YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL (starring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu) – the 37-year trek… (Part 6)

In  Part Part 2, and Part 3, we learned about how STAN WOO began to produce a Star Trek fan film called YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL, starring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu and JAMES SHIGETA as Admiral Nogura. The majority of the footage was filmed in 1985-87, but then the project languished in suspended animation for nearly 25 years. (You can watch the completed film here.)

In Part 4 and Part 5, we saw JOHN ATKIN step in, beginning in 2010, to help Stan finally complete his fan film. The two of them worked together to expand the script, adding in new scenes and new characters in locations that wouldn’t have been possible a quarter century earlier. This included scenes with Klingons as well as sequences on the U.S.S. Yorktown bridge, corridors, and hangar bay. Between 2011 and 2013, these scenes were filmed in various cities across North America—including San Francisco, Vancouver, New York, and at Starbase Studios in Oklahoma City during a bitter cold winter storm with no central heating!

By 2013, the visual FX team had three different members. ROLAND BARON was doing outer space shots of the pre- and post-refit Yorktown, Klingon K-fighter, and the S.H.A.R.K. vessel Nagaer—the last three ships all originally designed by legendary Star Trek production designer ANDREW PROBERT. NEO f/x was doing phaser and transporter effects. And TOBIAS RICHTER provided a custom CGI model and animation of the Starbase 7 space station (a design based on the Vanguard Station from the Star Trek novel series).


James Shigeta as Admiral Nogura

All was going great heading into 2014. But on July 28, sad news came to the production that actor James Shigeta had passed away at the age of 85. In a eulogy post, Stan Woo—who kept up a friendship with James after the 1980s production—shared the following memory: ” I saw him for the last time on December 19th, 2013. When I arrived at his home, he was watching a Pavarotti Special on PBS. He was in good spirits and was sharp as a tack. He asked about the family, and I shared some family photos with him. I also showed him the Yorktown website on my phone to show him some of Roland Baron’s visual effects. That was the last time I saw him. I have a stack of Christmas cards from him. He was at my wedding. When I sent him a birth announcement of my oldest daughter, he sent her a little yellow duckie. He was a true gentleman, and I’m proud to be the producer of a Star Trek fan film with him playing Admiral Nogura.”

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YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL (starring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu) – the 37-year trek… (Part 5)

In Part 1Part 2Part 3, and Part 4, we got to know STAN WOO and JOHN ATKIN. Back in 1985, Los Angeles-based Stan convinced GEORGE TAKEI and JAMES SHIGETA to play Hikaru Sulu and Admiral Nogura, respectively, in a low-budget fan film titled YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL. The completed production was finally released onto the Internet in April 2022…

Although much of the film was shot between 1985 and 1987, it remained unfinished even in 2010 when Canadian Trek fan John offered to help Stan finally complete the film.

Along with help from Hollywood writer PAUL McCUDDEN, Stan and John expanded the short 15-minute script to bring in new characters in new locations. The first original footage for Yorktown since the 1980s was shot in 2011 and 2012, as two different scenes featuring Klingons were filmed with lines spoken entirely in the Klingon language.

In the meantime, VFX artist ROLAND BARON created CGI models of the U.S.S. Yorktown, a Klingon K-fighter, and the terrorist vessel Nagaer based on sketches from ANDREW PROBERT, who designed the refit Enterprise NCC-1701 from Star Trek: The Motion Picture as well as and the Enterprise-D. A short trailer spotlighted Roland’s amazing work…


The year 2012 ended with two major shoots that took place at Capilano College, based in North Vancouver, British Columbia. The first shoot was filmed in November in front of a green screen and featured CHARLES EDWARD BAE (who had provided the Klingon translations) as the Klingon Colonel Qumeq, publicly lambasting the evils of the Federation to an audience over a newsfeed.

