I can't imagine a Star Trek fan out there who hasn't heard of Star Trek: Axanar, a fan based movie by uber Trek fan and filmmaker Alex Peters. Peters and his partners raised over one million in crowd funding to make what some call the most professional, big studio quality fan movie ever.
In 2014, Peters and director Christian Gusset made the short fan film Prelude to Axanar, which was funded through Kickstarter. The production sought $10,000 in funding, but raised over $100,000. Prelude was a documentary style set up for their main project, Axanar, and was successfully used to raise money for the main production.
“Axanar” is set roughly 21 years before the Original Star Trek TV series, and revolves around Garth of Izar, the Star Fleet Captain that was featured in the episode, Whom Gods Destroy. In the episode, the Enterprise delivers a medicine that will cure insanity. Kirk and Spock beam down to the underground asylum and are captured by a shape-shifting inmate named Garth, a former Starlet Captain and one of Kirk's heroes. As Kirk explains, Garth held the record for charting new worlds, and was pivotal in the Federation victory at the Battle of Axanar— in fact, Garth's exploits were "required reading at the Academy". Garth tries to impersonate Kirk in an attempt to take over the Enterprise and conquer the galaxy with a new explosive that he's invented— Did I mention that he's insane.
So why sue the filmmakers now, especially when Paramount has encouraged fan based books and films for over forty years? Could it be that Peters and crew have given Star Trek fans a better film than the latest big budget films and the last several TV series?
According to Paramount/CBS they are suing Peters and his associates for their "unabashed use of intellectual property and it's aim for the movie to look and feel like a true Star Trek movie".
Peters released a statement to the press stating that it's the "fans who are most affected here", and the studio is "suing the very people who have enthusiastically maintained the universe that Gene Roddenberry created".
Keep in mind that Peters and group are not selling the movie or showing it in theaters, so it's not like Paramount/CBS is losing any money. However they may just be losing face given the quality of the production.
Does Paramount have a point in suing or are they just being petty? What do you think?