Thursday, July 14, 2016

To Boldly Go Where No Fan Production Has Gone Before; Slate, 7/13/16

Marissa Martinelli, Slate; To Boldly Go Where No Fan Production Has Gone Before:
"The issues at the heart of the Axanar case are complex—in addition to copyright infringement, CBS and Paramount are accusing the Axanar team of profiting from the production by paying themselves salaries, among other things. Abrams, who directed 2009’s Star Trek and 2013’s Star Trek Into Darkness, promised during a fan event back in May that the lawsuit would be going away at the behest of Justin Lin, the Beyond director who has sided, surprisingly, with Axanar over Paramount. But despite Abrams’ promise, the lawsuit rages on, and in the meantime, other Trekkie filmmakers have had to adapt. Federation Rising, the planned sequel to Horizon, pulled the plug before fundraising had even started, and Star Trek: Renegades, the follow-up to Of Gods and Men that raised more than $132,000 on Indiegogo, has dropped all elements of Star Trek from the production and is now just called Renegades. (Amusingly, this transition seems to have involved only slight tweaks, with the Federation becoming the Confederation, Russ’ character Tuvok becoming Kovok, and so on.) Other projects are stuck in limbo, waiting to hear from CBS whether they can boldly go forth with production—or whether this really does spell the end of the golden age of Star Trek fan films.
Axanar may very well have crossed a line, and CBS and Paramount are, of course, entitled to protect their properties. But in the process, they have suffocated, intentionally or otherwise, a robust and long-standing fan-fiction tradition, one that has produced remarkable labors of love like Star Trek Continues, which meticulously recreated the look and feel of the 1960s show, and an hourlong stop-motion film made by a German fan in tribute to Enterprise—a project almost eight years in the making. It’s a tradition that gave us web series like Star Trek: Hidden Frontier, which was exploring same-sex relationships in Star Trek well before the canon was ready to give us a mainstream, openly gay character."

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