Axanar Timeline

See also: Timeline of the legal case

This is a timeline chronicling the entire Axanar project. AxaMonitor also offers a separate timeline tracking just the progress of the lawsuit.

RECENT UPDATES January 20, 2017 Axanar settles lawsuit with CBS/Paramount.

Significant Dates in Axanar History

Click on any subheading below for more detail about each event.

c. 1990
Alec Peters, inspired by the FASA Star Trek game, writes a story1) about Capt. Garth of Izar, a character in the Star Trek episode "Whom Gods Destroy" and the Battle of Axanar, part of the non-canonnot part of the established in-universe history of Star Trek Four Years War between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.
2010
June: Alec Peters First Portrays Capt. Garth
As part of the still-unreleased Star Trek: New Voyages episode, “Origins: The Protracted Man,” Peters first plays Captain Garth peeking in on Cadet James Kirk taking his Kobayashi Maru test.2)
2012
June: Alec Peters Portrays Capt. Garth Again
Alec Peters portrays Garth of Izar in the fan production, Star Trek: New Voyages, vignette, “Going Boldly.”3)
September 24: 'Star Trek: Axanar' Announced
Alec Peters announces on TrekBBS his intent to produce Star Trek: Axanar, a “one-shot feature … about 75 minutes long. It will be shot both at the Phase II sets, and here in L.A. at my warehouse, which we are emptying out for use as a sound stage. It has a rather large budget for a fan film, all funded by me.”4)
2013
October 30: 'Star Trek: Axanar' Film Posted on IMDb
Producers list the film, then called Star Trek: Axanar,5) on the Internet Movie Database with a status of ‘pre-production,’ meaning it was close to filming, with a scheduled release date of 2014.
2014
March 31: 'Prelude to Axanar' Kickstarter Campaign
A month-long Kickstarter campaign concludes with 2,123 backers donating $101,171 to produce the short film, Prelude to Axanar. The fundraising goal was only $10,000.6)
May 4 & 8: 'Prelude to Axanar' Shooting Dates
Director Christian Gossett completes the shoot for Prelude to Axanar in two days in Los Angeles.
July 26: 'Prelude to Axanar' Premieres
The short film, Prelude to Axanar, premieres in San Diego during Comic-Con, to herald the beginning of the project’s second Kickstarter campaign.7)
August 24: 'Axanar' Kickstarter Campaign
The second Kickstarter campaign concludes with 8,548 backers donating $638,471 for production of the feature film, Star Trek: Axanar (later re-titled to simply Axanar.)8)
November 17: Name Change to 'Axanar'
Producer Alec Peters announces the name of the feature film is being shortened to simply Axanar. “In deference to CBS, we have removed the Star Trek branding from our website. and our Facebook page,” he wrote. “We are cognizant that we are using CBS’ intellectual property and we wish to minimize the use of that IP in our film and in our overall production.”9)
2015
January 8: Production Status Reverts to 'In Development'
Plans to proceed with filming are put on pause as the studio build-out progresses.
March 16: Production Status Back to 'Pre-Production'
Star Trek: Axanar‘s IMDb production status is upgraded to ‘pre-production,’ with the accompanying note, “We shoot in May/June.” Those plans were derailed by the news on May 12.
May 12: Director Christian Gossett Resigns
Producer Alec Peters says director Christian Gossett resigns to take a position on another feature film.10) 11)
June 13: 'Vulcan Scene' Shot
Under new director Robert Meyer Burnett, filming takes place in California for this three-minute scene from Axanar featuring Ambassador Soval, reprised by actor Gary Graham.12)
July 10: 'Vulcan Scene' Released
A three-minute scene from the feature film, still titled Star Trek: Axanar at that point, featuring Vulcan Ambassador Soval (Gary Graham), is publicly released.13) The scene is removed from public view in 2016 after the lawsuit is filed.
July 31: 'Axanar' Indiegogo Campaign
The third crowdfunding campaign, now moved to to the Indiegogo platform reaches its initial $330,000 goal, just 20 days since the campaign launched.14)
August 10: Indiegogo Campaign Formally Closes
The month-long Indiegogo campaign formally concludes, with more than $470,000 in donations.15)
August 11: 'Axanar' Indiegogo Campaign Extended
Indiegogo moves Axanar to its “In Demand” category, which allows ongoing fundraising beyond the initial campaign. Producers raise their goal to $1.32 million to fund four episodes of Axanar, comprising the feature-length film.16)
August 6-9: 'Axanar' Producer Meets with CBS Officials
Axanar producer Alec Peters meets with CBS Officials during the Star Trek Las Vegas event to seek parameters within which he can continue to operate Axanar. His version: They refused to tell me anything. Their version: We’re not authorizing, sanctioning or licensing this project in any way. CBS goes on to issue a formal statement describing Axanar as a “professional commercial [venture] trading off our property rights.”17)
August 25: CBS Hints at Legal Action
Following a fruitless meeting between producer Alec Peters and two CBS officials, the industry news site, The Wrap, asks of Axanar, “[Its] seven-figure bankroll raises questions about just how “fan” the project is and at what point it poses a threat to the authorized franchise.” CBS issues this statement:

