16 years and still running!
We can now say that the Battle of Axanar is over…Paramount/CBS and Axanar productions have reached a settlement in the suit against the fan-produced Axanar film. With things looking bleak earlier this month when Axanar was denied fair use status, so there wasn’t much surprise that a settlement was reached. It wasn’t much in the film’s favor, but it will see the light of day in a shortened form with major modifications, restricted to two 15-minute episodes released on YouTube sans ads (they will not be allowed to monetize the film), along with Prelude to Axanar with the same restrictions. Producer Alec Peters also admitted that the production “crossed the line” and was not approved by Paramount/CBS.
Axanar wasn’t the only loser here though, as Paramount/CBS lost a lot of the fan love they had by bringing on this suit.
The full text of the announcement is here:
Paramount Pictures Corporation, CBS Studios Inc., Axanar Productions, Inc. and Alec Peters are pleased to announce that the litigation regarding Axanar’s film Prelude to Axanar and its proposed film Axanar has been resolved. Axanar and Mr. Peters acknowledge that both films were not approved by Paramount or CBS, and that both works crossed boundaries acceptable to CBS and Paramount relating to copyright law.
Axanar and Mr. Peters have agreed to make substantial changes to Axanar to resolve this litigation, and have also assured the copyright holders that any future Star Trek fan films produced by Axanar or Mr. Peters will be in accordance with the “Guidelines for Fan Films” distributed by CBS and Paramount in June 2016.
Paramount and CBS continue to be big believers in fan fiction and fan creativity. They encourage amateur filmmakers to showcase their passion for Star Trek. Paramount and CBS will not object to, or take legal action against, Star Trek fan productions that are non-professional, amateur, and otherwise meet the Guidelines, which can be found at http://www.startrek.com/fan-films. Paramount and CBS would like Star Trek fans, with their boundless creativity and passion, to “Live Long and Prosper.”
I’ve never been a “fan” of the Power Rangers. I’ve watched it in the earlier years, and occasionally since…one of my daughters picked up on a more recent series so saw a bit of that. But the feature movie, due out March 24th, appears to be a step above them all. It appears to take the concept with full seriousness, and brings to bear current heavy hitters Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, Pitch Perfect) as Rita Repulsa and Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) as Zordon in a reboot of the franchise for the big screen. It will be interesting to see how the serious reboot of the campy adaptation of the Japanese Super Sentai series will work out.
Well, we thought a May air date seemed very ambitious for a show that hadn’t begun production, and it turns out to be true – we hear from several sources now that Star Trek: Discovery will not make the planned May debut date, which had already been pushed back from the original plan of this month. Production does start next week in Toronto at least.
While CBS has been tight-lipped as to specific reasons, Entertainment Weekly gives two reasons – one, star Sonequa Martin-Green would be appearing on her current hit show, The Walking Dead (at least if they don’t kill her off earlier) and there could be “marketplace confusion”, and also that they are still working on various decisions to be made on directors, visual effects, etc.
No new target date has been set. CBS Television Studios did respond to EW’s inquiry, stating “This is an ambitious project; we will be flexible on a launch date if it’s best for the show.” So they are still behind the show, and determined to do it right and not rushed.
In the meantime a little good news: they signed another actor in a key role – James Frain, who currently appears in Fox’s Gotham. Frain will play Sarek – yes, the Sarek that is Spock’s father. The character was also the Vulcan ambassador to the United Federation of Planets (in the time of the original series) and an astrophysicist. He was played by the late Mark Lenard, who appeared in several of the series and movies (and even once as the Romulan Commander in “Balance of Terror”, which introduced the Romulans to the universe.) How the character fits in to the show has not been released.
Despite the poor response to 2011’s Green Lantern movie, and no sign of any green-clad characters in the upcoming Justice League movie, it appears that Warner Bros still has the willpower to move forward with a sequel in some form, assigning David Goyer (the Batman Dark Knight movies, Batman Vs. Superman) and Justin Rhodes (Fantastic Voyage) to work on a script according to a report from Deadline.
According to the report, the script, based on a story from Goyer and DC story maven Geoff Johns will focus on two of Earth’s Green Lanterns – Hal Jordan, who was the first human Lantern (and played by Ryan Reynolds in the 2011 movie), and John Stewart, Jordan’s backup, a Marine veteran and the first African American superhero in the DC Comics universe.
A director has yet to be announced as would a cast. It would seem doubtful that Reynolds would reprise the Jordan character given the results of the first movie and the fact that he’s currently working on Deadpool 2.
AMC announced during their TCA presentation this week that they have ordered six one-hour episodes of a documentary series on the history of science fiction from James Cameron, to air sometimes in 2018.
James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction will have each episode asking one of the “Big Questions” that humanity faced all through history, and looks at how science fiction has attempted to answer those questions and steer humanity into the future.
“When I was a kid, I basically read any book with a spaceship on the cover and I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey many, many times,” Cameron said. “The movie inspired me to become a filmmaker. I liked the special effects, but I really loved the ideas and the questions behind them: How will the world end? Will technology destroy us? What does it mean to be human?”
The Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle will consult on the series.
James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction will be produced by Left/Right, and executive produced by Cameron, Maria Wilhelm, Ken Druckerman and Banks Tarver.
