Ok, J.J. Abrams is a cool guy. He made the best espionage TV series of all time (Alias and revealed Jennifer Garner as a bombshell action heroine), he created the most intriguing mysterious TV series since The X-Files (Lost) and he brought the monster movies to a new degree (Cloverfield), but we have to be honests here: J.J. Abrams is not a Star Trek real fan. He almost sank the Enterprise in an ocean of nonsense and changes that not only angered the most loyal fans of Star Trek (who can forget Vulcan’s destruction and two Mr. Spock living in the same timeline???) as it seemed that the franchise would not survive a second film. But Star Trek Beyond, the third film starring the reinvigorated Enterprise crew, is coming soon, and without Abrams, who is handling the return of Star Wars to the movies (I hope he does not also sink the Millennium Falcon with his nerd-revolutionary ideas). If you are a real trekker you know what we all expect from a new Star Trek movie.
The guys behind Star Trek Axanar probably also know, and the proof that they are in the right way is the video Prelude to Axanar that counts more than 1,4 million hits on their official YouTube Channel. Last week I talked about Star Trek: Renegades fan film, that seems like a great bet for a new TV series of Star Trek, and now another project for a new series of adventures in the Star Trek universe begins to gain similar strength. Truth be told: if you want something done right, do it by yourself.
The Four Years War
In the world of fan fiction, there is perhaps no group as rabid and as loyal as Trekkies. The Internet is littered with the works of fans who took their inspiration from Star Trek and went in interesting, unsanctioned directions. While most of these works are noted for their poor quality, one group of fans have their eyes set on a professional level production, and they’ve been taking the Star Trek world by storm.
Axanar, though unsanctioned by CBS, who owns the rights to Star Trek, boasts a cast and crew of professionals to elevate the film beyond normal fan-fueled productions. Included in the cast are Trek veterans Tony Todd as Admiral Marcus Ramirez, Kate Vernon as Captain Sonya Alexander, and J.G. Hertzler as Captain Samuel Travis.
Kate Vernon, JG Hertzler, Gary Graham, director Chris Gossett, Alec Peters, and Richard Hatch at “Prelude to Axanar” premiere at San Diego Comic Con 2014. Source: TrekMovie.Com.
Recently, Axanar announced that they had received over $500,000 in donations from their latest fundraising campaign on IndieGoGo. The success of this campaign pushes the budget for the project into the million dollar range, with thousands of Star Trek fans across the globe kicking in money to ensure Axanar sees the light of day. Set during the period of the Four Years War between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, the film explores the incident that ended the one hot conflict between the two civilizations. While long time Trekkies are familiar with this story, which has been explored in various games and expanded universe books, this project marks the first time anyone has attempted to bring the story to life.
The major cast for Star Trek Axanar, from above left to right: Alec Peters as Captain Garth, Gary Graham as Ambassador Soval, J.G. Hertzler as Captain Travis, Kate Vernon as Captain Alexander, Richard Hatch as Kharn, and Tony Rodd as Admiral Ramirez.
The film follows the journey of Captain Kelvar Garth (Alec Peters), as he faces off against the Klingons at the outpost of Axanar. Taking place 21 years before the original series, Axanar promises to be a return to the roots of Star Trek, focusing on exploration of both space and humanity with the Four Years War as its backdrop. Captain Garth, according to lore, is one of Captain James T. Kirk’s heroes, an ideal model for what a Starfleet captain should be. This is more than enough to excite the imaginations of Trekkies, who’ve been clamoring for a more traditional Star Trek to contrast with the rebooted series that kicked off with J.J. Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek film. Even though Axanar is officially a non-sanctioned Star Trek story, it feels like a breath of fresh air for the series, which has seen no new TV outings since Enterprise was canceled in 2005.
The movie will be released in four episodes, following the act structure of the script, and is set for release sometime in early 2016. Excitement for the project soared upon the release of last year’s Prelude to Axanar, a 21 minute short film, presented as a History Channel-style retelling of the events preceding Axanar, complete with interviews and reenactments. Widely considered one of the best Star Trek fan films ever made, it was also hailed as one of the best Trek projects in recent memory, with fans sharing the film all across social media.
Above: A Klingon destroyer, and right below from left to right four of the Federation starships that will be in the Star Trek Axanar movies: USS Ares, USS Geronimo, USS Hermes and USS Korolev.
If the quality of Prelude is any indication, Axanar stands to be a remarkable step for the future of fan films. If you do not believe, take a look in this first scene from the first Axanar movie already filmed and titled “Vulcan Scene” on Axanar official Channel on YouTube and forget for a moment that that planet does not exist anymore thanks to J.J. Abrams:
Star Trek is known for its acceptance of fan projects, provided no money is made from the efforts. With so much support from Trekkies, perhaps Paramount and CBS will take this as an indication of what fans expect from the Star Trek brand and react accordingly. Regardless, Axanar is sure to be a treat for Trekkies when it makes its debut. The IndieGoGo campaign is still up and running, so there’s still time to pitch in and support this project. Click here to visit the project official website and make a donate.
Take a look at Prelude to Axanar below, a good documentary about what was the Four Years War and what we are going to see very soon if the project goes well:
Live longer and prosper!