A Star Trek Update

Star Trek Update April 2018

A lot has been happening in the Star Trek universe of late – including the start of production on Star Trek: Discovery season two, and news on not one but two Kelvin-universe films in development.

Let’s start with Star Trek: Discovery!

In episode three of the first season, when the first half aired last year, we were all suddenly captivated by one tiny, fleeting little moment on screen – a moment that inspired a passionate and excited debate online.

The appearance of the mysterious “black delta.”

Section 31 Black Badge

For a long time, the leading theory was that it and the USS Discovery itself were somehow connected to the enigmatic and paranoid Section 31.

Finally, after months of speculation, one half of that leading fan theory was confirmed by actor Alan Van Sprang.

Alan appeared in the last episode of season one of Star Trek: Discovery, in a scene that was ultimately cut.  That scene appeared online as both a “bonus scene” and a teaser for season two.  The video has disappeared from a few places, but is still available on YouTube.  You can find it here.  Check it out, it is well worth a look.

The scene in question had Alan appearing as a “fake” Trill.  His character, Leland, recruits Mirror Universe Georgiou at a Klingon bar she now seems to be running, and hands her the black badge.  He tells her he is from Section 31 and that they could use someone like her.  So… someone megalomaniacal, devoid of compassion, morally bankrupt and vicious to the core?  Gotta love Section 31!

According to Van Sprang at an appearance he made at WonderCon earlier this year, his character will be featuring prominently in season two, alongside Section 31 and, we can only presume, former Emperor Philippa Georgiou.

So excited by that.  Any opportunity to get Michelle Yeoh back makes me very happy.

The only other piece of information Alan offered was via a later Instagram post where he stated that Leland “heads up” Section 31.

Alan Van Sprang Instagram Post

That’s not all.

With Star Trek: Discovery now about a month into production on season two, more news has come out and it is exciting.

Not one but two casting announcements have been made.

The first, and the one I’ve been waiting for, is that Anson Mount has been cast as Captain Christopher Pike, commanding officer of the original USS Enterprise.

To the joy of many a fan (myself included), Anson took to social media to share his feelings.  Using clips from “The Cage” and even an image of a Pike action figure, Anson showed the world that he is a fan of Trek and super excited to be a part of the family.

You may know Anson from Marvel’s Inhumans and the AMC series Hell on Wheels.

And yes, that is a version of the original series uniform that Anson is wearing in a shot I’ve screen capped from a “production has started” video that CBS released.  Is that Spock in blue off to the side?  Not a clue, we don’t get a good enough look at that character.

Before we get to that video though, click here to visit TrekMovie for more information on Anson’s casting.

The second casting announcement was that Tig Notaro, primarily known for her comedy work, has been cast as Chief Engineer Denise Reno of the USS Hiawatha.

Tig Notaro

Chief Engineer?  Does that mean Discovery gets an engineer?

We don’t know – we still don’t know who her captain will be!  I suspect, however, that something will happen to make Denise Reno board the Discovery and stay there.

In other news, Jonathan Frakes, our very own Commander William T. Riker, will return to direct two episodes this season, and he has let slip on social media that the scripts he has read so far are AMAZING!

Jonathan also had a visit from his former onscreen wife, Marina Sirtis, while on the set of Star Trek: Discovery where he was directing episode two of the second season.

Jonathan and Marina

As you would expect, this set the internet on fire.

Is Marina appearing in Star Trek: Discovery?  Is it just a coincidence?  No one knows, and that’s casting information the production team behind the show would keep close to their chests.

In some of Marina’s social media she called out to Mary Wiseman, which made some fans wonder if she might be following in Majel Barrett-Roddenberry’s footsteps and playing the mother of a major character (Tilly).  Tilly has mentioned her curly-hair-hating mother on more than one occasion, and both Mary and Marina’s comedy-chops are pretty damn good (watch Star Trek: First Contact to see just how hilarious Marina is).  Star Trek: Discovery could get a lot of play out of Mary and Marina on screen together.

My take?  We have a new ship popping up – the USS Hiawatha.  I would love for Marina to be playing that ship’s captain, and for that captain to be Tilly’s mum.  Alternatively, she could be a prominent member of the Enterprise crew who is Tilly’s mum. She could beam over for some quality time with her daughter while the Discovery and Enterprise are hanging around together.

