J.G. HERTZLER suspends his campaign for Congress and talks about AXANAR! (audio interview)

In June of 2017, when I saw the headline that a former Star Trek actor was planning to run for the U.S. Congress, I wasn’t at all surprised to find out that it was J.G. HERTZER.

Even though his character of General Martok from Deep Space Nine (who eventually became Chancellor Martok, leader of the Klingon Empire) loathed politics, J.G. always seemed drawn to it.  The few times I’d seen and spoken with him at conventions, J.G. would invariably share his strongly-held progressive views on political issues and politicians in general.

So it kinda made sense that J.G. would combine his two passions—theater and politics—into his campaign to represent the 23rd Congressional District of New York State.  That said, I still scratched my head a little at J.G.’s choice to run simultaneously as himself and also as his “spokesman” Mark Twain (pen name of noted American author Samuel Clemens).  Clemens spent a portion of his adult life living and writing in J.G.’s upstate New York district, and the author’s humorous and straight-spoken approach to life seemed a perfect way to comment on the state of our union and the challenges facing it.

JG HERTZLER as 19th Century author Mark Twain

Unfortunately for the fan film AXANAR, however, J.G.’s choice to campaign as Mark Twain included a decision to also look the part, which meant letting his hair grow long and wavy (like the author).  This precluded J.G. from filming any scenes of the upcoming Axanar fan film sequels until after the U.S. midterm elections in November, as his character of Admiral Sam Travis had a distinctively short military-style haircut.

So naturally, as an Axanar supporter myself, I took notice when I learned last week that J.G. Hertzler was SUSPENDING his Congressional campaign!  Did this mean he was now free to cut his hair and do Axanar sooner?  Was he even going to do Axanar at all?  (He hadn’t been officially confirmed yet.)  And why would J.G. suddenly suspend his campaign less than three months before the midterm elections?

Continue reading “J.G. HERTZLER suspends his campaign for Congress and talks about AXANAR! (audio interview)”

AXACON adds more guests – TICKETS now available!

Things are beginning to get very exciting when it comes to AXACON, the “con-within-a-con” that is happening during the first weekend of November in Atlanta, GA.

In the last few weeks, some major new guests were added, and last week, tickets finally went on sale.  The guest list now includes GARY GRAHAM (who plays Ambassador Soval in AXANAR) and J.G. HERTZLER (who plays the surly Admiral Sam Travis in AXANAR)—both of whom are veteran television Star Trek actors—along with tribbles creator DAVID GERROLD.

Other announced guests include director/co-writer of the upcoming Axanar sequel fan films PAUL JENKINS, editor/sound designer MARK EDWARD LEWIS, art directors LESS QUESSENBERRY and ALEXANDER RICHARDSON, STEVEN JEPSON (Admiral Slater from Prelude to Axanar), and of course, writer/executive producer/Garth of Izar himself ALEC PETERS.  There’s also a growing number of notables from the fan film community including Stalled Trek creator MARK LARGENT, Chasing the Infinite Sky creator ALBERT J. MARTINEZ, Axanar fan artist MARK PAYTON, and your favorite Fan Film Factor blogger JONATHAN LANE.

Also announced is that Axacon ticket holders will be invited for a Friday tour of OWC Studios in Lawrenceville, GA, where the Ares bridge set is located.  Guests need to provide their own transportation to and from the studio, which is about 40 minutes from the hotel.

Tickets for the event can now be purchased.  Note that these are “add-on” tickets, meaning that a ticket for Axacon (either $25 or $50) can only be purchased AFTER you first buy a ticket for SphinxCon (which is a separate $50 ticket).  SphinxCon, a convention celebrating the Honor Harrington book series, is happening at the same location and is acting as the “host” convention (meaning they are paying the main expenses for the hotel facilities).  Axacon is happening in a special area of the convention open only to Axacon ticket holders.

The event will be taking place at the  Crowne Plaza – Atlanta Airport (free shuttle from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport) on November 2-4, 2018.

Click here to purchase tickets for Axacon.


And come back tomorrow for a surprisingly candid interview with J.G. Hertzler discussing his recent political campaign, his haircut, and whether or not he’ll be appearing in the Axanar sequel films!

AXANAR fan comic COMPLETES part one of “Arcanis IV”!

