STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES calls it quits (kinda) while STAR TREK CONTINUES continues (sorta)

STNV and STCWhen CBS and Paramount announced their new guidelines for Star Trek fan films, the fates of two long-running, celebrated fan series seemed to be in jeopardy.  Star Trek: New Voyages (having released nearly a dozen full-length TOS fan episodes since 2004) and Star Trek Continues (with six full-length TOS fan episodes plus three vignettes released since 2012) both appeared to violate multiple new guideline rules.  These included run-times over 15 minutes, more than $50,000 in crowd-funding, perk give-aways for contributors, the use of professional actors and crew, and of course, simply having an ongoing fan series in the first place!

Would these two venerated fan series finally come to an inglorious end?  It seems the answer is “yes”…and “no”…and “maybe.”  Let me explain…

Shortly after the announcement that the amazing New Voyages TOS sets in Ticonderoga, NY would now be officially licensed by CBS Consumer Products for set tours, many fans (including yours truly) wondered if this official licensing relationship between James Cawley’s Retro Studios and CBS might bring along with it some sort of licensing agreement for Star Trek: New Voyages, as well.  That hope was quickly dashed when the following announcement appeared on the New Voyages International Facebook page (scroll down to the first comment under the announcement of the set tour deal):

There will be no more new episodes or vignettes (short stories) filmed by New Voyages. As for the three episodes already filmed and in some stage of post production – no one knows at this time if we will be permitted to complete and release them.

So there’s the disappointing first answer of “yes” New Voyages will come to an end, and “maybe” New Voyages will be allowed to release the episodes already filmed and in post production.

(As a side note, producer David Whitney of Star Trek Raven said in an interview published on Fan Film Factor  yesterday that he believed the new guidelines would NOT apply to fan films that were already “in the can” and currently within the post production phase.  He plans to test that theory shortly when Raven is released as a 24-minute fan film in a few more months.)

Also worth noting is that the above announcement is careful to state that no more episodes or vignettes will be filmed BY New Voyages.  This doesn’t necessarily mean the sets will not or cannot be used in the future for filming by other fan projects.

And what of Star Trek Continues…which also houses an amazing TOS set recreation, this one at an 18,000-square-foot studio in Kingsland, GA?  In this case, the news wasn’t quite so pessimistic…albeit it was still full of unknowns.  In an e-mail message sent yesterday to donors for their latest Indiegogo campaign, show-runner Vic Mignogna had this to say:

Episode VII will premiere at Salt Lake Comicon on Friday, September 2. It will then have an international screening at Fan Expo in Toronto the following day. Of course, you will see it before anyone else because of your generosity and support of Star Trek Continues.

I also want to assuage any concerns you may have about the current climate. We fully intend that your kind donations will be used for the exact purpose for which they were donated. As you know, STC is the only official 501c3 non profit Trek fan production out there. We are awaiting further clarification, but I am optimistic about completing our planned series and I would like to ask you, as our biggest supporters, to remain optimistic with us.

And so we have an encouraging “no,” Star Trek Continues will NOT be ending…at least not yet!  But then there’s the big “maybe” as they await further clarification.  Like David Whitney of Raven, Vic Mignogna and company are hoping an episode in post production gets “grandfathered in.”

I suppose we’ll find out in September.  One would expect STC‘s seventh episode to break the 15-minute time limit rule, and of course, it’s an ongoing series with perks and crowd-funding to the tune of $200,000 for that episode and two others (which still divides down to more than $50,000 per episode).  And of course, Vic himself is a professional who has worked on official Star Trek properties (voice-overs for the Star Trek Online game)…something that violates Guideline #5: “…cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.”

So…whew!  September is going to be a VERY interesting month for fan films.  Or perhaps not.  As John Van Citters commented in his podcast interview, these are guidelines and not “laws.”  It is very possible that CBS and Paramount will look the other way this time and wait until STC‘s eighth episode (which is NOT in post production yet) is released online.  Maybe there will be a phone call first instead of a lawsuit.  Maybe there’s a deal to be worked out.

