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!”

Tragedy strikes one of the showrunners of YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL…

JOHN ATKIN has just lost the love of his life and the mother of his three-year-old son EDWARD, his beautiful wife of three-and-a-half years, MIRANDA GERMANI. She died on Saturday, October 2, from complications caused by Crohn’s disease, a condition involving inflammation of the digestive tract which can become potentially very serious in certain circumstances, as it did for Miranda.

I am reporting on this for two reasons. The first is that both John and Miranda should be considered part of the fan film community, John as co-showrunner (along with STAN WOO) of the long-awaited YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL, featuring footage filmed back in 1985 of GEORGE TAKEI playing Sulu and actor JAMES SHIGETA as Admiral Nogura. John helped Stan restart the production in 2010 after a nearly two-decade “pause,” providing resources to create new scenes that would never have been possible back in the 1980s. Some of those scenes were filmed at JAMES CAWLEY’s Retro Studios in upstate New York, and Miranda had a small cameo as Dr. Amanda Cruz.

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

The other reason that I am reporting on this is because I consider John Atkin to be a friend, and as a now-single father of a three-year-old who will, tragically, barely be able to remember his wonderful mother, John needs our help.

John’s sister-in-law, ELENA GERMANI, along with friends from Humbler College in Toronto—where Miranda did post graduate work—has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for Edward’s post-secondary (college) education when he graduates high school in 15 years.

Elena’s comments on the GoFundMe page explain the reason for the campaign:

Miranda deeply valued education. After obtaining her degree from McMaster University, she carried on her studies at Humber College, York University, and the London School of Economics and Political Science, where she graduated with a MSc in Health Economics, Policy and Management.

We know she would want her son Edward, now three years old, to have access to opportunities provided by post-secondary education. We set up this GoFundMe for Edward so that his dad John has a little less to worry about during this incredibly difficult time.

Miranda offered so much to the people and causes she loved — and there were many. In fact, she received the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers, presented by the Governor General of Canada, in recognition of her commitment to community.

This is an obviously painful time for John, coming just as he was putting the finishing touches on Yorktown—“polishing up the music and sound design,” as he posted on the Yorktown Facebook page back in August. But now, John has other thoughts and feelings to deal with, and perhaps we can help ease his grief with just a little financial help. As I type this 84 people have already donated $9,130 in just three days, including $50 from me.

If you’d like to give something for young Edward, here is the link…


Continue reading “Tragedy strikes one of the showrunners of YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL…”

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!

For YORKTOWN, it’s time for a brand new MUSIC VIDEO!

It’s just two and a half weeks until Christmas, and therefore two and a half weeks until YORKTOWN: A TIME TO HEAL is released (click here to read more about the 35-year history of this exciting fan project).

And as we eagerly wait for Santa Claus (or Hanukkah Harry or Kwanza Q) to bring us our gifts and our newest Star Trek fan film, Yorktown show-runner JOHN AKTIN has a little “early present” for fans: a brand new music video featuring clips (some never-before seen) from this long-awaited fan film featuring GEORGE TAKEI and JAMES SHIGETA.

This isn’t just some random music video, though. The song, Into The Unnkown, will appear in Yorktown: A Time to Heal over the closing credits. It was written and performed by a singer/songwriter from Toronto, Canada named RAYNA (and yes, her name comes from the TOS android from the episode “Requiem for Methuselah”), part of an album she released back in 2013 titled SPACE STORIES.

John Atkin, also a resident of Toronto, heard the song a few years ago and wanted to use it in the fan film that he and STAN WOO were working to complete. John reached out to Rayna asking permission to use the song, and she happily agreed.

Three years later, with just over a month until the fan film’s release, John filmed Rayna singing the song to use in the creation of a special music video featuring her haunting ballad along with clips from Yorktown.

In case you’re wondering if this is the first time a Star Trek fan film has teased its release with a music video, the answer is no. That distinction goes to STAR TREK: RENEGADES and its music video Captain of My Soul by CELA SCOTT. That video has had over 125K views on YouTube since its release in 2015.

But that was then. Now, it’s Yorktown‘s turn in the spotlight. And so, without further ado, let’s travel Into The Unknown

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!”