Every so often here on Outpost Skaro, we like to look beyond the worlds of Doctor Who, when something interesting catches our eye.
Being a fan of Star Trek, and having followed various fan productions (such as Phase 2, Exeter and Continues) for a while, one project that caught my attention was Star Trek Axanar.
Looking at the Four Years War with the Klingon Empire, the planned feature film will fill in a major part of the Star Trek backstory, informing the antagonistic stance between the Federation and Klingons that comes up first in Errand of Mercy, as well as featuring Garth of Izar from the episode “Whom Gods Destroy”, a character that was held up as one of Starfleet’s greatest Captains and a childhood hero of James T Kirk himself.
Of course, creating a feature film is no cheap prospect, so in order to drum up support for crowd funding for the main feature, the Axanar team first launched a successful campaign to produce a short film, Prelude to Axanar.
With its premier at San Diego Comic Con and released to donors earlier this week, the Prelude is now freely available via the project’s Kickstarter page, and its no understatement to say its been released to glowing reviews.
From the start, the team has been keen to avoid the label of “fan film”, describing themselves as an Independent Star Trek production, and when you sit and watch Prelude to Axanar, you immediately see the difference.
While projects like Star Trek Continues have raised the bar substantially on fan-run, crowd funded series, Prelude to Axanar is something new. The cast is superb, with Gary Graham reprising his role as Vulcan Ambassador Soval from Enterprise, JG Hertzler (known for playing General Martok in Deep Space 9) and Kate Vernon (Ellen Tigh from Battlestar Galactica) as Garth’s fellow starship Captains, Tony Todd delivering a powerhouse speech as Marcus Ramirez head of Starfleet, and the revelation that is Richard Hatch (Apollo and Tom Zarek from both Battlestar Galacticas) as the Klingon commander Kharn.
The only face viewers will likely not recognise in Prelude is Alec Peters himself. Writer and Producer on Axanar, Alec is also playing Garth of Izar (having previously appeared as the character in Phase 2), and he fits in brilliantly alongside these established names.
Throughout the whole production, there are great moments. The History Channel style presentation is spot on, with the effects team producing fantastic visuals, be it infographics of the borders during the conflict, or the beauty shots of the USS Ares first appearance in battle.
All aspects of the production are top notch. The script draws you in brilliantly, leaving you desperate for more with that final shot. The costuming has some brilliant touches. Gary Graham’s Soval costume is nicely detailed, while the likes of Tony Todd’s costume nicely bridges Enterprise and Classic Trek. There’s also a really nice nod by having Kate Vernon wearing a more Cage-esque uniform during the interviews, but in the flashback she’s clearly wearing a different uniform for that era. The ship design is also fantastic, bringing sensibilities from various aspects of the Trek franchise, be it classic, the FASA role playing games, movies or even the JJ Abrams reboot, the sense here is an attempt to provide a fresh, modern take on Star Trek, while still being true to what’s come before.
But don’t take my word for it. Check out the Kickstarter page below for full details on the planned feature film, as well as watching the full 20 minute Prelude to Axanar. If you’re a Trek fan like me, you won’t be disappointed, and hopefully like me, you’ll find your way towards donating and helping to make the film a reality. As a backer of Prelude I can only say how happy I’ve been with the various updates on the project, and how keen they are to reach out and involve the fans.