Actually, I think the AXANAR detractors have been pretty ridiculous for quite some time now. In fact, one Axanar supporter told me recently, “Y’know, if Alec Peters goes to take a leak in a restaurant, someone from one of the hater groups is gonna follow him in to see if there’s any piss left on the toilet seat. Then Carlos Pedraza will write a blog about how Alec has no respect for janitors!”
What a great image to begin a blog with, huh? Well, it seems that the Axanar detractors are stooping nearly that low (if they haven’t already surpassed it) in their latest efforts to try to embarrass and sabotage their favorite target of ridicule, Alec Peters.
While I usually ignore the day-to-day antics of the Axanar detractors, every so often something pops up that just leaves me scratching my head. And let me tell ya, my scalp was itching like crazy when I saw a recent Facebook IM conversation that recently went on between Axamonitor blogger Carlos Pedraza and the assistant of Tony Cade.
But before I show it to you, there’s a quick bit of background you need to know first…like who the heck is Tony Cade???
Last October, it was announced that Marvel Comics writer PAUL JENKINS would be joining ALEC PETERS as co-writer of the 2-part Axanar fan film allowed by the settlement with CBS and Paramount. I interviewed Paul shortly thereafter, and you’re welcome to read what he had to say here.
But then Axanar went pretty quiet over the holiday season and through the entire month of January. But last week, Alec posted a flurry of updates, and suddenly I’ve got LOTS to report on!
If you regularly visit the AxanarProductions.com website, chances are you already know most of what I’m about to tell you. In fact, I’ll be taking a lot of the updates verbatim from there. But since not all my readers go there, I’ll be providing all of the updates here in one convenient blog post.
Some call them “haters.” I call them “detractors.” Any way you slice it, though, they are the Captain Ahabs and Khans of the fan film community. They will chase ALEC PETERS ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round perdition’s flames before they ever let go of their anger and resentment for him and his fan project AXANAR.
And their wrath and indignation aren’t simply reserved for Alec himself but also for anyone who supports him and his production, anyone who stands up to defend him, and in fact anyone who has any connection to him and Axanar whatsoever…real or perceived.
Sometimes, the detractors just insult people, call them names, and/or create a few snarky memes. Sometimes it’s angry tweets and posts on Facebook. But occasionally it goes beyond that to attempts to sabotage people in social media through reports to Facebook and the like, online threats, or even interfering with people’s livelihoods. Such a thing happened the week before last…and I wouldn’t have even known about it had not a member of Carlos Pedraza’ AXAMONITOR Facebook group contacted me privately to share his newfound concerns and disgust for the group.
I personally stopped visiting the Axamonitor Facebook group (and any other lingering detractor echo-chambers) many, many months ago. It was a waste of my time, as the petty nastiness and cruel vulgarity in those groups was frankly nauseating. And it wasn’t just the insults against Alec (or me). These guys often turned venomously on each other, and the moderators had to frequently warn members to be respectful of other members (just not respectful of any Axanar supporters).
So when JOES DIAZ sent me an IM request on Facebook on Superbowl Sunday morning, I had no idea who he was or what had happened in the Axamonitor group. When I found out, I was pretty disgusted myself…although not entirely surprised.
As we messaged back and forth, I asked Joe if he felt strongly enough about this incident, and about his fellow detractors, that he might want to do an interview to share his story. He said yes, and the next day, we had the following very eye-opening discussion…
I can imagine how the detractors will react to this interview. But maybe, just maybe, a few of them might hear Joe’s words and begin to realize that hating on Axanar and Alec Peters won’t solve anything…and perhaps it’s finally time to just settle down and move on.
On Saturday, GABE KOERNER, a well-known detractor of Axanar and ALEC PETERS, sent me the following e-mail out of the blue:
I’ve given up on the Idea that the guy is some kind of willful criminal. He isn’t. He’s just a mix of Massively Egotistical and Massively Incompetent which can LOOK “criminal” but it really isn’t.
Yeah, it’s obvious that Gabe isn’t ready to finally stop trying to disparage Alec (frankly, I doubt that Gabe will ever be able to completely let this go). But this was a HUGE revelation and step forward for someone who, like many detractors, had been calling Alec all kinds of synonyms for crook, thief, criminal, liar, embezzler…the list goes on and on!
