During this past Sunday’s 10th episode of STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, there was a short 1-minute montage of the Discovery crew, trapped in the Mirror Universe, preparing to impersonate their Terran Empire counterparts. The original sequence in the episode includes a captain’s log, some other dialog, and ominous military music. One of the members of the Fan Film Forum Facebook group, Agarwaen Cran, decided to spice up the sequence by replacing the audio with the Training Montage music (by Vince DiCola) from 1985’s Rocky IV. Personally, I think it works much better now…
Mark gained notoriety as the creator of the hilarious STALLED TREK series of 3D-animated Trek parodies using puppet/muppet versions of our favorite characters. The first Stalled Trek was the 15-minute episode “Amutt Time” and the other was the award-winning “Prelude to Ax’d-We Are” (which I worked on, as well). But before there was Stalled Trek, there was a comic book!
Well, actually, the comic book existed both before AND after Stalled Trek. Let me explain that statement. Back in late 1991, Mark Largent and his friend Mark McCrary both wanted to break into the comic book industry, Largent as a writer and McCary as an artist.
TNG had just aired the 2-part episode “Unification,” which featured the elder Spock trying to bring the Romulans and Vulcans back together. A month later, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country came out and looked to be the final appearance of the original TOS crew. No one imagined that the seventh Trek feature would bring back Kirk (and the kill him off) or that Scotty would appear in a TNG episode called “Relics” a year later.
Fans might not remember that, back then, the TNG episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise” was the only hint anyone had of what happened in between the two series. So after seeing “Unification” and then Trek VI, the two Marks decided to create a story that would fill in the missing 78-year gap of time between Trek VI and the beginning of TNG…leading up to Spock’s decision to go to Romulus and showing the final fate of James T. Kirk. (Remember, this was years before Generations.)
Largent wrote the script, and McCary pencilled some 60-odd pages. They created Starfleet uniforms that seemed to be a reasonable guess of what was halfway between the “monster maroons” of TOS and the jumpsuits of TNG, and the story featured most of the main TOS characters. They photocopied the pencilled pages and mailed them to DC Comics, which was publishing Star Trek comic books at the time. But they never heard back.
Then came the TNG episode “Relics,” and it completely screwed up their story since they had featured Scotty along with Kirk, Spock, and Bones. Now only an “imaginary” story at best, the comic book project was abandoned—until something happened nearly a quarter century later…
This past Monday evening, STAR TREK CONTINUES show-runner VIC MIGNOGNA posted a very special video onto the STC Facebook page. Principal photography was completed last February on the final STC episode, “To Boldly Go.” Shortly thereafter, Vic walked the corridors of the amazing TOS sets on a rainy day in Kingsland, GA, filming himself using a selfie stick as he discussed his feelings about wrapping up the series after nearly six years.
In the background, you can see how the sets are laid out in the warehouse, what some of the Enterprise “walls” look like from the other side, and how close everything was from the edges of the soundstage itself. They certainly filled that space.
The video shows a quiet and thoughtful moment for Vic, similar to one I experienced several years ago during my final visit to the Star Trek: TNG sets on display at the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. For several years, I and friends from a local Trek fan club used to give docent tours in uniform once a month before the museum closed its doors forever. While I can’t completely equate that experience to Vic’s in terms of time commitment and dedication, I still understand a little of how he felt when he made this video.
Everyone else was gone (or so it appears on Vic’s video), and it was a final chance to take in everything this project had meant to him personally for those many years. Like Vic, I also did my final “set walk” alone. I stayed there for about 45 minutes in silence (the museum was now closed to the public and we’d been helping get props organized and stowed—I was the last one there). I sat in Picard’s chair, walked around Worf’s station, stood in the transporter, and took one last look at all the humorous details Mike Okuda had hidden in Geordi’s engineering cutaway of the Enterprise-D: Nomad, an airplane, the rubber duck. And for no reason whatsoever, I gave one final tour…to no one. I went through every part of the docent speech my friends and I used to give for the tourists, as I’d long ago memorized every line. It was just a special moment with the sets…one last time.
And while Vic obviously still has access to his sets, I can imagine how deeply introspective he must have felt when he made this video—and I’m glad he decided to share it with us…
Did I mention there will be spoilers? Oh, there WILL be spoilers!
Well, “hate” is a strong word. So instead, I’m just gonna go with “totally pissed me off!”
So what was the straw that stuck in my craw?
Was it the underwhelming “surprise” that Ash Tyler is really the Klingon Voq and that there never was any “rape”? Nah. I knew he was Voq all along. Being predictable doesn’t piss me off.
