RENEGADES: THE SERIES just hosted a movie theater premiere in North Hollywood, California for their first full one-hour episode, “The Requiem.” But before there was Renegades: The Series, there was STAR TREK: RENEGADES, one of the largest, most ambitious fan film projects ever attempted.
Nearly four hundred thousand dollars in crowd-funding, multiple Star Trek veteran actors reprising their roles from the various TV series, paid industry professionals on both sides of the camera, two years in the making, enthusiastic plans to present this to CBS as a potential pilot for a new Star Trek TV series, and even a gala Los Angeles red carpet premiere at the historic Crest Theater in Westwood.
Looked at through the hindsight lens of the constraining limitations of the post-guidelines reality we now live in, it’s hard to imagine that something like STAR TREK: RENEGADES could even have been attempted, let alone successfully completed and released with such fanfare. How on earth (or in space) did they manage it?
Over a half million dollars. Multiple crowd-funding campaigns. Walter Koenig. Nichelle Nichols. Tim Russ. Elaborately constructed sets. Props. Art design. Lighting. Make-up. Broken air-conditioning in the studios. Countless aliens in hot rubber masks. A year in post-production. Amazing visual FX. Incredible music. And those damn guidelines from CBS and Paramount that forced Star Trek: Renegades to evolve into RENEGADES: THE SERIES.
And then last night, at 7:30 in the Laemlee Theater in North Hollywood, CA, the moment we’d all been waiting for. “The Requiem” was shown for the first time as a full-hour fan film on the big screen in front of an audience of hundreds of fans, actors, production crew, family, friends, and donors…and at least one blogger who crawled through L.A. rush hour traffic for 75 minutes to get there!
The inside of the theater looked like this…
Before the screening, actors posed for photos with fans who’d donated a little extra…
And then it was time to start the film. Things were running a little late, so producer SKY CONWAY’s opening introduction was simply, “Let’s start this thing!”
Last month, I presented an interview with uber-AXANAR fan TREY McELWAIN, who was planning to release a 4-page (including cover) Axanar comic book. The cover itself was already completed, and Trey told me that his artist (and personal friend) DANIEL FU was working feverishly on the artwork.
Apparently, “feverishly” was indeed the adverb to use, as it is less than a month later and the comic book is now finished! It debuted earlier today in various places on the Internet (it’s a free comic, after all), and I’ve been allowed to feature it here on Fan Film Factor, as well.
Trey greatly enjoyed the creative process, and he told me that he’d really like to produce more comic stories and adaptations of Axanar:
I am not sure what the future holds for “Trey’s AxaComics.” My hope, my dream, is to continue on, and get the Parts 1 and 2 out.
“Trial By Fire,” which I’ve just released, would actually be Part 3, with the Ares going up against the D6. Parts 1 and 2 are going to cover the Klingon Invasion, and the construction of the Ares.
And then when we all get to see Episodes 4 and 5 from Alec, I’d like to follow suit and continue on with the adaptation process! One thing is for sure though, this entire experience has been a blast, and I am thrilled to share it with everyone!
I’ve included lower-resolution images of the pages below. But if you’d like to see the artwork in beautiful higher resolution, feel free to download and view this Axanar Comic PDFfile.
How many people does it take to make a Star Trek fan film?
Think about the actors, writer(s), director, camera people, sound people, lighting people, costumers, make-up, props people, set designers and builders, special effects, visual FX, music composers, editor…and don’t forget all the production assistants and even the folks who bring the snacks, do the catering, or just run our for pizza.
For the “big” productions, like Star Trek Continues or Axanar, the number can be 50 or even 100 people! For some of the smaller productions, maybe one or two dozen.
But for a little fan film released in 2010, the answer was just…FOUR. Titled STAR TREK: SURVIVOR, the 10-minute production featured just four names in the credits, including one name who was the writer / director / producer / star / director of photography / camera operator / editor / music composer / special effects / miniatures / make-up / visual effects / and additional voices guy: MATTHEW BLACKBURN.
Considering the small size of the production team, the fan film itself was quite ambitious…with on-location shooting at multiple locations, a lot of physical acting, diverse and dynamic camera angles, and original music. And while a super-low budget necessitated the use of a few toys and collectibles in place of expensive animatronic monsters or familiar Star Trek actors, the story was darkly engaging, and the acting was surprisingly strong for an amateur production.
Seven years went by, and Star Trek: Survivor seemed content to hold its place in fan film history as a simple one-off project. I’d written a blog about it early on for my FAN FILM FRIDAY feature on the Axanar website, and I was planning on bringing it over here to FAN FILM FACTOR eventually. But before I could, Matthew Blackburn surprised me with a SEQUEL!!!
Back in August of 2015, STAR TREK: RENEGADES held a red-carpet premiere screening of its 90-minute feature film at the Crest Theater in Westwood in Los Angeles. It was a star-studded event with Star Trek celebrities galore, paparazzi, perks for sale, and even free popcorn (although tickets were a $20 donation for the fan film’s production costs).
