New Year news tidbits

A Trek fan turns her basement into a TOS recreation. A new fan film production appears Star Trek: Axanar about the missions of Captain Garth (later in life “Garth of Izar”).  TV vet actor Joseph Ruskin passes on, and see the new TOS Ortiz prints for January.

Veteran character actor Joseph Ruskin passed away on December 28th at the age of 89. To Trek fans he is probably best known for the role of “Galt” the Thrall Master in the TOS episode “The Gamesters of Triskelion”. Ruskin would go on to guest star on DS9, VOY, and ENT. His tall stature and unique voice made him a sought after character actor. He can be seen in two other classic 60’s Sci-Fi shows: The Twilight Zone, and The Outer Limits.


–Source: THR

A Canadian Star Trek fan Line Rainville has gone all out by turning her basement into a recreation of various parts of the original series U.S.S. Enterprise. Naturally the main living area is the bridge, but she also has a recreation of Spock’s quarters for relaxing in, and the entry way to her basement is a transporter room, even the bathroom is Trekified. All told she spent $30,000 to do it. It’s quite impressive. Anyone for a nap on Spock’s bed with a Tribble to cuddle with? Click on the source link for more details and photos.



–Source: CNET

A new fan production called Star Trek: Anxanar has popped up online with some familiar names attached. Famous names include Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica), JG Hertzler (Martok on DS9), and Gary Graham (Soval on ENT).


“Axanar” takes place 21 years before the events of “Where no Man Has Gone Before”, the first Kirk episode of the original Star Trek.  Axanar is the story of Garth of Izar, the legendary Starfleet captain who is Captain Kirk’s hero.  Kirk himself called Garth the model for all future Starfleet Officer’s.  Garth charted more planets than any other Captain and was the hero of the Battle of Axanar, the story of which is required reading at the academy.  This is that story.

“Axanar” tells the story of Garth and his crew during the Four Years War, the war with the Klingon Empire that almost tore the Federation apart.  Garth’s victory at Axanar solidified the Federation and allowed it to become the entity we know in Kirk’s time.

It is the year 2245, four years into the war with the Klingons.

Axanar will start shooting in February 2014 and is intended to be released Fall 2014.

— Source:

New Juan Ortiz TOS episode retro-prints for January. These include “The Gallileo Seven,” “The Enemy Within,” “Wolf in the Fold” and “The Apple.”




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Fans, ya gotta love ’em!


Nope. :-(

“Axanar” has been in development for a while now. It’s probably my second-most anticipated Trek event of 2014. (The first is the new “Seekers” novel series.)

2014 is actually going to be a huge year for Trek, perhaps the most significant since “Enterprise” went off the air in terms of productions and new creativity. I don’t know about you all, but I am very excited. :)

In case anyone is interested, Star Trek Into Darkness was nominated for a BAFTA for Visual Effects, against The Hobbit, Gravity, Iron Man 3 and Pacific Rim.

Axanar sounds great! Sad news about Joseph Ruskin. His twilight zone episode was superb.

I had the opportunity to interview Joseph Ruskin back in 97 for a Sci-Fi Channel project about TOS. He was, like all of the “guest stars”, both puzzled and gratified at the legacy and memory we have of their brief moments on the show. Nearly everyone we interviewed had fond memories of their days on the TOS set. Lots of good stories. I’m afraid that with TOS approaching 50, we’ll be losing more and more of the guest stars, the behind the scenes folks and our beloved regulars.

R.I.P. Joseph Ruskin.

I wonder what the budget for this production is, say in comparison to Star Trek Phase II.

Nice to see articles like this.


What I like on the Axanar web site is that they have FAQ, and Geek FAQ. Good luck to them.

@5 The visuals FX of Into Darkness were stunning! When the E is forced to drop out of warp in Klingon space, it’s such a beautiful scene of fx (although short). Future London, the volcano, Klingon chase sequence, the E falling in earth’s atmosphere, the crash -they were all beautiful fx sequences.

Cant wait for Axanar! I’ve been extremely anticipating that and also I’m dying for more Star Trek Phoenix. It would be the appropriate alternative to what Trek Renegades is going to be.

Everyone seems so focused on TOS. Is there anything from TNG-DS9-VOY era (or beyond) coming out this year? I want to see the 24th century get some love!

