I suppose some of you have been wondering what my position is on the whole Axanar V CBS debacle. Well, I’ll try to articulate my thoughts and feelings on the matter here today.
Firstly, I am firmly on Team Axanar. But not blindly so. I can explain why.
There are those out there that think it’s all about money, the fact that Alec Peters paid himself a wage for his work on the film so far. I can get why some people might not see eye to eye with that, but that is not what the lawsuit is about. Paramount has only mentioned a claim to a number of copyright infringements on their intellectual property (IP). Money, funds, profit, remuneration… none of that was mentioned in the filed suit. Nor were there any references, inferences or such like to the subject of money. So we can pretty much forget the idea that it is about Axanar having raised £1m or that Alec Peters gave himself a wage. In the same vein we can discount the argument that once people started getting paid, Axanar when professional and is therefore not a fan film. Legally Paramount would have had to state this in their filing. They did not.
Axanar through their legal team as defended their position by claiming the script is not yet complete and that there is no complete film, so any claims over copyright infringement are ultimately overzealous and premature. You cannot claim something that essentially has not yet been created infringes on your copyright.
The judge presiding over the case appears to agree, in that he has denied Paramount an extension of time to answer Axanars challenge. Instead they are going to redefine their suit. Does that sound like an entity that knows what they are doing? I’m not sure. You could perhaps also argue that they rushed into their suit.
Also, I find it extremely suspect that Paramount filed their suit against Axanar soon after the trailer for the new “Star Trek Beyond” film flopped and was almost universally booed off the screens at theatres, it even got a thumbs down from the film’s writer and co star. Yes, it was that bad, that Simon Pegg himself poopooed the trailer and said it made the new film look like “Fast and Furious in space”. Strong words from a co star and writer of the subject. Just go look at the Youtube releases of Prelude to Axanar and the Star Trek Beyond trailer. Look at the comments. The former has overwhelmingly positive comments while the latter is a smorgasbord of scathing negativity.
So, could it be then, that the real intent from Paramount was to file the suit, in the hopes that the crew of Axanar crap their pants and disappear quietly into the night, so that the new feature will release without anything else that could be seen as being superior Trek being release and potentially hurting ticket sales? I and many of Axanars 10K strong fan base think this is the real reasoning.
Why do we think so? It’s simple. There are numerous productions out there, all self or crowd funded using recognised elements of Star Trek. I will not name any of them as I don’t want to sound like I’m singling any of them out. Suffice to say, these productions all copy elements of Star Trek to various level. One even uses the same characters, the same ship, sets that are identical in every conceivable way, and even unused scripts from the old Desilu production. Yet, Paramount is ignoring these productions. (Something I wish they would do with ALL fan productions). In stead Paramount are chasing one single production. Axanar.
I firmly believe this suit is a massive blunder on the part of Paramount, and a short sighted one at that. They could embrace these productions and realise that their existence keeps interest in their IP high. LucasFilm do just that. They embrace fan productions, even holding fan film awards. Doing something similar would only win the hearts and minds of Star Trek Fans. It could also directly lead to more money for Paramount as with interest in the subject remaining high, interest in any productions they do will also be high. So why in this 21st Century are Paramount being so clandestine in their treatment of the fans?
I think the answer is obvious. Axanar is a direct threat. The quality of production conveyed in Prelude is on par with any Hollywood release. Paramount are scared Axanar, with its $1M to $2M budget, will look and feel more like Star Trek and appeal to more people than their release which will probably be costing them a good $100m to make, if not more. Paramount look to have dropped the ball. They’ll have taken polls, seen the negative reactions to the trailer on social media and will undoubtedly be fearing they have a flop on their hands. I think they do. And I am far from being alone in that determination.
If he had a grave, I’m sure Gene Roddenberry would be spinning in it.