Now on July 12th, 2017, RENEGADES: THE SERIES (now minus the “Star Trek“) will premiere in its entirety for the first time the full debut episode of its fan series: “The Requiem.” (Part 1 debuted online back in February, but only for donors. Two months later, Part 1 was made available for free to everyone.)
The big premiere will take place at 7:30 at the Leammle Theater (5240 Lankershim Blvd) in North Hollywood, CA. Many of the cast and crew will be there, including Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Tim Russ, Robert Beltran, Manu Intiraymi, Gary Graham, and Justin McQueede. After the screening of the full episode (Parts 1 & 2), there will be a question and answer session with the stars the creators.
Although they set out to raise an additional $80K for their final post production efforts in a recent crowd-funding campaign (here’s a link to that), they only got as far as $30K. So to help raise additional money, for a little extra, fans attending the event can get special VIP seating with the stars along with appearing in autographed photos with certain cast members.Here’s a breakdown on prices for each photo option:
If you’re looking for Klingons in a Star Trek fan film, you can certainly find them…but it’ll take some work! And usually the Klingons are just there to be the bad guys (at least in TOS and movie-era Trek fan productions).
But there is one production which guarantees a Klingon in every episode…and they’re not there just to be the bad guys. Well, yeah, they are the bad guys, but not to their way of thinking!
BATTLECRUISER KUPOK (pronounced “kuh-POOK”) debuted in September of 2015 as the eighth episode (“The Battle Of Alawanir“) of the third season of the long-running fan series PROJECT: POTEMKIN. It was a unique episode, self-contained and presented with its own opening monologue:
Space…it is ours for the taking. These are the missions of the Imperial Klingon Cruiser Kupok. Its never-ending quest: to seize unclaimed worlds, to seek new cultures and species to serve us, and to further expand the Klingon Empire!
The idea was to create a fan series completely from the point of view of the Klingons, to show them in their “natural element” without any influence from or even interaction with Starfleet.
Their low-budget fan series was later given an independent run of its own the following March with the release of their second episode, “Sanctuary.” A few months later, the fan film guidelines were released, and all of the Potemkin Pictures projects were forced to drop their series titles (like Starship Deimos, Starship Tristan, and of course, Battlecruiser Kupok) and instead treat every subsequent release as a new fan film with a completely new title.
Since then, the Deimos and Tristan production teams have released a combined total of nine new fan films (plus two that completed the run of Project: Potemkin), but nothing from the Kupok team…until now!
Based in Pelham, Alabama, Kupok‘s latest episode “A Gathering Storm” was written and directed by Potemkin show-runner RANDY LANDERS. It asks the question: what happens when the Klingons try to conquer a planet full of Renaissance Faire attendees? No, I’m just kidding! Well, I’m KINDA kidding.
Last time, I introduced everyone to TREY McELWAIN, a super-fan of AXANAR who is going where no Axanerd has gone before (yet) and releasing a short comic book based on the fan film Prelude to Axanar.
Based in Austin, TX, Trey works in the veterinary field and also runs the Axanar Fanpage on Facebook (different from the Axanar Fan Group). But his latest project takes his passion one step farther.
Trey told ALEC PETERS about his desire to create a 3-page comic book adaption of a portion of Prelude to Axanar, and Alec thought it would be a great idea. There was no official “permission” given, nor is there any direct oversight of Trey by Alec. This is simply a fan producing his own independent Axanar project to share with others (for free, of course).
As I mentioned in Part 1, this is not the first time a fan film has been adapted into comic/written form. In 2002, the fan film Starship Exeter was featured in an 18-page comic. Seven years later in 2009, Starship Farragut also got its own comic that was 48 pages long! Both comics were produced by Kail Tescar on his StarTrekAnimated.com website. And more recentkly, there has been a series of fan film novelettes released based on the fan production Star Trek: Phase II.
Our interview with Trey concludes this week, beginning with a very important question (especially considering that this is an Axanar-related project)…
Ladies and gentlemen, CHRISTOPHER ALLEN Is back!!!
And now you’re wondering: “Who the heck is Christopher Allen…and what exactly is he back from???”
In 2006, Christopher Allen wrote and directed what was—and still remains—one of the most audacious and ambitious fan film genre crossovers ever: STAR TREK VS. BATMAN. This nearly hour-long production used amazingly accurate costume reproductions from the 1960s Batman TV series, built their own simplified versions of the Enterprise bridge and transporter sets, and even rented an actual batmobile replica for a day of shooting around the Indianapolis area. You can read more about it here.
Well, that was then. And although Chris produced some other independent films after 2006, Star Trek vs. Batman was the last the Trek fan production world heard from him.
Until last week. That’s when someone sent me a link to this…
Could it be? Are we on the cusp of yet another fan film parody out of Indianapolis??? It seemed so!