Staying with Star Trek Discovery for the moment, the last thing I want to mention is a recent video treat courtesy of CBS All Access showing us some of what’s going on with the production.

Season 2 First Look 1

One thing, in particular, that was in that video should thrill every fan.  The appearance of the traditional gold, red and blue uniforms.

They have been modernised, but to me they appear to be quite faithful.  Still with a Star Trek: Discovery flair, but familiar and pleasantly so.

You’ll also notice that the rank braids are back, as is the solid badge.

The video also adds in to what Alan Van Sprang has said about Section 31 playing a prominent role in the second season.

The video briefly shows a shot of a sheaf of production drawings labelled “Section 31.”

Section 31 bridge, lab.  At least two designs for that.  An upper floor plan for something that may or may not be Section 31 related.

Season 2 First Look 3

Interesting.

Will we see a Section 31 starship?

The final takeaway from that video is what appears to be a computer interface from the much loved, fan favourite vessel the USS Enterprise.

It’s a graphic, and the style seems to draw a lot from the movie period of Star Trek V, Star Trek VI and Star Trek: Generations (the Kirk, Chekov and Scotty part of that film).

Season 2 First Look 4

There is a very gentle colour nod (one orange and one red touch button) to the original series in the display, but otherwise it is very Star Trek: Discovery with a hint of earlier films.

Last but not least, for some time now Quentin Tarantino’s name has been attached to the fourth Kelvin-verse film.

Quentin Tarantino, you say?  Yes.  He is a big Trek fan and would love a shot at directing one of the films.

Quentin Tarantino

As this story has played out, it appears more likely he wouldn’t be able to do the fourth Kelvin-verse film, but would instead be ready for a fifth were it to be green-lit.

No matter when, I am really excited to see what Tarantino would do with a Trek movie.  Hopefully nothing too bat-shit crazy, but he is a creative and visionary director with a gritty and stylistic approach that is engaging. And sometimes polarising.

The CEO of Paramount Pictures, Jim Gianopulos, has confirmed that not one but TWO Star Trek films are currently in development.

We have absolutely no information on what those two films are about, and to the best of our knowledge neither does anyone else – except for those people actually developing the two ideas.

What we do know is that the Tarantino idea is being written by Mark L. Smith, and the other is being written by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay and is most likely the much-rumoured return of George Kirk movie.

Mark L. Smith wrote The Revenant, and J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay were apparently uncredited writers on Star Trek: Beyond and did some work on the original Roberto Orci idea that was eventually scrapped in favour of Doug Jung and Simon Pegg’s script.

If you want more information on any of these stories, you can track down a variety of articles through Variety and Deadline, or head on over to TrekMovie or TrekCore – both fan sites have had some excellent coverage on all of the exciting events happening in Star Trek news!

We’ve got some amazing things to look forward to as fans.  Still no news on when season two of Star Trek: Discovery will air, but it looks like it could be later this year.

No news on the release date for the next movies either.

As news unfolds, we’ll chat about it right here.

Live long, and prosper.

LCARS Interface

Warp Speed Ahead…

Star Trek Beyond Reviews and Updates

Days before it is officially released, Star Trek Beyond has been declared a critical success… at least as far as most critics are concerned.

There are, of course, some who have expressed a little disappointment, but thankfully there are only a few of them.

To date (July 19), Beyond has a 91% “fresh” rating on trusted review site Rotten Tomatoes – which is pretty damn good!

HAPPY 50th, STAR TREK!

STB Rotten Tomotoes

If you’d like to read some of the reviews, see below.  Most are spoiler free, and those that aren’t contain minimal information.

TrekCore review

io9 review

TrekMovie review

TrekNews review

Blastr has a collection of comments/review snippets from various sources.

I haven’t seen the movie yet, but will rectify that in… oh… two days.  It’s probably safe to say I cannot wait!

So… how good is the movie?  So good Paramount have already announced a sequel – that will, apparently, feature Chris Hemsworth (yes, that Chris Hemsworth).

For those of you who don’t remember, Chris starred as the father of James T. Kirk in 2009’s Star Trek.  He broke our hearts, valiantly sacrificing his life to save his wife, his son (who was being born literally as the USS Kelvin was ripped apart by Nero’s vessel), and many of his fellow crew.

