Production Halted

Did Axanar‘s director just let slip that production is on hold until the lawsuit is resolved?

DIRECTOR Robert Burnett (Free Enterprise) says Axanar has to wait.

UPDATED 2/20/16 with comments from Axanar spokesman Mike Bawden.

Under pressure from a copyright infringement lawsuit, production on the Star Trek film, Axanar, has come to an indefinite halt, its director said February 19.

In a Facebook post on Friday, director Robert Meyer Burnett (Free Enterprise) wrote:

No one has given up. But we’ve agreed to halt all production on the film until a resolution to the suit is reached.1) 2)

Burnett’s revelation came just ahead of the Monday, February 22, filing deadline for Axanar’s Answer to the legal complaint filed two months before by CBS and Paramount Pictures. In exchange for a 30-day extension to file its Answer, Axanar had previously agreed to not proceed with filming until at least the filing deadline.

Axanar spokesman Mike Bawden did not specifically confirm Burnett’s production halt beyond the filing deadline, but said Saturday that much depends on what happens after the Answer is filed:

When production will resume is not certain, a lot of things ride on the judge’s reaction to the response to be filed by Winston & Strawn. … I can’t speculate as to the outcome of that review and whether or not production will resume immediately, sometime in the future or at all.3)

He pointed out that preproduction has never stopped, especially in light of the lawsuit:

While production work has stopped, pre-production work has not. For the most part, this consists of contingency planning and working through various production details that need to be re-examined because of delays, new directions with the script/story, interest from actors, etc. … There’s plenty to do that doesn’t require putting people in costume on a sound stage and rolling cameras.4)

Impact on Injunction

MERCH Axanar products are prepped for shipping.

For their part, plaintiffs CBS and Paramount Pictures had already asked the court for an injunction to keep Axanar from continuing to infringe on their copyrights, and a hearing on that matter would likely have followed filing of the defendants’ Answer.

It’s not clear, however, how far a voluntary “halt [on] all production on the film” might extend. For example:

  • Would it literally apply to just shooting?
  • How much preproduction can still go on?
  • Would Axanar Productions still be able to spend donors’ money on non-filming activities, such as:
    • Continuing to build out the studio?
    • Renting out the studio to other productions while their own is on hold in order to defray ongoing costs, like the building’s rent and utilities?
    • Proceeding with its announced merchandising plans creating, selling and distributing other Axanar merchandise (e.g., books, posters, patches, DVDs, Blu-rays, apparel, etc.)?

Bowden said the production is focused finding “a way to work things out with Paramount and CBS. “Those discussions can’t start in earnest until both parties have presented their initial arguments to the judge,” he said. “I’m not a party to any of that, so I can’t tell you if those conversations are happening or not.”5)

Facebook Fans Question Production

Burnett’s post was part of a long and controversial thread in the Axanar Fan Group in which administrators repeatedly warned members that questions about accountability or discussion about the lawsuit would get them banned from the group.6) 7)

In another post on the same thread, Burnett also expressed some doubt about Axanar‘s production prospects, given the lawsuit:

The sad part is, Axanar does not currently exist. For now, it’s just an idea. I think a good idea, but an idea which might never be realized, and that’s a damn shame.8)

While Burnett himself is not named in the suit, as director of the feature film he is widely believed to be one of the unnamed 'John Doe’ defendants described in CBS/Paramount’s legal complaint.9)

— By Carlos Pedraza 2016/02/20


A screenshot of Burnett’s announcement was posted in this message on Starfleet Headquarters Intelligence Taskforce Facebook group, retrieved 2/20/16.
View the screenshot of Burnett’s Facebook post.
3) , 4) , 5)
Email reply from Mike Bawden to AxaMonitor, received 2/20/16
View screenshot, “deleted threads,” from Axanar Fan Group on Facebook.
View screenshot, “group admins threaten,” from Axanar Fan Group on Facebook.
View screenshot, “the sad part,” from Axanar Fan Group on Facebook.
Complaint, Paramount v. Axanar, p. 3 ¶10 uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. You can learn more about how we use cookies by reading our Privacy Policy, though cookies are not required to browse AxaMonitor. More information about cookies