I checked around, and it turns out Chris Allen has launched a GoFundMe campaign with a goal of $13,400. And not only is he planning to film in the Indiana State Capitol building (’cause, y’know, he lives in Indianapolis) but also on the TOS sets at STARBASE STUDIOS…one of the first Trek fan films to announcing booking the facility since they relocated from Oklahoma City to Harrison, Arkansas.
An ill-tempered, but gentle alien has summoned five of the most renowned federation captains from across space and time to the planet of Delta Fawcett Four. There, Captain Kirk and the Enterprise crew face off against Professor Xavier’s Enterprise D, Voyager, that weird looking spiky thing from DS9, and the “guy from Quantum Leap” Enterprise in a forgettable, but timeless tournament that will leave your sides half-split with laughter.
SPECIAL GUEST STAR ASHLEY ALEXISS is taken hostage by an evil alien that has been knocking around the galaxy. Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock beam down to rescue Kirk’s beautiful space vixen, only to be taken hostage by Captain Pike in a pimped out wheelchair.
Well, that sounded intriguing!
So I contacted Chris, introduced myself (turns out he already knew me from that blog I wrote about his first Trek fan film), and asked if he’d mind answering a few questions. He was delighted to…
On May 19, a mysterious Facebook post went up on the Axanar Fanpage (not to be confused with the Axanar Fan GROUP on Facebook) announcing the first-ever AXANAR COMIC BOOK titled “The Final Plan.” I say “mysterious” because the post was made by “Captain Magnus” with no other identification. The announcement said:
Alec Peters loved my idea that, in order to help honor and preserve the great legacy that which is Axanar, we are going to present something very special to you wonderful guys and gals, and hopefully to all trekkies and trekkers everywhere! The Axanar Fanpage is going to be doing a mini-series graphic novel/comic (nothing too big mind you, about 3 full length colored pages long–like I said “mini”), expanding upon if you will but still being directly tied into the story of Axanar (more closely to Prelude to Axanar). This will be one way to pay a special tribute to the Fans/Donors, the entire Axanar Production Team (and all else involved whether directly or indirectly), and of course to Alec Peters. (Hopefully several more installments of the graphic novel to follow). As soon as it is ready to launch we will post it right here for everyone to enjoy!
Believe it or not, this is not the first time a Star Trek fan film has been adapted into a comic book or graphic novel. Way back in 2002, the fan film Starship Exeter was featured in an 18-page comic. Seven years later in 2009, Starship Farragut also got its own comic, this one a whopping 48 pages! Both comics were produced by Kail Tescar on his StarTrekAnimated.com website. And of course, there’s the more recent fan film novelettes based on the fan series Star Trek: Phase II.
Many fans wondered who this pseudonymous fan creator was and why he was using a pen name. So I tracked down the mysterious “Captain Magnus” and it turned out to be none other than Axanar mega-fan TREY McELWAIN, who created that same Axanar Fanpage on Facebook in the first place!
So mystery solved, but I still had a whole bunch more questions…
It’s a bittersweet time for followers of the groundbreaking fan series STAR TREK CONTINUES. The “sweet” part is that we will be served with FOUR new full-length episodes from this production team in the matter of just SEVEN months! We’ve already seen the first of these four episodes, the ambitious and poetic “Still Treads the Shadow,” released at the beginning of April.
The “bitter” lies in the fact that this is it for STC…the end of this amazing fan series. Although they were originally planning to make 13 episodes—and instead they will now only be doing 11—the fact is that they always intended for the series to have a completion point. Some fans have been asking them to continue (no pun intended) and not shut down, but the end story has been written and filmed and soon will be released. The Georgia studio sits quiet and unused (or so I’ve been told).
Show-runner VIC MIGNOGNA himself said in interviews that, at his current age (he turns 55 in August), he wouldn’t be able to play a 35-year-old Jim Kirk for much longer. So yes, folks, this is the inevitable end of the line for STC…with a return of the U.S.S. Enterprise from its historic 5-year mission.
And here’s the schedule for release dates. The episodes will premiere at three different cons during three weekends and then be posted online a day or so later:
Episode IX, “What Ships are For” will premiere at Florida Supercon in Ft. Lauderdale the weekend of July 27-30.
Episode X, “To Boldly Go (Part One)” will premiere at Salt Lake City Comic Con the weekend of September 21-23.
Episode XI, “To Boldly Go (Part Two)” will premiere at New York City Comicon the weekend of October 5-8.
So the gap between episodes VIII and XI will end up being about three and a half months. Then the gap between XI and X will be less than two months. And finally, fans won’t have to wait more than two weeks for the second half of the final two-parter. That’s quite a feast!
Although few details of the series finale have been released, we do know that the ninth episode, “What Ships are For,” was written by Kipleigh Brown, who plays Lt. Smith on the fan series. There will also be at least three professional actor guest stars in that episode: Elizabeth Maxwell, Lex Lang, and Sandy Fox.