The latest comic book story based on the fan film PRELUDE TO AXANAR has just completed part one of its first chapter.

Last July, Axanar super-fan TREY McELWAIN released the first-ever Axanar comic story: the four-page (including cover) “Trial By Fire.”  It was a huge hit among Axanar fans, many of whom hoped to be seeing more similar projects from Trey and his illustrator, DANIEL FU.

The wait lasted for ten months.  In May, Trey continued what he called the “Tip of the Spear” saga, with each chapter focusing on a different battle from The Four Years War with the Klingons, as shown in Prelude.  But now the comics would expand from just a few pages to stories with chapters, each about 5-7 pages long.

The first story took a closer look at the battle that began the Four Years War at “Arcanis IV.”  Trey initially released the cover and first two pages of the story, with the intention of releasing one additional page per month for the foreseeable future.  Part one of “Arcanis IV” would be seven pages, and there would be three parts.  Then the next chapter would be “Inverness V,” also divided into multiple parts.  So releasing one new comic story page per month could keep this going for years!

At least, that was the plan…

Daniel finished drawing the next three pages more quickly than anticipated, so rather then holding them back, all three were released last month.  And then Daniel was fast again, so this month has the final two pages being released (see below), completing part one of “Arcanis IV.”

That’s the good news.  Unfortunately, it could be a while before fans see part two.

Continue reading “AXANAR fan comic COMPLETES part one of “Arcanis IV”!”

An APOLOGY about AXACON leads to a question: Did ALEC PETERS personally profit from AXANAR?

Welcome back to another emotionally-charged episode of “As The AxaCon Turns”…the fan film controversy that asks the eternal question: Is Lane ever gonna stop blogging about this crap???

Well, I thought I was finished on Monday when I posted this blog about the detractors trying their darnedest to interfere with any chance of success for AxaCon by inundating the host convention, SphinxCon, and its chairman, DAVID WEINER, with all sorts of negative public and private comments about ALEC PETERS, AXANAR, and the invited guests (including yours truly).

Because it’s important to today’s blog, let me remind you what started the whole upheaval.  Noted Axanar detractor and frustrated New York Mets fan SHAWN P. O’HALLORAN posted this lovely comment onto the SphinxCon Facebook page…

Yeah, that happened.  Then everything else happened.  Then I blogged about it.  That lit up the fan film quadrant of the Internet for many hours on Monday while I took my son to see the King Tut exhibit at the California Science Center.  There were literally hundreds of comments waiting for me to read when I got home!

But one message stopped me in my tracks.  It was an APOLOGY from Shawn O’Halloran to Dave Weiner for disrupting his convention page!

It’s probably best if I let Shawn speak for himself with this screen cap that Dave sent me…

Continue reading “An APOLOGY about AXACON leads to a question: Did ALEC PETERS personally profit from AXANAR?”

DETRACTORS try to torpedo AXACON! (news and editorial)

Perhaps “torpedo” isn’t the right word.  Sabotage?  Interfere with?  Mess up?  Mock?  Belittle?  Bash?  Brutalize?  Bully?  Eliminate?

Whatever you call it, at least a couple of dozen AXANAR detractors (possibly more) seem to be making a concerted effort to convince the organizers of SphinxCon in Atlanta not to host the first AxaCon as a “con-in-a-con” on November 2-4.  Earlier this year, detractors had made similar efforts to pressure Eric L. Watts of Treklanta to disinvite ALEC PETERS as a guest…so much so that Eric asked to write a guest blog addressing their behavior.

The same day I was conducting my interview with ALEC PETERS about AxaCon and how it came to be an “add-on” to SphinxCon, the detractors were descending on the SphinxCon Facebook page with a wave of attempts to throw a monkey wrench into the works.  Last time it was Eric Watts.  This time they needed to get their message out to DAVE WEINER, the organizer and chairman of SphinxCon 2018.

Dave Weiner, Chair of SphinxCon

Dave lives in Decatur, GA with his wife Joanna and what he refers to as the “two house cats of the apocalypse.”  He has been active in The Royal Manticoran Navy: The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association since 2014.  He is responsible for TRMN’s online infrastructure and branding.

TRMN has held two conventions a year for the past 5 years–one in Raleigh, NC called HonorCon and one in Minneapolis, MN called MantiCon.  SphinxCon will be their first in Atlanta, although Dave and many of the directors and deputies have experience running and working on other cons (including Dragon*Con).