That sacrifice would become a turning point for a young James Kirk, thanks in no small part to Christopher Pike, who uttered these now immortal words: “…your father was captain of a starship for twelve minutes.  He saved 800 lives, including your mother’s and yours.  I dare you to do better.

We don’t know how George Kirk will return in the as yet untitled Star Trek IV, and I doubt we’ll find out for quite some time, but there are many ways in which a deceased character can make an appearance… via flashback (which is unlikely), as a recorded message, through a little time travel, or maybe even a crossover between the Prime Reality and the Kelvin timeline… it’s Star Trek, so the possibilities are endless.

To me, the most exciting possibility would be a crossover… so much potential in that one!

Star Trek Beyond is premiering in various locations around the world, and officially hits cinemas in three or four days – depending on which part of the world you live in.

According to a number of the reviews, it’s a worthy film to celebrate Star Trek‘s 50th birthday, effectively combining nostalgia and an old school Trekness with epic summer movie spectacle.

The latest film has been directed by Justin Lin and has been produced by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, and stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, the late Anton Yelchin, Sofia Boutella and Idris Elba.

LCARS Interface

Whatever Happened to IDIC?

Rhianna - Star Trek Beyond

Since mega-star Rihanna started talking about her love for Star Trek, some very unpleasant things have been said about her online – by, of all people, Trekkers.  I won’t include the comments here, because some of them are, frankly, abhorrent, but if you want to read them feel free to visit any number of Trek sites that feature the video where she talks about how much she loves the show and scroll down to their comments sections.  Many fan sites have thankfully jumped on those comments and removed them because they constitute a form of bullying.

I feel it’s important to point out that there are only a few fans who are doing this, but sadly those few have been pretty vocal.

For those of you who are wondering why a tiny number Trekkers are attacking a young woman who just happens to be one of the most popular recording artists alive today, and is someone who, as well as making music, set up a foundation to help terminally ill children, it’s because she dared to say she loves Star Trek and has for most of her life.

It was that fan love that led to her recording the song ‘Sledgehammer‘ for Star Trek Beyond which will form part of the movies’ soundtrack when it’s released later this month.  Interestingly, Zoe Saldana and Zachary Quinto have both said Rihanna’s song has helped them deal with the recent loss of their dear friend and colleague, Anton Yelchin.

It would appear some Trekkers don’t feel Rihanna is the ‘right’ sort of fan while others have suggested she’s trying to latch onto the ‘geek vote’ to increase her popularity.

The really hilarious thing about her using Star Trek is… Rihanna doesn’t need Star Trek to boost her popularity.  If she wanted to get geek cred, she’d have better luck saying she’s a fan of A Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead – the two most popular genre shows around at the moment.  While I love Star Trek, I can say from first hand experience that it doesn’t add to my personal popularity.  Sometimes it’s kinda the opposite, as much as it saddens me to say that.  I don’t hide my Trek love, it’s on display at my desk at my day job, and my acting agent has strict orders to get me on the new show if a role comes up that will suit my look.  My agent knows full well I will happily pay my way from Australia to Canada and back to get on that series!   When people learn of my love for Star Trek, rather than tell me how cool that is, they screw their faces up in surprise and say “really?”  And not in a good way.

So those suggestions that maybe Rihanna is doing this to boost her popularity are absurd.

Those who feel she’s not ‘worthy’, are making that statement because they have taken an exception to some of the lyrics in her songs and the fact she has now and again appeared nude or next to nude in photos, on stage and in her videos.

Seriously…?

What.  Tha.  Fuck?!

A few Trek actors have gone topless on screen – Marina Sirtis is one who springs to mind!  And Gene Roddenberry, a personal hero of mine, was far from a saint and his views on sexuality were quite liberal.  He created an entire species dedicated to sexual expression (the Deltans), and can anyone forget the horny bastards is the (terrible) Next Gen episode “Justice”?  Not to mention the micro-mini skirts Uhura, Chapel and Rand were forced to wear which did not leave a lot to anyone’s imagination.

The Great Bird of the Galaxy would not disavow Rihanna or any other woman for taking control of her body and doing what she wanted with it, so long as her actions didn’t harm anyone.

