It’s a FANtastic time to be an AXANAR supporter…with big news and updates coming fast and furiously now. It’s creating a feeling of excitement and electricity throughout the community. Meanwhile, the detractors are rapidly running out of things to complain about! (Seriously. After perk packets began arriving in mailboxes this week, the folks on the Axamonitor Facebook group were reduced to making fun of a single typo in the perk letter from ALEC PETERS and suggesting that they should all burn their perk patches. So yeah, lots to be proud of over there.)
Meanwhile, back on the side of goodness and light…
With only two weeks until filming begins on the first Axanar shoot in Lawrenceville, GA on the bridge of the USS Ares (plus recording of the audio version of the full Axanar script), all the pieces are rapidly coming together. In the last few months, a LOT has been happening behind the scenes, and now fans are beginning to see what’s been taking so long.
A fair amount of Axanar news was revealed in my audio interview with Alec Peters last week. But already there’s even MORE news to share! Most of that news came out last night during the first new Axanar Confidential podcast in three and a half weeks. I’ll include that video at the end of this article.
But for those of you who want the highlights, here’s what we now know that we didn’t before…
THERE ARE FIVE SHOOTS!
Picard may have maintained that there were only four lights, and up until last week, Alec maintained that there would be four Axanar shoots. Well, make that five shoots.
The first shoot is October 4-6 in Lawrenceville and was to include bridge scenes with Alec and J.G. HERTZLER, green screen scenes, audio recording of the full script, and a livestream on YouTube of everything for the entire weekend (which should be awesome to watch!).
The second shoot will be in Los Angeles with green screens for the actors who live out there (actually, for me, L.A. is “here”) and the ones who need heavy makeup like GARY GRAHAM as the Vulcan Soval and others who will be playing Andorians, Tellarites, and Klingons.
The third shoot will take place at a very special location that won’t be revealed until it’s time to shoot there, but it’ll feature Axanar backers who donated enough to be extras.
And then a fourth shoot will be back in Georgia to get additional footage of the bridge, officers at stations, pick-ups, new scenes if needed, and anything else that still needs to be shot or reshot.
But last week Alec realized that he had a LOT going on during the first three-day shoot. (I coulda told him that!) But while J.G. is flying all the way from upstate New York for his scenes as Captain Sam Travis on the bridge of the USS Hercules, Alec lives only five minutes away from the studio. In other words, Alec can shoot his scenes any old time.
So now there will be a FIFTH shoot happening sometime in the next month with just Alec and the Ares bridge crew. J.G. will get the first shoot on the bridge set all to himself with the Hercules crew. Same bridge, different captains and sets of extras.
That makes a lot more sense and means shoot number one won’t be nearly as crazy. Now Alec is trying to figure out if he should schedule his second shoot just before/after my shoot for Interlude in November, since we’ll be using the same bridge extras. Alec would just reserve those folks for an extra day or two. Might be a good idea.
In addition to Alec, J.G., Gary, potentially KATE VERNON, and a surprising actor who has been cast as Kharn’s mentor Thought Admiral Mor’o (still a secret, but you’re gonna get a real kick when you find out who it is!), there’s eight additional major roles that still needed to be filled.
Some of these characters were revealed by Alec in this blog from back in 2017…
Kenji Tanaka, the Ares first officer and Garth’s best friend, Intelligence Officer Corax, Tactical Officer Tara Wagner, and Chief Engineer Alexi Leonov all are important. Plus we have other Starfleet captains besides Sam Travis and everyone’s favorite Sonya Alexander. After all, Starfleet is not just humans! So there is the Vulcan captain and the Andorian captain who we both need to see.
Auditions took place over the past couple of weeks, with director PAUL JENKINS leading the process and Alec being involved as executive producer. According to Alec, he and Paul were on the same page for pretty much everyone who was chosen. And each person they selected really nailed their role…especially the fellow who will be playing Leonov (who is destined to become a new fan favorite character). In one case, an actor was so good that, even though they didn’t get the part they were auditioning for (the age was wrong), Alec is now going to create a new character—likely a Starship captain—just so this person can have a role.
And that’s the kind of fun and excitement you can have when you’re casting. Even a couple of folks who were there simply helping to feed lines to the actors did such a good job that they might get small roles in the actual film and/or audio drama…including one long-time Axanar supporter who just showed up at auditions as a volunteer and really impressed Paul and Alec.
One of the actors, who was cast as Corax, stopped by Alec’s house and was an unannounced guest on the Axanar Confidential podcast. She’s really enthusiastic and commented that the music of Prelude to Axanar actually helped her the most in getting into character for her audition. She’s a big fan of Star Trek, sci-fi, and the fantasy genres, does lots of ren faires, and teaches acting as a profession. She seems like a very fun and positive person, and I’m looking forward to seeing her as a guest at future Axacons.
TITLING EPISODES 4 AND 5
Did you know that Star Wars episode IV wasn’t always titled “A New Hope”? When it first came out in 1977, no one was expecting this funny little movie to become the largest cinematic science fiction franchise in the history of mankind. So it was just “Star Wars.” The whole “Episode IV – A New Hope” wasn’t added until the 1981 re-release a year after The Empire Strikes Back premiered with “”Episode V” in the main title crawl.
So it is with Axanar…
PRELUDE TO AXANAR was originally supposed to be Episode 3 of a futuristic documentary series called “The Four Years War.” Granted, Alec never planed to make any other episodes, as the full-length Axanar feature film was supposed to wrap up the epic saga.
But when the settlement with CBS and Paramount trimmed what Alec was allowed to do down to only two 15-minute episodes, the decision was made to finish up the documentary instead with Episode 4 and Episode 5. So if Episode 3 is Prelude to Axanar, then then next two episodes the “The Four Years War” series need titles, too.
Well, we now know that Episode 4 will be titled The Gathering Storm. Alec hasn’t decided yet on a title for Episode 5, although he’s taking suggestions. Here’s mine: The Battle of Axanar. Simple, to-the-point. We’ll see if he goes for it. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to enter them in the comments below.
EXPANDING FEDERATION SPACE
Ares Studio is a 6,000 square foot facility…which is big enough for the bridge set, the captain’s quarters, and some limited office space. This means that it’ll be a bit of a tight fit for the cast and crew—with “all hands on deck” because there won’t be much room to stand anywhere else!
Or maybe not.
The unit next to Ares Studio was just vacated by the tenant, and it hasn’t been rented yet. It’s also 6,000 square feet and totally empty. Alec’s landlord has graciously offered to let him use that adjacent unit for the shoot weekend…free of charge! (Alec offered to pay, but the landlord is really nice.) So this effectively DOUBLES the space available for the shooting weekend in two weeks, allowing for additional make-up and dressing rooms, rehearsal and lounge space for the actors, and a place to set up the craft services food table.
Space is indeed the final frontier, folks, and Axanar now has twice as much of it for the first shoot!