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.
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 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.
If the quality of Prelude is any indication, Axanar stands to be a remarkable step for the future of fan films. 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.