Syfy Films is pleased to announce the release of the anticipated sci-fi thriller Atomica, in theaters on March 17, 2017 and on VOD and Digital HD on March 21, 2017. The film is directed by Dagen Merrill (Beneath, Broken Hill, Murder in the Dark) and written by Kevin Burke (Ultimate Spider-Man, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Beneath), Fred Fernandez-Armesto and Adam Gyngell. The cast includes Dominic Monaghan (the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Pet), Tom Sizemore (Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down) and Sarah Habel (Hostel: Part III, USA Network’s Rush).
In Atomica, when communications go offline at a remote nuclear power plant isolated in the desert, a young safety inspector, Abby Dixon, is forced to fly out to bring them back online. Once inside the facility, mysterious clues and strange behavior cause Abby to have doubts about the sanity and, perhaps, identities of the two employees onsite.
Atomica is produced by Jaime Burke (The Pact, The Possession of Michael King) and Vahan Paretchan (The Millionaire Tour) and executive produced by Simon Chen, Kieth Merrill (Broken Hill, The 12 Dogs of Christmas), Shawn Sackman, Barry G. Walker (Solara, Finding Harmony) and Dominic Monaghan.
It has been rumored the past several days but it is now confirmed that Woody Harrelson, most famous for his role on the hit TV series Cheers, and more recently as Haymitch Abernathy in The Hunger Games, is indeed signed to play an unspecified role in the upcoming Star Wars anthology movie that will follow a young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) and Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). While Lucasfilm isn’t saying what the role is, sources say that he is some form of mentor to the young scoundrel.
“We couldn’t be more excited to work with an artist with as much depth and range as Woody,” according to directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, who released a statement. “His ability to find both humor and pathos, often in the same role, is truly unique. He is also very good at ping pong.”
The new movie, which does not yet have a title, is scheduled for release late in 2018.
The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art will be located near Exposition Park, near the Los Angeles Coliseum, where currently there are parking lots, and is designed by Ma Yansong of MAD Architects, with a design that evokes a sleek, spaceship-like shape. Inside there will be 265,000–275,000 square feet of space, with nearly 100,000 square feet for galleries. Parking will be created underground for up to 1800 vehicles.
Originally Lucas had looked to Chicago, and later San Francisco’s Treasure Island, but L.A. won out.
The board of directors released the following statement:
“After extensive due diligence and deliberation, the Board of Directors of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art is pleased to announce plans to build the museum in Exposition Park in Los Angeles. We have been humbled by the overwhelmingly positive support we received from both San Francisco and Los Angeles during our selection process. Settling on a location proved to be an extremely difficult decision precisely because of the desirability of both sites and cities.
The board wishes to extend a special thanks to Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for their tremendous efforts and engagement. While each location offers many unique and wonderful attributes, South Los Angeles’s Promise Zone best positions the museum to have the greatest impact on the broader community, fulfilling our goal of inspiring, engaging and educating a broad and diverse visitorship. Exposition Park is a magnet for the region and accessible from all parts of the city. As a museum uniquely focused on narrative art, we look forward to becoming part of a dynamic museum community, surrounded by more than 100 elementary and high schools, one of the country’s leading universities as well as three other world-class museums.
Now we turn our attention to finalizing the details and building what we believe will be one of the most imaginative and inclusive art museums in the world—a global destination that all Angelenos and Californians will be proud to call their own.”
“I can take care of myself. I’m from Texas.”
But why does Jack The Ripper seem at home in the present day?
The ABC series remake of Time After Time, starring Freddie Stroma as H G Wells and Josh Bowman as John Stevenson, premieres Sunday, March 5 at 9/8c on ABC.
It’s been a while since we last reported on it, but the crowdfunded production called Axanar received a setback this week in its defense against the lawsuit from CBS/Paramount, which is still going on.
Axanar, being produced by Axanar Productions, is essentially a fan-made prequel film to the original Star Trek series, telling the story of Garth of Izar, who appears as a character in the original series episode “Whom Gods Destroy”, a former starship fleet captain now held in an insane asylum after he ordered the genocide of an entire species who had helped heal his maimed body, when they refused his offer to help rule the galaxy. Axanar tells the story of the Battle of Axanar, where Garth was pivotal in the victory over the Klingons and his tactics became required reading at Starfleet Academy. Additional backstory for the character appears in licensed novels.
U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner denied Axanar Productions request for dismissal, on the grounds that the suit was premature because the film is unfinished and falls under fair use, saying that Axanar would need to prove in court to a jury that their production is substantively different from the copyrighted material. Given that they are using a character and situation that is established in Star Trek canon and within the licensed universe, Judge Klausner ruled that Axanar were using copyrighted works, but a jury would need to decide whether they would be confusion to a “lay person” over whether it was a production of the copyright holders.
Last time we reported on the situation, Star Trek movie producer J.J. Abrams claimed he and Star Trek: Beyond director Justin Lin asked for the suit to be stopped, and stated on stage “it will be announced this is going away, and that fans would be able to continue working on their project”. But as it turns out he apparently ad-libbed the segment at a Star Trek fan event, fell on deaf ears at CBS/Paramount.