Star Trek fan-filmmakers are not playing. They spend countless dollars and hours on elaborate tribute productions, build exact replicas of the bridge from the original Enterprise in their barns, agonize over the placement of their fictions in the established Trek Universe, create professional-looking special effects, and some actually learn how to act. It’s a level of love and dedication most people don’t understand, but it’s the kind of devotion that sci-fi fans have always shown the series, from its birth in the ‘60s to the films, to the Next Generation, and through all the more recent incarnations of the show.
Star Trek: New Voyages
|Captain Jeffery Pierce of the U.S.S. Hathaway.
is probably the most ambitious project in fan-film history: New Voyages
co-creators James Cawley and Jack Marshall aim to complete the original Star Trek' s
famous five-year mission. They've cast themselves as Kirk and Spock, dropped over a hundred thousand dollars on an exact replica of the original set, scored writers, production people and effects wizards who've worked on various "official" Star Trek
series, and even managed to cast Walter Koenig, the original Mr. Chekov, to star in their upcoming episode, "To Serve All My Days.” For more on New Voyages
, check out this Wired
|Klingons from Star Trek: Hidden Frontier.
heads up another huge Star Trek
fan project. The Austin, Texas production company created an entirely original Star Trek
series, Starship Exeter
, with scripts, sets, costumes and effects rivaling anything from the original Trek
. Like most Star Trek
fan films, Exeter
favors the manly/kitchy vibe of the original series, and slavishly recreates the feel of classic Trek
, from the primary colors to the blinking computer lights to the crackle of the tricorders. The attention to detail is amazing. A complete episode is available on their site and a second is in production.
|Commander Lara on the bridge of the U.S.S. Hathaway.
Of course, most fan offerings are more DIY than New Voyages
, with some consisting of little more than the filmmakers dressed in a very loose approximation of a Star Fleet uniform pretending to shoot phasers. But quality or not, every fan film has something unique to offer, even if it's nothing more than a record of the enthusiasm of the filmmaker. Here' s a sampler of some of what's out there:
- Star Trek: Hidden Frontier features very impressive computer effects and is in its seventh season! The series takes a cue from slash fiction by featuring the first male-to-male kiss in Star Trek history.
- "He Who Draws the Sword" is a Star Trek film set in the "Mirror Universe."
- The U.S.S. Hathway is soon-to-be-released fan series set during the same time period as Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan.
- If parody is your bag, check out Star Trecch.
- "Dark Armada" is some fandom from the Netherlands.
- U.S.S. Intrepid promises to “Forge a New Frontier”
- Star Trek Unity is the first machinima Star Trek series.
- Stone Trek is a parody featuring a combination of Trek and the Flintstones.
- Should you want to enter the fray of Star Trek fan films yourself, check out Steve Trek, a handy guide to approximating the show's special effects.