5 reasons why I’m still looking forward to Renegades (and still intend to watch it as Trek – and how that’s just possible)

WARNING : May contain mild spoilers

In 2012 it was announced that production would begin on Star Trek: Renegades, a new independent fan film from the people who brought us ‘Of Gods and Men’. Set over decade after the return of Voyager, this would feature actors such as Walter Koenig, Tim Russ & Robert Picardo all reprising familiar roles, while introducing a bunch of new characters ready for a potential series to be pitched to CBS. By 2015 we finally saw this film, an excellent production introducing a very different look at the Star Trek universe.

The finished product was a great success, I think I was attracted to it because of the veterans, a character from TOS in a very different environment and a few from Voyager – a show which never received a movie – in fact since then the focus seems to be on TOS and TNG so the DS9/VGR lot kind of get left behind most of the time. I like the idea of revisiting old characters and moving them forward, in particular moving the Star Trek universe forward as Hidden Frontier stopped producing several years prior with their Odyssey finale and Intrepid only releases one or two times a year. Most fan films produce in the area of The Original Series.

Renegades eventually announced they would be doing it all again, with an even more stellar cast – Terry Farrell as Jadzia (somehow!) Robert Beltran as Chakotay – something I thought would never happen! The kids of DS9! All way too good to be true, of course with Chekov, Tuvok and the Renegades returning from the pilot.

The first day of filming arrived in June 2016 with the veterans reprising Jake Sisko, Tuvok, Pavel Chekov… and Nyota Uhura. Renegades announced this was LEGENDS DAY, with Koenig and Nichols, in Star Trek’s anniversary year, reprising their familiar roles for potentially the last time together. This would be on top of an audio drama they have recorded for Starship Excelsior.

The day after, however, CBS released guidelines which could have crippled this production. Fan films are no longer allowed to be over 30 minutes, if a two parter and only raise a specific amount of money. This was a day before the long shoot began! The producers raised and spent thousands of dollars, gathered a cast, built props and sets, sewn together costumes and booked everything. All ready to go. This could have been a fatal blow, but the producers decided to move forward. Remove all the references to Star Trek.

Now when many fans, including myself, heard this they were disappointed. But what has happened since has proven there is absolutely no need for this. Apparantly all that changed in the script were names such as Starfleet, Chekov, Tuvok etc which had to be changed. What about the first day’s filming? Jiggery pokery in post-production will fix it. Which is why I intend to watch The Requiem as a Star Trek story still. What I hear you say? Are you mad, they’ve changed things!! Let me explain.

In 1989 Doctor Who was axed by the BBC. In 1992 Bill Baggs [ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_… ] released a series of independent direct-to-video productions starring Sixth Doctor Colin Baker (Star Trek Continues’ The White Iris) as a mysterious Stranger with Nicola Bryant as his companion, Miss Brown. The first two were practically Doctor Who in all but name – More Than A Messiah was literally adapted from a Doctor Who fan audio and possibly the Sixth Doctor’s best on screen story – just the TARDIS didn’t feature, Miss Brown didn’t speak with an American accent and Colin of course was finally free of a multi-coloured coat! Much like Renegades, you’d almost believe Summoned by Shadows is a pilot presentation for a revival of Doctor Who on TV from 1992.

The fine line was walked even further when I n 1997 a short series of audio adventures began, starring Sylvester McCoy as ‘the Professor’ and Sophie Aldred as ‘Ace’. After the first six releases these were allowed to continue, with the protagonists names changed to the Dominie and Alice. These are still being distributed online and the BBC don’t seem to be fussed.

This is how I see The Requiem. All still the same, but with names changed ‘to protect the innocent’. The serial numbers filed off as people have said.

1: Same cast

All they have done is changed character names – O’Brien to O’Reilly; Chakotay to Cordero; Uhura to Jemison etc – there are other obvious changes like make up, no Romulans, Ferengi, Trill etc allowed. Even Tim Russ cannot wear his pointy ears to play Kovok. All the promised actors stayed onboard to play their parts. But on paper presumably most of the lines so therefore characterisations are the same. Apparantly Walter Koenig is still even using his Russian accent to play ‘The Admiral’! The first day’s footage is still being used, with combadges painted out and presumably lines cut referring to CBS IP. So we still get to see ‘Chekov and Uhura’s potential final day together.

