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CBS vs. Axanar: A Fan’s Perspective

troy-light

Troy Light is a huge Axanar fan , and owns the Virginia Axanar License Plate!

A guest blog by Troy Light:

Given the most recent revelations following the ruling by Judge Klausner on the motions for Summary Judgement, I have to be honest…I’m disappointed by the current state of affairs regarding Axanar, as well as the Star Trek franchise in general.

Honestly, Gene Roddenberry is either turning in his grave or laughing maniacally at the sheer idiotic course that the CBS / Paramount people have chosen to follow. There was a time when Star Trek AND Star Wars both were treated with respect, but look at where we are now…

George Lucas has signed over ownership of the Star Wars Universe to the monolith known as Disney, churning out one movie after another that grabs our interest: the MCU in all it’s glory, crushes its rival, the DCCU (DC Comics Universe, just to be clear), with blockbuster after blockbuster. And now, Star Wars has a clear path into the future with AT LEAST the completion of the third Trilogy of the Star Wars Saga, to bring the entire Skywalker story to an end by the year 2020. Along with it, we’ll see stand-alone films that promise to fulfill our every whimsical desire to know things like: How did Han Solo become the scoundrel we came to know in Star Wars IV: ANH? How did he meet Lando Calrissian and win the Millennium Falcon from him? How did he meet and befriend Chewbacca? We’ll probably see a stand-alone Boba Fett movie, maybe even a bevvy of movies that expand the Star Wars Universe much like the novels did with what is now known as the Star Wars Legends universe.

And what of Star Trek? What of the series which PRECEDED Star Wars by almost a decade? What of the franchise that fans figuratively went to the mat to save and bring about a third season of the original series? What of the franchise that has more spin-offs, novels, fan-fiction, merchandise, than its counterpart? What of the franchise that has had more of a direct, definable impact on the culture of today than that galaxy far, far away? The franchise that helped spawn the idea of cell phones, wireless communication, devices capable of scanning and relaying back information about the body or the surrounding environment?

It languishes in the hands of two companies that are so incompetent that they are the joke of the industry they are a part of. When handed the golden opportunity to make the 50th anniversary of Star Trek a celebration that would last from January 1st to December 31st, what did they do? Did they unveil a new series that would promise to revive the Star Trek television franchise and set it up for a seven-year voyage like TNG, DS9 and Voyager? Did they take the opportunity to showcase the third installment of their current movie franchise with marketing and press releases far enough in advance so as to generate a groundswell of fan support so enormous as to dwarf anything ever seen before, resulting in record-breaking box-office sales to solidly place Star Trek Beyond as the king of the Star Trek movie universe?

The answer to all those questions? No. The 50th anniversary went by with tepid support, far from the bang that they could have made, although a little more than a whimper…just a little bit more.

They made sure to gin up support for the 50th anniversary Creation Con in Las Vegas, decked out in glitter and gold, and raking it in as those fans who could afford to make the event handed over their cash to be at the once-in-a-lifetime event.

Meanwhile, the fans who couldn’t afford the Vegas experience, the fans who watch their DVD / VHS copies of TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise, and dream of a revived Star Trek that proves that the juggernaut of old still has the magic that once made it king…they wait on Star Trek Discovery, disappointed at its plodding journey, as CBS can’t seem to get out of its own way to get the show into production, missing its original goal of release in 2016, and providing little hope that they’ll get it finished any time soon in 2017. Those fans hear how Star Trek Beyond (which was a good movie in my opinion), may have failed to generate enough money at the box office to justify a JJ-Verse STIV.

And what of those fans who still believe in Star Trek and its promise, and take up the banner to attempt to make their own Star Trek fan films out of love for the franchise? They’re shackled with guidelines that would make a sane man laugh, if it wasn’t so clear that those guidelines were meant, not to help guide the creative juices of someone who wants to make a fan-film, but crush any hopes said person might have to create something of any lasting significance.

I remain committed behind Alec and his dream of bringing Axanar to life…but the most recent news of the judge’s decision, which was a heavy blow to the cause, makes me fear that this dream that Alec is fighting so hard to make a reality, won’t make the light of day…at least not anytime within the foreseeable future. Talk of going to a jury trial means more months of waiting for a decision…and if the decision goes against Axanar, there would still be the hope of an appeal…with more months and/or years added on as the case plods along in the judicial system. And if the decision goes FOR Axanar and Alec…what’s to say that CBS / Paramount won’t say, “Okay, you won that battle…but our guidelines still stand, so if you try for that 30+ minute fan-film, we’ll see you in court yet again…oh, and one more thing…APPEAL.” So the dream that started with a Kickstarter campaign may well see five or six years pass by before any chance of filming may start.

Star Trek, in the minds of CBS / Paramount isn’t a dream anymore…it’s a commodity, a golden goose that they have strangled, nearly to the point of extinguishing its spark. And when innovators like Alec attempt to bring something different…yes, SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT from what we’ve seen before, and yet familiar to the fans who love this franchise…they’re shackled and prevented from doing so. And the love that fans like myself for this franchise turns sour in our hearts with the realization that CBS / Paramount don’t care…they don’t LOVE this franchise like we do. There are people at Disney involved with Star Wars who LOVE their franchise and want it to be the best it can be…why won’t CBS / Paramount let Star Trek fans do the same for our beloved franchise?

