A history of STAR TREK CONTINUES (feature, part 1)

NOTE: About a year a half ago, I published a 3-part blog tracing the fascinating history of STAR TREK CONTINUES.  In honor of their penultimate episode being released this past week and their series finale next month, I will be reprinting these blogs and adding an additional blog or two covering what happened between then and now.


Cover 1“If only…”

Those were the last two words uttered by Captain Kirk before Star Trek the original series was canceled in 1969.

“If only…”

Kirk was referring to the tragic descent into hate-filled insanity of his former love, Dr. Janice Lester. But for me, these two words were so much more powerful: If only Star Trek hadn’t been canceled. If only Star Trek could have…

…continued.

TOS fans always felt a pang of frustration that the five-year mission of the USS Enterprise was cut short after only three years in space (and on the air).  Sure, in 1973 an 1974, we got to see 22 animated episodes of the series, voiced by the same original actors, but we never got to see the end of that five-year mission.

Even when Star Trek crossed over into motion pictures, the end of Kirk’s first mission was still a mystery.  And the days of seeing those those bright red, blue, and gold uniforms and those amazingly colorful starship Enterprise sets—those days were gone forever…except in reruns, of course.

I used to have this dream where I was watching an episode of TOS that I’d never seen before.  Of course, I’d seen every episode dozens of times, so when I woke up, I’d sadly remember that there were no “lost” episodes of TOS.

Until there were…

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STAR TREK CONTINUES releases their 10TH EPISODE: “To Boldly Go, Part 1”!

Ten down, just one more to go!

Back in 2013, STAR TREK CONTINUES came in like a lion with a sequel to the TOS episode “Who Mourns for Adonais” that featured Michael Forest reprising his role as Apollo.

Now, as 2017 comes to an end, so does the 5-year mission of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701 as Star Trek Continues goes out with a bang!  Their series finale “To Boldly Go” is making its debut to the public today with the first of two parts.  The conclusion will debut in 11 days at a live screening at L.A. Comic Con, and then the final episode of STC will be released onto the Internet for the general public on November 13.

Both parts were written by noted Canadian sci-fi author ROBERT J. SAWYER (his first-ever work for STC).  He is one of eight authors in history to win all three of the science-fiction field’s highest honors for best novel of the year: the Hugo Award (which he won for Hominids), the Nebula Award (which he won for The Terminal Experiment); and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award (which he won for Mindscan).  Sawyer is a huge Star Trek fan, which you’ll be able to tell almost immediately when you watch the episode.

NICOLA BRYANT with the 6th Doctor, COLIN BAKER, in 1986…and today in the penultimate episode of STC.

I don’t want to give away any plot spoilers, so with the exception of gushing about a top-level performance by guest star NICOLA BRYANT (companion “Peri Brown” to the 5th and 6th Doctors on Doctor Who), I’ll simply tell you to note how awesome the music sounds.  A full orchestra made up of more than 40 student musicians from New York’s Empire Film Music Ensemble in Rochester, as well as several professional instrumentalists, recorded the brilliant compositions of Andy Farber.

While Star Trek: Discovery darkly reminds us that it is now 2017, this penultimate episode of STC is a like a warm, comfortable blanket wrapping us up once again in the TV magic of the 1960s (or if you weren’t there in the 60’s, then the 70’s or whenever you first discovered TOS).

Perhaps more than any other episode of STC, “To Boldly Go” will remind you of everything that Star Trek was, is, and can be when there is love and dedication…something the STC team has shared with us fans during the course of their own five-year mission.

And now, please enjoy the first half of this most wonderful gift to Star Trek fandom…

The BEST TWO Trek fan films you’ve NEVER seen! (interview with AARON VANDERKLEY, Part 2)

Last week, we met AARON VANDERKLEY, the Australian filmmaker behind the two excellent Trek fan films, NEEDS OF THE MANY and THE DERELICT.  After graduating with a Bachelor of Media degree, majoring in Screen Production, with minors in both Scriptwriting and Screen Acting, the 24-year-old Aaron went on to do film production professionally in Western Australia.