Was it that Ash/Voq killed Dr. Culber…arguably the only character on the ship I was starting to actually like? No. That stung, but as I said in a previous blog, I’m not really emotionally invested in any of the characters. So I got over Culber pretty quickly.
Was it that I still have to wait to say “I told you so!” when we finally learn that Captain Lorca was/is originally from the Mirror Universe? Not really. I can wait another week or two for that “surprise” reveal.
Was it the cringe-worthy scene of Tilly’s first attempt at being “Captain Killy”? No. I pretty much expected something like that to happen—the inevitable “fish out of water” scene to establish that our civilized folks are gonna find it tough to pretend to be barbarians. And it wasn’t too bad. It was even kinda fun and cutesy.
Was it the Mirror Universe uniforms that somehow managed to be even more outrageous than the Starfleet uniforms? No, I pretty much ignored the glitzy half-vests…right after singing Let’s Do The Time Warp Again when I first saw the Discovery crew wearing them. Actually, I was more horrified to discover that the Elvis-like Starfleet uniforms on this show include golden soles on the boots! Who designed their footwear…Usain Bolt???
Was it the lack of banter? No. This episode actually had some decent banter for a change. (When I see/hear banter in an episode, my friends, I freely admit it.)
So why did this episode piss me off so much…and why did it only piss me off at the end?
Just before the start of the new year, the anthology series THE FEDERATION FILES released its third full episode: “Extraction.” Produced by GLEN L. WOLFE and DAN REYNOLDS, this episode was written by Glen and features Dan as the captain of the USS Nikita, a dreadnought-class starship. Glen also appears briefly as a shuttlecraft pilot.
But the cast is much more extensive than that. The 12-minute fan film features Romulans, a Starfleet bridge crew, shuttlecraft pilots, and a team of TOS-era MACOs. The episode also features a Starfleet shuttlecraft interior set that took about four weeks to build. The control console, front view ports, and one panel on the the left side were supplied by JAMES CAWLEY and were used previously for one of the episodes of Star Trek: New Voyages, “The Holiest Thing.” Glen and Dan built out the rest or the interior, including the iconic lightbox ceiling, and the electronics were custom made by Glen. The shuttle interior remains standing at Dan’s WARP TV studio in Harrison, Arkansas, available to use in future fan films.
The rest of the episode was filmed both at STARBASE STUDIOS (mostly before the recent controversy) and by a second unit in a rock quarry close to the Harrison studio during a few hours while Romulan make-up was being applied to JIM VON DOLTEREN and ALLYSON MARX back at the studio. In total, about four days were spent filming all the scenes, mainly during July of last year.
Dan reports that he and Glen will soon be choosing one of the remaining ten scripts that Glen has already written to film as their fourth production in The Federation Files anthology series. Now that Glen has moved to Arkansas, Dan expects them to have a lot more time to brainstorm, write, create, and produce new Star Trek. .
How quickly the next episode gets started and produced depends on the resolution of the current lawsuit regarding the Starbase Studios sets. From what I understand, there is some hopeful progress happening in that situation. I’ll report more as soon as I’m cleared to.
In the meantime, enjoy “Extraction”…
A few days ago, I posted a blog looking back at the MANY fan film news stories I covered on Fan Film Factor over the past year—nearly 75, believe it or not! (Not bad for a sub-genre that some predicted would be all but extinct by now.)
But what were the fan film news stories from 2017 that had the greatest impact on the world of Star Trek fan films? Well, guess who just made a Top 10 list of that very thing!
I’m sure some folks won’t agree with all of my selections. Heck, some of the stories I chose aren’t even directly Star Trek-related. But hey, everyone’s got opinions, right? And if you think a different fan film story should have made it onto the list, feel free to tell me in the comments. (That’s a sneaky way of turning a “Top 10” list into a “Top 10 Plus” list!)
And so, without further ado, here’s the biggest fan film stories of 2017…
“Why are you even bothering with this blog?” one anonymous poster wrote to me a little over a year ago. “Star Trek fan films will all be gone soon, even your precious Axanar, and you’ll have nothing left to write about!”
Well, I’m still here…and so are Star Trek fan films! (And I really hope that anonymous person is reading today’s blog because he wasn’t just wrong; he was VERY wrong!)
2017 was a BIG year for Star Trek fan films…possibly one of THE biggest! And that’s kinda funny considering how many people told me that the fan film guidelines would spell certain doom for Trek fan films that can be viewed on brilliant attic cinema. Even I thought that at first!
