I realize it’s unusual to re-eulogize the same person two days in a row, but STAN LEE was special. Also, since this is Fan Film Factor, I wanted to take a moment to highlight his appearances in two fan films (and his love for Star Trek) before <sniff, sniff> letting him go.
Three years ago, the folks at STARSHIP FARRAGUT raised $15,787 from 202 backers in a Kickstarter intended to fund their series finale “Homecoming.” You can read about the full history of this cutting-edge fan series in this 3-part blog.
Although “Homecoming” is still unreleased (all of the scenes and reshoots were completed by summer of 2016, so the finale remains in a state of post-production), a brief segment was released in August of 2017 featuring none other than STAN LEE! I captured a still image of Stan from that video and used it yesterday for my eulogy blog. Here is the full minute-long clip that includes Stan’s full cameo…
Stan had previously appeared in an early pilot vignette for the fan series TREK: ISOLATION, which was set to spin off from Starship Farragut back in 2015. The vignette, “A Great Responsibility,” viewers with stunned looks on their faces as they saw the legendary Marvel Comics godfather sitting at a desk, wearing a gold TOS Starfleet admiral’s tunic! Here is that video in its entirety…
The fact that someone as famous as Stan Lee, a man who was already well into his 90s(!!!) when these two productions were shot, would even agree to appear in a “silly” Star Trek fan film says so much about this amazing man whom we lost yesterday. Stan was so easy-going, so humble, and loved to have fun. He truly appreciated the fans and would often bend over backward for them.
And Stan loved Star Trek. He discussed the original series with ROD RODDENBERRY (son of Star Trek‘s creator GENE RODDENBERRY) for the documentary TrekNation…
I leave you with this wonderful illustration that I saw yesterday on Facebook…
Back in April of 2015, a new Star Trek fan series called DREADNOUGHT DOMINION premiered with its initial episode, “Haunted.” Three months later, a second episode, titled “Anchors Aweigh” (a bit of a prequel to the first episode), made its debut. It wasn’t the only TOS-era fan series to feature the crew of a non-heavy cruiser class starship, but it was the first and only one to feature the crew of a Starfleet dreadnought-class starship based on the mid-1970s Franz Joseph Star Trek Technical Manual.
Thanks to a 3D model created by Kenneth Thomson, Jr. and Thomas Phong, the beauty shots of the tri-nacelled USS Dominion in the opening credits and during the episodes were gorgeous. The two episodes were filmed primarily on the very impressive TOS sets in Starship Farragut’s Studio Two in Kingsland, GA (also the shooting location of Star Trek Continues).
A year earlier, another fan series, Starship Valiant, made its debut on YouTube with an introduction vignette titled “Legacy.” Valiant was filmed using the TOS bridge set at Starbase Studios in Oklahoma City. (The following year, a “special edition” version of “Legacy” with added footage was posted after Starbase Studios built a new sickbay set.) Valiant has since completed principal filming on its second episode “The Ties That Bind,” although post production is still ongoing and the second episode hasn’t been released yet.
So what do these two fan series–filmed in different locations in different states during different years–have in common? A man named Vance…
TREK ISOLATION, the long-awaited spin-off fan series to the long-running and celebrated Starship Farragut, is finally here with its first series episode “Out of the Fire.“
Technically, Trek Isolation has been “here” for a couple of years already. The series first debuted in late 2014 with a short prelude vignette titled “Change in Command.” During the 5-minute fan film, Captain Jack Carter (played by co-writer and Starship Farragut show-runner/star John Broughton) informs his chief of security (played by co-writer Eric Moran) that the lieutenant commander will be getting a promotion and reassignment as first officer and science officer aboard the USS Babylon.
Six months later, the Trek Isolation team SHOCKED fans when it released its second prelude vignette “A Great Responsibility“ featuring none other than Marvel Comics legend STAN LEE as a Starfleet Admiral! And it wasn’t just a brief cameo, as happens in so many Marvel movies. Instead, Stan does a two and a half minute scene as part of this four and a half minute fan production as he assigns Captain Hawkins (played by co-writer Dave Turner) as the new commander of the USS Babylon.
The long running fan series STARSHIP FARRAGUT is currently in production on its final episode, “Homecoming.” After that episode is released, Farragut Films will transition into a new movie-era fan series to be called FARRAGUT FORWARD. You can read more about that new series here.
In the meantime, Starship Farragut‘s final episode had initially shot a series of exterior scenes last October. But as post-production ramped up, the producers felt that the footage and performances from these October shoots could be enhanced and improved for a better final product.
Over the past weekend (and also during a weekend last month), Farragut re-shot those exterior scenes…and they report that the results will bode very well for the overall quality of their swan song episode.
For people who complain that fan films suffer from poor acting and a general lack of quality, this is a wonderful example of a fan series going the extra mile to present the best finished product possible. So a big hand for Starship Farragut!
Last time: Between 2005 when they first started production on their pilot episode and the end of 2010, Starship Farragut managed to produce two full-length fan films of about an hour each, two shorter “Crew Logs” vignettes, two animated episodes, and one online comic book. They also moved their production from the Washington, DC area to St. Marys, GA where they began construction of their own TOS sets in a 2,500 square foot facility they called Studio 1.
As plans began to solidify to produce their third (and most ambitious!) full-length feature, Starship Farragut creator and star, John Broughton, announced an unexpected decision of his own: he would be giving up his leading role as Captain Jack Carter and would be stepping back from day-to-day production going forward. Would Starship Farragut be able to continue without its captain? Let’s find out…Continue reading “STARSHIP FARRAGUT, Part 3 (2011 to 2016)”
Last time: we met John Broughton, U.S. Navy veteran turned starship captain. Broughton played John “Jack” Carter, commanding officer of the USS Farragut NCC-1647, who began his mission during the third year of Captain Kirk’s original five-year mission.
Starting in 2005, John Broughton assembled a dedicated team made up of dozens of family, friends, and family of friends in the Washington, DC area who worked intently on building sets, sewing uniforms, and making props. With help from NEO f/x to do CGI visual effects and James Cawley, who generously allowed John’s team to film scenes on James’ meticulously-constructed Star Trek: New Voyages TOS bridge sets in upstate New York, Starship Farragut managed to film not just one but two full-length episodes and release both during the 2007 calendar year. Their second episode even went on to win the award for Best Fan Film at the Wrath of Con film festival in 2008.
Rear Admiral David G. Farragut issued that order in 1864 at the Battle of Mobile Bay during the American Civil War. A century and a half later, a group of dedicated Star Trek fans has followed that order with enthusiasm to make a film series that bears his name.
If you think about it, there are a lot of things that can torpedo a fan film production. From inception to completion, the fan(s) behind it have to have the five Ds: the Dream, Desire, Design, and Determination to get it all Delivered.
Starship Farragut had its fair share of torpedoes to get past, but speed on it did. And through a full decade of filming and production, Farragut has continued to grow, improve, and evolve into one of Star Trek fandom’s MUST-SEE fan-based series. Along the way, Farragut boldly went where no fan film had gone before, blazing a successful trail for other fan series to follow.