As I did in Part 1 of this interview—to avoid you folks inadvertently reading any spoilers—I heartily recommend that you watch the two fan films first (last week, about a thousand people did so) and then read the interview:

And now, let’s conclude an awesome interview with Aaron Vanderkley…

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The BEST TWO Trek fan films you’ve NEVER seen! (interview with AARON VANDERKLEY, Part 1)

Fan films like Star Trek: Horizon, Prelude to Axanar, Star Trek: Renegades, Star Trek Continues, and New Voyages have been viewed millions and millions of times on YouTube….and with good reason.  All are excellent productions of professional-level quality.

But those are the “big fish” in the fan film pond.  Two much smaller fish have swum underneath the sonar and haven’t been noticed by more than a couple of thousand viewers each…which is a shame because they are two of the best, highest quality Star Trek fan films you’re likely to see!

They didn’t have mega-budgets like some fan films, nor did they use big-name Hollywood actors or Trek veteran producers.  In fact, there isn’t even a VFX space shot in either.  What’s more, neither violates any of the fan film guidelines, coming in at 6 and a half minutes and 12 minutes respectively.

The first of these two films, THE NEEDS OF THE MANY, was released in January of 2016 (five months before the guidelines were ever announced) and the second, THE DERELICT, debuted just last month on the 51st anniversary of Star Trek.

Both short films take place during the Enterprise NX-01 era and use real, practical sets instead of green screen.  The costumes look amazing, and the actors do a really spectacular job.  Add in subtle lightning, great make-up, excellent camera work, a strong script, solid directing, and even top-notch editing, and these two fan films can easily take their place among some of the best ones so far.

So who made these two masterpieces, and how did they manage to do such a FANtastic job for so little?  For the answers, we need to travel all the way to the land down under…

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VANCE MAJOR releases SEVEN TREK FAN FILMS in SEVEN DAYS!

Last month, in an interview with fan film maker VANCE MAJOR, I called him the “Where’s Waldo of Star Trek fan films.”  The interview included a list of over a dozen different Trek fan films that Vance had written, directed, produced, appeared in, and/or worked on.

But now, after releasing ANOTHER seven (yes, SEVEN!) Trek fan films—one per day!—in just seven days, I think I need to rechristen Vance the “Oompa Loompa of Star Trek fan films”…perhaps even Willy Wonka himself!

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THE FEDERATION FILES releases “Walking Bear, Running Wolf”! (interview with DAN REYNOLDS)

Last year, show-runner GLEN L. WOLFE released “His Name Is Mudd,” the first fan film in a new anthology series called THE FEDERATION FILES.  Now Glen and his producer DAN REYNOLDS have released the second production in the anthology series, “Walking Bear, Running Wolf.”

Glen has actually worked in myriad capacities on more than a dozen different fan films (take a look at his IMdB page for a complete list) from actor to producer to set decorator, cameraman, even electrical operator.  But The Federation Files was Glen’s first chance to really take charge, writing and directing both episodes of the new anthology series.

Utilizing the sets of Starbase Studios, previously in Oklahoma City and now in Arkansas (some of which Glen himself helped build), the two episodes of The Federation Files focus on original series-era stories, the first featuring the USS Constitution and a certain interplanetary con-man, and the second featuring the crew of the USS Enterprise.

The character of Dawson Walking Bear was first introduced in the next-to-last animated Star Trek episode “How Sharper Than A Serpent’s Tooth.”  The script called for a Native American crewman who would be the only one to recognize the ancient Aztec/Mayan god Kukulkan.  That was Walking Bear’s only appearance on film until Star Trek: New Voyages featured him in their short vignette “Going Boldly” and then in the full-length “Mind-Sifter.”  New Voyages would also feature another animated crewman, Lt. Arex, briefly in the same “Going Boldly” vignette…

Walking Bear (top) and Arex shown in both their live-action STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES appearances and also as they first looked in the animated series.

New Voyages wasn’t the only live-action fan series to feature a character from the animated series.  Project: Potemkin showed Carter Winston (from “The Survivor”) in his human form in their episode “Beach Towel” and in his alien Vendorian form in their following episode “Shovel of Kahless” …

PROJECT: POTEMKIN featured the shape-changing Vendorian Carter Winston in two episodes.

But up until now, no fan film had ever tackled the Caitian feline communications officer Lt. M’Ress, until The Federation Files released “Walking Bear, Running Wolf.”  And not only did M’Ress appear, she actually had a fairly decent bit of screen time…

Lt. M’Ress with her paws on the controls of communications…

I reached out to “Walking Bear, Running Wolf” producer DAN REYNOLDS to ask him some questions about this ambitious fan production.

