Very interesting. In that some viewers of Axanar hold such opinions and that David Gerrold, who is one of a small circle who really do know
Trek well enough, responded to them at all.
David Gerrold, writer of Original Series Trek: The Trouble with Tribbles, Co-producer for Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One wrote: There's a Kickstarter up for an independent production taking place in the Star Trek universe. It's called Axanar -- and I can't call it a fan film because it's being professionally produced. The first part, "Prelude To Axanar" is already online.
But that's not the point I want to address.
Axanar is a war story, so some people are saying that Axanar does not live up to Gene Roddenberry's vision of Star Trek.
There is only one LOGICAL reason why the Federation is SO committed to peace -- they know the cost of war.
This is why the nations of Japan and Germany are so committed to peace on Earth. They know first-hand the cost of war. And France and England and Italy as well. And every other nation in Europe.
The Star Trek universe of The Original Series had to be committed to peace for several reasons. First of all, we didn't have the budget to shoot war stories. Every space shot, ever special effect, every alien makeup, every costume, was a budget expense. It was easier to tell stories about avoiding the fight.
The more important reason, of course, is that Gene Roddenberry, himself a war veteran, knew the emotional cost of war and was firmly committed to the idea that war is a failure to grab the opportunity for partnership. War wastes lives. It wastes resources. Even the winner is punished by not being able to invest his energies into building schools and libraries, roads, dams, bridges, hospitals -- or in the Trek universe, exploration vessels, colonies, space stations, research facilities.
In the sixties, we were dealing with civil rights crises, the Vietnam war, a growing generation gap, a sexual revolution, spreading drug use, cultural dichotomies of all kinds, and terrible beehive hairdos.
Roddenberry wanted to do stories that addressed all those issues. But he had to remember the human scale.
In The Original Series, we occasionally referred to various terrible wars of the past that we had put behind us. We referred to them specifically to justify our commitment to peace.
We never showed those wars because we couldn't afford to do it. We didn't have the budget to do World War II in space. So we focused on the human scale of the story.
The Exec Producer of Axanar, Alec Peters, was originally fascinated by the character of Garth of Izar, and has been developing the Axanar story for the better part of a decade. This past year, he's finally begun bringing it to reality.
My experience of Alec is that he understands the Star Trek universe profoundly. He gets it. He's focusing on the human scale.
A good Star Trek story is character-based. It's not about the salt vampire or the giant space amoeba -- it's about the human beings who have to deal with that challenge, what they learn along the way, how they become better people for having been caught up in that situation. The tribble episode is not funny because tribbles are funny -- it's funny because Kirk and Spock and all the others are funny in the way they behave in the situation. Likewise, Amok Time is dramatic not because of the situation, but because we care about Kirk and Spock who are caught up in the situation.
I've read the script for Axanar -- an early draft. I made notes and offered suggestions and I helped sweep up Alec Peters' hair after he tore great clumps of it out. But the strength of his story is that it's not about the war as much as it is about the people caught up in it. Yes, there's an exciting military plot-line, one that I won't spoil here. But the real strength of the script is that there are people to care about, and it sets up the Star Trek universe for The Original Series.
It's an ambitious and worthwhile effort, and when it's completed, I think it will demonstrate that internet-based independent productions will have finally come of age. More than that, Peters will have demonstrated that there are better ways to make good movies than depending on the studios.
He should be cheered for his ambition today. Tomorrow, he will be cheered for his success.