TOMMY KRAFT’S fan film, Star Trek–Horizon, is set to overtake Prelude to Axanar on YouTube.

Why Star Trek–Horizon’s Success Matters


By Carlos Pedraza
AxaMonitor editor
August 18, 2016

Star Trek–Horizon remains on track to surpass Prelude to Axanar on YouTube on or about August 23. Why is this important? Chiefly, because Prelude‘s popularity is central to Axanar’s claim of legitimacy as “the most successful Star Trek fan film ever.”

UPDATE Just before 2 pm PDT, August 23, 2016, Star Trek–Horizon overtook Prelude to Axanar. Horizon had logged 2,565,757 views, compared to Prelude at 2,564,967.

See also: Axanar Accuses Horizon of Buying Views and What's Behind All the Simultaneous ‘Prelude’ Tweets?

NIPPING AT THE HEELS of Prelude to Axanar‘s astonishing viewership is upstart fan film Star Trek–Horizon, projected to surpass Prelude‘s views on August 23. (Click icon to view full size)

You see the narrative spun repeatedly in Axanar director Robert Meyer Burnett’s Twitter posts and most recently in Alec Peters’ interview for Reason magazine’s video. Central to their narrative is the notion that millions of fans watched and enjoyed Prelude, and that their wishes for more content justified Axanar’s eventual fundraising goal of $2 million.

« It’s ironic that Axanar, a fan film concept drawn from the Original Series, is being rapidly eclipsed by the one set in the much-maligned Enterprise era. »

And while Prelude is, indeed, a notable achievement, its claim has been quietly threatened by an upstart, Tommy Kraft, whose film Horizon has almost eclipsed Prelude’s YouTube views in only five months since its release; it took two years for Prelude to accumulate that many views.

ON TWITTER, in the meantime, Axanar disputed the validity of the viewer numbers, accusing Horizon‘s producers of artificially inflating viewers by buying YouTube views.

Axanar director Rob Burnett

Axanar Director Won’t Define Prelude‘s Success
UPDATE In a Twitter exchange August 18, Axanar director Robert Meyer Burnett, who had boasted in July that Prelude was the most successful Star Trek fan film "by any metric," refused to lay claim to any particular metric when confronted with Horizon‘s rapid growth in viewers.

“Nobody cares how many views Prelude to Axanar has on YouTube … except you,” Burnett tweeted.1)

In the discussion that followed, I asked, “Seriously though, I’m interested in the metrics you used in claiming Prelude to Axanar is the most successful fan film.”
Burnett: I leave that up to you.
AxaMonitor: So. Just boast, and then … “We do not discuss it with outsiders…”?
Burnett: C’mon now…you’re the expert…again…I ask..what do YOU think?2)

The more rapid growth of Horizon is not the only important difference between it and Axanar. Tommy Kraft pulled this off with a budget of less than $30,000 — a feature film, widely praised and wildly popular, that delivered what it promised.

Axanar, by comparison, with its fundraising success, decided to prioritize building an expensive revenue-generating studio ahead of actually producing a film. The cost for that sucked up the biggest chunk — 38 percent — of Axanar’s $638K Kickstarter money. Meanwhile, most of the creative and logistical talent behind the success of Prelude has departed, making the leap from 20-minute mockumentary to feature-length narrative an even greater challenge than before.

IT’S IRONIC that Axanar, a fan film concept drawn from the Original Series, is being rapidly eclipsed by the one set in the much-maligned Enterprise era.

The lesson here is that a creative producer, dedicated to his fans, focused on his goal, putting every penny he raised on the screen, can deliver a high-quality production that has attracted an astounding audience in record-setting time, solely on word-of-mouth, without having to rely on a sophisticated marketing operation.

One might observe that’s a sign of the most successful Star Trek fan film ever.


Both Star Trek–Horizon and Prelude to Axanar are available on YouTube: