I thought about keeping this little nugget of information secret for a few weeks longer, doing a “big reveal” just before launching my crowd-funding campaign next month. But I just can’t help myself! I want you all to know about INTERLUDE: A Star Trek Fan Film set in the AXANAR Universe.
Wait, Jonathan’s doing what now?
Okay, set your Guardian of Forever or Burnham-built Time-Suit to June of 2017 when ALEC PETERS sent me a script to review and provide him feedback. It was his first attempt to shorten the 90-minute Axanar feature film into two 15-minute episodes of “The Four Years War” (in a similar mockumentary style to PRELUDE TO AXANAR).
I was kind of a “unique” reader for Alec, as I’d purposefully avoided reading his full-length script up until that point. So I had no idea what Alec was taking out and keeping in. But when I finished reading it, I was left feeling a little confused. Despite some very exciting sequences in and around the epic Battle of Axanar, I noticed that there were no scenes that took place on that incredible USS Ares bridge! WTF???
I figured that Alec was worried that he didn’t have enough screen time available with just 30 minutes to include dramatic sequences on the bridge. But I felt that, if handled carefully, a few parts could be trimmed here and there to make room for some cool (albeit short) bridge scenes. To illustrate what I was trying to explain, I wrote out one of these scenes, taking a quick line of Garth’s dialogue that explained why Admiral Ramirez wouldn’t be in these next two movies (actor TONY TODD isn’t returning for the sequels) and turned it into a brief sequence set on the bridges of two Ares-class starships.
I ended up “catching a muse” and just kept writing…and writing…and writing. By 5 a.m., I’d created a full 15-minute Axanar script similar to Alec’s but littered with exciting bridge scenes. After a few hours of sleep, I began working on the other 15-minute script, finishing that one by 3 p.m. With a mixture of excitement and trepidation, I shared my new script versions with Alec…
Considering that I’d just completely rewritten his movie(!!!), Alec was rather patient and gentle with me as he explained a few things that I had not been aware of. First of all, since I hadn’t read the full script, a good number of my scenes didn’t match important events in the full 90-minute script—and Alec still plans on releasing it in its entirety as a script, a novel, and possibly even as an audio drama.
The second issue was the bridge itself. At the time, the unfinished wooden set pieces had only just been transported across country to Georgia. And Alec was honest with me: he wasn’t certain that the bridge would ever be completed (at least not right then). There was still a lot to work on, logistical issues, and of course, the cost of finishing the set. Not knowing if the bridge would ever be available to film on, Alec opted to leave out any bridge scenes from the script rather than having to rip them out later on.
But Alec did say that he’d be fine with me eventually publishing my alternate version of Axanar at some point (obviously after the two sequel films come out, I assured him). And that’s still on my bucket list.
But there was also another opportunity to share my script with fan…although I didn’t realize it just yet.
The following month, Axanar uber-fanatic TREY McELWAIN released the first of his Axanar Comics. It inspired me, several months later, to write and publish an Axanar short story, “Why We Fight,” illustrated by MARK McCRARY.
Why not turn one of the bridge scenes from my alt-Axanar script into a short comic book? I contacted Trey about using his illustrator, DANIEL FU, and he was game to help me out. Of course, I couldn’t imagine doing it without Alec’s permission. And so I reached out to him, as well.
The scene I wanted to use was the aforementioned explanation of Ramirez’s absence from the Battle of Axanar. I decided to call the story “Stardate: 2245.1″…which fans of Prelude to Axanar might remember is the date the Klingon D7 entered the war. I expanded the scene a bit from its original really brief length into a “meatier” vignette, and I transformed the script version into a series of panel descriptions and dialog boxes. (I used to be an art director, by the way, and I’ve also been a comic book fan for 80% of my life, so writing a comic book script was a fun exercise for me.)
The comic book begins just seconds after Prelude ends, and it’s really exciting (if I do say so myself!). And since it comes directly from a throwaway line that’ll be in the Axanar sequels (the same way that the Axanar fan film(s) came from a throwaway line in the TOS episode “Whom Gods Destroy”), I wanted my comic book to be considered “Axanar canon” by Alec, and I wanted his blessing.
Alec was fine with the concept being “canon” (whatever that means these days!), although he asked for one small change since the story features Garth, and that’s his character. I was happy to make the adjustment, Alec gave it his thumbs-up, and Daniel began producing pages. As I write this, he’s just completed the last of the eight pages (including cover)…and they look AMAZING! I couldn’t be happier.
So how did this film script-turned-comic-book turn BACK into a film script and become a planned Axanar Universe fan film called Interlude? Well, to tell you that story, I need to reveal to you who is going to direct my fan film, and how they were talked into it.
Come back next week to find out more…and please start stashing away a few bucks for my upcoming crowd-funder next month!