That basement apartment is really well-done. Great detail. A lot of love went into that.

Good article.

Axanar is what they should have done instead of Enterprise.

An excellent alternate universe TV series would be something like Axanar with a young James Kirk serving as a junior office — sort of like Smallville did for Superman. Too late for that now, can’t have 3 different universes.

Short of that, I would take the adventures of Prime universe Kirk on the Farragut. There are so many amazing adventures a young James Kirk could have had, with new friends and new unknowns. Perhaps you know Kirk could never be killed, but then he couldn’t be anyway (that’s what made the whole death in STID hollow for me — you knew he was going to live because there couldn’t be a third film without Kirk). But everyone else could be. In fact they could do the prequel to “Obsession” and kill off the crew of the Farragut as a season cliff-hanger and let us follow Kirk’s career after that. So much opportunity for an amazing series there.

If nothing else these amatuer productions give the studios an idea of what can be done and how well it might be received by fans, perhaps encouraging them to take the risk and make the investment.

Benedict should of been Garth, not Khan. Axanar would have been a great plot for “Into Darkness”. (Water under the bridge…) Redeem us with the final movie and bring us the Klingons.

I just realised., Galt’s hood thingy is one of those dinner mats Bill Theiss made a whole costume out of once.

Even though Axanar might end up sucking, I already like it better than Enterprise, because, here — FOR ONCE — they got a pre-TOS ship right with a clean design that logically actually looks like it predates the TOS Enterprise….unlike that Voyager-derived piece of junk that Archer and that silicon-enhanced Vulcan flew around in for four years.

“2014 is actually going to be a huge year for Trek, perhaps the most significant since “Enterprise” went off the air in terms of productions and new creativity.”

What? That’s absurd. These are all just fan films–and poorly acted fan films, at that. The vast majority of fans aren’t even watching them.

Axanar! Brilliant idea!!! I really never liked how nuTrek turned heroes into callous, disrespectful child-men. I miss heroes and goodness in Trek. So much, I miss it so much. Wow, Axanar will be creating heros and people to look up to and powerful figures of Good. That alone makes it a Trek worth watching. And I will.



I think I’ve spoken to you before. Would love to see that treasure trove of stuff you recorded for SciFi. The stuff that we got to see, and that gold mine of stuff that never aired. Any chance we’ll get to see it?

““2014 is actually going to be a huge year for Trek, perhaps the most significant since “Enterprise” went off the air in terms of productions and new creativity.”


Maybe lay of the crack pipe for a couple of days, my overly excitable friend. ;-)

Just read that Zoe Saldana has been cast as Rosemary in NBC’s mini-series remake of Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. Wow! That woman is busy! And apparantly in demand! It’s a four-hour mini-series and I’m not sure about production and air dates but I can’t help but wonder if or how this might affect her Trek commitments, considering Avatar as a factor as well. She’s talented but she must have a hell of an agent too.

I think Star Trek is going through its “wilderness” years, Just like Dr Who did during the 90s and early 2000s. The stories the fans are putting out are keeping the franchise going. Granted there’s the new films coming every few years, but its not keeping my Trek appetite at bay.

Keep up the good work Fan Productions

Loved Kitumba btw


“2014 is actually going to be a huge year for Trek, perhaps the most significant since “Enterprise” went off the air in terms of productions and new creativity.”

Whoa, Nellie! Hold your horses, fella. I think that you have forgotten about the certain big Trek movie that came out in 2009…. and STID in 2013…and nothing but fan films apart from that. The fan films are fine for what they are, but aren’t the standard-bearers of creativity.


“What? That’s absurd. These are all just fan films–and poorly acted fan films, at that. The vast majority of fans aren’t even watching them.”

Yeah, exactly! These fan films are for the die hards to tide us over for awhile till the next tv show comes along — nothing more. Kind of like cheese and crackers — a nice little snack, but not a very satisfying meal.

@16. Mr. ATOZ,
“Benedict should of been Garth, not Khan.”

Since they ignored canon with Khan to begin with, yeah, they could have easily made Garth a man in his late 30s to appear as Cumberbatch, instead of the man supposedly 20 years Kirk’s senior (the irony of that is the actor who portrayed Garth was actually younger then Shatner — and as far as that goes, he was possibly an alien, who had further mastered shape-shifting; so perhaps that bit of casting was intentional).

