Patrick Stewart has boldly gone where he had not gone before: To the Comic-Con convention.
The man who played Capt. Jean-Luc Picard on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" finally made his way to the annual geek-fest on Saturday to participate in a panel on the upcoming animated musical "Dorothy of Oz," but of course the first question to address was: How could he have not attended the convention, where he's pretty much revered as a god, in the past?
"First of all, can I just point out that I'm a Broadway girl too?" Stewart quipped, referring to his "Dorothy" co-star, "Wicked" veteran Megan Hilty, who was also on the panel.
"You see, I thought I'd been here already; it was my publicist who told me I wasn't," Stewart quipped. "I must've come down here for a party, and thought I was at Comic-Con."
Stewart's maiden voyage to Comic-Con turned out to be a memorable one, and not just for the adoring audience that greeted him with a standing ovation in the packed Hall H. During the course of the panel, Hilty led the crowd in serenading Stewart -- who turned 71 on July 13 -- with a rendition of "Happy Birthday."
The actor received another compliment -- of a sort -- during the Q&A session.
"Patrick, I love you," asked one male attendee, who appeared to be costumed as a sprite of some sort. "Can we have butt-sex?"
(The actor greeted the query with a polite silence.)
As for "Dorothy of Oz" -- which was written by "Wizard of Oz" author L. Frank Baum's great-grandson Roger S. Baum and boasts a star-studded cast that includes Lea Michele, Kelsey Grammer, Dan Aykroyd and Martin Short -- Stewart noted that the fact that it's an animated feature held great appeal for him.
"Right now my feeling is that the greatest innovations in cinema are being made in the world of animation. There's such a diversity of work that's being done," Stewart, who provides the voice of Tugg in the movie, enthused. "So when there's a chance to take part in this new wave of great filmmaking, I like to take part in it."
Plus, Stewart quipped, "I haven't done many iconic pieces of work in my life, so to be associated with those two letters -- O-Z, as we say in England -- is a huge compliment."
Stewart went on to note that the field of animation is especially suited to his acting style.
"I've always thought of myself as a stage actor who occasionally does movies and television, so when I get in front of a film camera, invariably the director is saying to me, 'less,'" Stewart noted. "In my experience, in animation the directors always want, 'MORE! MORE!"
Surely, the worshipful audience at the panel shared in that sentiment.