Marvel Comics Writer PAUL JENKINS joins AXANAR as CO-WRITER! (interview, part 2)

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.

And now, back to our great interview…

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Marvel Comics Writer PAUL JENKINS joins AXANAR as CO-WRITER! (interview, part 1)

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???

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My FAN FILM just beat AXANAR in the Berlin Sci-Fi Film Festival! (Yay!)

Now, this is pretty crazy!  Back in April of 2016, while the CBS/Paramount v. Axanar lawsuit was still going strong, MARK LARGENT and I decided to create a parody of the whole mess with a short animated spoof called PRELUDE TO AX’D-WE-ARE.  We wrote the script together in about five days, and I provided the voices for half of the characters.  Mark did the lion’s share of the work, animating the entire seven-minutes in just 31 days!  (For more background on how this all came together, check out this blog.)

When I first heard about the Berlin Sci-Fi Filmfest back in June, I posted about it because, for the first time that I was aware of, an international film festival was featuring a category specifically for FAN FILMS!  I suggested to Mark Largent that he might want to enter Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are.  After all, it was just 15 bucks.  Other Trek fan films were also entered—including the excellent Chance Encounter, Starship Republic – “Serpent of Yesterday”, and Survivors—and we figured we might have a shot…maybe.  There were also three Star Wars fan films (one from the UK and another from France), a Blade Runner fan film out of South Africa, and a horror movie spoof.

And then we saw that Prelude to Axanar had been entered.  Oh well, we thought, there goes our chance to win.  (Prelude is pretty much a juggernaut.)  But at least audiences would be able to watch both the parody and the original it was based on.

We actually made it to the semi-final round, along with Tears in the Rain (the South African Blade Runner fan film with some great acting), The Secret of Tatooine (all in French with awesome visual effects), and of course, Prelude to Axanar.  With competition like that, we figured that “semi-finalist” was as far as we’d get.  We were wrong.

We won BEST FAN FILM!!!!

Mark and I thought it was a typo!  But no, there is was up on their website with our poster image.  “I feel like there’s all these guys in my class who studied for months to pass the exam and all I did was cram at the last minute and ace it!” Mark told me over the phone.

I joked to ALEC PETERS of Axanar, writing, “I hope you’re not pissed at us.”

Why would I be pissed?” he wrote back.  “It’s awesome.  Its all in the family.  We have won 47 awards.  Nice for you guys to win one.”

So Mark and I, co-writers and co-producers, can now also call ourselves winners of an international sci-fi film festival competition.  And that is totally cool!  Thanks for letting me share that news with you.

And in case you missed it, here’s Prelude to Ax’d-We-Are in all of its 7 minutes of glory…

ROBERT MEYER BURNETT resigns as director on AXANAR!

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…

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DISCOVERY vs. AXANAR – choose “your” KLINGON WAR! (editorial / review)

WARNING – SPOILERS!!!  Lots and lots and lots of SPOILERS!!!


I really WANTED to like Star Trek: Discovery.  And to be honest, some things I actually DID like.  Sonequa Martin-Green put in a great performance playing the character of Commander Michael Burnham, and I loved the dynamic of seeing two women interacting as captain and first officer of a starship…and neither was caucasian!  (If only both characters could have continued beyond two episodes, but alas, we’ll soon be back to a captain who’s a white male.  Oh well, at least we’ve still got a black female lead.)

I even really liked some of the scenes…like when Burnham talks the ship’s computer into letting her out of the brig before power goes out.  But in the end, I just really didn’t enjoy the show overall—at least the first two episodes.  It was so dark (visually and emotionally), and I just couldn’t grab onto that uplifting feeling I used to get when watching Star Trek.  This new show felt so weighed down to me that even when things were moving quickly, they still seemed somehow slow and heavy.  A couple of times during those Klingon scenes with the never-ending subtitles, I nearly dozed off!

And it wasn’t even the Klingon actors’ fault they were so boring.  The decision to completely redesign the look of the Klingons not only alienated many long-time Trek fans, but it made it virtually impossible for those actors to deliver decent performances.

Imagine if you were asked to give a compelling performance while wearing a medieval suit of knight’s armor with the face-plate covering every part of your face except your mouth. You can barely move your head except a little side to side—very little!—and your arms won’t go any higher than your chest. You can’t even bend your elbows!  And then, before you go in front of the camera, you realize that all of your lines are in Polish…and your don’t speak Polish!  Sounds like an actor’s worst nightmare, right?  Well, that was pretty much the assignment these unfortunate Klingons were given.

