Back in 2022, after being in production since 2014(!!!), the long-awaited TOS-era fan film AMBUSH (out of the United Kingdom) was finally released by showrunner GREG LOCK and his team. This past year, Ambush won “Best Fan Film” in the 2023 Star Trek Fan Film SHOWRUNNER AWARDS…along with wins in a dozen other categories…making it the top award-winner overall.
Since then, fans have wondered if and when Greg Lock might return to Star Trek fan films and whether we might see the return of members of the crew of the U.S.S. Ambush someday. That question was answered the day before Christmas with the release of the following very unexpected trailer featuring none other than NICK COOK and DAVID REID from the fan series INTREPID wearing Pre-STAR TREK: PICARD-era uniforms. Check it out…
David Reid is returning to the role of the Intrepid‘s Romulan security officer S’Ceris, a character he hasn’t reprised in nearly a decade. And Nick Cook is, of course, playing Captain Daniel Hunter, a role he’s performed not only in episodes of Intrepid but also in other fan series like TREK SHORTS and CONSTAR.
Indeed, crossover collaborations like this are proliferating recently in the fan film world! In fact, one of the most recent examples, CRISIS ON INFINITE EXCALIBURS from the AVALON UNIVERSE (which I will be covering once I can schedule a Zoom interview with the very busy star of that release) was a major collaboration among nearly a DOZEN different showrunners and fan series!
Frankly, I think this trend of collaboration is awesome, as fan filmmakers can pool resources, knowledge, characters, filmmaking equipment, props and uniforms, and all sorts of other things to make more and even better productions.
But how did this particular collaboration between two of the U.K.’s most prominent Star Trek fan filmmakers (the other being the omnipresent SAMUEL COCKINGS…I wonder if he’ll be a part of this, too) come to happen? For the answers to this and other questions, I spoke to Greg Lock himself…
JONATHAN – Nice to chat with you again, Greg, and a very Merry Christmas to you!
GREG – I know that this Christmas may be more difficult for you, Jonathan, with the loss of your dad. But wishing you and your family the very best and a very happy Christmas.
JONATHAN – I appreciate that, Greg. We all miss my dad, but he lived to be 91, and I had him in my life for nearly 57 wonderful, love-filled years. I celebrate that and him, and I am truly thankful for every moment we shared together.
But now let’s shift over to the other side of the Atlantic to discuss this new project, ORIGINAL PARTS, teaming up Ambush and Intrepid. What made you decide to do a sequel fan film in the first place?
GREG – Despite Ambush being a film I’m proud of—and its great reception among fans and various awards—it still isn’t the film I set out to make. Due to the troubles encountered, we only shot half of the script, the result being that much of the character study and what I considered to be the most Star Trek-style scenes didn’t make it to the film.
But what was clear was from the reception was that there existed a desire from fans for a sequel. And one thing I wanted to be able to show was some of the character study and moral dilemmas missed out first time round, elements that really make Star Trek.
JONATHAN – So how did Nick Cook and Intrepid become part of the project?
GREG – I’ve always been a fan of Nick’s work, and with our mutual love of Star Trek and us both working within the National Health Service, he’s definitely someone I regard as a friend. It was mainly due to this I asked if he was willing to provide a small voice cameo in Ambush, which I’m glad to say he was very happy to do. I’m still very proud of Ambush and was glad to hear that he was a big fan too.
I clearly wasn’t going to be able to do this alone and needed to collaborate, and there really was no better person that Nick Cook. What I also loved was how familiar and faithful Nick is to Star Trek. With his Intrepid work and the idea of Ambush characters, where I went out of my way to make them different in appearance, how would they look in the Intrepid setting?
Being a fan of time travel in Trek, I pitched the idea to him: “Hypothetically, what would you say to an Intrepid film where Ambush characters get thrown into Hunter’s time and have to interact with him?” He loved the idea, and together, after some Skype chats and some visits to Scotland where he lives, we were able to craft a story which we’re both very proud of.
JONATHAN – So is this an Ambush fan film with Intrepid characters in it or an Intrepid fan film with Ambush characters in it?
GREG – I personally see this more as an Intrepid film with Ambush characters guest starring. After all, we get to follow Hunter on a significant journey in his character that has been hinted at before in previous Intrepid films.
