Friday Round Up: Axanar Gets the Axe

Axanar is the name of an in-development Star Trek fan film. Viacom/Paramount, who owns Star Trek, has a long history of allowing fan productions set in the Star Trek world, as long as no one is making any money on it. For instance, Star Trek: New Voyages is a fan TV show of the continuing adventures of the original Enterprise crew, sometimes adapting unused scripts from the 60s show and even featuring original series actors like George Takei. There are even fan films by former Star Trek cast members, like Star Trek: Renegades. Yeah, Tuvok made a fan film. But Viacom has now issued a cease and desist order to one called Axanar. It’s entirely in their right to protect their intellectual property but several fans and the crew making the fan film are upset because it’s a first and the folks at Axanar had a friendly relationship with some people at Viacom who were aware of their goals. The problem probably came when the production raised over a million dollars with a Kickstarter and Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. That’s a bit too professional and I kind of agree with Viacom – when they’re in the middle of putting out theatrical films and an upcoming new TV show, you can’t risk confusing a mainstream audience as to what is “real” Star Trek.

Read on for news on the villain in Ninja Turtles 2, the new look of Godzilla, Walking Dead TV creator Frank Darabont’s lawsuit against AMC, Hasbro grudgingly agreeing to include Rey in their Star Wars toys and more!

MOVIES

godzilla resurgence

It’s been 12 years since Toho made a Godzilla movie but a new one will come out this year, called Godzilla Resurgence. Above is a supposed set photo of the new Godzilla design. This will be the third time Toho has rebooted the movies since the 1954 original, so the fourth series. It will not be connected to the U.S. version. Gotta say, the Godzilla seen here looks pretty gross and scary. He’s all black and red with jagged teeth, tiny arms and bulging eyes. It seems likely he’s suffering from some sort of radiation at this point, but maybe he gets better. Anyway, looks pretty cool and it’s nice to go back to the horror roots of the original film.

tmnt 2 kraang

TMNT fan forum site The Technodrome got ahold of this image of Playmates’ upcoming toyline based on the Ninja Turtles sequel, Out of the Shadows. Looks like Krang is part of the proceedings, looking a lot like his version from the original cartoon. Technically, he’s called Kraang like the whole race is called in the current Nickelodeon cartoon. Also, the new version of Shredder is closer to his original form instead of wearing an Iron Man suit of armor. Not bad!

TV

frank darabont walking dead set

Anyone who’s watched The Walking Dead since the beginning may recall that Frank Darabont was the guy who brought it to TV in the first place. And then things quickly went awry, he was fired and his assistant showrunner became the showrunner for a season or so and then was also let go. That’s roughly when the show started improving, too, but there may be a lot more to the story than we were made aware. This article is a fascinating story about what was happening between Darabont and AMC. One huge sticking point? After the show burst onto the scene as a massive hit, AMC insisted the show reduce its budget and they also pocketed a tax break the state of Georgia gave the production. So season 2 was operating at about 25% less than their first six episodes. That’s a big, big part of why season 2 seemed slower than any other season of the show, stuck at the farm. Darabont also argues that while he was eventually replaced during production on season 2, he helped shape every episode in the writer’s room and elsewhere. So his lawsuit claims he’s entitled to 10% of the show’s profits instead of 7.5%. It’s seriously an interesting read.

megalyn echikunwoke vixen

The producers of Arrow and Flash did an experiment a few months back, creating a short animated series about the DC superheroine Vixen, but set in the same universe (they got Arrow and Flash to show up and lend their voices – well, their actors). Now comes word that she will appear on the live action show Arrow later this season, played by the same actress that voiced her, Megalyn Echikunwoke. That’s a pretty cool move in their continuing expansion of their TV universe. I’m sure they had it in the back of their minds when they cast her. I won’t be surprised if she appears in next season’s Legends of Tomorrow team-up/anthology show.

Netflix released a teaser trailer for season 2 of Daredevil. I’m excited for it. Season 1 and Jessica Jones were both very, very well done. Netflix will release the entire season on March 18, one week prior to DC’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Personally, I’d rather stay home and binge on this. But I’ll probably be done within a week.

TOYS

cykill-gobots-machine-robo-masterpiece-1

Wow, apparently there will be “Masterpiece” level Go-Bots in February courtesy of Action Toys. I’m not 100% convinced there’s an audience for expensive Go-Bots, but they do look nice. More photos of other characters like Leader-1 can be found here. They transform and they’re poseable but no word on price yet.

