With the lawsuit between fan film Star Trek: Axanar and CBS/Paramount now settled and a new lease on indie sci-fi life, production on Axanar is moving forward. We reached out to Executive Producer/Actor Alec Peters to find out the results of the settlement and what fans of Axanar can expect next.
RECURSOR: Tell us how the settlement went. What do fans need to know?
PETERS: The settlement allows us to make two 15-minute episodes of Axanar. For the most part, we’re making them under the rules of the fan film guidelines that CBS/Paramount have announced. However, we also are able to use the professional actors whom we used previously. That’s an exception to the rule. So, we’re excited.
What are your plans for shooting?
A lot has to happen before we start shooting, including raising money. As soon as we raise the money, then we’ll plan for a fall shoot.
How do you plan to raise the finances?
We aren’t allowed to do public fundraising, so it will be private. This time, we don’t need that much money. Last time, the whole production (of Prelude), not including marketing, was about $100,000. I think we’re probably in the $150,000 range to get this all done.
How has the scripting evolved since the film has changed from a full-length movie to two short episodes?
Since we can’t make a feature film, we’re making two episodes like Prelude to Axanar. So, we’ll be in that documentary format. That’s the basic idea. We’re just putting the finishing touches on the script now. The first draft will go through multiple iterations. It’s pretty ambitious, more so than Prelude to Axanar. We’re excited about it.
What is the draw of telling this story, as opposed to another Star Trek story?
I really like the character Garth of Izar, and we wanted to tell his story, which is a story we didn’t know about (before now). That is the crux of it. Even though it’s an ensemble piece, it’s still basically his story. But it’s also this story of his big battle with the Klingons, the peace conference that followed, and how that led us twenty years later into the original Star Trek. It’s a prequel to the original Star Trek.
Is your behind-the-scenes crew the same as you had on Prelude?
Yes, we have pretty much the entire team from Prelude back for this. There will be a new director, the same person who was going to be the director on the feature film. We have a great crew. You know, whatever it is, it’s always all about your crew. It’s never one person; it’s always a team that’s making it, and we have a great team.
Tell us a bit about the actors.
The returning actors include Kate Vernon, Gary Graham and J.G. Hertzler. Obviously, Richard Hatch passed away earlier this year, so sadly, we don’t have him this time. We’re not going to recast his role. Instead, we’re using a different Klingon. The character Richard played was Karn, so we’re using Karn’s mentor, who plays a large role in the feature film script.
Do you have any special plans for filming, now that you’ll be doing two short episodes?
We would like to be able to finish our bridge set and shoot on the bridge. That is in Atlanta, so we would be shooting there, as well as in California. And there’s one big location scene too. We’re really trying to figure out a way to make these two episodes bigger and better than Prelude.
How do you define “bigger and better”? What can fans expect?
How do you make things bigger and better? You don’t do just the same thing (as with Prelude). You have to chart new territory. That’s what you want in a film. You want to be doing different things.
We’re looking at, can we do a scene on the bridge? Can we do a scene in the captain’s quarters? Can we do a location scene? Things like that will make these two episodes great.
There’s also going to be twice the cast that we had in Prelude. We’re going to get to see new captains, a new admiral who is Andorian, and a new Klingon who we’re really excited about. So, I think there’s a lot of fun and excitement and surprises in the new script.
What would you like people to know about the likelihood of getting Axanar done after all that’s happened?
We’re absolutely dedicated to finishing this project. It’s really important to us that we do it for the fans. We have a lot of donors who donated a lot of money, and unfortunately because of the lawsuit, we lost a lot of that just in the studio and rent we were paying and all.
So, we’re really focused on delivering something that may not be a full-length movie, but it’s really going to make our fans and donors happy, and then we’ll be able to get out all the perks that we owe them. Fulfilling our obligations is really important to us.
Everyone wanted a movie, including us. But what we can do is make the best of it. As it is, having the ability to make a half-hour Star Trek is still pretty exciting.
What are your future plans after Axanar is finished?
We’re really focused on Axanar right now, but we have two other projects in the works. They are in development stage. Star Trek fans will be excited about one of them, but we can’t tell you anything more about them yet! We’re working on potentially a couple of licensed projects with other productions, not Star Trek. Ultimately, though, the idea is to work on our own stuff that we don’t need to get someone’s permission about.
What are some of your other sci-fi influences beyond Star Trek?
Well, I think we’re all big Battlestar Galactica fans (on the Axanar team). We all love that. Most of us are also comic book geeks. We’re all around geeks, which is good because it also helps us on the creative side.
Do you have a favorite sci-fi writer?
We’ve worked with David Gerrold, who is the writer of “The Trouble with Tribbles” episode of Star Trek. He’s a good friend of ours, and we love working with him. He always gives us good advice. So, definitely a shout out to him because he’s been awesome to Axanar.
For more updates on the production as it goes forward, follow the Captain’s Log on the Axanar website, where Peters posts regular updates and news. You can also follow the production on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.