At the same time, anyone who was curious as to what happened after the events of Ambush will get some answers. We catch up with Captain Maddox and Commander Gibson five years after Ambush, and for some reason, they are thrown forward in time over 100 years to meet Captain Hunter of the Intrepid, a time very different to what Maddox and Gibson are used to, especially when it comes to the Romulans!
JONATHAN – So who is doing what in terms of behind-the-camera responsibilities?
GREG – I’m directing this. Nick and I are producing. Then myself, Nick and STEPHEN TRUMBLE have co-written it. Stephen Tumble plays Maddox. He won the “Best Original Character” Showrunner Award for for Maddox. He co-wrote Ambush with me (also winning that award). And I should add that he is also the mastermind behind the animated Batman fan film Broken Promise, which won best in show and pretty much everything else at GLEN WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS’ DIRECTORS CHOICE AWARDS.
JONATHAN – How much of the film is completed at this point, and what still needs to be done?
GREG – About half the film is in the can. We were able to get all the exterior scenes shot, which was the biggest hurdle. Next up is the interior scenes ,which account for the other half. Then, of course, post production. There are VFX, but this is not a VFX heavy story.
JONATHAN – As long as I have you here, there’s a question I’ve been curious about since first watching Ambush. Your uniforms are an intriguing “midway point” between the NX-era from Star Trek: Enterprise and TOS. But your references to Garth of Izar place you firmly in the TOS era. When exactly does the first Ambush fan film take place?
GREG – TOS-era. The idea behind the uniforms was they were the middle ground between ENT and TOS. Take the jackets off, and you’re very close to TOS. The Ambush crew just chose not to wear the “new” uniforms when they were rolled out, as they felt the “new” uniforms weren’t as functional. This was something I didn’t get to bring up in Ambush due to not being able to shoot half the script. But thankfully, we’ve written into the script that Hunter, being a history buff, knows all about them and gives a nice exposition dump to his crew about who they are/were. Hunter actually makes a comment about recognising the uniforms from history books and dates them about 30 years before TOS. From Hunter’s point of view, talking about the exploits of the Ambush is like talking about World War I today.
JONATHAN – So what has it been like so far, teaming up with another fan filmmaker? Any frictions, or has it been smooth sailing?
GREG – Collaborating with Nick has been one of the best and most fun experiences so far. It’s great to be able to work with someone in the same mindset who just wants to make Star Trek fan films and have fun doing it. I love the fact that there isn’t a rivalry. The people I’ve met in the community are so supportive and, instead of being intimidating or intimidated, they just embrace the great work when they see it.
Here in the U.K., I look at people like Nick and Sam who are able to produce so much material, and instead of treating me like a one-hit wonder, they pester me to produce more! No one is wanting the other person to slip up, and we all appreciate that we’re telling stories for fun, our enjoyment, our hobby and to provide content for fans…and they are more than happy to help others do it. Im getting a bit pretentious now, but isn’t that what Star Trek was kind of about?
JONATHAN – It’s definitely on the list, I think!
GREG – Some of my most favourite episodes of Star Trek are the crossover ones. I love “Relics” where Scotty finds himself aboard the Enterprise-D (very big influence on our film) and more recently with Strange New Worlds‘ “Those Old Scientists.” “Trials and Tribble-ations” anyone? I’m loving the fact that across the world of fan films, there’s been so many great characters and settings that people have created, and its so great that we’re at the point where we can see how our characters interact with others.
The great thing with Star Trek is that so many plot devices exist that make crossovers possible, no matter what era of Star Trek you’re doing. There’s no excuse! So yeah, I love those stories, I love the crossovers people have already done (looking at you, Sam!), and I think there’s definitely an appetite for it with the fans. And if we can help out and learn from each other while doing it, why the hell not!?
JONATHAN – Okay, and now the big question: when do you expect to release it?
GREG – Haha, “the big question.” I don’t want to commit myself to a release date. I’ve learned that lesson. But to be blunt, I’m not planning on having any mental breakdowns again, and without as many VFX and a better chance of having everything in the can, hopefully by the end of 2024.
JONATHAN – Well, then I wish you all the best of luck and a Happy New Year 2024!