YouTuber Sufficiently Advanced previously wowed us when he made Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir, which only he could lift. And he’s put his technical know-how back to use with an impressive real life lightsaber. Now, it won’t cut through ANYTHING, but it is a superheated pole length coming out of a lightsaber hilt. It’s dangerous enough that you’d burn someone with it, if not slice off an arm. I love seeing this guy put his engineering smarts to such nerdy pursuits!

star wars monopoly no rey

The Marvel and Star Wars toys released through Hasbro have a pretty terrible track record of including female characters. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, they even swapped out Black Widow’s signature motorcycle moment with Captain America. Now Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out, Rey is the lead character, and there’s hardly any toys based on her. She has her token action figure but any sets seem to willfully exclude her. One of the strangest offenders was the Star Wars Monopoly game that came out this fall. Hasbro heard the backlash and initially said they didn’t want to spoil people. Uh, she’s the main character. No one bought that. So now they’ve actually said they’ll redo the game and Rey will be part of it. For more on this topic, guest writer Pete has written about it on his personal blog.

Lego Batman 60s

In some fun news, the often-rumored but until now uncomfirmed Batman sets based on the 60s show will happen! No word yet on how many pieces or the cost but it looks like there are 9 minifigs and a pretty extensive cave set with mansion facade and a pair of vehicles. I’d guess it’s close to 2,000 bricks and $200.

COMICS

Superman Wonder Woman annual pakistanian

Finally, DC Comics had a pretty embarrassing and insensitive botch in their annual issue of Superman/Wonder Woman. In the issue, a supervillain is attacking people in Pakistan. A lot of times, when comics have a character speaking anything that isn’t English, the word balloons will simply place the language inside chevrons and have an editor’s note that it is being translated from whatever language the character speaks. It’s the equivalent of subtitles. But look at what language DC attributed to the character: Pakistanian. There is no such language. Most people know that. They speak a lot of languages there. Mostly, you hear about Urdu, but there’s also Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, and Balochi. DC could have used any of these. They could have used google for 2 seconds. Or they could have listened to Kumail Nanjiani’s amazing standup about how Call of Duty once made a similar stupid mistake. They could have TRIED. Marvel at least has a great Pakistani-American character these days, the Kamala Khan version of Ms. Marvel.

  • “and there’s hardly any toys based on her” I need to disagree on that account. There’s one of her in every scale except the 12 inch titan class that is coming. She wasn’t in the monopoly set (mostly due to Disney’s anti-spoiler directives). The Where’s Rey thing is based a lot on the fact that people aren’t seeing her in stores, so they think she doesn’t exist. They’re just constantly selling out. There’s more on the way. The Rey situation and the Black Widow situation are not equal.

  • Chris Piers

    Ok, perhaps I had to be more specific. There was a Target exclusive 6-figure set that did not include her. There is a Millenium Falcon set with Chewie, Finn and BB-8 but not Rey. And Rey wasn’t in the Monopoly set. But she’s the main character. There should be more figures of her because that’s the one everyone wants.

  • The Target set was an exclusive set to one store packaging together figures that were available. So far there’s no 12 inch Rey, so maybe that counts as an exclusion. With that Falcon set and the Monopoly set, they both could have hinted at the significance of the character and her role. If you remember, the trailer didn’t show a second of her being a Falcon pilot nor did they show her holding a light saber. The toys that were released in way back in September reflected the knowledge of her character that was being put out by Disney’s marketing machine. We didn’t know she was the main character until the movie came out. It looked like Finn was going to be THE guy.

    As for there being more figures of her, having one in every scale available (except 12 inch) seems like they’re covering the bases there. If you look at case counts for her, she’s 1 per case, but so is every other figure EXCEPT Kylo Ren, which is pretty natural considering he’s the cool looking bad guy.

    I’m going to guess that Hasbro is already churning out more of her to try to meet demand.

  • Big Jim

    I understand Paramount’s concern that Axanar may have potential to move beyond the niche market of Star Trek fan-fiction and into the mainstream. That could hurt their upcoming movie and their possible TV show, and they want to nip it in the bud. When it comes to fan-made stuff, I have to think someone spending a million bucks on production is maybe a bit more professional than they are comfortable with. And all that might have been OK, maybe. However, using the Star Trek name as part of your pitch to convince people to collectively pay a million bucks to fund your passion project crosses a line.

    Can’t remember where I saw it, but something I read or watched many years ago that had an event being broadcast in multiple languages – one of the languages listed was “African”.

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