Axanar: The Gathering StormIn 2014, fans and former cast members organized a fan-made short film called Prelude to Axanar, setting up a Kickstarter project with a target of $10,000, but which raised well over $100,000 instead. This short film is planned to be followed by a full-length feature film called Star Trek: Axanar, funded by a much larger Kickstarter project. These films star Richard Hatch, J. G. Hertzler, Kate Vernon, Gary Graham, Michael Hogan, and Tony Todd, all mainstream actors who are veterans of Paramount's Star Trek franchise and the rebooted Battlestar Galactica. Prelude to Axanar features both new and familiar characters from the Star Trek universe:
- Richard Hatch as Kharn, the Klingon Supreme Commander
- Michael Hogan As Captain Robert April
- J. G. Hertzler as Captain Samuel Travis
- Gary Graham as Soval, Vulcan Ambassador to the Federation
The short film for Prelude to Axanar was released in June 2014. In August 2014, the production raised $638,000 on Kickstarter, and writer-producer Alec Peters went into pre-production for the feature film Star Trek: Axanar.
On December 29, 2015 the project was hit by a lawsuit from CBS and Paramount Pictures filed in Central California federal court, stating the Axanar works infringed upon their intellectual property by making use of "innumerable copyrighted elements of Star Trek, including its settings, characters, species, and themes." In March 2016, Peters' Axanar Productions filed a motion to dismiss or strike Paramount and CBS's claims, saying the elements mentioned in the court filing are not protected by copyright and is seeking premature relief from a work, the Axanar feature film, that does not exist. The motion to dismiss or strike was denied by the court and the case went to a jury trial in January 2017. On January 21, 2017, the lawsuit was settled.
On June 26, 2016, during the Axanar lawsuit, CBS and Paramount released a set of guidelines for Star Trek fan films to follow. Notably, these restrictions require films to: Be no more than 15 minutes long and have no stories longer than two installments (for a total of 30 minutes); play on YouTube without commercials; and all participants are required to be amateurs who have never worked on Star Trek or another licensee of CBS or Paramount Pictures. The creation and release of Axanar will be allowed only on these terms.
Now, Axanar returns... "The Gathering Storm"