Star Trek Continues
Set phasers on stunned: The vast ecosystem of Star Trek fan productions is about to undergo a radical change after CBS and Paramount Pictures released a set of new fan film guidelines.
According to the 10-point guidelines released on Thursday, Trek fan productions cannot “exceed 30 minutes total, with no additional seasons, episodes, parts, sequels or remakes,” cannot include “Star Trek” in their titles, cannot involve anyone who has worked on Star Trek films or series, and cannot raise more than $50,000 for an individual production. In return for following these and other guidelines, CBS and Paramount state they “will not object to, or take legal action against” any “non-professional and amateur” fan productions.
Most prominently, the guidelines would severely restrict plans for Axanar, the Trek fan film that CBS and Paramount sued for copyright infringement in December, and the production that appears to have sparked the guidelines in the first place. Gary Graham was set to reprise his role from Star Trek: Enterprise as a Vulcan ambassador; the production raised over $1.2 million in crowdfunding campaigns; and creator Alec Peters had planned for Axanar to be a feature-length production well over the 30-minute time limit.
The guidelines also seem to directly affect several of the most popular and well-regarded Trek fan productions over the past two decades, many of which operate as an ongoing “series,” including Star Trek Continues and Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II. The former has raised well over $300,000 via several crowdfunding campaigns to support its elaborate recreations of the sets from the original Trek TV series, and the latter has featured episodes guest starring established Trek actors like Walter Koenig and George Takei.
Meanwhile, Star Trek: Voyager star Tim Russ is currently directing and starring in Star Trek Renegades: The Requiem, which costars Trek alum like Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Terry Farrell, Robert Picardo, and Robert Beltran. According to the new guidelines, none of these actors would be able to continue with the production. (The aforementioned productions did not immediately respond to requests to comment, and a spokesperson for CBS said she could not comment on how the guidelines would affect individual fan productions.)
Alec Peters in Prelude to Axanar.
As BuzzFeed News detailed in a story last week, the lawsuit between Axanar Productions and CBS and Paramount has drawn so much attention that J.J. Abrams — who is producing the latest film Star Trek Beyond — announced at a Trek fan event in May that due to lobbying from Beyond‘s director Justin Lin, the lawsuit would be “going away” in a matter of weeks.
CBS and Paramount subsequently announced in a joint statement noting that, along with its ongoing settlement negotiations with Axanar Productions, the studios were “working on a set of fan film guidelines.” While those guidelines are now official, however, the suit continues to be litigated by both sides.
In a brief joint statement …read more