Axanar has attracted a lot of attention since its hugely successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns raised over a million dollars to make a movie set decades before the events of the original Star Trek series. But after over a year of tolerating the film’s existence, CBS and Paramount have cracked down.
Axanar promised to be a lavish independent production, a movie that looked at the early days of the Federation’s conflict with the Klingon Empire in the years before the original Star Trek television series and that culminated in a bloody battle at the titular planet of Axanar. The story was uncovered ground in CBS’s official Star Trek work in both movies or live-action television. Meanwhile, CBS not only had a long-standing reputation of embracing the Star Trek fan film community and their projects but had also met with Axanar executive producer Alec Peters in recent months to confirm that, as long as the new film wasn’t made for commercial purposes, CBS was fine with it.
The Hollywood Reporter just revealed that CBS and Paramount filed a lawsuit on Christmas Day seeking an injunction against Axanar in an effort to get the movie scrapped as well as seek damages for “direct, contributory and vicarious copyright infringement.” The thrust of the suit seems to be that because of Axanar’s vast crowdfunding success, the project has evolved beyond the sort of fan film that CBS would tolerate into something that violates its copyright. And presumably, with a new Star Trek show entering production next year, the thought of a wildly popular fan creation attracting attention and potential confusion is not something CBS wants.
It’s a shame, but perhaps not a surprising turn of events for Axanar. The bigger it got, the more likely it seemed that CBS would intervene—and that day has finally come.