Dave wanted to share what’s been going on since this past Friday because it has been very disturbing to him as a fan and as a convention organizer.  Having now observed the detractors firsthand and their attempts to try to put a positive “spin” on their actions, Dave would like set the record straight on exactly what has happened.

To do this, he has provided me with a large number of screen caps of posts, messages, and other communications…and those will make up the majority of this blog.  You can then decide for yourself how you feel about all of this…

Continue reading “DETRACTORS try to torpedo AXACON! (news and editorial)”

AXACON to be held the weekend of NOV 2-4 in Atlanta as part of SPHINXCON!

After a lull in AXANAR news out of Georgia for several months, it seems that there’s suddenly a LOT to talk about!  This past week, in addition to the announcement of a director for the two Axanar fan films, PAUL JENKINS, as well as editor MARK EDWARD LEWIS and DIT/colorist BING BAILEY, ALEC PETERS just announced the long-awaited AxaCon has finally been scheduled.  Here’s the official announcement…

The Manticore Company, LTD (TMCL) and Axanar Productions are pleased to announce that TMCL’s newest convention, SphinxCon will include Axanar Productions’ AxaCon as a unique“convention-in-a-convention” on November 2–4, 2018 at the Crowne Plaza Atlanta-Airport.

SphinxCon is the newest intimate Literary Military Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention in Atlanta. It is the Annual Convention of The Royal Manticoran Navy: The Official Honor Harrington Fan Association. AxaCon is the official convention of Axanar, the Star Trek fan film dubbed “The Ultimate Fan Film” by Newsweek magazine.

SphinxCon will provide AxaCon with a dedicated space for their panels and events. In return, AxaCon will bring in additional guests as well as a display of various television and movie props from Axanar Productions’ CEO Alec Peters’ personal collection. Peters is known throughout the sci-fi world as a collector of screen-used props from a variety of science fiction franchises, most notably Star Trek.

“When Alec made the proposal for us to host AxaCon, it made perfect sense,” according to David Weiner, Convention Chairman for SphinxCon. “We had already come to an agreement with Alec to offer a private tour of the Axanar sets at OWC Studios to our Manticore Premier members and Convention guests, so when he proposed adding AxaCon as a ‘convention-in-a-convention,’ everyone thought it would be a win-win.”

Alec Peters was equally enthusiastic. “I read the first three Honor Harrington books when doing research for Axanar and love the universe. The chance to host AxaCon with SphinxCon is really fantastic for fans. I think there will be a lot of crossover as fans of one franchise discover the other.”

Indeed!  Already, Alec is lining up guests to appear, including co-writer/director (and Marvel Comics writer) Paul Jenkins, Steven “Admiral Slater” Jepson, Stalled Trek fan filmmaker Mark Largent…and a certain blogger of your acquaintance.  Yep, Alec activated a seldom-used reserve activation clause and drafted me.

So it was only fair that Alec give me yet another interview to discuss this event…

Continue reading “AXACON to be held the weekend of NOV 2-4 in Atlanta as part of SPHINXCON!”

Major AXANAR news! (interview with ALEC PETERS, part 2)

Click here to read Part 1.

ALEC PETERS is pretty much a man who needs no introduction…at least in the fan community.  But if you’ve only just landed on this planet, here’s a quick run-down.  Alec has been the driving force behind the fan production AXANAR for half a decade, writing, producing, and appearing in the widely popular Prelude to Axanar fan film.  He worked ceaselessly over three crowd-funding campaigns to raise more than $1.3 million in fan donations to build out a studio and sets and begin filming a 90-minute Star Trek fan film detailing the final battle of the Four Years War with the Klingons at the planet Axanar.

And then Alec got sued by CBS and Paramount for copyright infringement.  He fought back, and after a year of legal proceedings, the lawsuit was settled just days before a trial was set to begin.  While the specifics of Alec’s settlement with the studios aren’t public, we do know that Alec is now allowed to make two 15-minute Axanar fan films with his original cast (if they choose to return) as well as other entertainment industry professionals.

