The tough thing about using someone else’s ideas to make money is that it’s not entirely legal. This lesson had to be learned the hard way this past weekend by Alec Peters, producer of an independent film titled Prelude to Axanar. The Star Trek fan film drew quite a bit of ire from copyright holders Paramount after a crowdfunding effort on Indiegogo brought this grassroots DIY production over half a million dollars last summer. The promise to make a “studio-quality” film including characters, settings, and other elements from the heavily-licensed Star Trek franchise with no engagement from the relevant studio spelled doom for the Axanar team, and now the chickens have come home to roost.
It’s going to be a big year for Star Trek. Not only is the beloved sci-fi series returning to television (or the streaming TV equivalent), and not only is Trek celebrating its 50th anniversary with special conventions and events, but there’s also the third installment of the new Star Trek movie series, Star Trek Beyond, which comes to theaters later this summer. Apparently, though, what exactly STB will look like is still being finalized.
Star Trek fans have likely heard of some disparity between the movie and TV branches that kept the franchise off regular TV in recent years, seemingly broken by CBS All-Access’ 2017 launch of a new Bryan Fuller series. That said, the two were apparently required to keep six months’ distance, which could spell a questionable future for the film franchise.
Bryan Fuller’s CBS All-Access revival of Star Trek has upped its fan cred twice over with the additions of Nicholas Meyer and Rod Roddenberry, though many also point to Fuller’s diversity pledge with past suggestions of Angela Bassett and Rosario Dawson. Sadly, Bassett doesn’t believe herself available, and we have American Horror Story to blame.