Trek or Die – TOS for a Better Future

Welcome to the inaugural entry for Trek or Die! Every two weeks I aim to bring you a new entry covering some aspect of the Star Trek universe; an article, a book, product review, or just something I feel needs to be said about the state of the fandom. In this first entry I’m going to make amends for a grave mistake I’ve made my entire life as a Trek fan.

Recently on Priority One, Episode 163, Elijah and Adrianne got to sit down with Alec Peters, the driving force behind Star Trek: Axanar. For those who don’t know, Star Trek:Axanar takes a character featured in only one episode of The Original Series and expands him into something so much more. A character highly respected by Kirk, and whose exploits are considered required reading for Starfleet cadets, is poised to emerge from the shadow of intrigue into the light of day. With him we gain an incredible look into the Battle of Axanar for which he is most famous, in addition to delving deeper into The Four Year’s War by telling the story of Garth of Izar and his crew aboard the USS Ares. As explained on the Axanar website the film will take place twenty-one years prior to the TOS episode “Where no Man Has Gone Before”.

I first heard about Axanar while listening to the G&T Show and I have to admit that I wrote it off. I’m now going to publicly admit how much of a mistake that was; it was a colossal, boneheaded mistake. I initially wrote it off for two reasons. First, I have never been a huge fan of The Original Series. Granted my introduction to Star Trek was through The Wrath of Khan, and I enjoyed The Undiscovered Country, but I had a hard time enjoying the older episodes when I was so enamored with The Next Generation and everything that followed. The second reason I’m quite a bit more ashamed of. I was a snob when it came to fan productions, which also makes me a hypocrite since I like to write fan fiction. Axanar is much more than a fan production, but that does not excuse my behavior. I owe a very heartfelt apology to Mr. Peters, as well as the rest of the Star Trek community, which I hope will be accepted. Here’s what changed my opinion.

As stated on the Axanar website those behind movie have made it their mission to prove “a studio doesn’t need to spend millions of dollars to produce a feature quality production.” It’s a grand idea and I’ve certainly come to believe in them. Upon navigating to the Axanar website I was greeted with not just one but two beauty shots of the USS Ares. As a connoisseur of starship design I just want to say that the USS Ares is stunning; so is every other ship featured. This team has done an outstanding job at taking TOS-era starship design and updating it for the modern fan.

If the quality of the special effects is any indication I cannot wait to see the costumes, sets, and props. In the Priority One interview Alec Peters explained that they would be using the uniforms featured in “Where no Man Has Gone Before” and the original pilot “The Cage”; additionally the bridge set is intended to be in the TOS style seen in “The Cage” sans the red accents from later episodes. Let me stress again that the starship design is top notch, professional movie quality, and I have found myself sitting quietly watching the USS Ares fly by on their website. It’s absolutely mesmerizing.

The Axanar team didn’t stop at just starship eye candy, their cast is a veritable who’s who of quality science fiction. Chief among them are Richard Hatch and Michael Hogan of Battlestar Galactica (Reboot) fame, and Trek’s penultimate Klingon actor JG Hertzler who will portray Captain Samuel Travis. Hatch and Hogan will play Klingon Commander Kharn and Starfleet’s very own Captain Robert April respectively. The addition of Star Trek: Enterprise veteran Gary Graham, who will reprise his role as Soval, is sure to please anyone who thought Enterprise went well before its time, and Alec Peters himself will be lending his talents to the cast. Like Graham he is slated to reprise his role as well, that of Garth of Izar from the Star Trek: Phase II fan production. I haven’t seen a script, but I can only imagine that the writing is amazing given the level of passion the production crew and actors express. Just listening to Mr. Peters during the Priority One interview was enough to make me open their website in record time.

Recently the Axanar team has opened a Kickstarter campaign to fund the “Prelude to Axanar” feature. The project will serve as a documentary from the perspective of the characters in a format similar to that of the History Channel and will be used as an introductory video to the project when the main Kickstarter campaign launches later this year. Already the project has reached well beyond its initial funding goal, and at the time of this writing it is on its way to achieving its next stretch goal of $50,000.

Personally, I pledged at the $75 tier; I’ll have you, limited edition Juan Ortiz poster, oh yes. And no, that’s not a paid advertisement but my very own genuine recommendation. There’s also a bonus for Star Trek Online players. Alec Peters has revealed on Axanar‘s Facebook page that the “First to the Fight” patch backers will receive if the project hits its $50,000 stretch goal was designed by Cryptic Studios’ very own artist Thomas “The Cryptic Cat” Marrone. Also available on the Kickstarter website is a project video that, well if it doesn’t draw you in and get you excited all on its own, I suggest you check your pulse to make sure you’re still alive. That movie has a ton of starship shots to get excited over.

Anyone interested in more information about the initial Kickstarter campaign, or looking to donate, can find it at Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar. For more information on Star Trek: Axanar as a whole, or if you want to be mesmerized by a gorgeous TOS-era starship, you can find all the information you want on the Axanar website. Do not make the same mistake that I have been making all these years. This is more than a fan production. Mr. Abrams could learn a thing or five hundred about making a Trek movie from these fine people.

Finally, I’d like to close out by inviting you to head over to and vote in this week’s poll! Each week the folks there put up a poll about a different topic. Sometimes these are character polls, episode polls, or asking your favorite movie. Make your voice heard!

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Twitter: @RogueJawa
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