“CBS has not authorized, sanctioned or licensed this project in any way, and this has been communicated to those involved. We continue to object to professional commercial ventures trading off our property rights and are considering further options to protect these rights.”18)
September 1: Tony Todd Leaves Cast
Actor Tony Todd announces he’s leaving Axanar. This is not acknowledged by the production until after the copyright lawsuit is filed in December.
October: 'Heroes' Shoot, 'Axanar' VFX Work Begins
"Heroes' Vignette Shot on 'New Voyages' Set
Director Robert Meyer Burnett and producer Alec Peters travel to upstate New York to shoot a short, Heroes, on the sets of the fan production, Star Trek: New Voyages. The vignette tells the story of Capt. Garth’s rehabilitation following the events of the Original Series episode Whom Gods Destroy (episode), 23 years after the events to be portrayed in Axanar.19)
'Axanar' Visual Effects Begins Shooting
In order to make a planned September 8, 2016, release date for Axanar, director Robert Burnett commissions work first on the script’s visual effects, collaborating with VFX wizard Tobias Richter.20)
December 15: Axanar Annual Report Released
Axanar Productions releases to donors only a revised 23-page annual report outlining spending through July 31, 2015, from its two Kickstarter campaigns.21) Paramount and CBS file a copyright lawsuit two weeks later.
December 29: Copyright Lawsuit Filed
Paramount Pictures and CBS file suit against Axanar Productions and Alec Peters, alleging knowing infringement of their Star Trek copyrights, seeking damages and an injunction to prevent production of Axanar.
December 30: Tony Todd Cites Accountability Problems
In a series of messages on Twitter, actor Tony Todd disputes Alec Peters’ account of why Todd left the project and raises questions about the accountability of the project.
2016
January 9: Indiegogo Campaign Closed
  • In light of the lawsuit, the Indiegogo campaign is shuttered.22) Axanar has raised $574,434 from 7,660 donors, 43.5 percent of the $1.32 million producers say they need to make Axanar.23)
  • Axanar has raised about $104,000 since the Indiegogo effort changed to an ongoing campaign on August 11, 2015.
  • Meanwhile, Axanar continues accepting direct donations on its website.24)
January 21: Production Halted
Axanar agrees to halt production for 30 days to allow its pro bono defense counsel to file a response to the lawsuit.
February 8: 'Vulcan Scene' Removed
In light of the copyright infringement lawsuit, Axanar removes the three-minute Axanar 'Vulcan Scene’ from public view on YouTube.25)
February 21: Night of the Long Knives
On the eve of filing its response to the lawsuit, Axanar closes off its Facebook groups to the public, deletes dissenting discussion threads and summarily ejects donors deemed unsupportive.
February 22: Defense Files Motion to Dismiss
Axanar’s lawyer files a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.
February 29: Plaintiffs Forego Filing Brief
CBS and Paramount forego filing a brief opposing the motion to dismiss in favor of amending the legal complaint, thereby sending the case to a scheduling conference ordered by the judge.
March 11: Plaintiffs File Amended Legal Complaint
CBS and Paramount file a more detailed, amended legal complaint, obviating the motion to dismiss.
March 16: Sale of Ares Studios Announced
Axanar Productions announces a private investment group plans to buy out its “Ares Studios” assets, built with hundreds of thousands of dollars in donor funds.
March 18: 'Axanar' Reverts from 'Pre-Production' to 'In Development'
The Axanar IMDb listing changes the production status of the film from ‘pre-production’ to ‘in development,’ indicating the project is not anywhere near ready to start shooting.

