Next week, the eagerly-awaited CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALIBURS, the latest fan film from THE AVALON UNIVERSE, will finally make its debut. And having seen an early cut, let me assure you that it will be a game-changer of a release, sure to be talked about excitedly by a LOT of fans for a very long time.
Avalon showrunner JOSHUA IRWIN and his team have poured a massive amount of time, effort, financial resources, and emotional commitment into getting this production perfect. And leading into its December premiere, Josh wanted to release a short promo “ad” on YouTube to tease the new film. But not just any ad, Josh had a clever idea.
As some folks know—and most others can very likely guess—Avalon‘s new fan film features a crossover of many different universes (one might say an infinite number!). And yes, one of those is the Star Trek “Mirror” Universe. VANCE MAJOR, who plays the character of Erick Minard across many fan films and series—including CONSTAR, VALIANT, DREADNOUGHT DOMINION, PROJECT GEMINI: CROSSROADS, ANTYLLUS, NATURE’S HUNGER, RAINCROSS, EAGLE, TASK FORCE 78, and of course, Avalon Universe, where that Minard is the chief engineer of the U.S.S. Excalibur.
But Minard also exists in the Mirror Universe as a villainous sociopath known as The Phantom, a character who will be appearing in the upcoming Crisis on Infinite Excaliburs. So Josh thought it might be cool to see The Phantom recording an ominous-sounding log entry for about a minute, hinting at some nefarious plan and ending with “A crisis is coming…” Josh tossed the log entry promo idea over to Vance, offering him complete creative control over whatever he would send back.
Now, technically, Vance officially “retired” from fan filmmaking last year, and this time he actually meant it. Well, mostly. He retired to spend more time with his son Royce, but now Royce wants to make fan films. So Vance is quietly working on CONSTAR: THE MOTION PICTURE, with Royce being the filmmaker in charge. But that’s more of a project done for sheer fun and father/son bonding time.
However, Vance is also available for friends in the fan film community who’d like his help either in front of or behind the camera. In fact, that’s how the “retired” Vance Major wound up appearing as various Minards in Crisis. So Vance was game to do the promo, as well.
But then, like Josh, Vance had a clever idea…
It wasn’t too long ago that Vance collaborated frequently with FRANK PARKER, JR., the original showrunner of Dreadnought Dominion in 2015 and current showrunner of Project Gemini: Crossroads. The two of them have played their characters of Erick Minard and Sam Grissom in each other’s fan series, and they’ve produced dozens of fan film-based podcasts in their CRITICAL NOT CYNICAL series. But since Vance’s retirement to spend more time with his son, he and Frank hadn’t had many opportunities to work together, and Vance kinda missed that.
So with Josh’s approval, Vance reached out to Frank to see if he would like to get involved, and Frank was 100% on board…literally. The two filmmakers put their heads together and decided that, rather than just having a simple log entry from The Phantom, Frank’s character would be watching that log entry. And since Frank and Vance had purchased awesome-looking black movie-era Starfleet uniforms, the thought was that this would be Mirror-Grissom, watching The Phantom’s log entries at some point in the future when he and his ship, the I.S.S. Harrison, discover the wreckage of the I.S.S. Constar.
In this way, the promo-now-turned-full-fan-film would serve as both a prequel AND sequel to Crisis. The Phantom (not in a movie-era uniform, since his log entry would be from the Mirror TOS-era) would be discussing his plan, which would require him to find a way aboard the I.S.S. Excalibur…allowing his character to participate in Josh’s fan film being on board one of the “infinite” Excaliburs.
Vance wrote the script, allowing Frank to produce and direct his sequence as he saw fit: a walk from the turbolift across the bridge (did I mention that Frank has built a TOS-era bridge set and ready room in his mother-in-law’s garage?—yeah, that blog is coming), some dialog via communicator with his crew, and finally arriving in the Constar’s ready room to replay Mirror-Minard’s final log entry. Fortunately, Frank had grown a goatee a year or two before, so he already looked “mirror,” and a wig completed the transformation.
So Vance recorded his segment separately, and they both delivered the video and audio assets to Constar editor TREY NARR, who cut them into a six-minute fan film (plus credits). The final video was posted by Josh on the Avalon Universe YouTube channel on November 11, leading the release of Crisis by about four weeks. And while it might not make complete sense to viewers right now, once fans have a chance to see Crisis, at least some of the pieces will fall into place (hopefully).
“The film was well received, so I’m glad people like it,” said Josh.
“It was fun to do,” added Frank.
And Vance said that it was nice to have a chance to collaborate with Frank again, plus a few other members of the fan film community like Frank’s wife DONNA SMITH PARKER, CGI guy JOEY BONICE, composer ADAM MULLEN, actor JASON HERDT, and even 7-year-old ROYCE MAJOR got to help with cinematography. “And working with Josh is always a pleasure,” Vance continued. “He did such an incredible job in Crisis of making it look like I was right there in the middle of scenes with multiple other characters—even myself!—this despite the fact that Josh and Tyler [Dunivan -Jonathan] filmed all of my scenes either alone or just with Tori [Victoria Archer -Jonathan]. But it looks like we’re standing next to all of the actors that we appear with!”
But Crisis is next week. Right now, take a look at ZERO HOUR…