For those in the know in the world of Gene Roddenberry’s seminal sci-fi TV property, longtime franchise producer Alec Peters has been hard at work on Star Trek Axanar: a fan-film based on the eponymous series that is set to predate the original run of Star Trek episodes, and will feature the war against the Klingon Empire that nearly destroyed the Federation. Unfortunately for Peters, his hopes of producing a studio-quality film outside of the auspices of copyright holders Paramount Pictures and CBS has led to his production being sued for perceived appropriation of certain “settings, characters, species, and themes.”
Axanar Productions, under Peters’ leadership, has sought legal counsel in their fight to get Star Trek Axanar made and distributed, and have subsequently brought a dismissal motion to court requesting more specificity in the claims made by Paramount and CBS in regards to the copyright infringement. As the case continues, it appears that the plaintiffs have made their specific qualms known in a recent batch of official court papers – ones detailing the instances of explicit infringement within Axanar Productions’ initial film prelude (which has already seen release online).
According to THR, the various “settings, characters, species, and themes” to which Paramount previously referred include such staples of the franchise as the outward appearance and Vulcan race and the name of their home planet, various Federation uniforms and ornaments, and certain character names and likenesses – according to an amended lawsuit. More specifically, however, Paramount claims that they hold the copyright to the Vulcan language, which could set back production on Peters’ Star Trek Axanar indefinitely if the court rules in favor of the current copyright holders.
Given the importance of Vulcan lore and culture to the Star Trek universe, it would be neigh impossible for Star Trek Axanar to continue production if Paramount were to win this particular point – as the Vulcan language has served as a staple of any production influenced by Roddenberry’s original Star Trek series. To go on without the right to explicitly use and make reference to the Vulcans, in sight and sound, would be a potentially insurmountably concession to be made on the behalf of Axanar Productions, making the case against them even more tricky going forward.
Thus far, Peters’ has made the claim that, “CBS has a long history of accepting fan films“ – though, Paramount and its associated plaintiff appear unbending in their desire to stop this particular unlicensed Star Trek production. Despite raising an initial $500,000 on IndieGoGo, the future of a feature-length Star Trek Axanar may unfortunately now be in a place of indeterminate peril from which it may not be able to break free.
Screen Rant will bring you more details on Star Trek Axanar as they become available.