Since the unfortunate events surrounding the law suit between CBS / Paramount and the Star Trek fan production Axanar, Trek fan films have been saddled with a draconian set of production rules. These rules are intended mainly to prevent fan films from gaining stature and production quality sufficient to convince the viewing public that the fan production is, in fact, an official one. Star Trek fan films had two ways to resolve this if they wanted to stay within the new guidelines: go big, or go home.
CBS / Paramount were obviously hoping that most of them would just go home. They, however, may have shot themselves in the foot with this approach, rather badly. We submit as evidence Jakub Holý’s new fan production Squadron: A Star Trek Fan Production. This new fan-made show has recently released a trailer that looks so good and so slick that it’s as good (or better) than genuine Star Trek.
Squadron is a fan film set in the universe of Star Trek’s 24th century. It’s being made by a group of dedicated fans in the Czech Republic. They built their own starship bridge along with a captain’s ready room, and they’re filming a two-part story, each fifteen minutes long, in accordance with the fan film guidelines released by what is now ViacomCBS in the wake of the Axanar controversy and law suit. When it’s finished, it will be released free for everyone on YouTube. It will have English subtitles.
This teaser trailer has everything. The Jem’Hadar are in it. There are Vulcans, at least one Trill, and a Vorta that appears to have seized control of the bridge. You don’t get a lot of plot with this trailer, it’s too short to show much of that – but you do get a sense of just how slick and well produced this show is going to be.
What pushes it over the top, though, is the presentation. The Squadron production team understands that presentation and promotion is half the job. For example, you can take a virtual reality tour of the bridge. It will work with Google Cardboard, or any of a number of other compatible VR viewers.
Instead of squelching Star Trek fan production,ViacomCBS’s move simply created a crucible in which great achievements may be alloyed. The technical prowess required to make a good quality Star Trek fan film is already quite a high bar to reach. Adding a virtual reality tour kicks everything up a notch. While there is a Star Trek game that makes good use of VR (Star Trek: Bridge Crew) there are no starship bridge tours on the web that we could find. To create something like this, as slick as this is, shows that the production crew of Squadron not only has all this figured out, but in many ways have outdone the real Star Trek.
The Squadron people have been working on their production for two or three years now. We look forward with great anticipation to see what they come up with.