To Close Comic-Con, One Spacecraft To Rule Them All For 10 years, Comic-Con's Starship Smackdown has pitted spacecraft against spacecraft in a tournament to determine which fictional ship — Millennium Falcon? Enterprise? Death Star? — would dominate in head-to-head battle.
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To Close Comic-Con, One Spacecraft To Rule Them All

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To Close Comic-Con, One Spacecraft To Rule Them All

To Close Comic-Con, One Spacecraft To Rule Them All

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  • Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

Beth Accomando, of member station KPBS, was in the house this year for Starship Smackdown.

BETH ACCOMANDO: Football fans have the Super Bowl. Soccer fans have the World Cup. Sci-fi geeks have Starship Smackdown.

NORRIS: Well, I mean Starship Smackdown says it all - doesn't it, guys? I mean, it's the ultimate conflagration of starships.

ACCOMANDO: Mark A. Altman, creator of the Cinemax show "Femme Fatales," says Starship Smackdown answers the continual debate geeks have about whether the Enterprise would kick the Millennium Falcon's butt in a space rumble.

NORRIS: We only allow real starships to participate - no cartoons, no animated characters. Only real spaceships participate in the fight.

ACCOMANDO: Here's how it all goes down: Hundreds of people pack into a meeting room. Then, expert panelists and avid fans - some even sporting their teams logos - suggest ships that fill up the brackets, kind of like in March Madness.

U: We will have the original Battlestar Galactica and the new Battlestar.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERS)

ACCOMANDO: Panelists have to be savvy on everything from "Star Trek" to "Star Wars" to "Serenity"; from H.G. Wells to H.R. Puffinstuff. Fans eagerly yell out their suggestions in the hopes of getting their favorite ship into the competition before the brackets close.

U: One at a time!

ACCOMANDO: This year, fans threw the panel a curveball. They wanted one of the ships to be the Chevy Malibu from the trippy '80s cult film "Repo Man."

U: Are you talking about the car in "Repo Man"? That's not a star - well, it did fly away at the end, but we don't know where it went.

U: I've got to say...

U: It might have had a mothership, so it wouldn't have been a starship; it would have just been a surface-to-air transport.

U: You know what? Since it's the first time we've heard it, I think it's a valid entry.

ACCOMANDO: Then the panel surprised fans by denying them a human captain. They put famous computers at the helm. This year, the infamous Windows 7 was loaded up on "Deepspace Nine's" U.S.S. Defiant.

U: The Defiant immediately crashes on boot-up.

ACCOMANDO: This elicited cries of foul play from panelist Robert Hewitt Wolfe, a Syfy TV writer and producer.

NORRIS: I think the fix was in. Once they put the Windows 7 program on the Defiant, there was no possible way it was going to win.

NORRIS: By declaration of this committee, the winner of the 10th anniversary Starship Smackdown is none other than Starship of the Imagination, piloted by Hal. Thank you. We'll see you next year. Good job.

ACCOMANDO: Fan Christine Rideout was upset that her beloved "Deepspace Nine" craft wasn't given a fair shake.

NORRIS: I'm very disappointed. I mean, they put Windows 7 on the Defiant? What the heck is that? We didn't have a chance after that. We just crashed.

ACCOMANDO: Disappointment is just part of the game in this rough-and-tumble world of Starship Smackdown. Founder Mark Altman had his sights set on the Moonraker space shuttle but was still happy with the final results.

NORRIS: It's such a delight to see people that we've seen over the last 10 years come back again and again, and indulge this bit of insanity, this frivolous nonsense that we do every year.

ACCOMANDO: For NPR News in San Diego, I'm Beth Accomando.

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