Gene celebrated diversity, whether it was political, religious (though he was not a religious man), sexual, cultural and so on.  He had his own opinions, but he recognised the essential nature of an individual’s right to choose, which is summed up so beautifully in the philosophy he expounded in Star Trek.

Gene even created something, just for Star Trek, to celebrate and promote diversity – the IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations), which is all about celebrating and appreciating the beauty present in that which is different.

As a fan of Star Trek, and as someone who works in an industry (in my day job) that has it’s own version of IDIC (called Unconditional Positive Regard) around which I try to live my life, I have to acknowledge these fans’ perceptions and even advocate for their right to have an opinion – even when it’s one I don’t agree with, but I also have to challenge their distasteful comments because they’re harmful – to Rihanna, to women and to my beloved Star Trek.

Star Trek is not an exclusive club.  Thank the Great Bird.  If it was, it might not admit heavily tattooed guys like me, because I might not fit some fanboy’s idea of the perfect Trekker.  Star Trek stands for the exact opposite of exclusivity – you know, those really great things the Civil Rights Movement was founded on, Women’s Liberation was founded on, and the current Marriage Equality campaigns are founded on: inclusion, acceptance, freedom.

Star Trek Created by Gene Roddenberry

Star Trek is, and ALWAYS should be for everyone.

I, for one, welcome Rhianna with open arms and thank her for making her fans and probably hundreds of thousands of other people who love her, a little more aware of this amazing thing that I personally cherish so deeply.

Welcome to the family, Rhianna.  You’ve been here for a while, but now it’s nice to know you’re one of us.  Please ignore the grumpy buggers over in the corner and please don’t judge us by their actions.  The rest of us are pretty damn awesome.

LCARS Interface

Star Trek Update – Series VI, Beyond & New STB Trailer

STB and STSVI

A lot of news has popped up in recent days on both the new Star Trek television series and Star Trek Beyond, which is now less than a month away from its international release.

We’ve heard from Bryan Fuller, Justin Lin, Chris Pine, Idris Elba, the ‘Powers that Be’ at CBS, and… Rihanna!

But first, let’s dive into the new series – something most of us are chomping at the bit to hear more about.

Series VI Title Pure Gradient

We still don’t know what the full name of the new series is, what timeline it happens in or the name of the starship (or starships) it takes place on.  We don’t know the name of any crew, and while meetings have happened with a handful of actors, to the best of our knowledge no one has been cast yet.

We do know, however, that what some of us (myself included) were theorising, is flat out wrong.

Namely, the new Trek being an anthology series.

I’m a little sad about that, and a little relieved… I had really warmed to the idea of seeing Star Trek episodes from all over the timeline, but I was also wondering if that would allow me to develop a relationship with the new crew(s?) – which is something that’s important to me.  I enjoy the special effects and challenging story lines, but the thing that keeps bringing me back to Trek are the characters I love.

So what does “new crews” mean if it doesn’t mean a peek into the lives of various officers across Starfleet’s rich history?  It could mean anything.  A starbase crew and a starship crew, working together to protect the final frontier (a bit DS9 but you never know)?  An exploratory fleet led by a commodore?  The possibilities aren’t endless, but there are quite a few.  All I can say is… “let the speculation begin… again!

We also learned that the first arc of the season has been plotted, and the first six episodes of what will be a 13 episode season have been broken.  That means the major beats have been decided upon and they’re being written into script form.  Just as exciting, Bryan has suggested other canon Trek characters will appear in the series, eventually!  Though probably not in the first season.  That last bit might be the biggest timeline related clue we’ve been given to date, because to me that screams PRIME TIMELINE!

Shooting on the new series will start in September and run through to March, which means you won’t be able to stream the whole series in one big binge, but will have to wait to download it weekly.

Bryan also reminded us that because the new Trek wasn’t on a network, it wouldn’t be subject to network broadcast standards, something that was the bane of Gene Roddenberry’s existence when he created the first series 50 years ago.

To read more revelations about the new series, and to watch a video of Bryan telling us what he can, visit TrekCore here and here.

In news that bridges both the Prime and Alternate Trek universes, CBS has finally given an official name to the timeline created in 2009’s blockbuster hit Star Trek.