Charles Edward Bae in full Klingon make-up and garb

The second shoot happened at the same location in December but was not simply another green screen. John elaborates, “IAN GUSTAFSON had access to an amazing set at Capilano College. The set was one that had been used on a small independent sci-fi movie, but Ian and Charles modified it so much that it is just about unrecognizable to its original form. The set was transformed into ‘Deck 19, Section 6’ of the U.S.S. Yorktown.”

This was for a new sequence set before the refit, showing the terrorist attack and the death of Jeffrey Pond’s fiancée Lt. Katherine Baetz, played by ZLATINA PACHEVA. This opening sequence will be the only footage in Yorktown to feature the classic TOS-style Starfleet tunics, which were purchased from Anovos and then adorned with Yorktown patches (custom-designed and manufactured by STAR TREK: SECRET VOYAGE fan film costumer JOE KEREZMAN).

George Kayaian (right) on his set for Starship Antyllus, doubling as the Yorktown Hangar Bay control room.

A final piece of the opening segment was supplied the following April in 2013 by none other than GEORGE KAYAIAN, who had begun shooting his own new fan series in New York called STAR TREK: ANTYLLUS. “I had seen some of George Kayaian’s earlier fan film work on YouTube,” John explains, “and I had seen pictures of his small bridge set that he was building on Facebook. I thought that it would be perfect for our Hangar Bay scene and asked if we could use it in the film, and if he would be interested in playing an officer in that scene.” The rest, as they say, is history.

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YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL (starring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu) – the 37-year trek… (Part 4)

In Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, we got to know STAN WOO, the fan behind YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL, a Star Trek fan film featuring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu and JAMES SHIGETA as Admiral Nogura. Star Trek production designer ANDREW PROBERT, who designed both the refit U.S.S. Enterprise and the Enterprise-D, worked on this fan film, as well, providing custom sketches for the refit U.S.S. Yorktown along with other completely new space vessels.

The completed film was released in early April and can be viewed here…

Between 1985 and 1987, Stan and his team shot 160 minutes of footage over a dozen different film shoots both indoors and outdoors. By the summer of 1987, the project was even featured in a two-page article in issue #119 of Starlog Magazine…an article read by a twelve-year-old boy from Ontario, Canada who will be the focus on most of today’s blog: JOHN ATKIN.

Stan and his Yorktown project appeared to be all but unstoppable…until failing college grades in 1987 caused Stan’s father to pull the plug on the entire endeavor. Stan’s education had to come first. And although some minor work (in secret) was done by Stan here and there over the next few years, the project was essentially in suspended animation for more than two decades. Stan had gotten married in 1995, had four children, and didn’t really have the time or resources to complete a full-on fan film…until 2009, that is.

As we learned last time, Stan began thinking about completing Yorktown beginning in 2009 after seeing how prolific Star Trek fan films had become during the past six years. He asked his friend PAUL McCUDDEN, a writer in Hollywood, for help expanding and finishing the script. And a bit of progress was being made.


Meanwhile, north of the border in the land of moose and maple, John Atkin was now in his mid-thirties and also a devotee of Star Trek fan films. And in early 2010, he began to wonder: “Whatever happened to that Yorktown project with George Takei from the 1980s?”

He was determined to find out…

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YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL (starring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu) – the 37-year trek… (Part 3)

In Part 1 and Part 2, we met STAN WOO, who back in 1985 convinced GEORGE TAKEI to star as Sulu and JAMES SHIGETA to appear as Admiral Nogura in Stan’s Star Trek fan film YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL. If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the completed film (released on April 5, 2022)…

Also working on the project was legendary Star Trek production artist ANDREW PROBERT, who designed both the refit U.S.S. Enterprise from ST:TMP and also the Enterprise-D from ST:TNG. Andrew custom-designed a “hybrid” TOS/TMP U.S.S. Yorktown that could appear in the film to help establish the time-frame as during the Enterprise‘s refit. Also appearing in the movie was Leonard Nimoy’s assistant, TERESA VICTOR, along with a few other notable names from fandom and even from professional Star Trek.

Andrew Probert (left) meets with Stan Woo at a Taco Bell near Warner Bros. studios in 1986.