With this status, the cast and crew lists become invisible to the public and can only be viewed by subscribers to IMDb Pro.
March 28: Defense Files New Motion to Dismiss
The defendants file a new motion to dismiss the amended complaint.
April 11: Plaintiffs File Opposition to Dismissal
CBS and Paramount file briefs opposing the defense motion to dismiss.
May 2: Both Sides File Joint Statement
Documents filed jointly by plaintiffs’ and defense attorneys reveal upcoming settlement talks before a federal magistrate, an emerging copyright fair use defense strategy, discovery plans and a proposed schedule leading up to a 2017 trial.
May 4: Judge Cancels Dismissal Hearing
Judge Klausner issues a scheduling notice to all parties and order stating he won’t hold a hearing on the defense motion to dismiss, instead choosing to make his decision only from the submitted pleadings.
May 9: Judge Denies Motion to Dismiss
In a sweeping rejection of arguments made by the defense, Judge Klausner denies the pending motion to dismiss and orders the copyright infringement lawsuit to move forward.
May 9: Scheduling Conference
Both sides meet to discuss their plans for discovery, and explore possible settlement talks before a federal magistrate and revise a schedule leading up to a January 2017 trial. The pre-trial timeline is here.
May 20: Axanar to Get Legal Reprieve?
At a fan event for Paramount’s upcoming Star Trek Beyond, producer J.J. Abrams announces that the film’s director, Justin Lin, interceded on Axanar’s behalf to bring the lawsuit to an end within weeks. Paramount confirms settlement talks and that it plans to issue fan film guidelines.26)
May 23: Axanar Files Lawsuit Response and Counterclaim
The defense files its response to the legal complaint, including a counterclaim seeking a declaratory judgment against copyright infringement, attorneys’ fees, and other unspecified relief. The counterclaim prevents the plaintiffs from unilaterally dropping the suit, as suggested by J.J. Abrams.27)
May 25: Doe Day of Reckoning
This is the deadline for the unnamed ‘Doe’ defendants to be revealed. None were.
May 27: Axanar's Effort to Rally Support for Fan Film Guidelines Fails
Following disclosure by AxaMonitor of Axanar’s secret effort to secure support from other fan productions for the fan film guidelines it wants to negotiate with CBS and Paramount, almost all fan productions disavow the proposal.
June 15: CBS, Paramount Answer Axanar Counterclaim
The plaintiffs file their Answer to Axanar’s counterclaim.
June 16: Axanar Releases Teaser-Trailer
In a Buzzfeed article examining Axanar’s role in 50 years of Star Trek fandom, the production releases the first of three teaser-trailers for the feature film. The 51-second video features only visual effects and a voiceover by actor J.G. Hertzler.
June 18: Axanar Releases, Later Pulls Full-Length Trailer
After treating attendees at Denver Comic Con to a two-minute trailer, Axanar had leaked copies taken down from YouTube and Facebook after the video was criticized for technical problems. The trailer appeared cobbled together from visual effects shots completed prior to the lawsuit, voiceovers and footage shot in October 2015 on the set of Star Trek: New Voyages that is not part of the actual film.
June 23: CBS, Paramount Issue Fan Film Guidelines
CBS and Paramount Pictures reveal a set of guidelines for fan films that would, among other provisions, preclude the use of any professionals and running times longer than 30 minutes, the long-form used by the major fan productions, including Axanar.
June 23: Axanar Release Second Teaser-Trailer
Axanar releases its second short teaser-trailer on Space.com and YouTube.
July 22: 'Star Trek Beyond' premieres
Star Trek Beyond, the third of the J.J. Abrams-produced Star Trek feature films, directed by Justin Lin, opens nationwide.
August 23: 'Prelude' overtaken by 'Star Trek–Horizon'
Producer Alec Peters and director Robert Meyer Burnett had long touted Prelude to Axanar as the most successful Star Trek fan film — “by any metric,” Burnett said. On this date, however, the feature-length Star Trek–Horizon overtook Prelude in YouTube views. Meanwhile, Peters accuses Horizon of buying YouTube views.
2017
January 20: Settlement Announced
Alec Peters reaches an accord with CBS/Paramount that allows him to produce a 30-minute short film, Axanar. He also admits overstepping boundaries regarding the studios’ Star Trek copyright, and agrees to seek no further public funding to make Axanar. Other obstacles remain, however.
September: 'Star Trek: Discovery' Series Premieres
The new series, Star Trek: Discovery, is due to premiere on CBS television, then move to the network’s new streaming service, CBS All Access, for a 13-episode first season..



Keywords

5)
Archive.org snapshot of IMDb listing for Star Trek: Axanar, 11/18/13.
22)
Axanar Fan Group posting by Alec Peters, quoted by TrekBBS poster Dennis, 1/9/16.
24)
Axanar website home page, retrieved 2/29/16.
25)
Reported in TrekBBS post by "Pindar," 2/8/16.