I rarely post in my Captain’s Log a post from our main Axanar Blog. But this time it is important enough to do so. Troy Light is a huge Axanar fan and an even bigger Star Trek fan. And he has some thoughts about Star Trek and CBS/Paramount’s handling of the franchise that echo what most fans who know about the lawsuit feel. So if you haven’t read this yet, please do. And you want to know how big an Axanar fan Troy is? Well, he got an Axanar license plate from Virginia!
Given the most recent revelations following the ruling by Judge Klausner on the motions for Summary Judgement, I have to be honest…I’m disappointed by the current state of affairs regarding Axanar, as well as the Star Trek franchise in general.
Honestly, Gene Roddenberry is either turning in his grave or laughing maniacally at the sheer idiotic course that the CBS / Paramount people have chosen to follow. There was a time when Star Trek AND Star Wars both were treated with respect, but look at where we are now…
George Lucas has signed over ownership of the Star Wars Universe to the monolith known as Disney, churning out one movie after another that grabs our interest: the MCU in all it’s glory, crushes its rival, the DCCU (DC Comics Universe, just to be clear), with blockbuster after blockbuster. And now, Star Wars has a clear path into the future with AT LEAST the completion of the third Trilogy of the Star Wars Saga, to bring the entire Skywalker story to an end by the year 2020. Along with it, we’ll see stand-alone films that promise to fulfill our every whimsical desire to know things like: How did Han Solo become the scoundrel we came to know in Star Wars IV: ANH? How did he meet Lando Calrissian and win the Millennium Falcon from him? How did he meet and befriend Chewbacca? We’ll probably see a stand-alone Boba Fett movie, maybe even a bevvy of movies that expand the Star Wars Universe much like the novels did with what is now known as the Star Wars Legends universe.
And what of Star Trek? What of the series which PRECEDED Star Wars by almost a decade? What of the franchise that fans figuratively went to the mat to save and bring about a third season of the original series? What of the franchise that has more spin-offs, novels, fan-fiction, merchandise, than its counterpart? What of the franchise that has had more of a direct, definable impact on the culture of today than that galaxy far, far away? The franchise that helped spawn the idea of cell phones, wireless communication, devices capable of scanning and relaying back information about the body or the surrounding environment?
It languishes in the hands of two companies that are so incompetent that they are the joke of the industry they are a part of. When handed the golden opportunity to make the 50th anniversary of Star Trek a celebration that would last from January 1st to December 31st, what did they do? Did they unveil a new series that would promise to revive the Star Trek television franchise and set it up for a seven-year voyage like TNG, DS9 and Voyager? Did they take the opportunity to showcase the third installment of their current movie franchise with marketing and press releases far enough in advance so as to generate a groundswell of fan support so enormous as to dwarf anything ever seen before, resulting in record-breaking box-office sales to solidly place Star Trek Beyond as the king of the Star Trek movie universe?
The answer to all those questions? No. The 50th anniversary went by with tepid support, far from the bang that they could have made, although a little more than a whimper…just a little bit more.
They made sure to gin up support for the 50th anniversary Creation Con in Las Vegas, decked out in glitter and gold, and raking it in as those fans who could afford to make the event handed over their cash to be at the once-in-a-lifetime event.
Meanwhile, the fans who couldn’t afford the Vegas experience, the fans who watch their DVD / VHS copies of TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise, and dream of a revived Star Trek that proves that the juggernaut of old still has the magic that once made it king…they wait on Star Trek Discovery, disappointed at its plodding journey, as CBS can’t seem to get out of its own way to get the show into production, missing its original goal of release in 2016, and providing little hope that they’ll get it finished any time soon in 2017. Those fans hear how Star Trek Beyond (which was a good movie in my opinion), may have failed to generate enough money at the box office to justify a JJ-Verse STIV.
And what of those fans who still believe in Star Trek and its promise, and take up the banner to attempt to make their own Star Trek fan films out of love for the franchise? They’re shackled with guidelines that would make a sane man laugh, if it wasn’t so clear that those guidelines were meant, not to help guide the creative juices of someone who wants to make a fan-film, but crush any hopes said person might have to create something of any lasting significance.
