Tim Russ, Cirroc Lofton and Aron Eisenberg will all appear.
Space might be the final frontier when it comes to exploration, however in the world of original programming, many creators and producers are looking towards the web and online streaming as the future. Each time a network launches an exclusive series to its streaming services, the notion becomes more plausible and closer to an ongoing fixture of the way audiences enjoy viewing entertainment at home. Former Star Trek stars Tim Russ, Aron Eisenberg and Cirroc Lofton are looking to capitalize on the phenomenon as all are slated to appear in Blade of Honor, a Kickstarter endeavor that aspires to broadcast its episodes online.
Rare is the success however of online shows that feature no network, cable or streaming distribution, as only a handful have broken into the public consciousness like Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Blade of Honor Co-Creator, Executive Producer and Director Mark Edward Lewis believes he has found the perfect recipe, combining ideas from some of the most popular science fiction shows of the past decades, as well as casting the actors who appeared on those programs.
“What sci-fi is missing today is relevance,” Lewis explained. “It’s fun to have battles in space, laser blasts, interesting aliens, but in the end it has to be relevant to what’s going on in the real world. Right now trust is a major issue and people are having a hard time financially.”
“I like the fact that the story takes place in the future, on a distant world, but with the same types of human struggles, interactions, and intrigue, that you would find today,” Russ added.
Tapping into the modern day allegory that science fiction has been allowed to tell for decades, which also accounted for part of Star Trek’s original success when debuting in the late 1960s and when it went into syndication in the 1970s, Blade of Honor is a political conspiracy theory wrapped in a space opera presentation. Originally, however, Lewis and his brother, John-Paul, conceived of something very different.
“About 13 years ago, my brother and I had this question in our mind,” Lewis said. “What if you were on an eva (extravehicular activity), stuck in space in a suit? What would happen if you were out there for 400 hours? Would you go insane? So we created a one-hour pilot with aliens and our heroine. We pitched it to Kristianna Loken back in the day. It sat, and over the course of 12 years we added more characters, and with the advent of crowdfunding and visual effects getting done for fraction of price, the story has evolved into something vastly different than someone going insane.”
Blade of Honor’s cast not only consists of well-know Star Trek actors and guest stars, including Jennifer Nash from Star Trek The Next Generation episode The Inner Light, but also features Battlestar Galactica’s Richard Hatch, Heroes’ James Kyson as well as several Star Trek web production performers including New Voyages’ Brandon Stacy and Rivkah Raven Wood.
Whether the current climate surrounding Star Trek fan films negatively impacts on Blade of Honor’s Kickstarter campaign remains to be seen. The fundraiser only asked fans for $30,000, which Lewis said would be enough to produce the first episode. With over $37,000 raised and under two weeks remaining, the stretch goal would be to produce a second and possible a third episode of the proposed series.
“We’ve raised enough to produce one episode,” Lewis said. “We need to investigate post production costs. If by chance we need to raise more for post, then we would use Indiegogo. The first episode of anything is the most expensive as you are laying the groundwork, corporate structure, building sets, wardrobe. It gets cheaper and cheaper after the first. When we hit our next stretch goal, it will be cheaper. We would like to raise enough to have our first five episodes done, which we would need to raise $150,000. It’s a long way, but it would give fans the most value for their donation, and perks are actually based on how many episodes in total get funded.”
Since several former Star Trek actors are scheduled to appear in the series, it’s safe to say that it will draw the attention of Trekkers, who already donate large amounts of money to other fan series that produce Star Trek and other science fiction initiatives. Whether or not Blade of Honor’s conception resonates with that group, only time will tell.
Russ is quick to note, however, the similarities to Blade of Honor and Star Trek, in that they both contain a deeper message that hopefully will connect with viewers like so many classic and beloved science fiction shows and episodes have in the past.
“I would say to Trek fans, that if they like the way in which Trek over the years has presented stories that deal with social, political, and personal issues that mirror our world and lives today, then Blade of Honor will be a show they will very much enjoy watching,” Russ said.
“I am concerned with the fact that people don’t feel as though their voices are being heard, because of outside influences corrupting their government. And the fact that the goal of certain elements in the government are only concerned with achieving and abusing power, and nothing else. In combination with the other very cool elements of the series, those elements make the series far more significant, especially when you have concepts that delve deeper into the human condition.”