Troy Light

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8 Comments

  • kenny smith says:

    I my self will tell both paramount studio and cbs can’t even get us to use the junk rules they put forward. They can’t even read about the copyright rules when they don’t follow them self. i just wish you look at any video that in the stores don’t have the real rules. they are fake. I will call Parmount studo and cbs to just stop there action.

  • Jayce Antique says:

    It’s sad, I really feel like this had such promise and it really did justice to the disgusting end that CBS/Paramount did to Star Trek Enterprise which a lot of people would say sucked but I would tell them shove it and swallow some Gagh. I hope you guys can find a little loop hole to exploit and just remember that you guys are the heart and soul of what it means to be a Trekkie… Keep on fighting the good fight <3

  • shane fanon says:

    Agree with you completely. The fan-based film Axanar should have been out by now. In fact 2 years ago it should have been out. I too think the current owners of STAR TREK really missed the point of fan films as our interests rise and appreciate with excitement and enthusiasm that present our hard earned dollars going to support those who compliment out tastes. CBS and other STAR TREK copyright owners are LOSING a fortune simply because they are either too stupid or too greedy to implore such imaginative scripts and direction of a film such as Axanar from developing themselves and remain obstacles to those with foresight and vision to create a truly splendid feature as Prelude to Axanar and the final result of Axanar itself. I suppose if the Star Trek public wants more then like me we will simply have to read the book AXANAR which should be out by now but probably also is deliberately blocked . Shame. Shame…. Shame …. Shame … !

  • William F. Maddock says:

    Amen to that!

    I just wanted you all to know that there is interest in Star Trek out there, and not just the schlock that CBS/Paramount lately turn out, but the good stuff, the FAN stuff. I have personal knowledge that, in fact, at least one such fan film has, within the last couple months, been aired on broadcast TV. it was found on archive.org and they elected to air it.

    The dream lives on!

  • JW says:

    Setting Star Trek aside for the moment.. I would boycott CBS.. if they had any shows on that I could watch. I would boycott a Paramount Pictures production.. if they made any movies that really looked interesting. The laughing stock of the industry are the comical shenanngans going on with that family at the top. (and even They are aware how bad Paramounts choice of movies has been.. el zippo at the box office..).

    Put it simply Paramount is in a tailspin and CBS is coasting on retreads of procedural shows.. the future does not look bright for either.

    Star Trek will be sold.. probably soon.. probably so some Chinese outfit simply because there are a lot of fans in China of the Star Trek franchise. After that I don’t know.. revitalizing the fan base may not be a priority.. but it couldn’t get any worse.

    Perhaps Bezos will surprise everyone and make an offer to Paramount just for the “trek, not the whole planet” and ramp up production of a Amazon Prime series. Netflix would probably like the action.. but its too “gooey” with all the drama and theatrics right now. CBS and Paramount aren’t finished making a spectacle out of themselves.

    50th or not, CBS and Paramount don’t have their house in order.. this silly “All Access” is just a stunt to show.. they’re can be an HBO too.. and Trek is their Game of Thrones clone.. the clowns don’t know the difference.

    • Bryan Reese says:

      I have CBS and their affiliates blocked on my cable box and their websites are blocked on my router and firewall.
      I no longer watch Paramount movies and I do not go to a particular movie theater chain that has a lot of stock in CBS and Paramount.
      It’s been that way for at least 6+ months. I find that I do not miss seeing any of their shows, commercials, movies, or eating any of their popcorn.
      I can still enjoy Star Trek. I have the shows on DVD and Blue-ray and there is more to Star Trek than just the shows. I still enjoy that too.
      I also still enjoy popcorn.
      The losers here, I believe, are the sponsors who have paid all that money for commercials that I no longer see.
      At this point, I am at a loss as to why I would ever remove the blocks. That is a lot of work for which I have no motivation.
      I wish Axanar all the best as I feel that their “cause is just and honorable”.
      (To be clear, this is not quoting Captain Picard, it is a quote from Henry V by Shakespeare: Act 4, Scene 1)

  • JW says:

    It would be general irony however, if JJ Abrams -[bought]- the Star Trek franchise and as the new Rights holder decided to cease the lawsuit.. bringing about what he said many months ago. — as the New rights holder he would also have the right to rewrite the guidelines for fan films, or abolish them altogether.. which, even if he never produced another Trek film ever.. would generate him a lot of good will and a ‘Huger’ fan base than he currently enjoys, with a lasting historical legacy as the Man who saved Trek. C&P have basically burned all their fan base bridges and make no notions that they will ever hold a cease fire on anyone who shows up at a convention wearing Vulcan Ears.

  • Jaybiam says:

    Money… that is the bottom line. They don’t care about fans, about the franchise, nothing but it’s bank account. They own it, it’s theirs to do with as they please even if that means allow it to collect dust and take in royalties and contracts for TNG, DS9, and Voyager. Because THEY make money FOR THEM! And even IF Axanar were to say, ok, we just want to make them, you can have all money, minus a budget for future releases.. they will STILL never budge because Axanar is a small, barely noticeable entity in their eyes, hey they are the mighty CBS/PARAMOUNT!!! ALL NEED BOW AND HAIL BEFORE THEE!!! is how they see themselves… and it still means very little money… hell their CEO’s make more a year then what money can be made off Axanar.. no offense people!