At the heart of the most extreme detractor arguments has been a contention that Alec had willfully taken money from Axanar donors to fund a lavish lifestyle of things like jet-setting around the world, eating sushi, paying for health insurance, and buying new tires for his car. I’ve seen the full Axanar financials—endless pages of spreadsheets!—and I’ve tried to explain about a million times here and elsewhere how this wasn’t the case at all. It was like trying to reason with jello!
And even if you’re one of those people who thinks the Axanar books were somehow cooked, the fact remains that the goal of embezzling is to come out with MORE money, NOT less. And yet, Alec Peters has put in close to a quarter of a million dollars of HIS OWN money (generated from the sale of screen-used props from his extensive collection) to fund this project. Of course, you can argue whether or not a studio should have been leased/built or simply rented, But even Alec himself now agrees that he should have filmed Axanar on James Cawley’s TOS sets in upstate New York as originally envisioned. So that’s not the point today.
Now personally, I have no idea if any other of the detractors on their various public and secret Facebook groups are now in agreement with what Gabe has just acknowledged…and frankly, I don’t feel like checking those crass and vitriolic places to confirm. And I don’t really have to.
The story today is simple. I received an e-mail on Saturday, unsolicited, from someone who is a good friend of, and has been conversing with, former Axanar director ROBERT MEYER BURNETT. And in this e-mail, Gabe Koerner finally gives up on a long-standing claim that he has clung to that Alec Peters is some kind of willful criminal. That’s a BIG step forward.
And if Gabe can finally move past such a deeply-held belief—despite the other digs that he still feels he must make—then maybe there is some hope for other Axanar detractors out there. Maybe…
Last time, we began a fascinating discussion with PAUL JENKINS, who will be the new co-writer of Axanar. Although ALEC PETERS has already written complete drafts of the two 15-minute short fan films allowed thorough his legal settlement with CBS and Paramount, and at least ten major iterations of the full 90-minute script exist, Alec has asked Paul to come on board to help polish and finalize all three long and short scripts.
Paul himself is a very impressive writer and film producer in his own right. He is credited as one of the main reasons that Marvel Comics escaped Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the 1990s when he helped to create the “Marvel Knights” series of titles. He has written a wide range of both Marvel and DC comics characters, winning an Eisner Award and five Wizard Fan Awards. His work on Wolverine: Origin was even turned into a blockbuster feature film.
Paul has written and creative directed numerous titles for the video gaming industry, and he’s worked on projects with many of the major motion picture studios. Paul currently lives in Georgia and chairs an advisory committee to educate the Georgia General Assembly on the evolution of digital and interactive technologies. He’s also been tasked by Georgia’s governor to help cultivate and nurture the growing film development industry in the state.
And now Paul will be lending his impressive talents to Axanar.
In the first part of our interview, we learned how Paul first got involved in the project, and how the announcement of his involvement almost immediately caught the attention of Axanar detractors who contacted him with very negative and angry messages. (Seriously, guys?)
But Paul is taking it all in stride. Having been a prolific comic book writer for more than two decades, this isn’t Paul’s first rodeo. As far as he is concerned, the lawsuit has been settled, and now the job ahead is to make the next two Axanar episodes as good as they can be.
AXANAR has a new co-writer! Ladies and gentlemen, meet PAUL JENKINS. As you can see from his IMDb page, this bloke (he’s British) has done a LOT of stuff in television, film, and video games. He’s also one of the writers credited with helping to rescue Marvel Comics from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the late 1990s with the introduction of the “Marvel Knights” series of titles. Since then, Paul has written everything from Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk to the ground-breaking Wolverine: Origin (which served as the basis for the feature film with Hugh Jackman).
And now, Paul will be helping ALEC PETERS complete the scripts for the Axanar fan films.
The script for Axanar has trekked a long road. Alec first began working on the story back in 2011. And Alec welcomed input from folks like John Muenchrath (who played Dr. McCoy on Star Trek: New Voyages under the stage name “John Kelley”), Star Trek novelist Dave Galanter (see Dave Galanter’s post below in the comments section), Prelude to Axanar director Christian Gossett, and of course, “Trouble with Tribbles” episode writer David Gerrold. During 2015, then-Axanar director ROBERT MEYER BURNETT brought on BILL HUNT to take yet another pass at tweaking the script. By the time Axanar was ready to shoot in early 2016, the 90-minute script was already on version 7.
During the lawsuit, Bill Hunt and Alec worked on additional revisions of the script. I read one of their iterations, and it was up to version 9.
