Since December 2015, Paramount Pictures and CBS Studios have been caught up in a lawsuit against Axanar Productions, the production company that raised $1 million funding from Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns to create the fan film Star Trek: Axanar. The legal battle over this instance of copyright infringement has been monitored closely by Star Trek fans, with many disagreeing with the way the studios handled this matter given that many other fan films have been released over the years without problems. Now over a year after this whole thing kicked off, the case has been settled, and the Axanar film will be moving forward with some adjustments.
Axanar Productions announced earlier today that they reached a "formal resolution" to the lawsuit. The agreement includes them still being allowed to show the Prelude to Axanar tale commercial-free on YouTube, as well as producing the main Star Trek: Axanar movie as two fifteen-minute segments on YouTube, also without ads. There are still some extra requirements to work out over the next sixty days, but with this decision, the Axanar crew is free to move forward on principal photography at a later date working within the Guideline for Fan Films.
The journey towards reaching this resolution hit a few bumps along the way. In March 2016, Star Trek: Axanar received support from Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin and his immediate predecessor J.J. Abrams, the latter of whom implied that the lawsuit would go away. However, that following summer, Paramount and CBS made it clear to a California federal judge that they would be moving forward with the case, and in October, it was reported that Lin and Abrams could be pulled into court to testify. Among the issues that the studios had with the Axanar film included the tunics and appearance of the Vulcans looking too similar to what were seen in the original 1960s TV series, as well as the copyright surrounding the Klingon language. The trial was scheduled to begin this month, but now the messy situation has been resolved before going too deep in.
If you want a taste of what Star Trek: Axanar might be like, check out Prelude to Axanar below.
Meanwhile, the official Star Trek franchise is continuing to produce content for both the big and small screens. Movie-wise, Star Trek Beyond was released in theaters last July, and Star Trek 4 (which doesn't have a release date assigned yet) will see Chris Hemsworth reprising George Kirk, James T. Kirk's father who died at the beginning of 2009's Star Trek. On television, CBS has been building its cast for Star Trek: Discovery, the series airing on the channel's All Access streaming service that will take place roughly a decade before The Original Series. There's no word yet on when either of those projects will premiere, with Discovery having recently been delayed from its May premiere date.
Stay tuned to CInemaBlend for all things Star Trek as more updates come in.