When all is said and done, we are, all of us (fans and the studios) traveling in an undiscovered country at the moment.  I suspect that CBS and Paramount are not entirely certain they’ve created a perfect set of guidelines, and they’re probably waiting to see what happens next.  As the guidelines themselves say at the very end:

CBS and Paramount Pictures reserve the right to revise, revoke and/or withdraw these guidelines at any time in their own discretion.

And so the adventure is just beginning…

11 thoughts on “STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES calls it quits (kinda) while STAR TREK CONTINUES continues (sorta)”

  1. These “guidelines” are a slap in the face to die-hard Star Trek Fans everywhere. Instead of encouraging fans to make their own fan films, they are actively seeking to squash that creativity. How in the bloody blue hell are you supposed to be able to tell a GOOD Trek story in 15 to 30 minutes?

    Paramount has obviously lost sight of the very driving force that has kept Trek alive for over 50 years…the fans themselves. John Van Citters claims to be a Trek Fan…his actions on Paramount’s behalf state otherwise.

    To think this whole “guidelines” debacle started with Axanar. While they may NOT have been the sole catalyst, they were instrumental in raising Paramount’s hackles regarding Trek fan films as a whole.

    What a way to celebrate what should be the golden anniversary of Trek…instead of a grand celebration, Paramount has decided to kill fan films once and for all, and in the process, killed Star Trek.

  2. I will watch what Vic puts out, and gladly do so. He does great work. As for ST: Beyond and the new series on CBS- Nope. As for buying any more new ST novels: Nope. As for purchasing any ST licensed products ever again: Nope.

      1. I suppose we’ll find out in another six months, but I personally think STC is incredibly well done. Remember that Bryan Fuller will also have 30 times the budget to work with for each episode of the new series than Vic does as well as access to a much wider pool of professional acting and production talent. Keep things in perspective, my friend. 🙂

      2. I like Vic’s work, I like James Cawley’s work. Both are professional level. I’m going to miss New Voyages, especially Xon and Peter Kirk. I hope at least ST: Continues manages to stick around.

  3. I see the “guidelines” going away soon if not by end of year and all fan production back in productions .They just can not stand if legal challenge feel and so do other.

    The rule 5 of the “guidelines” “…cannot be currently or previously employed on any Star Trek series, films, production of DVDs or with any of CBS or Paramount Pictures’ licensees.”

    I would say the Studio “Thinks” is has control over actors that have No contract actor Or what they think Actors can do or not do.
    I talk to Sag people. They said unofficially they said NOPE that big violation. But any of the actor would have file to get them to take action at best but I can see many legal people going over all the “guidelines” for legal loop hole.

    During the pod cast Engage the creator of the “guidelines” said that the $50K is PER 15 minute So if you do 2 15 minute eps..
    That’s $100K. So a Fan Production could gather a good amount of funds but again the time limit sucks.
    As for Rule in the “guidelines” saying no more perks and or incentives .
    That is a gray point at If you looking at .
    Getting donation you have to get the right things to sweeten the pot as said Perks and Incentives are not merchandising anything. If it was PBS would have big issue.. As for online stores . as long as it goes to 100% of the productions and books are kept on it hey that fine.

    The CBS/Paramount have stirred the pot to turn fans against fans. They did theses “guidelines” Kill fan support as they were seeing were falling into supporting the fan production and not their works.(when the fist trailer for Beyond hit fans hated it and said”fan production were better”)
    I’m sure that did not sit well with big wigs at CBS/Paramount.

    Fans need to see this is not any one groups fault it is all on those who want full control and zero fans making productions.

    Look really well at he Timeline of events before you Judge any one person, But at best look at what is happening in the fandom.

    We need to find away to unify all of us. We need to get the fan productions back on track.
    We need to stop the back stabbing and in fan fighting (yes easily said than can be done).

    Sci-fi fans for any show are well know to be hard to find common ground. Trust me as worked with many of conventions over he years and seen the in fights over everything.