That settlement came nearly a year and a half ago, and still there is no completed follow-up Axanar fan film or films.  With that in mind, let’s pick up where we left off yesterday as I ask Alec a question that both Axanar supporters AND detractors have certainly been wondering about… Continue reading “Major AXANAR news! (interview with ALEC PETERS, part 2)”

Major AXANAR news! (interview with ALEC PETERS, part 1)

“What’s happening with AXANAR?”  “When is it coming out?”  “Has the entire project just fallen apart?”  “Who’s the director?”  “Do they even have a production team?”

These questions and so many like them pour into comments, IMs, and emails to me almost weekly.  (In fact, the “fallen apart” one came in just last week.)  I’ve so wanted to share what I know, but I’ve been asked repeatedly by ALEC PETERS to please keep things under wraps for the time being.

A few weeks ago, I finally started asking Alec in earnest when we could do a proper interview and announce some of these big news items publicly.  Believe it or not, it’s actually been well over a YEAR since my last full interview with him!  Anyway, it took some prodding and nagging, but I finally convinced the man behind Axanar to sit down with me for an extended interview and update.

Let’s dive right in…

Continue reading “Major AXANAR news! (interview with ALEC PETERS, part 1)”

AXANAR fan comic releases THREE NEW PAGES…

Last month, AXANAR super-fan TREY McELWAIN released the cover and first page of his new Axanar fan comic “Arcanis IV”—part of his “Tip of the Spear” series focusing on some of the major battles of the Four Years War.

Nearly a year ago, Trey released the first-ever comic story based on the hugely-popular Prelude to Axanar Star Trek fan film: the four-page (including cover) “Trial By Fire.”  Trey wrote the comic and his friend DANIEL FU illustrated the story, which looked at a space battle during the Four Years War with the Klingon Empire.

Originally, the plan for this new comic story was to release one new page each month for the next five months until all seven pages (plus cover) were completed and posted.  Then Trey has another two chapters in the saga that will follow, also with one page released per month.

So you might be wondering how, if there’s only supposed to be ONE page released per month, why this blog says that THREE new pages have just been made available.  I wondered that, too, and I asked Trey.

The answer is that Daniel found his professional workload lighter than normal this past month and had more time to illustrate pages.  Initially, he delivered two pages to Trey, but a day later, he had a third one ready, as well.  As you’ll see below, that additional page wasn’t quite as complex as the other two.

Trey isn’t certain how many more pages will be released next month yet, but it’ll be at least one.  If it’s two, then the first chapter will be complete.

Just in case you missed the first page, I’ve included it (along with the cover) below.  The story’s getting really exciting!

Continue reading “AXANAR fan comic releases THREE NEW PAGES…”

What’s WRONG with making a mockery of AXANAR… (editorial)

MICHAEL ILASI, a dedicated AXANAR detractor, announced last month that he was planning to create a “parody” of Prelude to Axanar using actual footage from the fan film…re-edited to be “funny.”

But what Michael released wasn’t a parody so much as a mockery.  It belittled ALEC PETERS and the other cast members of Prelude by showing their bloopers, adding banjo music, crickets, laughter, etc…and making it look like these were bungling idiots rather than actors trying to put in solid performances while flubbing the occasional line.

Michael called it a “fan film,” but I don’t think it qualifies.  A fan film should celebrate and honor something a fan loves—Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Harry Potter—not try to tear it down or cheapen it in some way.  In fact, that’s sorta the OPPOSITE of a fan film.

Michael was using Axanar blooper footage released without permission last year by former Axanar marketing director turned vitriolic detractor TERRY McINTOSH, violating his non-disclosure agreement with Alec and Axanar Productions and releasing footage that was not legally his to release.

The arguments being employed currently by Michael and other detractors justifying the creation and release of this mockery film can best be summed up as follows:

  1. Alec can’t own the Prelude footage because it’s all Star Trek, and Alec doesn’t own the Star Trek intellectual property.
  2. Parody is protected speech under fair use.  Alec can’t do anything to prevent Michael from enjoying his First Amendment rights.
  3. Axanar is”open source.”  Alec even said so himself.
  4. Get over yourselves and laugh, fer cryin’ out loud!  They’re bloopers, not KFC’s secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices.  Lighten up.

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I’ve got an answer to each of these attempts to justify and excuse what Michael did.

Continue reading “What’s WRONG with making a mockery of AXANAR… (editorial)”