That period of Trek history has been called many things, among them NuTrek, the J.J.Verse and the AbramsVerse.

Not anymore.  It’s now called the “Kelvin Timeline” after the starship caught in the middle of the Nero incident that brought about the new film universe.

To read more about that development, visit io9 here.

Star Trek Beyond Title

In movie news, the beautiful Rihanna, the popular award-winning mega-star, has recorded a song for the Star Trek Beyond soundtrack!  It’s called “Sledgehammer.”

For those of you who didn’t know, Rihanna is a huge Trek fan.

She announced her contribution on Twitter.  To the best of my knowledge this has never happened in canon Trek before.  Popular (and not so popular) music has been featured in previous films and at least one series, but no artist has done a James Bond on us and recorded a brand new song for us to live long and prosper by.  The fanfilm Star Trek: Renegades starring Walter Koenig and Tim Russ went there with Automatik Eden, but that’s it.

To learn more, visit the wonderful TrekCore here.

Rihanna’s song features in the third and final Paramount promo for the film, which is a mix of previously seen footage and new footage.  Visit ScienceFiction.com here to see the new clip and hear a sample of Rhianna’s moody and atmospheric tune.

Justin Lin, Chris Pine, and Idris Elba have also shared some information on the new movie via SFX Magazine.

We’ve heard a lot of it before, but there are some new insights.

We’ve also heard from Michael Giacchino, who has released the set list for the Star Trek Beyond soundtrack.  In typical Michael fashion, almost every title has a humorous twist!  Some people might consider the below to be spoilers, so don’t read on!  Just scroll past the chunk of titles listed in italics below.

Logo And Prosper
Thank Your Lucky Star Date
Night On The Yorktown
The Dance Of The Nebula
A Swarm Reception
Hitting The Saucer A Little Hard
Jaylah Damage
In Artifacts As In Life
Frankin, My Dear
A Lesson In Vulcan Mineralogy
Motorcycles Of Relief
Mocking Jaylah
Crash Decisions
Krall-y Krall-y Oxen Free
Shutdown Happens
Cater-Krall In Zero G
Par-tay For The Course
Star Trek Main Theme

To read what Justin has to say about the film, visit TrekCore here.

To read what Chris and Idris have to say, once again, visit the amazing TrekCore here.

Lastly, to read about Michael and the soundtrack, go to TrekCore one more time here.

As more news on Star Trek Beyond and Star Trek Series VI is splashed over the internet, I’ll feature it here at Star Trek: Sentinel.

Star Trek Beyond stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella and the late Anton Yelchin.

LCARS Interface

Star Trek Beyond Dedicated to Anton

Star Trek Into Darkness - Missing Man Formation

TrekMovie are reporting that the upcoming Star Trek Beyond will be dedicated to Anton Yelchin.

According to TrekMovie, the producers are in the process of adding a tribute to the films end credits.

For those of you who have been fans of Star Trek for a while, you’ll know that there have been tribute messages in previous Trek films – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

The original report, from Hollywood Life, suggests the tribute to Anton might be more than a plaque with a dedication on screen.

It seems to suggest that there could be a montage of some sort, which would be a beautiful way to honour Anton, as well as us fans.

To read the article from TrekMovie click here.

Anton Yelchin was killed in a tragic accident on the 19th of June, when his car rolled into him, pinning him between it and a brick structure at his home.  He had only recently turned 27.

TrekCore are reporting that Paramount Pictures has cancelled an event they had scheduled for the 22nd in France, that was going to feature Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg and John Cho to give the actors time to grieve for their friend.  The Star Trek stars would have been promoting Star Trek Beyond and taking part in a live streamed Q&A session.  If you’d like to know more, visit TrekCore here.

If you’re planning on seeing Star Trek Beyond when it is released in a month’s time, make sure you stay for the end credits.

And bring tissues.

LCARS Interface

Star Trek: Axanar Lawsuit Dropped?

Star Trek Axanar Title

At the May 20 special Star Trek event to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the science fiction phenomenon, Trek Producer and reboot writer/director J.J. Abrams  announced the end of the lawsuit against Star Trek: Axanar.

As of today, 23 days after the announcement, it still appears this is so, despite some speculation CBS might continue the lawsuit alone.

