While the first trailer for Star Trek: Beyond posted earlier this month has plenty of fans of the franchise excited, it’s not the only Star Trek movie currently in the works. Axanar is a fan film, at least in the strictest sense of the word, but it has already raised over $1 million in crowdfunding and has drawn support from Star Trek alum George Takei.
This type of work has existed for a long time, and CBS and Paramount have a long history of accepting such things. At least, until now they did. On December 25, CBS and Paramount filed a lawsuit against the creators of Axanar, seeking an injunction that would halt the production of the movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The suit claims that the film, which is set 21 years before the events of the original series, violates the intellectual property rights held by the plaintiffs in the series. According to the companies, Axanar uses “innumerable copyrighted elements of Star Trek, including its settings, characters, species, and themes.”
“Star Trek is a treasured franchise in which CBS and Paramount continue to produce new original content for its large universe of fans,” a joint statement issued by the two companies reads. “The producers of Axanar are making a Star Trek picture they describe themselves as a fully professional independent Star Trek film. Their activity clearly violates our Star Trek copyrights, which, of course, we will continue to vigorously protect.”
Axanar producer, writer, and actor Alex Peters says the project isn’t just going to call it a wrap. “We’ve certainly been prepared for this and we certainly will defend this lawsuit,” Peters told The Hollywood Reporter. “There are a lot of issues surrounding a fan film. These fan films have been around for 30 years, and others have raised a lot of money.”
While plenty of other fan works in the Star Trek universe have existed without facing legal action, the production values and fan attention of Axanar likely made it a bigger target. A 21-minute lead-up to the film titled Prelude to Axanar is available on YouTube and shows how impressive the production is for its comparatively low budget.
For more details on the suit, see the full complaint, which is posted online.