Star Trek is the ultimate fan-created universe, in the same way Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are fan-created universes. But unlike those other universes, which are primarily works of fiction, Star Trek is a real place, and has been for the past half-century. Thanks to the countless hours of TV, movies, comics, games, and novels, Star Trek is a richly imagined and incredibly detailed world, populated by hundreds of thousands of dedicated fans.

I was recently interviewed on the movie podcast The Paul Huddleson Show by host and movie reviewer Josh Irwin. Together we discussed the history of Star Trek fan films, how COSMIC STREAM came to be, and the dangers and challenges of shooting a fan film on an existing Star Trek set. You can listen to the interview on itunes and we’ll have it posted on our website soon.

The production designer of the Original Series, Fred Phillips, has created a page on his website: http://fredphillips.org/. Read more about to too difference and let us know what you think.

The AVALON universe is not the main Star Trek universe, nor is it the Kelvin timeline. This is not the Mirror Universe, the Axanar Universe or any other Star Trek, Marvel, DC or Sci-Fi universe you’ve ever seen….. Unless you’ve seen the previous six editions of the Avalon fan films.

Instead, the Avalon universe is just a place where showrunner Joshua IRWIN (from Fayetteville, Arkansas) can play with Star Trek stories without worrying about tripping over existing canon or angering this or that sleuth because so-and-so never arrived, or so-and-so arrived, so what you just showed us doesn’t work. It works in the Avalon universe, and that’s all you need to know.

The Avalon fan series kicked off on Halloween 2018 with the release of the creepy-comedy (or is it comedy-creepy?) GHOST SHIP, which could be described as Star Trek meets The Walking Dead. It was fun and incredibly professional. That’s because Josh and many of his team members work in the film industry and know how to make movies good…. Fanfic or not.

Ghost Ship has revealed the new crew of the newly refurbished American ship Excalibur, including VICTORIA FOX as First Officer Amanda Beck, VICTORIA ARCHER as Engineer Jamie Archer (yes, same last name as the character) and TAYLER DUNIVAN as Captain Derek Mason. But no sooner was Mason introduced or we witnessed the noble death of this character in the second episode of Avalon – AVALON LOST.

Released a year after Ghost Ship and eight months after Avalon Lost, the third episode of Avalon, DEMONS, showed fans how Commander Beck and the new commander, Captain Lance Ramirez (played by CHUCK MERE), deal with the loss of a close friend and colleague. LEGACY and NEW ORDERS were short vignettes, while AIR AND DARKNESS was an ambitious full episode with night shots, stunts, great visual effects and lots of Klingons!

Earlier this month, the Avalon team launched a new GoFundMe campaign to raise $20,000 for the sequel to the saga, hoping to fund as much of the upcoming multi-part Crisis of Infinite Excalibur as possible. The campaign has only been underway for a week and a half and is already in full swing: 55 donors and about $3,000 in gifts – about 15% of the goal reached. But we urgently need support to reach the remaining 85%, so please consider making a donation, no matter how small, by clicking here …..

https://www.gofundme.com/f/zdn4p-AvalonUniverse2021

While waiting for new support, the team is not resting on its laurels! In fact, Josh has already released several interviews with the team and other special material, and the seventh fan film, COSMIS STREAM, was released today as a preview. Look here…

 

This is Tyler Dunivan’s character, Derek Mason, back from the dead. ? ???? Is he in heaven, in purgatory, in another universe, in another dimension, or is he just a dream? Fortunately, I was able to interview Tyler and Josh and find out the answer.

But before I continue with the interview, I want to point out something very special about Cosmic Stream. This is the first time a Star Trek fan film has been shot in THREE different fan studios on a TOS-era set. Prior to the initial release of Avalon, there were three locations in the United States where replicas of some or most of the 1960s TOS sets were built and used for fan films: James Cowley’s RETRO STUDIOS in upstate New York, a set in Kingsland, Georgia, used (at the time) for the filming of STARSHIP FARRAGUT and STAR TREK CONTINUES, and STARBASE STUDIOS in Oklahoma City. And while a small number of fan projects have used two of these three studios for a single release, as far as I know no project has used all three.

James Cowley finally turned his TOS set into an officially licensed Star Trek set tour in 2016, the same year Starbase Studios lost its free facility to OKC. They briefly moved to the neighboring state of Arkansas, but were eventually forced to close. After the eleven-part Star Trek series ended in late 2017, the sets were sold to RAY TESI and renamed NEUTRAL ZONE STUDIOS, then opened up to any fan production that wanted to use them.

Meanwhile, Glen Wolfe and Dan Reynolds built their own replicas of the TOS set in Northeast Arkansas and called it WARP 66 STUDIOS. (WARP stands for Wolfe and Reynolds Productions and 66 is the year Star Trek was launched). These sets were primarily used for filming episodes of the anthology series THE FEDERATION FILES, but Glen and Dan were also happy to rent their sets to other amateur filmmakers. Finally, ALEC PETERS and his team at AXANAR completed the U.S.S. Ares Bridge in Lawrenceville, Georgia, and opened it up to other fan directors.

When Avalon made its appearance in late 2018, movie fans once again had three set pieces from the TOS era at their disposal. In fact, both Neutral Zone and WARP 66 were used for Ghost Ship. Thereafter, however, Avalon continued to operate primarily in Arkansas and adhered exclusively to WARP 66…. until now. The space stream includes scenes shot at WARP 66 and Neutral Zone in February 2021, as well as a short scene with Alec Peters as Admiral Garth, shot at ARES STUDIOS in Lawrenceville.

And this makes Space Flux the first fan film to use professional-quality footage shot in three different rooms with replicas of TOS-era sets (even though the Ares Bridge technically predates the TOS era).

And finally, a few anecdotes from behind the scenes: Victoria Archer (the actress who plays the chief engineer in Space Flood) was actually eight and a half months pregnant (!!!) when her scenes were filmed. Look at it again to see how it was taken with just the hull up. In addition, two actors named Peters, Alec and Aaron, play characters in this film. They’re not related.

And now, my friends, get ready for a really great interview, my second video interview with Zoom. The situation became surprisingly personal, and I thank Tyler and Josh for being open and addressing some very difficult issues. You can see what I’m talking about below…..

 

Here is the link again if you want to donate to their GoFundMe campaign…..

https://www.gofundme.com/f/zdn4p-AvalonUniverse2021

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