According to J.J., in his opinion and the opinion of Star Trek fan and Beyond director Justin Lin, a lawsuit was not an appropriate way to deal with any fan.

The fans should be celebrating this thing. We all, fans of Star Trek, are part of this world.

As J.J. filled in the attendees at the special Star Trek event, he mentioned both Paramount and CBS were going to create guidelines for fan films to follow so that a lawsuit would (hopefully) never again divide the powers that be and the community of Trekkers who are all, in their own ways, invested in Star Trek.

Not long after the announcement broke, Alec Peters, the man behind Axanar, attempted to bring together a number of fan film representatives to develop their own fan film guidelines to recommend to Paramount and CBS… but that apparently didn’t go down so well.

Whether well-meaning or not, Alec’s attempts upset some people.

Regardless of what the guidelines might be, it appears Axanar is off the hook and hopefully this means that this much anticipated feature length movie can now finally get made in some form.

As a Star Trek fan and a fan of the films that some Trekkers create, I’m relieved this is finally in the process of being resolved.  The 50th Anniversary of Star Trek should be about all of us celebrating this remarkable collection of films, televisions series’, books, comics, fan films and other fan efforts.  It shouldn’t be about recrimination and accusations, confusion and anger.

Did Peters infringe on the copyright owners of Trek?  Maybe, but at the same time there were no guidelines in place to help him avoid what happened.  Has he infringed in a way that’s different from other fan led productions?  That’s a little harder to work out.  Toward the end of the debate the main focus seemed to come down to merchandise, semantics and the fact he paid himself a wage.

Though many other fan productions have used aspects of the mythology – and some extensively, none have proved to be as contentious as Axanar.  For as many supporters as Peters has, he has managed to gather as many detractors.

All of this beckons the question did CBS and Paramount over react by issuing a lawsuit on Alec and Axanar?  I don’t know.  Part of me thinks they did, part of me, as a professional in the entertainment industry, thinks they acted appropriately to protect their IP, but… I do believe they could have prevented this and the resulting anxiety that ended up permeating the fan film community.  Fan films have been around for a long time, and there has been ample opportunity to put some clear boundaries in place.

I’m afraid no one comes off looking particularly good in any of this, but now, thanks to J.J. and Justin we can move forward.  Hopefully, we can spend the last five and a half months of this year putting these last seven months of uncertainty behind us, and do what we should have been doing all along – celebrating Star Trek together.

If you’d like to read more about J.J.’s announcement and the steps he and Justin Lin went to in their attempts to end this challenging and disruptive period in Trek history, click here for more information from 1701News, or visit Star Trek: Axanar to hear it from the horses proverbial mouth.

If you want to stay up to date on what the new fan film guidelines might be, I recommend you bookmark 1701News and Axanar Productions.  Regardless of how you feel about either of these sites, they have had the best coverage on the lawsuit.  Another site you might want to throw into Google is ‘Axamonitor’ which has been both praised and criticised for its aggregation of news content on the issue.

Now, let’s focus on what’s most important in the Trek community this year…

May Star Trek live long and prosper, and may the upcoming Star Trek Beyond be one of the most successful Trek films in History.

Star Trek Beyond warps into cinemas on the 22nd of July and the film was scheduled for release this year as part of the 50th Anniversary celebration.

Star Trek Beyond was written by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung, was directed by Justin Lin, and produced by J.J. Abrams.

LCARS Interface

Star Trek Axanar Update

Star Trek Axanar 3

I have been trying to avoid posting about Star Trek: Axanar because of the furor that has sprung up around it both legally, and in fandom.  However, in revisiting old posts a few days ago, I saw that I had promised to, so here goes.

Simplest explanation of it all?  It’s a mess.

The lawsuit is still pending, and there has been so much comment on what has unraveled since various documents started coming out, that it’s very hard to know where to start.

Do we just look at it as a legal issue, do we explore it as fans, or do we look at it solely from the perspective of what it might mean for other fan productions?

I don’t know.

So, I’m just going to look at it from a personal perspective.

Axanar is something I’ve been looking forward to for some time, I donated money to it, I followed it’s development with great interest, and I sat in awe through Prelude to Axanar (the short film made to promote the concept for a potential longer form fan film) and was so excited for what it showed and the promise held within the idea.

