Star Trek fans eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series received an unusual gift this week, when an unofficial film, Star Trek: Renegades, premiered on YouTube.
Renegades is the result of several crowdfunding campaigns that marshaled the resources of Star Trek fans worldwide. A full 90-minutes-long, the film was funded in 2013 and is the first in a planned internet series. As of this week, it has been made available online for anyone to watch for free.
The film features a host of actors previously known to Star Trek Fans, as Space.com notes. Walter Koenig reprises his iconic role of Pavel Chekov from the original series, having been promoted to Admiral in Renegades. Robert Picardo appears as Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, creator of the Starfleet Emergency Medical Hologram, and Tim Russ returns to the role of Commander Tuvok.
The plot of Star Trek: Renegades details a planet-destroying race that threatens Starfleet, spurring Chekov to act. While the mission undertaken by the film’s titular heroes is at first straightforward, they soon find themselves facing another challenge from within.
“When planet after planet winks out of existence, yet Starfleet refuses to act, Chekov turns to Commander Tuvok (Tim Russ, who also directs), the new head of Starfleet’s covert operations division, Section 31. Together, they assemble a new elite strike force, consisting of rogues, outcasts and criminals, led by the fearless yet haunted Lexxa Singh (Adrienne Wilkinson).”
The film was initially intended to be released next month, but the team behind the production were forced to reveal it early when a copy leaked online. According to Trek Today, a person involved with the film revealed that a number of sites were charging fans to view Renegades, in some cases even stealing credit card information.
“We didn’t want people’s credit card info stolen especially since several of the sites were fake and did not have the link to Renegades. It was our amazing fans that alerted us to all the scams and warned us about the credit card info. We looked into it and found those sites were breeding faster than a Tribble. We appreciate our fans watching out for other fans. We had every intention of waiting until the end of September.”
Star Trek: Renegades is available to stream in full at YouTube, or in the embed above.
[Image: Screenshot via YouTube/ Trek Renegades]