Finally, after the lawsuit settled, Alec was permitted to make Axanar not as a 90-minute feature film but rather as two 15-minute short fan films. There would still be a full 90-minute script distributed to donors, but two 15-minute scripts would now need to be written, based on the longer version.
Alec decided to write the new 15-minute scripts as “Part IV” and “Part V” of The Four Years War mock documentary, with Prelude to Axanar having been “Part III.” The first drafts of both of those scripts were completed by Alec this past summer, with a number of people (including me) reviewing them an providing feedback. Then, on October 6, Alec announced that Paul Jenkins would be joining the Axanar team as co-writer.
So what was a major comic book and Hollywood writer was doing coming to work on a Star Trek fan film???
Almost from the very beginning, ROBERT MEYER BURNETT, who directed and co-wrote the film Free Enterprise with William Shatner and Eric McCormack, has been almost as synonymous with the AXANAR project as Alec Peters himself. He edited Prelude to Axanar and is credited by many as being a major reason that this mockumentary-style fan film came out as well as it did.
For the past three years, Rob has been listed as the director of the upcoming Axanar fan film, originally intended as a 90-minute feature film. In fact, Rob directed the impressive 3-minute “Vulcan scene” vignette, planned to be a part of that final feature. After a legal settlement with CBS and Paramount, the Axanar production has now been shortened to two 15-minute mockumentary-style sequels to Prelude.
Rob has been one of the staunchest supporters and cheerleaders for the project (probably even more than me!) and has been involved in pre-production efforts, podcasts, convention appearances, and social media outreach for Axanar over the past two and a half years. But with the move of Alec Peters and the Axanar sets across the country from Los Angeles to Atlanta, GA, the logistics of a bi-coastal collaboration became more of a challenge.
Yesterday, Rob announced that he was moving on from the production…
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
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….
This is what I get for going to Colorado instead of Las Vegas! I wind up taking an antique train ride through the Rocky Mountains to visit an old silver mine with my son and my brother and his family…while at the same time, JAMES CAWLEY makes a HUGE announcement about fan films and CBS licensing!
It’s amazing the kind of cell coverage you get on a train in the middle of mountain wilderness, but it seemed like everyone was coming to me for answers about Saturday morning’s big news from the creator of STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES and the officially licensed Star Trek Set Tour in the small and lovely town of Ticonderoga, New York.
Of course, I had no answers. Yes, I knew the announcement was coming a few days earlier and that it involved James Cawley and his sets—but I didn’t know the details. My news Saturday came from Carlos Pedraza’s Axamonitor blog site and TrekMovie.com. And for those that haven’t heard yet, here’s the basic info…
After yesterday’s blog about the troubling behavior of TERRY McINTOSH, I’d really hoped to get back to fan films today. Yeah, I thought I was out, but Terry pulled me back in. However, this WILL be my last Terry McIntosh blog for the foreseeable future. I don’t want to keep giving him all this attention, even if it is completely negative. But I felt it was necessary to follow-up on yesterday’s blog because of something that happened later on last evening.
Quick recap: Terry McIntosh, who worked with Axanar Productions for years before flying off in a huff has all the footage from Prelude to Axanar…including outtakes. Even though Terry signed a non-disclosure agreement agreeing to keep all Axanar-related materials confidential, he already leaked an early version of the full Axanar script, and now he’s announced plans to release a Prelude to Axanar blooper reel…even though he doesn’t own the footage or have permission to do so.
Terry’s stated intention is to use the blooper reel to embarrass Alec Peters, who apparently worked through numerous bad takes to get his performance as Garth to a point where it would be strong enough to feature in the fan film alongside the professional actors (who obviously didn’t flub their lines as much as Alec did…since he’s not a trained actor).
Terry contacted the other actors (with the exception of the late Richard Hatch and his estate) to ask “permission” to use their blooper footage (failing to mention that he was no longer with Axanar Productions and was doing this “rogue” in an attempt to embarrass Alec Peters). Although Kate Vernon said okay, Gary Graham and J.G. Hertzler said no.
Then Terry said this:
In other words, Terry asked for permission, was not given that permission, and is now considering ignoring this actor’s wishes and using the footage anyway.
What I wrote in yesterday’s blog was NOT pretty. But at least, I thought, this can’t get any worse. There’s no way for Terry to possibly sink any lower.