After Prelude, it felt like news on the production of the feature slowed down, and it also felt like the dialogue around the production changed.  I might be wrong, but I remember it being referred to as a fan film, but somewhere along the line it became something else.

Late last year I started to look into it all, because I was wondering what was going on.  Then the lawsuit from Paramount Pictures and CBS happened and I was stumped.  Obviously something had been happening since Prelude was released… and obviously some people weren’t happy about it!

Historically, Paramount and CBS have allowed (tolerated?) fan productions without issue, but the lawsuit filed by both companies suggests Axanar crossed a line no other fan film had crossed.  Then this year news starting popping up that a producer had drawn a salary from fan raised money and things started to get nasty.

It’s important to note that in some fan productions in the past, professional actors, directors and other creative staff have been paid – which is a legal requirement in some countries.  I’m not up on how that works in America, but in Australia it depends on the nature of the employment and the type of production.  We all do freebies as actors in Australia, but usually only for mates and for student productions.

Axanar was promoting itself as a professional production which appeared to infringe on the Star Trek trademark and would definitely require a lot of people get paid a wage.

The rub, for Paramount and CBS, seems to be the word ‘professional’.  They’ve also listed a variety of other issues with Axanar including the use of characters, ship classes and the use of Star Trek languages.

For the fans, the issue seems to be “what did our money go to?”

I don’t know what to say about any of it, because I naively trusted everyone behind the production and I hope that my faith in them is eventually upheld.

I have always thought that as Trek fans we’re a community, and a very beautiful one.  I’ve been overseas a couple of times, and have bonded with complete strangers in other countries over Star Trek, its philosophies and how it has inspired us.  To me, it’s always been this special thing that brings people together.  As fans we do sometimes get into crazy arguments over which is the best Trek film or series, who the best captain is, and there are some of us who like to debate the more esoteric aspects of our favourite show – but we support each other and the various fan efforts that are out there, and we don’t set out to deceive each other.

Did the people behind Axanar set out to deceive a bunch of trusting fans?  I don’t know.  I hope not.  I’m definitely deciding to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Star Trek Axanar - Alec Peters, Kate Vernon, Richard Hatch

Until the truth comes out in the wash, if you’re interested in following the unfolding drama, I highly recommend you go to the actual official site for Axanar and these two excellent Star Trek sites that have been following the developments behind this historic lawsuit: Michael Hinman’s excellent 1701News (Michael has been following the lawsuit closely and has a number of informative articles on his site), and the brilliant TrekZone, an Australian Star Trek site that has also been following the Axanar production (Matt Miller, the man behind TrekZone, recently scored an insightful interview with Alec Peters, one of the driving forces behind Axanar).

Star Trek: Sentinel won’t be following the Axanar issue.  I’ll report on it once there’s a resolution, but until then I want to stay out of the argument.  As a donor to the project I have a vested interest in seeing the film made, but as long time fan of Trek, I also want to see the copyright of the brand respected.  So, I’m torn and as far as I’m concerned there are more than enough voices in the mix.

As a Star Trek fan who adores the fanfilms that have sprung up over the years, I hope this lawsuit doesn’t affect any other productions in the future.  They’re a very special part of Star Trek and one I hope isn’t tarnished or completely destroyed by this lawsuit.

EDIT/UPDATE (April 12 2016 – Australia/April 11 2016 US):

A big thank you to Kabalyero (www.kabalyero.info) for a question that prompted me to be a little more comprehensive with the information I was sharing on the Axanar issue.

There’s a well researched site called AxaMonitor which has possibly the most comprehensive coverage on the Axanar lawsuit issue to date.  Is it objective?  You decide.  To check it out, click here.  For the other half of the argument, please make sure you visit the official Axanar website and read their side here.

As I mentioned earlier in this article, this is an historic issue that will have far reaching consequences for television and film production, and fanfilm production in particular, and it’s important we are all as informed as we can be while we wait for the courts to make a decision.

There are so many opinions out there right now that it is confusing.  AxaMonitor does a great job of aggregating multiple sources of news, but it’s also worth hearing from the proverbial horses mouth and visiting the Axanar website.

