In the world of TV and film there are tons of genres out there to appeal to everyone, but none have had as much of an impact as science fiction. These shows have brought together fans from all over the world to conventions for the chance to meet up with their favorite actors who portrayed their favorite characters. The latest convention, Space City Con in Galveston, TX, is coming up in January and is bringing together a Babylon 5 reunion like never before. I had the chance to sit down with Ta’lon himself, Marshall Teague, who has had an amazing career in Hollywood working with everyone from Patrick Swayze to Chuck Norris to Sean Connery and so many more, to discuss his career and what he has planned for what is sure to be an amazing convention.
Bobby: Can you tell us a little bit about how you got into the TV and film industry?
Marshall: I never had any intentions of being an actor. I was actually a cop (after retiring from the Navy) with the Sheriff’s Department in Memphis Tennessee and I got assigned to do some undercover work. I starting trying to see what the best way was to catch the bad guys and I came up with this bright idea to study acting, which I didn’t know anything about, just to be a better cop. It was kind of odd. You get out of the military and the last thing you think about is wanting to be an actor. I started studying and didn’t do to great. I did some theater and played Puck from A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and at the time I was working out five days a week, weighed about 230lbs., 29 inch chest, 18 inch neck, 17 ½ in arms, 34 inch waist and I looked like a ridiculous Puck in green tights and covered with leaves, bouncing around in the middle of a park. It was just weird, but something about it was just different than anything I had experienced up to that point. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I wanted to find out what it was. From there I packed everything I owned into the back of my K5 Blazer and took off to Hollywood.
Bobby: You have done so many things over the years, but there are those parts that keep on giving like Babylon 5, Sliders, or Stargate because they give you that "in" for doing conventions. How did you get started doing conventions?
Marshall: It was strange; I hadn’t really given it a thought to do that. As all actors do, I enjoyed creating a great character like Ta’lon, the first Jem’Hadar, or a race of Dinosaur entities, but hadn’t really thought about it. I was approached by some people and was asked if I wanted to do a sci-fi convention, but I didn’t even know what a sci-fi convention was. To date I've only done 3 in my life, so I'm still kind of the new guy, even though I have been in the business for many years. I went to England for a show and the first day I walked through the door and there were thousands of people dressed up as various characters from their favorite sci-fi shows and I'm sitting there thinking "This is wild, I love this". I've met some of the nicest people you will ever meet in your life. Granted they came in the door looking like characters you have played or you have interacted with or whatever they decided the character was. They walk up to you and they're just incredible people. It doesn’t matter what side of the pond you’re on, they’re the same. They're these wonderful people that love what you do and come as your alter egos and it's just a hoot to watch. To meet them is just the best thing in the world.
Bobby: So have you had the chance to see anyone show up as one of your characters yet like Ta’lon with the sword and everything?
Marshall: Never. I have seen a lot of people with swords. I’ve seen them with sickles and every variation of bladed weapon that you could possibly name. Many are of their own design and some are pretty wild. But I've never seen anyone, to date, walk up as Ta’lon.
Bobby: I think we need to start a petition to make this happen.
Marshall: (laughing) You know, everybody knows Ta’lon. They know him as this samurai; this ancient warrior that lives by an honor bound code. In Babylon, everyone else had their lasers or pulse weapons or whatever you want to call it and Ta’lon carried a blade. Anybody that walks into the room full of people with blasters and all this other kind of stuff with only a sword - you know this guy is serious. He has a very dry sense of humor, but had a lot of depth because in Narn years who knows how old he is. He's been around for a while.
Bobby: Well it looks like there is a Babylon 5 reunion of sorts coming up at Space City Con in Galveston, TX. in January.
Marshall: Oh yeah, I'm looking forward to that. Most of the people, with the exception of those no longer with us - God rest their souls - are going to be there. As well as people from other shows which I think is great. I’m also bringing a big part of Ta’lon out there because I'm bringing his sword, which I have never brought out before and there is only the one sword. It’s the one I wore on the show and it has never been brought out in public.
