Star Trek fan films have been encouraged for years by the powers-that-be of Paramount and CBS, who own the original property and all the additional spinoffs.
But a miserly development over the holidays — particularly the professional-quality fan film Star Trek: Axanar — has many participants and followers of these Star Trek fan films running scared.
It is perhaps with good reason.
The producers of Axanar raised more than a half-million dollars on the crowdfunding website IndieGogo. Producer Alec Peters even had a meeting with the Paramount/CBS brass, who simply told him that he couldn’t make any money off it, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
With that and the history of Star Trek fan films support, Peters figured that he was good to move ahead. But somewhere along the way, Paramount and CBS had a change of heart and accused Peters of violating their intellectual property, previous Star Trek fan films notwithstanding.
While the companies are not offering any further clarification beyond that — and Peters intends to fight the injunction — some believe that they are upset with the fact that Star Trek: Axanar includes professionally working talents both in front of and behind the camera.
And unlike most Star Trek fan films, this particular one — which tells the story of Garth of Izar (original series, season 3) and his heroic role during the Four Years War — will ultimately have a budget of $1 million when the project is concluded.
Still, if you are a maker and/or a lover of Star Trek fan films, there is enough here to have cause for concern, so you’d better check out these before the takedown notices start getting sent out.
Star Trek: Renegades
According to the official YouTube synopsis, Renegades follows Admiral Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig reprising his original series role), who is forced to work outside the boundaries of Starfleet’s rules to combat a deadly new foe.
The official synopsis continues.
“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 Renegades’ mission is simple: take on an army and stop their leader, Borrada (Bruce Young), from destroying the Earth. Outnumbered and outgunned, the ragtag crew is in an adrenaline-pumping race against time and space. But they soon find their foes are the least of their concerns: the real trouble may be coming from within!”
Star Trek Continues
Want to know what Kirk and Company did for the rest of that five-year voyage they never got to complete? Star Trek Continues has multiple episodes under its belt, and while the actors are clearly not in it with the originals, the production quality is. The above video is from episode 1, “Pilgrim of Eternity.”
Star Trek Phase II
Again, the acting is no Shatner-Nimoy-Kelley, but the production values are strong, and in this case, the episode is based of a planned two-parter for the 1977 series that never developed. The 65-minute episode is a rewrite that encompasses the entire story.
For years, the various incarnations of the Star Trek fan films series have made it possible to keep up with Kirk and Company’s exploits in the manner in which it was originally intended. That could now be under threat, so enjoy while you still can.
Do you think Paramount and CBS are being too “corporate” against these Star Trek fan films? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Image via Star Trek: The Original Series screen grab]