If you’re interested in reading the actual legal argument that’s being made by the owners of the Star Trek brand,  the only copy of the current legal documents I have been able to find are via the AxaMonitor website as a PDF.  If you want to read the document click here.

Once a decision has been made in the courts, I’ll post about it.

Until then, please keep supporting Star Trek fan productions.  Long time series like Star Trek: New Voyages and Star Trek: Continues and many more (including the recent amazing Star Trek: Horizon) have done incredible and noteworthy work with full and clear disclosure around their financials.

Let’s not tar the whole with whatever brush people are choosing to tar Axanar with.

LCARS Interface

Welcome to 2016

2016 New Year Post Banner

Happy New Year, and welcome to 2016.  It’s a big one for Star Trek!

This year we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of a television and cinematic phenomena with a new feature film, more episodes of Star Trek: Renegades, and on top of those two wonderful events we get to watch the unfolding production of a brand new sixth live action series due for release in January 2017.

This year we’ll also learn the fate of Star Trek: Axanar.

So there will be a lot happening, and a lot we can look forward to on the news front this year.

What can we expect in the first six months?

Whatever Paramount and CBS have dreamed up to celebrate the 50th year of our favourite series, updates on the production of Renegades, previews of the two new episodes, and the eventual release of those episodes – one of which will be the swan song for Admiral Pavel Chekov and possibly also Admiral Nyota Uhura.  We can expect at least one more major preview for Star Trek: Beyond before its July release, and we should learn a lot more in the coming months about the new television series.  We might even get a teaser as a prelude to an actual preview later in the year.  In fact, we should, considering it is scheduled to air in a little over a year.  The teaser probably won’t be much more than a glimpse at some of the characters, but that will be enough considering how hungry we all are for news on the new series.  One thing I doubt we’ll see is the ship.  If the lead up is anything like it was for TNG, we won’t see the new ship until a month or two before the first episode airs.

We will definitely learn the fate of Axanar, and probably very soon.  The most recent news on the court case is that the Axanar team hope to settle out of court in a way that will still allow for the film to be made.

One thing I do know for certain, is that the Star Trek: Challenger blog will be there for all of it.

Thank you to everyone who has been following my blog, I deeply appreciate it.  Our readership is literally international, with the most hits coming out of the US, Canada, the United Kingdom and Europe.

Here’s to an amazing and Trek-filled 2016.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Live long, and prosper.

LCARS Interface

CBS and Paramount Draw a Line

Star Trek Axanar 1 with Logo

For quite some time now, I’ve been looking forward to a little fan made production called Star Trek: Axanar.

I first stumbled across it about two years ago, and was so impressed with what I read that I donated money to one of its Kickstarter campaigns.

Our first reward, as fans, was the simply outstanding The Four Years War: Prelude to Axanar short film.  It served as an introduction to the film (that they were still raising money to make) and it’s characters and was shot in documentary style… and it was amazing!  The production values were unexpectedly professional, the performances were exceptional, and the special effects were brilliant.  If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it right here.  As of the 31st of December 2015, the video has had over 1,700,000 views.

It’s taken Axanar Productions (the film company behind Axanar) quite a while to raise the funds to make the film – but they’ve finally done it and have raised over one million dollars.  The movie was set to start filming next month… until CBS and Paramount decided to sue Axanar Productions and stop the film from being made.

This is quite unprecedented.  CBS and Paramount have a history of tolerating and sometimes out right supporting fan made productions.  The creators of Axanar even met with CBS at one point to make sure they weren’t getting themselves into trouble.

Star Trek Axanar 2

No one really knows what has compelled CBS and Paramount to take this step, but some theories include the fact that the fan reaction to Axanar has been far more positive than the fan reaction to Star Trek Beyond, with another theory being that Axanar has taken everything to a brand new level and become so professional that it has CBS worried – particularly with a new professional Star Trek series coming out in a year.

Whatever the reason, Axanar is currently on hold.

TrekMovie and TrekNews have excellent coverage on this issue, though most news outlets – particularly sci fi news outlets – are reporting on it.

To check out the TrekMovie and TrekNews articles, follow the links below.

To learn more about this extraordinary fan production, go to Axanar Production’s official website right here.

TrekMovie

TrekNews and also here.

LCARS Interface