2 : same story and 3 : Sequel to Star Trek: Renegades

The story is still the same as apparently very little was changed. Some new lines were maybe written to fit the lore of the new universe. But this is a story stemming from the first Renegades, a lot of characters are returning. So they will be referring to the first movie.

4 : Uniforms

Now I love Star Trek uniform design. These ones are tonnes better than the pilot, the rank strip and trouser/pant strip is reminiscent of the Monster Maroons and the jackets are very reminiscent of the TNG ones from Seasons 3-7. I love them, all the cast wearing them look super smart. In a way they are lucky they did design all-new uniforms, if they stuck with the First Contact design that’s where issues may have appeared. But anyone on the street would recognise them as Star Trek costumes.

5 : Same set pieces

The bridge of the USS Archer used set pieces from the wonderful restoration for the Enterprise-D in the first movie, they have been used still for this one, but moved around and disguised. The pictures look cool and they are working on a brand new design for the exterior of the ship. The scenes were shot against a greenscreen and I guess they will be also designing a whole new background.

Now I’m just a supporter and I have never been anywhere near Los Angeles, so I’m just going from what I’ve read, seen and heard online and in some places I may be wrong. I feel absolutely nothing has been lost, just moved around a bit to remove CBS IP. You can probably tell I am obsessed and cannot wait to see this story, especially as it may be the closure to Koenig’s Admiral’s story.

Those annoyed about the Star Trek IP going need not be, it won’t take much reading between the lines. I’m hoping the way this has been done will work, and I’m pretty sure it will. It won’t take much imagination to view this as being a new outing with Chekov, Uhura, Chakotay etc.

 

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10 thoughts on “5 reasons why I’m still looking forward to Renegades (and still intend to watch it as Trek – and how that’s just possible)”

  1. Well, no, I am still annoyed at CBS because there was NO DAMNED NEED to do it. Why should we have to read between the lines at all? Renegades is not detracting from anything they are doing. And if it is, then CBS should not attack fan productions, but find out what they are delivering that CBS is not. Myself, I can’t stand TOS, or Enterprise, and TNG is meh. I am very much all about VOY/DS9 and I like where Trek went with the franchise with these series. I want to see more Trek in this post Dominion war time period; I love what the books have been doing, especially DS9 (Ro Laren as Captain of DS9. ‘Nuff said).

    Trekkers can watch fan films and still watch CBS official stuff. It’s not like you have to pick one or the other, and killing fan productions will NOT make me go see the terrible new films. If anything, this mistreatment of the fan base has made me so angry, that now I won’t even bother with the new series. I was excited for it, but now, forget it. CBS has lost my support.

    The reality is, most companies just don’t seem to understand fan bases. “Xena” is the only show that ever truly got it right in seeing that the fans making their own things was SUPPORTING the show, not hurting it. There has never been a single case of any attacks on Xenites for websites, fan fiction, fan productions, fan art, or anything under the bloody sun by the “Xena” people. If anything, it’s all always been encouraged – hell, they put fan production scenes on the official “Xena” DVDs!

    The fan base might be a drop in the bucket in terms of the overall viewership, but your fans are FREE advertising. They are out to promote your work for you because they LOVE it. If they never get another person to watch, they still haven’t done your production any harm. Also, fans are the ones buying your products. They might be small in terms of viewership, but they are the ones buying all the geeky merchandise. Casual viewers don’t for obvious reasons. If you make merchandise, why wouldn’t you show some respect to the very people who you want to buy it?

    The reality is, nothing fan produced is hurting you. As long as fan productions are only using any money they make to do more work, then they aren’t even getting money off your product (I’m willing to agree that making money that goes into your pocket using another’s IP is probably crossing the line, but even then, something like Renegades is very transformative, so I’d argue in support of them being able to make a profit and keep it). Part of the problem is how much copyright laws have been butchered and changed by big companies to destroy the public realm and letting other artists build off the same work. Art has ALWAYS built off the work of those that came before – go sit in on even one art history class, and you’ll see how much the next generation is inspired by the last and builds on the work of others. And this is the era of remixing. We are no longer a read culture, but a read/write culture, as Lawrence Lessig covers so well in his book, “Remix” – we engage with media by creating our own works, by directly interacting with it through our own creations, but copyright laws continue to become more restrictive and have long since lost all meaning in terms of the spirit of why they exist in the first place. There’s a huge difference between making illegal copies of TNG and selling them, and producing a completely original series that builds something new on the back of something old.

