There are fan films all over the place based in the Star Trek universe. From weird to camp to character studies they were pretty much left alone. Until Star Trek: Axanar, that is.
A fan film entirely independently funded by Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns , the lawsuit was processed, according to some sources, on Christmas Day, 2015.
The story-line takes place within the original Star Trek universe, and tells the tale of one of Captain Kirk's personal heroes, Garth of Izar. A historical (in the Star Trek universe) battle mentioned during the course of the series, this film would have shown how the Federation learned how to fight, their war with the Klingons, and how Garth of Izar played a central role in the Battle of Axanar.
A short film, Prelude to Axanar, starring such established sci fi actors as Richard Hatch, Tony Todd, Gary Graham, Kate Vernon, J.G. Hertzler, and Axanar driving force/producer Alec Peters, had shown this project's potential to viewers on You Tube and beyond. The following is from a response to the suit issued by Mr. Peters :
Like all fan films, AXANAR is a love letter to a beloved franchise. For nearly 50 years, Star Trek’s devotees have been creating new Star Trek stories to share with fellow fans. That’s all we’re trying to do here.
Since the original Star Trek TV series, when the letter writing campaign by fans got NBC to greenlight a third season of Star Trek, fan support has been critical to the success of the franchise. It is the Star Trek fans themselves who are most affected here, for by suing Axanar Productions to stop making our movie and collect so-called damages, CBS and Paramount are suing the very people who have enthusiastically maintained the universe created by Gene Roddenberry so many years ago.
The fact that many of the fans involved with Axanar Productions are also industry professionals speaks volumes to the influence of Star Trek in the entertainment industry.
Not surprisingly, these fans want to give something back. We’re very proud that the work we’ve done to date looks so good. That is also a reflection of the devotion of Star Trek’s fans.
Most these actors have worked previously within the Star Trek universe already and plenty of copyright notice and attribution are given to CBS/Paramount. And the suit itself is based upon supposed copyright infringement. With the direction taken by the JJ Abrams reboot of the Trek franchise and the establishment of alternate timelines, which has already confused fans, one would think there would be plenty of time/space available for Axanar.
On You Tube alone, the views for this video reached 1,681,479 as of 12/30/2015. With these kind of numbers, the high amount of interest in the project, old Trek fans dissatisfaction with the Trek reboot, and a new film on the way, one wonders if CBS/Paramount has something to fear or really believes that their copyright has been as violated by this large scale labor of love.