    Another reason for the fans to rally is this . In the past we had Gene and Majel Roddenberry on our side to keep the fans woks going.. We don’t have that now.
    Not even Gene son has come out against any of the legal action or “guidelines”.
    He been asked to work on the new show for paid streaming but nothing on the taking of father works and killing of the fans interaction that Gene and Majel loved.
    Majel said to me once “The fans are the heart of Star Trek with out them it is just another sci-fi franchise with no real meaning but for few.”
    She said “there would be no franchise if not for the core fans rallying to bring back for 3 year we got of the original”
    She love the new fan production and told me she could see that fans got it That Gene vision was safe or so she though.
    I think now if she still with she be greatly sadden at what has happen.
    I think she be fight day and not to get the studio to back off as she had in the past.
    Oh yes she when fans took advantage other fans selling unlicensed items. I know I helped her do it one time.
    We the fans need to go back to how it all started how we took a show we love and kept it going.

    If fans can rally as i know it can be done.
    I would ask in the name Gene and Majel Roddenberry Fight but fight for All fans to get Fan Production back and the Guideline revoke or written right to let fans do great works again.
    It’s time to stop the in fighting the bickering over what is gong on and to organize what is needed to be done to.

    1. Sorry for the delay in approving the comment, Corsair. I was in Colorado for the past week and just got home this afternoon. Yesterday, there was much packing and little computering. This morning, it was off to the airport with my son. Once home, there was much unpacking and finally catching up on approving comments.

  4. None of this insanity would have happened if Alec Peters, David Gerrold, Robert Meyer Burnett and the rest of the Axanar production had violated the rules established by CBS/Paramount concerning the production of fan films.

    While I won’t miss Star Trek Continues, Starship Ajax, Starship Valiant, and Starship Farragut when they are cancelled(and the latter three have been from what I have seen), it doesn’t seem fair that other fan films like Star Trek-New Voyages/Phase II and other Star Trek films have to suffer the consequences because of Peters’ illegal actions.

    Illegal actions that have soured the fun for Star Trek fans.

    While some fans and I saw something like this coming, I still support CBS/Paramount’s decision in taking legal action against Peters and Axanar. They are protecting their property and this legal act should serve as a reminder to Peters and those like him in Star Trek fandom.

    If you can’t play nice in the sandbox, YOU WILL get your toys taken away from you.

    You try to destroy the competition by playing God and violating the law, you will often end up destroying yourself and suffer the dire consequences.

    Personally, I thought that New Voyages and Continues were like matter and anti-matter cancelling each other violently due to the hostilities between Vic Mignogna and James Cawley.

    1. Just FYI, David Gerrold didn’t work on Axanar (he worked on New Voyages), and Starship Ajax never produced a full fan film. As for “violating the law,” Star Trek fan films have been doing that for 50 years in terms of featuring Star Trek intellectual property in an unlicensed film.

      Axanar wasn’t the first fan film to use professionals, pay them, build a studio meant for use by both itself and other fan projects, use established Star Trek characters/ships/races/etc., and crowd-fund to the tune of 6-figures. Axanar was the first to cross the seven-figure threshold, though. Was that the straw that broke the camel’s back?

      It’s hard to blame the Axanar lawsuit on having a studio–New Voyages and STC/Farragut had studios first. It’s hard to blame it on having professionals, as Renegades had WAY more professionals working on it than Axanar (including Tim Russ as Tuvok, Walter Koenig as Chekov, Robert Picardo as Lewis Zimmerman, Richard Herd as Admiral Paris, Manu Intiraymi as Icheb, and many other Trek stars playing new roles). Heck, Renegades even had a red carpet L.A. movie premiere at the Crest Theater in Westwood (with Paparazzi and perks for sale and free popcorn) five months before Axanar got sued. It’s hard to blame it on paying professionals either, as that dates back in Trek fan films to 2006 and “World Enough and Time.” So if Axanar and Alec Peters “broke the law,” they were at the back of a parade that had already been going on for a decade or more.

      Just my too sense. 🙂

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