I remain committed behind Alec and his dream of bringing Axanar to life…but the most recent news of the judge’s decision, which was a heavy blow to the cause, makes me fear that this dream that Alec is fighting so hard to make a reality, won’t make the light of day…at least not anytime within the foreseeable future. Talk of going to a jury trial means more months of waiting for a decision…and if the decision goes against Axanar, there would still be the hope of an appeal…with more months and/or years added on as the case plods along in the judicial system. And if the decision goes FOR Axanar and Alec…what’s to say that CBS / Paramount won’t say, “Okay, you won that battle…but our guidelines still stand, so if you try for that 30+ minute fan-film, we’ll see you in court yet again…oh, and one more thing…APPEAL.” So the dream that started with a Kickstarter campaign may well see five or six years pass by before any chance of filming may start.
Star Trek, in the minds of CBS / Paramount isn’t a dream anymore…it’s a commodity, a golden goose that they have strangled, nearly to the point of extinguishing its spark. And when innovators like Alec attempt to bring something different…yes, SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT from what we’ve seen before, and yet familiar to the fans who love this franchise…they’re shackled and prevented from doing so. And the love that fans like myself for this franchise turns sour in our hearts with the realization that CBS / Paramount don’t care…they don’t LOVE this franchise like we do. There are people at Disney involved with Star Wars who LOVE their franchise and want it to be the best it can be…why won’t CBS / Paramount let Star Trek fans do the same for our beloved franchise?
Join the discussion 11 Comments
Well said, Troy.
We’ll just have to be patient and hope that the rusty wheels of justice will slowly roll in the right direction … rather then over us.
Here’s what I think should be done: If Paramount and CBS can’t stop being idiots, then we should DO SOMETHING to make it crystal clear to them that we don’t like or approve of what they are doing! We should complain, send petitions, organize rallies! And if that doesn’t work and they keep mishandling Star Trek and mistreating its fan base, then we should just ignore them, and carry on as we’ve been doing all this time! We, as fans, have a right to create fan productions of whatever quality and length we want to, however we want to! And if they can’t realize that, then to Hell with them!
I just found out about Axanar today, and can tell you without a doubt that having grown up to TNG, this is the kind of movie or even tv show I would love to see for Star Trek. Don’t get me wrong, the new JJ movies were fun and all, but they messed up so many things it’s hard to compare it to the series we all know and love. If you look at them as a stand alone they are great movies, but they lose so much of the core of Star Trek, the principles that were embedded, and the exploration. The sense of human betterment was pushed aside for grand effects and explosions. If CBS/Paramount had any common sense they would throw money at this project to get it completed (perhaps soak up the roalties) and produce something that seems to stay true to the original story lines and explores the stories we only heard parts of through conversation in the shows, something the fans will all rally behind. Again, just learned about this project today, but I already want to thank Alec for this, as even watching the videos available it gives hopes of a truely great potential movie in the future, and a whole new storyline to explore. If it does get squashed it is a huge loss to Trek fans everywhere. Do the right thing CBS and help the project instead of blocking it.
Thank you Dave! I so appreciate your thoughts. LLAP!
I completely agree with this. It’s almost like CBS/Paramount are completely forgetting what Gene Roddenberry’s vision actually meant. As Gene said himself, “I don’t believe we’re going to destroy ourselves, because we still have the capacity to learn from our past mistakes and to grow into better examples of humanity. The Human Adventure is Just Beginning.” If you are unable or unwilling to listen to that, CBS, then may whatever God you believe in have mercy on your souls.
I found out about Axanar fairly recently and i have been following your progress ever since, i have an interest in this issue as a student myself, much of the work i do requires me to use materials published by others that is covered by plagiarism and copyright, we have to source and identify ANY thing we use that is not our own, and when we do it is okay.
The project is none-profit, funded on kickstarter by fans, granted it takes the name Star Trek and it uses aspects from this universe, but why do CBS/Paramount seem to want this project demolished, lets face facts they havent done anything with the Star Trek brand to profit for themselves for a very long time!!
The grounds for this case are difficult, name me another series that has endured over 50 years as big as Star Trek that has these issues, you can’t!
