Prelude to Axanar is a 21 minute short fan film that came out online in 2014 (I dunno how come I missed watching it till last night). Funded through Kickstarter, production sought $10,000 in funding, but in gaining $101,000, received more than ten times the amount originally sought. Set in the Star Trek universe, the film stars Kate Vernon, Tony Todd, Richard Hatch, Gary Graham, and J. G. Hertzler, in a documentary-style film recounting the events surrounding the Battle of Axanar, a major clash between the Federation and the Klingons. The film’s purpose was to show that high quality ‘Star Trek‘ films can be made on a low budget. The film’s visual effects were done by Tobias Richter and Tommy Kraft, makeup was by Kevin Haney, and sound design was by Frank Serafine.
Shot to look like a documentary, Prelude To Axanar is about the Four Years War with the Klingon Empire, narrated by noted historian John Gill and featuring interviews with the various characters involved in the war. It begins 2 decades before the beginning of Star Trek : The Original Series – the Klingons, who do not see the Federation as worthy opponents in battle, attack and destroy Acranis IV, a prosperous Federation colony along the Klingon border. Under the leadership of their Supreme Commander Kharn, the Klingons continue their attack for 6 months. The Vulcans send a diplomatic delegation led by Ambassador Soval but they have little to no effect. In response to the losses suffered in the war, Starfleet appoints a new Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Marcus Ramirez, who pledges in a fleet-wide broadcast to defend “the dream of the Federation” against the Klingons’ committment to its destruction. Ramirez oversees the construction of the first warship of the Federation, the prototype USS Ares and several others in it’s class, to counter the Klingons’ mainstay, the D6 battle-cruiser.
With the introduction of the formidable Ares, the tides turn decisively towards the side of the Federation and the Klingons now change their minds about the Federation and also come to admire Captain Kelvin Garth, commander of the Ares. They then begin contruction of the D7 battle-cruisers to counteract the threat of the Ares and would restore the Klingons’ technical and military advantage. In response, Starfleet begins developing their own next-generation heavy cruiser, the Constitution-class, but construction falls behind schedule. To gain more time to finish their new heavy cruiser, Starfleet approves a plan proposed by Garth to fight the Klingons at Axanar, the planet where Kharn’s spies have reported the Constitution prototypes (revealed to be the Constitution and the Enterprise) are being built. The film ends on Stardate 2245.1, just before the battle at Axanar, when the first three D7s enter the war.
This short film is so awesome I cannot believe that it is a fan made film. It looks amazing and the acting of the cast is so good and spot on. It looks so much better than anything JJ Abrahms has done with the franchise so far. I am really surprised that I can be so excited about three fan based productions (Star Trek Continues, Star Trek Renegades and this one) that is head & shoulders above the cannon stuff that Paramount is releasing. Raising $650,000 through creation and release of Prelude to Axanar, they are now in pre-production for the feature film Star Trek: Axanar, with production slated to begin in September 2014, and filming expected to commence by December for a 2015 release. Joining the cast will be Garreth Wang.
The Star Trek universe is so vast that even if every studio in the world created their own series or film, it would still just be the tip of the iceberg. May this trend continue. I want more Trek!