Between April of 1985 and March of 1987, more than a dozen separate film shoots at both outdoor and indoor locations produced about 160 minutes of footage which was now ready to be edited. By that point, Stan estimates that probably north of $10,000 was spent—mainly by his father, JEM ONG WOO, who will be credited as Executive Producer when Yorktown is finally released this Christmas of 2020 (fingers crossed!). “When you include the post production equipment purchased, like the Video Toaster Flyer (NLE), yeah, it was probably around that much,” Stan explains. “I also purchased Super Beta and Super VHS editing systems that didn’t quite pan out, but that was still money spent, as I didn’t need the equipment if not for the film.”

In fact, the editing equipment was purchased after Stan visited Stephen J. Cannell Productions (which produced The Greatest American Hero and The A-Team) and spoke with Post Production Supervisor KEN SWEET. “I was inspired to change our post production workflow after Ken told me that 21 Jump Street was going to be shot on film and cut on video. So we had to scan all of the Super 8 Reversal Film on a Rank Cintel Flying Scanner to ¾-inch Umatic SP.” (I have absolutely no idea what that means, but the short version is they took two large canisters of 400-ft-long film reels and transferred them to a fairly high quality—at the time—Sony video tape format in order to be able to edit the fan film.)

Meanwhile, word had spread about this exciting project through an article in the June 1987 issue of Starlog Magazine (#119)…

Click to enlarge

But shortly before the article came out, trouble was brewing for young Stan, who was at that time a student at California State University – Los Angeles while trying to complete his dream fan project in his spare time. And the trouble very nearly spelled the end for Yorktown—at least for another 22 years…

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YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL (starring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu) – the 37-year trek… (Part 2)

Last week in Part 1, we began looking back (waaaaaaay back!) to the 1980s and the birth of the long-awaited Star Trek fan film YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL…with GEORGE TAKEI appearing as Sulu. It was released on April 5, and here it is if you haven’t seen it yet…

In our previous blog, we learned how, in 1985, 21-year-old showrunner STAN WOO was able to convince George to appear in a Trekkie fan film thanks to a decade or so of friendly stalking and a well-timed offer of a glass of bungundy.

Filming began in April of 1985 and continued in earnest through that November. During that time, ten different shoots in various outdoor and indoor locations were completed, including on July 14 at the Chilao Flats campground in the Angeles National Forest…just four miles away from Charlton Flats, where portions of Star Trek: First Contact would be filmed a decade later.

For those who weren’t around in the 1980s, there was no such thing yet as digital video. Movies were shot on film reels and/or recorded to video cassette tapes. Oh, and there was also New Coke. Yes, folks, the debut of one of the biggest beverage blunders in modern history was just four days before Yorktown‘s July 14 shoot, and Stan’s dad picked up a case of the new soft drink at a local supermarket. According to Stan, “George Takei may have had his first sip of New Coke on our set…” and supplied me with the photo at the top of this blog entry to prove it!

By the time November 1985 came along, filming had now been completed on nearly every major scene but one. The segment involved three different admirals in an office on Starbase 7—nothing too complicated, right? But it turned out that this one “simple” scene would delay the production more than half a year…

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YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL (starring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu) – the 37-year trek… (Part 1)

If any footage can be considered “the holy grail” of Star Trek fan films, it’s the Super-8 scenes from YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL, shot in 1985 to 1987 and featuring actor GEORGE TAKEI reprising his role as Lt. Cmdr. Sulu during the time between TOS and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Thirty-seven years in the making, Yorktown was probably the most eagerly awaited, exciting, and mysterious Star Trek fan film of all time! And so many fans have so many questions…

  • How did a young Trekkie barely out of high school convince George Takei to play Sulu way back when the actor was concurrently making Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home?
  • How did this same kid get JAMES SHIGETA (who’s been in about a million things you’ve seen, most notably Die Hard, Midway, and Mulan…but also TV shows ranging from The Outer Limits to Mission: Impossible to T.J. Hooker to Babylon 5 to Avatar: The Last Airbender) to agree to play Admiral Nogura?
  • Did ANDREW PROBERT, the artist who designed the refit USS Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture as well as the Enterprise-D for Next Generation really design custom starships for this guy’s fan film, too?
  • Why did it take them so long to finish it?

