the original "Star Trek" television series, is scheduled for Hall H – the biggest room at the facility -- beginning at 2 p.m.
Actors Scott Bakula, Michael Dorn, Jeri Ryan and Brent Spiner are also scheduled to be on the panel, which will be moderated by Bryan Fuller, executive producer of a new "Star Trek" series for CBS, set to premiere next year.
The first episode of the original series, "The Man Trap," aired on Sept. 8, 1966. In it, crew members of the Starship Enterprise beamed down to bring supplies to a man and woman who are the sole residents of a planet, but the members of the landing party each view the woman differently.
The series was canceled by NBC after three seasons because of low ratings, but it thrived in syndication with episodes focusing on cultural issues like race relations and man's relationship with machines.
"Star Trek" eventually spawned spin-off television shows and a series of popular movies. Shatner converted his popularity into starring roles in the television series "Boston Legal" and "T.J. Hooker," guest-starred on numerous shows and movies, and is the TV commercial pitchman for the travel website Priceline."
San Diego city officials wore "Star Trek" uniforms from the original series Tuesday when they officially kicked-off Comic-Con, with Mayor Kevin Faulconer as Kirk.
Hall H is the site of a couple of other blockbuster sessions Saturday.
At 11:30 a.m., Warner Bros. Pictures will showcase several upcoming feature releases, including "Wonder Woman," "Suicide Squad," "The Lego Batman Movie," "King Arthur: Legend of the Sword," "Kong: Skull Island,"and "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."
Stars scheduled to appear on the panel include Chris Pine, Will Smith, Will Arnett and Gal Gadot.
At 3:15 p.m., filmmaker James Cameron and cast members Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Michael Biehn and Paul Reiser will appear on a panel about the 30th anniversary of the horror film "Aliens."
Room 20, another venue for major Comic-Con sessions, will hold panels on popular television series like "Once Upon a Time," "Vampire Diaries," "The Simpsons," "Family Guy," "American Dad" and "Grimm."
Officials are urging the use of public transit because of the huge crowds of attendees and gawkers expected in downtown San Diego. The Metropolitan Transit System is running Blue and Green line trolleys every 7 ½ minutes during peak periods, with the last trains leaving downtown after midnight. The Convention Center and Gaslamp stops provide access to the venue.
North County Transit District officials said they added a northbound Coaster train that will leave the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego at 9:15 p.m. Amtrak will not accept Rail-to-Rail service with Coaster fares during Comic-Con.
For those who don't attend, this is the first year for Comic-Con HQ, a video on-demand service in partnership with Lionsgate that will remain free through Monday. During the four days of the event, the service will include airings of select panels, access to the convention floor, the masquerade ball and the Eisner Awards, according to Comic-Con officials.
The ad-free streaming service is available at www.comic-conhq.com/landing for computers and iOS/Android devices.