And as I was considering this, I began to imagine what Discovery would have been like had they NOT redesigned the Klingons…or the Starfleet uniforms…or made the starships into barely-recognizable whatever-they-were…or had a dark bridge covered with lens flares.  What would Discovery have looked like then?

And then I realized: it would have looked a lot like Axanar

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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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TERRY McINTOSH is officially warned by actor TONY TODD not to use his AXANAR blooper footage!

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.

Man, was I wrong…

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TERRY McINTOSH should be ashamed! (editorial)

I’m kinda sick to my stomach right now—so disgusted that I am quite literally nauseous—and I really don’t know how to deal with it other than blogging to try to clear this out of my head.

You guys might remember a few weeks ago when TERRY McINTOSH, the former marketing director for Axanar Productions, released an old version of the original full script for the AXANAR movie.  Even though he had signed a non-disclosure agreement (N.D.A.), promising to keep all Axanar-related materials private and confidential, he decided he was pissed off enough at ALEC PETERS that he no longer gave a shat about signed agreements or breaking promises.  The script, Terry believed, was so bad that releasing it would embarrass Alec, who had called it the best Star Trek script ever (or something like that).

In the end, it was mostly a tempest in a teapot.  I’ve now read the old script, and it wasn’t all that bad.  And now that I’ve read the two new 15-minute segments script, the outdated version of the full script doesn’t really ruin much of anything.  A lot has changed (obviously).

Anyway, y’know when Khan says, “I’ve hurt you…and I intend to go right on hurting you.”  Well, that seems to be Terry when it comes to Alec Peters.  Terry will chase Alec round the moons of Nibia and round the Antares Maelstrom and round Perdition’s flames before Terry gives him up!

But all kidding aside, Terry really doesn’t know when to stop, and now he’s carrying the vendetta to a very dark and troubling place.  But I don’t simply mean troubling to me.  Any reasonable Trekkie or Trekker should feel very concerned, as well…

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DR. SEUSS/STAR TREK: What happens next? (Part 3)

Feel free to read Part 1 and Part 2 if you haven’t already.  This time, we’re going to look at is the state of the Dr. Seuss/Star Trek “mash-up” lawsuit as it stands right now.

Initially , there were three legal complaints filed by the plaintiffs, Dr. Seuss Enterprises:

  1. Copyright infringement
  2. Trademark infringement
  3. Unfair competition

Judge Janis L. Sammartino of the Ninth Circuit Federal Court dismissed the second and third complaints, leaving only the copyright infringement claim as the lawsuit…and that one was “nearly perfectly balanced” based on the “fair use” defense.

But the judge did give the plaintiff a “second chance” to get those two dismissed claims back.  She gave them two weeks to file an amended complaint that might change her mind about dismissing trademark infringement and unfair competition.

The plaintiff did, indeed, re-file an Amended Complaint.  Not surprisingly, the defendants then filed a new Motion to Dismiss.

The plaintiff wants their two dismissed claims back.  The defendant would like to keep those two claims dismissed and, if possible, dismiss the final copyright claim and end the lawsuit completely.

Will either side succeed?  Let’s take a closer look…

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DR. SEUSS/STAR TREK: A “near-perfect balancing” of FAIR USE factors! (Part 2)

Last time, we began looking at the intriguing case of the Dr. Seuss/Star Trek “mash-up” book Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go! by DAVID GERROLD and TY TEMPLETON.  Last November, they got sued by Dr. Seuss Enterprises for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and unfair competition.  The defense quickly filed a motion to dismiss the case.  After a brief extension, the judge issued a ruling last month.  (For more details, read yesterday’s blog.)

The motion to dismiss centered around the “mash-up” being protected as “fair use.”  And while judges do not usually rule on fair use this early in a case, the Honorable Janis L. Sammartino of the 9th Circuit Federal Court did (again for reasons explained in yesterday’s blog).

So did the fair use defense work or not?  What did the judge say???

In short, it’s a tie.  She called it a “near-perfect balancing of the factors” of fair use.  And what does that mean?  Get comfy, folks, ’cause Jonny’s gonna do his best to break this down into layperson’s English for you all…

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