‘Star Trek’ fans have recently been a bit surprised when the fan film ‘Axanar‘ started to crash land after Paramount Pictures Corporation and CBS Studios hit it with a lawsuit. Now executive producer Alec Peters is speaking out on the matter. After raising over a million dollars in funds to create a true tribute prelude film for ‘Star Trek’ TOS, it seems that the studio no longer is too happy with its progress. The lawsuit itself claims that “the ‘Axanar’ works infringe Plaintiffs’ works by using innumerable copyrighted elements of ‘Star Trek’, including its settings, characters, species, and themes” and specifically seems to call out “[the] look and feel of the planet, the characters’ costumes, their pointy ears and their distinctive hairstyle.”
While some say that it shouldn’t be too surprising that making a film based off of a pre-existing property would be hit with a lawsuit, Paramount Pictures has previously been pretty lenient about this sort of thing in the past. In fact, Peters had previously mentioned that “CBS has a long history of accepting fan films. I think Axanar has become so popular that CBS realizes that we’re just making their brand that much better.” In the same breath as having said that, Peters also stated that as long as they don’t make money the studio was fine with him making the movie.
Clearly things have changed. Either that or the crowd funding for the budget put the studio in a different state of mind.
While disappointed at this happening, Peters isn’t barging in with phasers set to kill in anger as he still hopes things can get worked out:
For several years, I’ve worked with a number of people at CBS on Star Trek-related projects, and I would have hoped those personal relationships would have warranted a phone call in advance of the filing of a legal complaint. Nevertheless, I know I speak for everyone at Axanar Productions when I say it is our hope that this can be worked out in a fair and amicable manner.
The only guess I can make as to why this has happened was the amount that they were able to raise to make this fan film. It is by no means the first one which has been created or used crowdsourcing to fund it:
Axanar is a fan film. Fan films – whether related to Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Power Rangers, Batman or any other franchise – are labors of love that keep fans engaged, entertained, and keep favorite characters alive in the hearts of fans. Like other current fan films, AXANAR entered production based on a very long history and relationship between fandom and studios. We’re not doing anything new here.
For Peters, the creation of this is as much for the fans as because he is one and wants to create something in the franchise that he and those involved with the project love so much:
Like all fan films, AXANAR is a love letter to a beloved franchise. For nearly 50 years, Star Trek’s devotees have been creating new Star Trek stories to share with fellow fans. That’s all we’re trying to do here.
Since the original Star Trek TV series, when the letter writing campaign by fans got NBC to greenlight a third season of Star Trek, fan support has been critical to the success of the franchise. It is the Star Trek fans themselves who are most affected here, for by suing Axanar Productions to stop making our movie and collect so-called damages, CBS and Paramount are suing the very people who have enthusiastically maintained the universe created by Gene Roddenberry so many years ago.
The fact that many of the fans involved with Axanar Productions are also industry professionals speaks volumes to the influence of Star Trek in the entertainment industry. Not surprisingly, these fans want to give something back. We’re very proud that the work we’ve done to date looks so good. That is also a reflection of the devotion of Star Trek’s fans.
I for one hope that the studios are willing to let this one slide as it is a fan film that looks as if it would be a blast to watch!
Do you think Peters will be able to work something out with the studios for ‘Axanar’ to still be created or will this be one Star Trek fan film that will never see the light of day? Share your thoughts below!
“‘Axanar’ takes place 21 years before the events of ‘Where No Man Has Gone Before,’ the first Kirk episode of the original ‘Star Trek’. ‘Axanar’ is the story of Garth of Izar, the legendary Starfleet captain who is Captain Kirk’s hero … ‘Axanar’ tells the story of Garth and his crew during the Four Years War, the war with the Klingon Empire that almost tore the Federation apart. Garth’s victory at Axanar solidified the Federation and allowed it to become the entity we know in Kirk’s time. It is the year 2245 and the war with the Klingons ends here.”
Source: Axanar’s Facebook