Special measures need to be put in place, if a project is none-profit im not saying it should be allowed to go free and do whatever it likes, but fan series of a Star Trek nature have one huge problem, the universe is so big you are always going to hit copyrighted material. We have reached a point where you are going to tread on CBS/Paramounts toes.
Please leave me your thoughts!
CBS and Paramount have done nothing but trample on the fans, including the ones who out of their own pockets, promote the property their bloodsucking lawyers are “defending”. The truth is, they see their property in better hands that their own. They quit listening to the fans many years ago. The only good Star Trek in the last decade and a half has been fan made. Even with amateur actors and not so good FX sometimes, the stories they tell are superior, and more in line with the actual story line than the awful J.J. Abrams Trek movies. All CBS can tell us about the new show they claim to be working on is that it will be a different looking ship in different time and, oh yes, most importantly, it will have gay characters. I could care less about both, but Axanar, Star Trek Continues, Starship Farragut, Exeter trek? Bring those on. If the owners don’t like it, make better stories…perhaps hiring the fans to help them so so. Until then, I for one am boycotting any CBS/Paramount Trek ventures. If the fans would all stick together and do the same, maybe they’d get the message….don’t kill your golden goose.
The very core of Roddenberry is to translate existing problems in present society towards a distant space environment. But it remains a at it’s core a session of society on the couch of Freud or Jung. Because every period of society has it’s own serious problems, Star Trek will be NEVER out of good stories. The big dillema of Aleppo, for example, is a unique present day problem, which easily can be translated to a Star Trek universe. Among the (older) fans, this notion is still present. Star Trek should not be about making money for Hollywood but should be to explain society and highlight wise decisions in face of difficult dillemma. Such stories should be in the hand of radicals like Rodennberry not in those of dollar blended eye’s.
Dammit man, I’m a doctor, not not a television show consumer advocate!
Seriously though, I think your points are spot on, Troy. Fans have always *led* the creativity in this franchise and the networks have always been several steps behind. Hell, we (collectively) are what kept Gene’s vision alive when broadcast TV left us for dead. I am so impressed with Axanar and the creative genius behind it. I hope it continues undaunted.
*Axanar* is the kind of *Star Trek* film Paramount should’ve been making all along. Instead of rebooting the franchise, as JJ Abroms has done (I’m not a fan of the new films for many reasons, chief of which is because, unlike *Star Wars,* I don’t believe JJ understands the underlying message of *Star Trek*) Paramount should’ve been making these kinds of films.
Were the Great Bird of the Galaxy Gene Roddenberry still with us I have no doubt he would LOVE *Axanar* because, from what I’ve seen based on *Prelude to Axanar* it has everything classic *Star Trek* should have. Who hasn’t been intrigued with the backstory of Kirk’s hero, Capt. Garth of Izar, brilliantly played by Steve Inhat in the TOS episode “Whom Gods Destroy”? All of us have wondered what Starfleet’s tactical genius was like before his descent into madness, and we’ve wondered just exactly what his role in the battle was. Now we finally get the chance to see all of this. *If* Paramount will see reason. For a long time I’ve felt that Paramount was simply churning out films to make money off the franchise (some of the films like *Wrath of Khan* were awesome, others were mediocre at best.). I understand they’re in it to make money, but at the same time I wish they’d respect the integrity of the franchise and the vision Gene had for it fifty years ago when he set such a high bar for it.
All I can say is that every time I watch *Prelude to Axanar* I salivate because it’s just THAT good! I hope the film gets made. Fan films such as this, and series like *Star Trek Continues* are a testament to fan-created productions. These films and shows are every bit as good, and in some cases even better, than the studio-produced films and broadcast episodes.
May Alec Peters and his incredible cast and crew, and this incredible film, live long and prosper!
Well said. It’s funny, but Star Wars absolutely loves they’re fan film community. They encourage them, support them, and even integrate some of their stuff into their lore.
For myself, displeased with evil empire currently ruling the Star Trek universe, and there Ferengi-like policies regarding fan films, I have chosen to boycott Star Trek until this lawsuit matter is dropped.
As for me and Star Trek, I will only support fan films, and old movies and episodes. I have no plans to ever see any new Star Trek movie or series. Capitalism. I have cast my vote. They have not earned my business. I will spend my dollars elsewhere.