Of course, aside from the age problem, Capt. April would have been a good candidate. The story Orci was setting up in Countdown to Darkness could have been much more effective than what we got. At least there would have been aliens …

That’s funny how all these fan films think CBS will be interested in one of them when they can do a Trek TV series with an even bigger budget, higher quality and better actors. Also why would CBS want to do a series set in the TOS era with 60’s SFX?

Shouldn’t news tidbits include that STID has like 3 nominations (including one for Pine and Quinto) in tonight’s People Choice Awards?

Or was there another article somewhere on this site?


“That’s funny how all these fan films think CBS will be interested in one of them when they can do a Trek TV series with an even bigger budget, higher quality and better actors. Also why would CBS want to do a series set in the TOS era with 60′s SFX?”

Exactly! Well said. I think there are certain folks *cough! – Tim Russ, Walter Koenig, – cough!* who for some reason, genuinely believe that their productions are top-notch and that they are in demand. This delusion is evidently shared with a small group of fans — the same ones clamoring for Shatner to appear in the new movies — who just can’t seem to let go of the past, or accept the new movies for what they are.

This is like some high school band trying to pass themselves off as being the next Beatles or Rolling Stones. :-)

’60s SFX?

I don’t know, the outer space shots in these fan productions look pretty darn good to me! Just a bit more advanced than 1969.

And yes, we do live in a world now where smaller, less polished independent productions can get noticed by the big boys.

Cases in point: District 9, Monsters, Paranormal Activity, etc.

In any event, more power to the independents.
Keep Trek alive.

I will say that the visual effects and overall production values for “Phase II” are top notch.

I think the weaknesses are in the acting and stories. But fan productions are fine for what they are.

Sorry, I should have said using the 60’s SFX look. I know the SFX are better than the ones used in the 60’s, since those were all plastic models. They are just replacing 60’s models with CGI ones. I also think they wouldn’t want to use 60 style sets either. I would think the next series would be set in Abrams’s TOS Universe with those SFX or in the 24th Abrams Universe. I would be curious to see how the 24th tech changed with the result of Nero’s incursion.

Star Trek: Continues is the best one I’ve seen to date, slightly outclassing Phase 2

That’s serious fan loyalty!

“Star Trek: Continues is the best one I’ve seen to date, slightly outclassing Phase 2”

The original crew acting was better on Phase II, but the horrid idea of bringing back that unconvincing geriatrics actor to play Apollo — that was just embarrassing. The latest effects for Phase II are great — they are better than the special effects in STV, and vastly superior to the special effects of TNG.

I prefer the “different ships have different assignment patches” idea.

I meant to say the I like the original crew acting better on Star Trek Continues — that was the one element in which I think it is better than Phase II.

STID had good effects, but I suspect all the others are a lost cause against “Gravity”.

How are those age issues going, MJ? As well as the weight stuff? I keed.

@40. Not so good, which is why you won’t catch me acting in a major movie.

“A man’ got to know his limitations”

– Dirty Harry

I love this kind of article — thanks, Matt Wright.

About the Axanar starship: Why does it have a glowing blue deflector? The original Starship Enterprise had a physical brass-colored deflector and it wasn’t until the refit — decades after the Axanar participated in the adventures covered in the timeframe of this new production — that a glowing blue deflector dish was first seen. The point is that the Axanar should have the same kind of deflector dish as seen in the allegedly more advanced Starship Enterprise, since the Axanar is apparently an older model.

You can argue that the Starship Enterprise is actually around the same age as the Axanar if you count the adventures of pre-Kirk captains, such as Robert April, but that’s not how most people think of the Enterprise. And also, why have we never seen the blue-type deflector until the time of the Refit Enterprise? This doesn’t really make much sense.

At least the NX-01 had a physical dish, which makes sense given its place in the Star Trek timeline.

Yeah, okay, sorry — I see that the “Geek FAQ” has already addressed my question about the deflector dish look. However, I’m not very satisfied with it; it seems to be a bit of retconning or a stretch to merely explain it as “different starships have different looks.” I think that the real reason is that the blue deflector dish looks cooler to our sensibilities than the brass-colored kind. Part of the appeal of the TMP Enterprise (i.e., the refit version) was that it had the very advanced-looking deflector dish that set it apart from the TOS Enterprise implying that it was all the more advanced.

