While we await the release of the third and final new Star Trek film for some time and the upcoming streaming TV series, it may be a good time to give a closer look at the fan-funded project Star Trek Axanar.
Christian Gossett and Alec Peters utilized the resources of special effects experts and several actors and actresses familiar to fans of Star Trek and cult sci-fi in general (including Battlestar Galactica’s Richard Hatch). They raised $101,000 (well over the $10,000 goal) via Kickstarter and released Prelude to Axanar for a limited release.
Set during the Four-Year War, Axanar serves as a bridge between Enterprise and the Original Series. A glimpse is even given of NCC-1701 craft in dry dock!
Star Trek Axanar strives to accomplish something few of the Star Trek projects from Paramount has, to fit into canon. Not only does it feature actors reprising their roles, but it also sets up plot threads connecting to classic Trek stories such as Patterns of Force and Whom Gods Destroy – one of my personal faves.
This is the best thing to happen for Trek fans in decades and the screening of the 21 minute prelude earned acclaim from professional critics. Then this happened:
On December 29, 2015, CBS and Paramount Pictures filed for an injunction and damages in the US District Court for the Central District of California, stating Axanar works infringe their rights by making use of the Klingon language and “innumerable copyrighted elements of Star Trek, including its settings, characters, species, and themes.”
On March 28, 2016, Axanar Productions filed a motion to dismiss or strike Paramount and CBS’s claims, saying the elements mentioned in the court filing are not protected by copyright and it is seeking premature relief from a work, the Axanar film, that does not exist.
At a time when (reportedly) Paramount is urging its staff to refrain from making their feature films ‘too Star Trekky’ (witness the high-octane trailer for Star Trek Beyond), it is truly painful that a project like this is being shelved.
Will we see Star Trek Axanar? Given that the film’s creators worked so hard to get this project off the ground and the product to date is so good that it has Paramount suing… it’s a possibility.