You guys are in for a real treat. Assuming you enjoy reading about the rich histories of Star Trek fan film projects (why else would you be here??), then you are going to LOVE what I have coming later on this week!
If you think AXANAR, PACIFIC 201, FIRST FRONTIER or STARSHIP FARRAGUT “Homecoming” are taking forever to come out, those are just wee bairnes compared to YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL! Those other projects have been in development for maybe five years at most. But Yorktown began production way back in 1985!!! That’s 35 years, folks. And while there was a lull in production and post-production which lasted nearly two decades, work started up again in earnest in 2010. But it’s now 2020…and still no Yorktown in sight.
However, that all changed when the first new trailer for Yorktown since 2013 was released on July 5th, 2020…
No, you’re not seeing things. That is indeed GEROGE TAKEI, and he is playing Hikaru Sulu. That’s also actor JAMES SHIGETA from Die Hard, Midway, and Mulan (and a hundred other things you’ve seen) playing Admiral Nogura.
If you’re a hard-core follower of Star Trek fan films, you probably know at least something about Yorktown. But do you know EVERYTHING??? There are so many stories and interviews out there, scattered across the Internet. Finding them all is like a scavenger hunt, and even when you do, many of the stories sound almost unbelievable. A few even seem to contradict each other. What’s true, what’s myth, and what’s legend?
I decided to find out!
I’d actually been wanting to cover Yorktown for many years…the “lost” fan film. But was it really lost? From the time I first began covering Star Trek fan films back in 2015, I’d heard rumors that work was still being done on this fabled project. Eventually, I discovered a Facebook group and joined it, but I’ll admit I didn’t check it all that often. And truth to tell, there were so many other fan films and news and interviews and articles to write that Yorktown kinda fell off my radar more than a few times over the years.
But then that trailer come out, and I had the perfect excuse to do a deep-dive. Little did I realize how deep I was about to go…!
Regular and longtime readers of this blog know that I publish all different lengths of feature articles. The features are the ones where I research the history of a fan project without the benefit of interviews. There are one-part blogs like these ones about STAR TREK: DECEPTION and STAR TREK: OF GODS AND MEN and STAR TREK: AURORA, two-parters like STARSHIP EXETER and STAR TREK: DARK ARMADA, three-parters like STARSHIP FARRAGUT, and the mega-part blog features for long-running projects like STAR TREK CONTINUES and RENEGADES.
These deep-dives take a lot of research on my part, but they were mainly necessary when doing an interview wasn’t an option because either I didn’t know how to get in touch with a show-runner, or that show-runner was too busy or unwilling to do an interview, or (in the case of a feature that I have coming up) there was a language barrier. To be honest, it’s much easier doing straight-up interviews (text or audio), like the ones I’ve done for STAR TREK: HORIZON, PROJECT: POTEMKIN, STONE TREK, TEMPORAL ANOMALY and GHOST SHIP…to name a few! There’s still some research involved (so I know what questions to ask) but overall, much less work.
Lately, however, I’ve been experimenting with a “hybrid” deep-dive—part thoroughly-researched feature and part interview—essentially an article with containing quotes from the show-runner(s) thrown in. I tried out this format in my recent three-part blog on the history of the long-running INTREPID fan series out of Scotland. And when it came time to tackle Yorktown, I decided to try out the “hybrid” format once again.
I first reached out to show-runner JOHN ATKIN, who had joined the Yorktown project in 2010 to help the original producer STAN WOO complete his decades-old fan project. I explained to them my goal: collecting the entire history of Yorktown into a single series of blogs, going into as much detail as possible while still keeping the story compelling. As such, I was going to need to ask each of them a LOT of questions because I wanted this feature to be as accurate as possible…and what’s more accurate than the show-runners themselves?
What followed has been a nearly 8-week odyssey that has included me trying to “learn all that is learnable” about Yorktown from Facebook posts, Trek BBS groups, video and audio interviews, magazine articles, blogs and podcasts…the very definition of a “deep dive.”
The Q&A’s have been flying furiously back-and-forth to Stan and John, and I’ve developed two very nice friendships along the way. Stan, who lives in Los Angeles just as I do, is frequently calling me to share tidbits of information that he’d forgotten to mention…and we’d likely have already gotten together in person had it not been for the darned pandemic. Both producers have been sending me fantastic photos…including a picture of George Takei having what may well have been his first ever taste of New Coke back in 1985! (You’ll need to wait for Part 2 to see that photo.)
With Stan and John’s invaluable help, I have finished compiling a really FANtastic 6-part blog series full of rich and wonderful stories, amazing photos, and keen insights about this labor of love from the two people most intimately involved with its creation and development. This is the most thorough retrospective on Yorktown: A Time to Heal that you will find collected in any one place….period.
Beginning later this week, I invite all of you to share this amazing 35-year “trek” with me, Stan Woo, and John Atkin. You won’t be disappointed.