Bobby: There are a lot of things going on with this show, but was the Babylon 5 reunion one of the biggest draws to get you to come in for it?
Marshall: Yeah, it really was because getting everybody together after that many years hasn’t happened too many times. My understanding is that this is the first time. I’m getting to see people I worked with every day. Of course we didn’t always work at the same time obviously. Babylon 5 is the equivalent of having ten aircraft carriers together that floats in space. It is basically a city of different nations with each having its own ambassador and they dealt with the problems of each civilization and Babylon 5 was the neutral ground for the most part. I’m as much of a sci-fi follower as anyone else so to be able to see those Babylon people I worked with after so many years is great, like going back to a college reunion.
Bobby: With Space City, besides just the standard celebrity appearances and dealer rooms, I know there are a lot of other things happening like the Pink Five showing and numerous other things. Can you tell us a little about the other things you are involved in for this show?
Marshall: Pink Five itself has got a worldwide following that is just huge. It’s amazing, I've seen it a couple of times and I laugh my butt off. It is absolutely hilarious. You have these incredible voices and characters that you know from Star Wars and then all these new characters in the story. Trey Stokes (the writer/director) had this idea and brought a bunch of people together, including a bunch of Storm Troopers from the 501st Legion and it was just a little film project. But it's grown into a saga and now has this huge fan base. And I'm happy to say that I'm one of those fans.
Bobby: Besides Pink Five, I know you had some USO stuff going on. Is this going to be a part of the show as well?
Marshall: Yes it is. The 1701st Fleet (that I am proud to be an honorary member of) is putting on a show specifically for the Houston USO, but when you say USO you're talking about something that spans continents. I can tell you personally that when I was in the service, they were there for me and the millions of other men and women that have served. The USO gives them that shoulder to lean on, helps get that phone call through, getting things to your family, the list goes on and on. I am very proud to be hosting that, because when it comes to the USO they have bent over backwards to make sure that every person that serves this country here and abroad has a place to go and someone to talk to and just keep them in contact with the rest of the world in more ways than you will ever know. That, for me, is quite an honor and I hope everyone shows up. They have some great bands...an Irish band I'm really looking forward to seeing and another band I don’t know but have heard they are just awesome. I got my friend Rick Fitts hosting it with me - who is affectionately referred to as The Rev.
Bobby: Talking about hosting and the music that’s going to be there, I know you have some music that you are going to be promoting. Is there a chance you are going to be performing as well?
Marshall: I don’t think I'm going to be performing at this time because it came up as pretty short notice. It’s a CD I have been working on for years, called the “Steps That I Took” because every song written on there has to do with some stage of my life that I dealt with directly. It’s got a little bit of country rock in there, songs about life, there’s a song in there about a vet that's something very dear to my heart. So I'll have the CD which will be the first time it’s been out for the public - just like Ta’lon’s sword.
Bobby: The show is just around the corner so I know everyone is getting excited and looking forward to coming out.
Marshall: Absolutely, just tell them to dress up and come on down and say hello. Just like everyone else, I can’t wait to meet them. My wife is going to be there with me and we always enjoy the people that come to these shows. I’m new to this, but when I meet folks it just makes my day. I hope everyone will come down and we look forward to seeing you so be sure to come by and say hello!
Bobby: I know everyone is going to have a blast. Thanks for your time and I look forward to seeing you there.
Marshall: See you there!
You will not want to miss what is sure to be a great show for not only Babylon 5 fans but any fan of science fiction, TV, movies or great music.
For more information or get tickets for Space City Con head over to http://spacecitycon.com/
For more information on the Starfleet USO show head over to http://www.1701st.com/USO/
For more information on Pink Five head over to http://www.pinkfive.com/
For more information on the 501st head over to http://www.501st.com/