On April 5, 2022, the completed Yorktown: A Time to Heal, was finally released for fans to watch and enjoy…

There’s no shortage of stories about this project scattered all over the Internet…some less accurate than others. But now it’s time to set the record straight and collect all of these mind-blowing details together in a series of fascinating blogs that will feature direct quotes from original show-runner STAN WOO and current show-runner JOHN ATKIN.

It’s hard to pick one thing about Yorktown: A Time to Heal that’s the most interesting. Obviously, it’s one of the first (if not THE first) Star Trek fan film to feature a member of one of the television casts in their same iconic role…plus other professional actors in major roles. But after a veritable sprint of filming over the first two years, things virtually stopped completely for more than two decades!

Then, once things started up again, fan filmmakers from all over our community got involved to help out. Scenes were filmed BOTH at Starbase Studios in Oklahoma AND on James Cawley’s TOS sets in Ticonderoga, NY (one of the only fan projects other than STAR TREK: NEW VOYAGES to ever do that). People who worked on AXANAR, STAR TREK CONTINUES, NEW VOYAGES, RENEGADES, STARSHIP EXETER, STARSHIP FARRAGUT, STARSHIP ANTYLLUS, STAR TREK: SECRET VOYAGE, STAR TREK: EXCALIBUR, TEMPORAL ANOMALY, STAR TREK: OF GODS AND MEN, STAR TREK: DECEPTION II, THE FEDERATION FILES, and so many other fan productions all pitched in at one point or another to help Yorktown: A Time to Heal move ever closer to completion.

Are you ready to jump down the rabbit hole? I promise, it’ll be worth it…

Continue reading “YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL (starring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu) – the 37-year trek… (Part 1)”

New trailer announces YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL will premiere on APRIL 5th…really!

It’s been a loooooooooooong road, getting from there to (almost) here. And when I say long (with all those o’s), I mean from 1985 to 2022…THIRTTY-SEVEN YEARS! Seriously, if you think AXANAR is taking a long time to finish, that’s just peanuts compared to YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL…starring GEORGE TAKEI as Lt. Commander Hikaru Sulu (yep!) and the late JAMES SHIGETA as Admiral Nogura.

Every so often, like a dad taking his kids on a long road trip, I get a fan asking me the “Are we there yet?” question: Do you know when Yorktown is supposed to be coming out? And it’s a totally reasonable question. There seem to have been countless announcements of premiere dates over the past several years that never seemed to pan out. Most recently, a trailer promised a release date of Christmas 2020, and then a slightly pushed-back release date of December was announced instead. Then early 2021. Then, well, nothing specific after that.

It’s now a year later, and we FINALLY have a hard, locked-in, carved-in-stone, cross-my-heart-and-hope-kiss-a-salt-vampire date for the anticipated debut of this fan film that saw its first raw footage shot in the Angeles National Forest just three weeks after the introduction of New Coke!

So what has taken so long to finish this fan film? For the answer explaining the first 35 years of production, I invite you read this 6-part (hey, it covers three and a half decades, people!) blog series filled with quotes from show-runners STAN WOO and JOHN AKTIN. As for the most recent year delay, that’s another story that includes, sadly, a personal tragedy.

Initially, the delay from late 2020 into 2021 came because of continuing issues with sound-mixing for the film. There were still significant challenges to overcome, and they were simply taking longer to address and correct than John Atkin had originally anticipated.

But then, on October 2, 2021, MIRANDA GERMANI, John’s wife and mother of their three-year-old son, passed away unexpectedly from complications caused by Crohn’s disease. The impact on John was devastating, and it is totally understandable that John would step back from working on Yorktown for a bit.

