Star Trek Popular Fan Film 'Axanar' Resumes Production

Popular Star Trek fan project Axanar is back in production.

The fan project is set in the Star Trek universe and inspired by The Battle of Axanar, a battle that did not take place on screen but was mentioned in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “Whom Gods Destroy.” Little is known about the battle in Star Trek canon, but it is assumed that it was a major conflict between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire in which Captain Garth of Izar led the Federation to victory.

Axanar intended to show The Battle of Axanar in full. Produced by Alec Peters and funded via Kickstarter, the project began with the release of Prelude to Axanar in 2014. The series was formatted as an in-universe documentary about The Four Years War, a concept borrowed from old Star Trek tabletop RPGs.

The idea was to follow-up Prelude to Axanar up with a feature-length film showing the actual battle, but Prelude to Axanar proved popular enough to get the attention of CBS and Paramount Pictures before the feature could be produced. In 2015, the companies filed a lawsuit against Axanar Productions over copyright issues.

The lawsuit was settled in 2017, not long after CBS and Paramount released new, official Star Trek fan content guidelines. As part of the settlement, Peters is not allowed to produce an Axanar feature as planned but is allowed to make 30 minutes of new content split into two 15 minute episodes.

In a production update posted earlier this month, Peters revealed how he and his team plan to use those 30 minutes.

“Wanting to give fans what they want, it seemed obvious to tell the whole story of The Battle of Axanar in two more episodes of The Four Years War documentary that Prelude to Axanar proved so successful,” Peters wrote

“But it wasn’t that easy. We had built sets and a studio and the lawsuit cost Axanar fans about $500,000 of the money they donated. After 13 months of a lawsuit, we couldn’t hold onto the studio anymore and I in fact paid the last few months of rent myself (at $15,000 a month).

“So, we moved the studio to Atlanta from Los Angeles, got Other World Computing to sponsor the studio, and started a program with the Gwinnett County Video Production program to use the studio to help train students. I wrote the script for the next two episodes of The Four Years War, Paul Jenkins. legendary Marvel comics writer who penned Wolverine: Origins, came on board as Director, Mark Edward Lewis, the amazing Sound Designer for Prelude to Axanar, and the guy who taught me how to edit, has stepped up to be editor in addition to sound designer, and Bing Bailey is back as our DIT and colorist. Plus we have our Axanar costume designer Kate Bergh now working with costume consultant Claude Doziere making costumes. Add an amazing art department lead by Simon Lissaman, Lee Quesenberry and Alexander Richardson, Jerry Ablan and Lee on technology, and an awesome group of Atlanta volunteers, and we are doing pretty well. We have some amazing new crew you will get to learn about, and you will hear their stories in time (stay tuned here).”

Peters also confirmed that Gary Graham will reprise his role as Soval from Star Trek: Enterprise for Axanar, and that JG Hertzler, who has played several Star Trek roles but is best known for playing Martok on Deep Space Nine, will return as Sam Travis. Kate Vernon is also in talks to return as Sonya Alexander.

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The plan, as Peters lays it out, is to shoot for two days in Los Angeles in March and/or April and shoot another two days in Atlanta a month or so later. Ideally, the project will have a release date set by the fall.

Are you excited to hear that Axanar is back in production? Let us know in the comments!