Newsweek recently published an update on a lawsuit between Paramount and a group seeking to produce their own Star Trek movie content in Prelude to Axanar. The article asks if a better product could be achieved in the public domain.
Prelude to Axanar glimpses the content brilliance of fan passion, creativity and canonical ideology. This “documentary-style” movie explains the Federation vs. Klingon four-year war and highlights the legendary Captain Garth of Izar (shout it: “LORD Garth!”) discussed in the TOS episode “Whom Gods Destroy.”
In Whom Gods Destroy, Kirk references Garth’s legendary status among fleet commanders, his required reading at the Academy and the role he played in Federation in history. Axanar’s producers even went so far as to cast an actor — Alec Peters — who resembles original episode actor Steve Ihnat.
Such details — making a feature out of bits and pieces of TOS episodes or casting an actor resembling the original — demonstrate the capability, craft and attention to details Paramount, JJ Abrams and crew lack.
"“Gentlemen, you have eyes, but you cannot see. Galaxies surround us. Limitless vistas. And yet the Federation would have us grub away like some ants on some…somewhat larger than usual anthill. But I am not an insect. I am master of the universe, and I must claim my domain.”"
"– Garth’s pitch for Kirk’s assistance"
The Newsweek article makes an excellent point: Star Trek always seems to be skating on thin ice.
"Even after seven television series and thirteen movies, Star Trek’s existence is always precarious. The failure of a show like Star Trek: Enterprise, saved once from cancellation after its second season, kept Star Trek off television for a generation. Now, with Discovery airing behind the CBS All Access paywall, it’s the Star Trek movie series that has the uncertain future. — Newsweek"
It can be safely argued that the seven-year Next Generation run proved the most stable period in Star Trek history. But Enterprise survived second-season cancellation, DS9 and Voyager appealed to a smaller, loyal portion of the fan base and even TOS fought to survive on skint budgets for three seasons.
The movie franchise is currently in the hands of…let’s just say people I don’t think highly of. That’s the best way to be polite.
But what about us? What about you? People who eat and drink and breath and sleep Star Trek 24/7?
These are the people with plot ideas.
These are the people thinking about ships, uniforms, technology, plot lines, characters…details!
Do you believe that, given public domain access to Star Trek, fans could create something better?