    This, to me, is no different than how Hollywood fights piracy, attacking file sharing rather than learning WHY people use them and offering a better service (hey, guess what, no it’s NOT always because it’s free – Amanda Palmer and other artists, along with youtube and patreon – have PROVEN that people will pay for something EVEN WHEN FREE, to support the creator), attacking youtube remix videos for the use of music (even though remixes are actually 100% LEGAL), and attacking fan productions, rather than encouraging fans. The more Hollywood behaves like a giant, lumbering dinosaur that can’t get its head of out its own ass, as it stumbles around and destroys everything around it, the less and less interested I am in bothering with it. It produces crap, behaves like a child, lashing out at other creators, and long ago lost all sense of artistry. Fine. I have a million other options beyond you, Hollywood, including making my own work. If you really don’t want my money, I’m happy to give it to productions like “Renegades” instead.

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  2. Renegades was garbage. It was poorly written Fan fiction with a good budget and that was it. I am honestly amazed people like it. It was long and boring and did not feel at all like Star Trek.

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    1. While I won’t say it was garbage, that’s too harsh. I agree that overall it wasn’t that great and I believe because it was set in the Star Trek world. I actually think it could work better as a stand alone entity, let it stand on its own. While I have no idea if this will make it any better, it can’t really make it any worse.

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  3. Hmph. I do indeed think of these new names as code names and they are just in disguise.
    But I’m disinclined to let go and forgive the big companies. All those fan films and they take it out on all fans because ONE crosses the lines? They NEED these fan film makers. They are free advertising and a free means to find what fans like without spending a dime of their own. Fans wouldn’t support it if it wasn’t what they wanted! In fact, Renegades was far more Star Trek than the latest movies. It had the core, the spirit of Star Trek. And if it wasn’t those actors (who were also fans) would’ve KNOWN it. The fact they agreed to do these movies in the first place suggests that even being inside the film industry they didn’t see it as a threat to the copyright.

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  4. you make some excellent points. personally i believe that the change is the best thing that could happen to star trek fan films. i have seen a number of fan film productions that work great without using any of CBS/Paramount owned materials, so clearly we don’t depend on that.

    what is appealing about making a star trek fan film is that we don’t need to invent our own universe. but we can fit our story into an existing world. we don’t have to create a new backstory, since all of star trek is our back story.

    we can skip designing our own costumes, ships, logos, props, aliens, etc…

    so if we want to avoid touching any CBS/Paramount owned materials then this means more work. but by now the fan film community is so large that there is already plenty of alternative ideas and materials any fan-film maker could reuse.

    in fact i believe that the fan-film community could band together to create our own fan-film universe. maybe renegades could take the lead and release their uniform designs for example so that others can remake them and create renegades fan-films.

    probably the most difficult is designing new aliens. i didn’t see so much of that. and klingons are very popular. so that would be hard to give up. maybe someone can come up with a new klingon uniform design and some other ways to differentiate them.

    i am also trying to come up with a memorable new ship design that doesn’t look like it’s just copied of star treks iconic saucer+warp-nacels style. i have some ideas, but lack the skills to build a model.

    greetings, captain horatio martin.

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      1. not all-original, just distinct enough to not violate cbs/paramount rights, but close enough to still be somewhat related. exactly like you describe renegades. in short: let renegades be that universe, and let’s all make new films in the renegade universe. (of course i am not calling on anyone to stop making star trek fan films, i am just simplifying to make a point)

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  5. I think the CBS guidelines are strict but they have to protect their property. I do not advocate a boycott or aything like that, Creative fandom will continue in some form. i still look forward to Discovery, I saw Beyond at the cinema and loved it. And I love the IDW comics

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