Also, it doesn’t seem to make much sense that there are different kinds of deflector dishes for different starships over such an extended period of time. It’s not just the shape of the thing — it seems that different dishes operate on different principles.

But maybe I’m just nitpicking.

“NBC has found its lead for the upcoming miniseries adaptation of Rosemary’s Baby. We learned last month that the Hannibal network was moving forward with a miniseries based on Ira Levin’s 1967 novel Rosemary’s Baby, and now Variety reports that Zoe Saldana has been tapped to lead the project. ”

Wow, poor Zaldana? Her career is tanking a bit. Avatar 2 can’t come soon enough for her.

Hat Rick,

Not sure what you are talking about — this Axanar ship photo is from the rear (i.e, we can’t see the deflector dish)?

Doing a mini-series remake of an old novel and movie is usually a step down for most movie stars. Doing so on a struggling NBC is just sad.

Thing is, Zoe Saldana is a decent actress. Maybe its time for her to make like Chris Pine and fire her agent. ;-)


There’s a link for the Axanar website buried in the article:

Yeah, Hat Rick is right. The blue glowing dish does make it look more advanced. Other than that, it’s a good looking ship. Faithful to Matt Jeffries’ aesthetic.


Ah, OK, Vultan – thanks.

That’s unfortunate though. They had the right idea, but now they too apparently feel the need to add in later tech to their ships. Why???

When will people doing earlier stuff learn? Stick to the classic TOS Enterprise and work backwards. It’s not really all that complicated.

Thanks for your responses, MJ and Vultan. I think we are agreed that there’s a bit of historical revisionism (a.k.a. retconning) that doesn’t seem all that persuasive. It takes away from the illusion of believability when people throw stuff in just because it looks cool. I think that part of the reason that the Star Wars movies somewhat jumped the shark is that some of the allegedly “older” tech looked a lot better than the “more advanced” tech of subsequent years. The real reason is that the prequels were made much later than the original trilogy — and for that reason, we saw the extremely retro-cool (but also advanced-looking) Naboo imperial ship (the chrome one) that had no place in the original aesthetic.

Although, I must admit, the proto-star destroyers at the end of Attack of the Clones (the scene in which hundreds of thousands of Stormtroopers march up into starships, like something out of the Third Reich) are convincingly less advanced than the classic star destroyers of the original trilogy).

Going back to Star Trek (the better franchise, in my mind), I actually have less of a problem with the NX-01 than some other people from the standpoint of technological development. I think that the bridge was conceptually appropriately less advanced; it was just that the execution, using actual flat-screen monitors, for example, perhaps wasn’t sufficiently consistent with the tech we saw in TOS, which had (again, for example), CRT-style “monitors” in use in staterooms, etc., which were increasingly outdated. You could argue, however, that the submarine look of the NX-01 bridge was closer to the 21st Century than the cleaner style of the TOS Enterprise, and that this would be appropriate for their respective places in the Trek timeline.

Also, the use of grappler technology rather than tractor beams, of polarized hull shielding, of much less-powerful torpedoes — all these were attempts to make the NX-01 less advanced than the TOS Enterprise. They did make sense in important respects.

What made NX-01 a bit less believable was — again — a flat blue glow look behind the physical deflector dish (the cool factor strikes again, apparently); and, in addition, the extremely convenient rapid (i.e., within two or three years) deployment of advancements in technology to more closely match the era of the TOS Enterprise. At least, that’s the way I remember it. I seem to remember that, all of a sudden, the torpedoes and shielding became more powerful as the series moved on to confront more powerful adversaries.

But the philosophy behind NX-01 was sound.

In addition, I don’t see the NX-01 as being close to Voyager in technology; rather, it reminds me a lot of the Reliant or Valiant — and so too, indeed, does the Axanar.

Anyway, just some fanboy thoughts, for what they’re worth. Sorry for rambling on.

Strike my reference to the Valiant; I was probably thinking of a proto-Miranda-class ship (similar to the USS Reliant except without the “roll-bar”).