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.”
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.
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.
“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.
Just a quick roundup on end-of-2016 events…most notably that it’s been the biggest U.S. box office year for movies ever, taking in $11.13 billion with a few days of strong tracking to go. Leading the pack was Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory at $486 million, followed Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which had $424M, and Captain America: Civil War at $408M, giving Disney’s divisions the box office trifecta for 2016. Rogue One also looks to keep running into 2017, as it reached it’s mark in only 16 days!
While slower at gaining a box office following, Arrival, which cost much less to make than Rogue One and faced a lot of competition after its release, passed $150 million in the global box office, which is not bad for a “thinker” science fiction movie.
What happens when you mash up a superhero story with Doctor Who on Christmas Day? You get the most watched program in 2016 for BBC America. “The Return of Doctor Mysterio” had 1.7 million viewers in the Live+3 ratings and topped all the key demographics, as well as being the channels most active program on social media. Still not sure when the upcoming season will begin, but we are thinking around April.
We now have the last (known) member of Robinson family. Mina Sundwall (Maggie’s Plan, Freeheld) is set to play Penny Robinson in the upcoming Lost In Space remake for Netflix.
Just recently announced was Ignacio Serricchio as Don West. Both are joining Toby Stephens (John Robinson), Taylor Russell (Judy Robinson), Max Jenkins (Will Robinson), Molly Parker (Maureen Robinson) and Parker Posey (Dr. Smith).
The remake is set to take off sometime in 2018, and will take cues from the original, but it remains to be seen if they try to adhere to the seriousness of the early episodes, or the pure camp of most of the series – or somewhere in between.
Ahead of its second season premiere, Syfy is taking a deep dive into the world of The Expanse, the series that’s been called “the best science fiction show in a decade” by NPR. An original half-hour special titled The Expanse: Expanded and an immersive 360-degree set tour — both hosted by Adam Savage, editor in chief of Tested.com and former co-host of MythBusters – is now online at Syfy.com, and the video is also show below. The special will also air on Syfy on Wednesday, December 28 @ 11/10c.
The Expanse: Expanded features exclusive interviews with the series’ cast, crew and creators, who share behind-the-scenes secrets and never-before-seen content from the acclaimed first season – lifting the curtain and revealing what it takes to build the mesmerizing worlds of Earth, Mars and the Asteroid Belt. Joining them are scientists, astronauts, journalists and loyal viewers, who explain why The Expanse is one of the most realistic and compelling visions of the future seen on television today. Additionally, when The Expanse: Expanded makes its broadcast debut on January 28, it will feature an exclusive sneak peek from the series’ highly anticipated second season.
“I’m a superfan of The Expanse, so I was very excited to spend time on set to see how the show is made and to talk to the people responsible for creating its immersive world: the costumes, the props, the sets, the special effects,” says Savage. “The series’ attention to detail is just extraordinary. I can’t wait to share with viewers everything I learned.”
Additionally, a full 360-degree tour of the set — led by Savage and producer and “The Expanse” book series co-author Daniel Abraham — will allow fans to virtually experience the rich world of the series. Debuting in tandem with the special today on Syfy.com, the tour includes the spectacular multi-level Rocinante ship and its accompanying stages.
The Expanse unfolds across a colonized galaxy 200 years in the future, when two strangers — hardened detective Joe Miller (Thomas Jane) and rogue captain James Holden (Steven Strait) — become unwittingly swept up in a vast conspiracy. Based on the New York Times bestselling book series collectively known as “The Expanse,” written by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck (under the pen name James S. A. Corey), The Expanse also stars Shohreh Aghdashloo, Dominique Tipper, Cas Anvar, Wes Chatham and Frankie Adams.
Season 2 of The Expanse is set to premiere Wednesday, February 1 on Syfy. Season 1 is available now via on demand and on Syfy.com, and on Amazon Prime (starting December 21).
Could the great mystery be over? Both Entertainment Weekly and Deadline report that The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green has been cast as the lead role on Star Trek: Discovery, so far only referred to as “Number One”, referring both to the character in the original series’ pilot “The Cage”, and the general reference to the first officer. But she may also have a name now – Lieutenant Commander Rainsford. CBS Television Studios has not commented.
Martin-Green has for the last several years played Sasha on The Walking Dead, and reportedly will continue in that role as well.
Now it appears that the production can finally move forward, hopefully making its May broadcast debut on CBS before moving to the CBS All Access streaming service for the remainder of its run in the U.S.
The Netflix remake of Lost In Space announced today that they have found their Major Don West in Ignacio Serricchio, who played Miguel in Zoe Ever After and had a recurring role in . He will star opposite previously announced Toby Stephens (John Robinson), Taylor Russell (Judy Robinson), Max Jenkins (Will Robinson), Molly Parker (Maureen Robinson) and Parker Posey (Dr. Smith).
Also today we know who will be playing Klingons in Star Trek: Discovery. Chris Obi will play the leader of the Klingons T’Kuvma, who is trying to unite the Klingon houses (and we know what a hard job he has…); Shazad Latif will play Commander Kol, a protégé of T’Kuvma; and Mary Chieffo will play L’Rell, the Battle Deck Commander of a Klingon ship. We are still waiting to find out who will play the lead role of “Number One”.