Miranda Germani as Dr. Amanda Cruz in the upcoming YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL

After that, I stopped checking in with John to ask about progress on Yorktown and instead simply offered him the hand of friendship and support (and tossed a few dollars into the GoFundMe to pay expenses for their son’s post-secondary eduction).

But John has finally completed work on the film, and we now have a firm date for the premiere of Yorktown: A Time to Heal—APRIL 5, 2022…First Contact Day!

Continue reading “New trailer announces YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL will premiere on APRIL 5th…really!”

After 35 years, fans will need to wait another WEEK for YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL…

Fans had been expecting a special Christmas gift from JOHN ATKIN and STAN WOO, the show-runners behind the long-awaited YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL. A fan production that began filming way back in 1985 and featuring GEORGE TAKEI as Sulu and JAMES SHIGETA as Admiral Nogura, Yorktown spent two decades on hold before being started up again in 2010 when John joined the project to help Stan complete the film.

Another ten years have passed since then, with scores of filmmakers from across our fan film community pitching in to help shoot scenes, build sets and props, lend uniforms, create visual FX, and a ton of other tasks. (You can read the entire behind-the-scenes history here.) Yorktown has continued on a steady path of progress over that time, and a trailer from July promised a release date of December 25…

Throughout the day, in addition to Christmas and holiday wishes, I’ve been texted and IM’d and e-mailed by a whole bunch of people all asking me a variant of the same question: “Has Yorktown been released yet?” I answered each one with “Not yet, as far as I know.”

Finally, after many hours of this, I received word from John that they weren’t gonna make their announced deadline because of sound issues. A few minutes later, he issued the following public statement:

Hi everyone… Unfortunately, I have a bit of bad news tonight. The final edit of Yorktown is finished and looks wonderful, but we haven’t fully completed the sound design. We want the sound to be the best it can be before we post it, so we are going to push the release date back 6 days to December 31 (New Years Eve) at 8:00pm (Pacific Time).

And then he posted this shot video snippet for a quick chuckle…

So fingers crossed for next Thursday, folks!

COMING THIS WEEK – The complete 35-year history of YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL!

You guys are in for a real treat. Assuming you enjoy reading about the rich histories of Star Trek fan film projects (why else would you be here??), then you are going to LOVE what I have coming later on this week!

If you think AXANAR, PACIFIC 201, FIRST FRONTIER or STARSHIP FARRAGUT “Homecoming” are taking forever to come out, those are just wee bairnes compared to YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL! Those other projects have been in development for maybe five years at most. But Yorktown began production way back in 1985!!! That’s 35 years, folks. And while there was a lull in production and post-production which lasted nearly two decades, work started up again in earnest in 2010. But it’s now 2020…and still no Yorktown in sight.

However, that all changed when the first new trailer for Yorktown since 2013 was released on July 5th, 2020…

No, you’re not seeing things. That is indeed GEROGE TAKEI, and he is playing Hikaru Sulu. That’s also actor JAMES SHIGETA from Die Hard, Midway, and Mulan (and a hundred other things you’ve seen) playing Admiral Nogura.

If you’re a hard-core follower of Star Trek fan films, you probably know at least something about Yorktown. But do you know EVERYTHING??? There are so many stories and interviews out there, scattered across the Internet. Finding them all is like a scavenger hunt, and even when you do, many of the stories sound almost unbelievable. A few even seem to contradict each other. What’s true, what’s myth, and what’s legend?

I decided to find out!

I’d actually been wanting to cover Yorktown for many years…the “lost” fan film. But was it really lost? From the time I first began covering Star Trek fan films back in 2015, I’d heard rumors that work was still being done on this fabled project. Eventually, I discovered a Facebook group and joined it, but I’ll admit I didn’t check it all that often. And truth to tell, there were so many other fan films and news and interviews and articles to write that Yorktown kinda fell off my radar more than a few times over the years.

But then that trailer come out, and I had the perfect excuse to do a deep-dive. Little did I realize how deep I was about to go…!

Continue reading “COMING THIS WEEK – The complete 35-year history of YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL!”