Friday, January 8, 2016


When the video of "Prelude to Axanar" became available on Youtube, I just rolled my eyes and ignored it. After all, its creator Alec Peters had, among other things, ACTUALLY THREATENED MY LIFE. So you'll forgive me if I was never going to be a supporter. And, by the way, I can't be the only person who noticed with not a little irony that Alec Peters' character in Axanar would go on to become a crazed lunatic bent on the destruction of all around him in the Star Trek original series episode "Whom Gods Destroy".

One of the these guys is a crazy, egocentric buffoon, bent on the destruction of everyone around him. The other is TV actor Steve Ihnat (left).
But with all this hoo-ha over Axanar, I decided that I really needed to see what all the fuss was  about. It's not that I thought I'd change my mind on the legality of the project – I have NOT. But I wanted to see why so many people were so passionate about defending an unwinnable proposition, ie: the survivability of Axanar after being sued by CBS and Paramount.

And so I cued up the video, cleared my mind, and hit "play". Here are my thoughts:

The Look

The thing really looked high-end, for the most part. The CGI was a bit uneven ranging from the burning cities – that looked a bit fake to me – to the space and ship scenes – some of which looked VERY good. Overall, not up to true feature film standards, but better than any fan film I'd ever seen. The one flaw to me was the overall design of things. Instead of establishing something retro-unique to their early Trek universe, they simply copied the aesthetic of "NuTrek", ie, the JJ Abrams films. Of all the visual touchstones to use, that's the least interesting to me, personally. And since Peters himself has panned those films, I'm shocked he'd use them as a design basis. It definitely shows a lack of creativity, however, and that shocks me not at all.

The Acting

I admit to being as big a Trek nerd as anyone, so that having Tony Todd, Gary Graham and J.G Hertzler all in one place, well, that's nerd heaven. But more to the point, they all delivered excellent performances. Kate Vernon was unknown to me (I had forgotten she was Ellen Tigh on BSG) but she also delivered a solid, engaging performance. To my surprise, I was less taken with Richard Hatch's performance. Not Klingon enough, perhaps? It's not that he was bad, just not very interesting. And then there's Alec Peters, the creator/actor/writer/"This isn't a vanity project"/visionary himself. I wish I could tell you he sucked, but he didn't. He put in a perfectly serviceable performance for an amateur. But when compared to the rest of the cast, he was obviously the weakest link. No one but he would have ever cast him as a lead role. There's no "there", there. Vanity, thy name is Alec.

The Story

And now to the heart of the matter. Because no matter how well done the CGI might be, or how good the acting might be, the heart of any production is the story.

Spoiler alert: this story was simply stupid.

At the heart of this short film is the notion that one man – Garth of Izar – comes up with a battle plan against the Klingons that is so innovative, so brilliant and of such genius, that it turns the tide of the war and establishes Garth as one of the greatest heroes of the Federation for all time.

What is the nature of his genius? Apparently, (drumroll, please) he can see... the obvious!.

We're told that Axanar is in "the heart of Federation space" and that Starfleet's next heavy cruiser – one USS Enterprise, by name – is being built there. Garth knows that Axanar is a target that the Klingons cannot ignore since this new ship could match the Klingon firepower.

What was Garth's brilliant plan? As Admiral Ramirez tells us: "to battle the Klingons at Axanar". Ramirez' first thought was "how far he'd come" (Garth, that is). Huh?

Garth's flash of brilliance was to recognize that the Klingons would come to the most obvious military target in the Federation and that Starfleet should fight them there?


We're not told why such an obvious event is genius, we're simply told that it is. But, as a certain engineer once said, "if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon". Saying something is genius does not make it so. 

So this legendary figure's reputation is based solely on the fact that he was Captain Obvious? Apparently Ramirez and friends were complete and utter morons if THIS was brilliance! Garth is a genius because he doesn't drool on himself! My hero.

Bottom line: I don't get it

Now that I've seen "Prelude", I am utterly baffled by all the comments I've read that say how wonderful this is and how Axanar is real Star Trek, not like that awful Abrams stuff.

Except that the Abrams stuff is awful because it's poorly written pieces of shit. And so is Axanar. Because if the heart of your story is stupid – "Garth sees the obvious" – then everything else falls down like a house of cards. A pitiful, uninspired, house of cards.

THIS is what has so much rabid support? SERIOUSLY? I was expecting something akin to "Wrath of Khan" or at least "The Best of Both Worlds". Something more than this vapid, silly story that wouldn't impress a twelve-year-old.

As usual, William Shatner said it best: "Get a life!"




  1. What gets me is, that is the Enterprise being built at Axanar a "continuity violation?" Isn't this something fans rail on a lot when it comes to Paramount's use of the franchise, namely the "reboot" in the JJ Universe? I mean, the Enterprise was built in/over San Francisco, not Axanar.

    1. But since the ships look like JJ Trek ships, is this set in that timeline? No, because the Enterprise looks like it did in TOS and isn't being built in freakin' Iowa. But then the other ships should look more like her than JJ Trek, right? But they don't, so... head,,, exploding... from... lack... of... forethought...

    2. Well, in the context of the film, the Enterprise IS NOT being built at Axanar. As Admiral Ackbar would say: "It's a trap!"

  2. The battle plan referred to that makes Garth's reputation has nothing to do with choosing Axanar; it's tactical and it isn't specified in Prelude exactly what it is beyond it's being "crazy." I had the impression that was going to be what the film proper was about.

    I'm not puzzled by why Prelude impressed people. That Peters still has a following after his post-lawsuit antics is much more baffling.

    1. I disagree. "When Garth first presented his plan to battle the Klingons at Axanar..." is a direct quote from Ramirez. "So I signed off on the plan," he continues. "To end conflict with one final battle. To end it at Axanar". Whatever else happens at the actual battle, it is the choice of Axanar as the battle location that is given such high regard by all the commanders in the video. They are all in awe of this oh-so-obvious choice.

      As for Peters, he's his own worst enemy. Thanks for reading!

  3. "I disagree. "When Garth first presented his plan to battle the Klingons at Axanar..." is a direct quote from Ramirez."

    Yes it is. But it's not an indication that choosing Axanar was the interesting feature of the plan. The battle was happening there no matter whose battle plan was chosen, because of course it was the obvious target.

    (Admittedly I did eye-roll at the Enterprise apparently being built there.)