I will admit that, one year ago, things did seem kinda bleak in fan film land. The Axanar lawsuit was less than a month from trial. The Axanerds and Axa-detractors were going at it like Hatfields and Dr. McCoys. The guidelines had been in existence for half a year, and already the long-ruinning Star Trek: New Voyages had halted production, the also-long-running Star Trek: Dark Armada had released its final episode at the end of 2016, Star Trek: Renegades had become Renegades: The Series-that-n0-longer-had-anything-to-do-with-Star-Trek-beyond-all-the-acrtors, and Star Trek Continues had announced their intention to produce only four (as opposed to six) final episodes to complete their fan series. Even fan films need help with their film production payroll and management software to help keep their shoots organized and running on time.
But I believed in fan films and the people who make them. I had faith that the genre would continue despite the guidelines—perhaps even because of them (since they now gave Trekkers official permission from the studios to create their own productions…albeit within some overly-strict limits).
And Trek fan films certainly didn’t die! In fact, they kept me pretty darn busy with news, features, and interviews all year long. Anyone who believed Trek fan films were on their deathbed at the end of 2016 should join us on this trip down Memory…er…Lane (!) as I take a look back at what fan film news made my blog’s headlines over the past 12 months.
This special post will list the biggest Fan Film Factor news articles for 2017, in order by month, with links to each one of those blog entries if you want to dive in deeper.
And be sure to scroll down to the bottom for a few final words from me about what’s coming in 2018…!
It’s no secret that the creator of The Orville, SETH MacFARLANE, is a major Trekkie. He’s said as much in interviews. But few fans realized that Seth’s preoccupation with our favorite sci-fi franchise went BEYOND simply watching it or collecting stuff or even doing Captain Kirk impressions. Yep, Seth MacFarlane actually made his own Star Trek fan film!
And no, I’m not talking about The Orville (although many have argued that he’s made a kind of Star Trek “fan film” in creating that show). I’m talking about an honest-to-goodness amateur Star Trek fan film…where a teenaged Seth sits in the center seat on a home-made bridge set, wearing a do-it-yourself command tunic, barking orders at a friend wearing pointed ears while an AMT model of the refit USS Enterprise—complete with a drooping left nacelle—speeds across a blue screen chroma-keyed with a cheesy black hole space effect.
Here, take a look…
But believe it or not, Seth MacFarlane would go on to have many MORE opportunities to publicly geek out as a Trekkie…from playing James T. Kirk on real TV to hiring Patrick Stewart and even appearing on two actual Star Trek episodes!
Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas, everyone! And Happy New Year, too! Thank you all for being a part of this wonderful blog. And in celebration of this joyous holiday, I present this very well-edited Star Trek mash-up with the popular song “All I Want for Christmas Is You”…
Some Trek fans like having DVDs of their favorite fan films, and some productions have obliged. However, with the guidelines now forbidding the sale or distribution of fan films on DVDs or Blu-rays, most fan producers are opting not to release their episodes on disc except in the rare circumstance where they are given directly only to people who worked on their productions.
However, Star Trek Continues hasn’t exactly been following all of those guidelines. So the question of whether they will continue that philosophy and release DVDs anyway is certainly a fair one to ask.
And now STC has answered. In an e-mail sent out Saturday, executive producer VIC MIGNOGNA said the following:
Thousands of you have been asking for years if our series would ever be available on DVD & Blu-ray. Because there is significant cost in having discs and artwork pressed & packaged, it’s not feasible for us to make physical discs since we cannot sell them. That’s the bad news….
Now for the good news. From the cast & crew of STC, our Christmas present to all of you is this: ISO image files (files in the .iso format) of all four volumes (and all 11 episodes) of our series are now available for free download on our website at so you can burn your own DVDs & Blu-ray discs:
You can also download the artwork inserts & disc art for all four volumes for free as well!
But that’s not all! We have made available the full-sized 24”x36” posters of all 11 episodes for free, including a custom STC poster I created which is displayed in this newsletter. [See the image at the top of this blog -Jonathan] All of our final shooting scripts can be downloaded as well.
But that’s not all! Many of you have asked about the original music that has been composed & produced for STC. We are releasing all of that music for free download, as well as the artwork and disc art for “The Music Of Star Trek Continues.”
So let’s recap:
- DVD & Blu-ray disc .iso files for all four volumes (all 11 episodes) of STAR TREK CONTINUES
- Artwork inserts and disc art for all four volumes
- The official posters from all 11 episodes, full-sized and ready to print
- “The Music Of Star Trek Continues” CD file download
- Artwork for the music CD case insert and disc
- All 11 STC shooting scripts in .pdf format
All for free!
Merry Christmas from STC!