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AXANAR update…the news is actually GOOD!

Every so often, just for a shats and giggles, I head over the the Axamonitor blog site to see the latest “news” CARLOS PEDRAZA has to “report.”  It’s funny because, while some people like to see the AXANAR glass as half-full (if not more so), Carlos does his best to convince folks that the Axanar glass is 99% empty.  I noticed, in one of his latest updates, that Carlos included such catastrophic sub-headlines as…

  • Axanar Could ‘Take Years’
  • Failed California Studio
  • Indiegogo Failure
  • Hemorrhaging Money
  • Abandoning Nonprofit Plans
  • Bait and Switch?
  • No More Axanar

And that’s just ONE blog update, folks!!!

Sheesh, with “news” like that, it’s hard to imagine any reason to smile in the land of Axanar fandom.  So why am I and so many others still smiling?

Despite naming his blog site “Axamonitor,” Carlos seems to be very—what’s the word?—selective in what he actually “monitors” and chooses to include.  So if there are any positive things to say or good news or report about Axanar, you’re unlikely to find it there.

Fortunately, there’s other places on the Internet to get the rest of the story…including here.  And so that’s the subject of today’s blog: all the GOOD news that’s happening right now in the world of Axanar….

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A Tale of II Trailers!

To mark this 51st anniversary of Star Trek and the upcoming theatrical release of the Director’s Cut of STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN (in theaters September 10 and 13…get tickets here if you haven’t already), I’ve decided to feature a somewhat different kind of Trek fan film today.

Most fan films feature fan-written scripts with fan actors, fan-generated visual and sound effects, etc…some with small budgets and others with big budgets.  But as far as I’m concerned, fan films don’t stop there!

Sometimes fans can show their innovation and cleverness by taking existing Star Trek footage from the five decades of countless episodes and 13 feature films, editing and manipulating it in new and creative ways.

One of the best examples I’ve seen of this recently is a fan-edited version of the trailer for Star Trek II: The Wrath of KhanJONATHAN WORMAN is a talented video editor based in Toronto, Canada who has worked on commercials, music videos, shorts, and documentaries over the past eight years.  Last summer, he released a brilliant “modern” version of a trailer for this beloved fan favorite feature film.  Imagine if you had seen THIS trailer back in 1982…wouldn’t it have blown you away???


And as a fun comparison, here is the actual trailer that Paramount Studios released for the second Star Trek feature film…

Happy 51st anniversary, Star Trek!  And happy 35th anniversary, Wrath of Khhhaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnn!!!!

BATTLECRUISER KUPOK production crew releases its fourth fan film: “The Soul of Honor”!

A bright and happy Q’Plah to everyone in fan film land!  The BATTLECRUISER KUPOK production crew from POTEMKIN PICTURES has just released the fourth fan film to feature the warrior crew from that honorable warship (pronounced “kuh-POOK”).

This time, there’s a wedding happening, and you’re invited.  But don’t start drinking the bloodwine just yet.  This wedding has some surprises in store.

Potemkin Pictures has multiple production teams all producing fan films featuring the crews of different starships, and “Team Kupok” is the only one to focus on a Klingon crew.  You can watch all the various fan films that Potemkin Pictures has released over the past seven years on their website.

And now, you are cordially invited to view their latest offering, “The Soul of Honor”…

STAR TREK CONTINUES releases BLOOPERS for “What Ships Are For”!

It’s a bittersweet time for fans of STAR TREK CONTINUES.  After five years and what will soon be eleven episodes, the celebrated fan series is finally coming to an end this November.  That’s certainly the bitter part.  The sweet part is that we are being treated to four new episodes in a single year.  The first two, “Still Treads the Shadow” and “What Ships Are For” have already been released, and the final two-parter, “To Boldly Go” will debut publicly with Part 1 on October 18 and Part 2 on November 13.

What’s also sweet is that STC typically releases blooper reels for most of its episodes.  These short glimpses behind the scenes show how much fun the cast and crew had in creating these wonderful productions.

You can see all of their blooper/gag reels—along with all of their episodes and other special features—by clicking here.  Scroll down for the bloopers and features.

And here’s their most recent blooper reel release for “What Ships Are For”…