Trailer for 'Star Trek: Axanar' Unveiled Amid Lawsuit (Exclusive)

A still image from a new teaser trailer for the fan-made "Star Trek" film "Axanar." The trailer was provided exclusively to
A still image from a new teaser trailer for the fan-made "Star Trek" film "Axanar." The trailer was provided exclusively to (Image credit: Axanar Productions)

A second teaser trailer for a fan-made "Star Trek" movie was released this week, despite an ongoing lawsuit over the film.

The new teaser trailer for "Star Trek: Axanar" was released by the filmmakers yesterday (June 22). Called "Honor Through Victory," the trailer shows Klingon ships flying through a planetary ring system and features an intense voice-over that sounds like a prebattle pep talk. This is the second of three teaser trailers set to be released this week. The first, titled "Stands United," also appeared online yesterday. The "Honor Through Victory" teaser trailer was shared exclusively with 

"Long have we watched the scourge of humanity spreading through space, daring to encroach upon our birthright," yells the voice in the trailer (most likely actor Richard Hatch, who has been cast as Klingon Supreme Commander Kharn).  

The "Axanar" filmmakers announced previously that the movie's story will focus on a war between humans and Klingons, so it is presumably humanity that the speaker refers to when he shouts, "At last, the time has come to wipe them from the galaxy. Take your battle stations! We storm the gate!"

The movie will tell the story of Garth of Izar, a character featured in the original "Star Trek" TV series. Izar is the "legendary Starfleet captain who is Captain Kirk's hero and the role model for a generation of Starfleet officers. Garth charted more planets than any other captain and was the hero of the Battle of Axanar.  His exploits are required reading at Starfleet Academy," according to the Kickstarter website where the filmmakers crowdsourced funding for the film.

"Axanar" is "the story of Garth and his crew during the Four Years War, the war with the Klingon Empire that almost tore the Federation apart, and whose resolution solidified the Federation and allowed it to become the entity we know in Kirk's time," the website reads.

After the fan-made production raised $600,000 on Kickstarter and was planned to be released in 2016, production was halted after CBS and Paramount Pictures filed suit in California in December 2015. The suit alleges that the production violates several "Star Trek" copyrights, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Fans are allowed to make their own "Star Trek" fan art and fan fiction, as long as those works follow guidelines set by CBS and Paramount Pictures. The companies recently announced a new list of "Guidelines for Avoiding Objections." The list includes an introductory paragraph which states: "CBS and Paramount Pictures are big believers in reasonable fan fiction and fan creativity, and, in particular, want amateur fan filmmakers to showcase their passion for Star Trek."

"We are continuing settlement talks, and the discovery process is well underway," Erin Ranahan, a Winston & Strawn attorney representing filmmaker Axanar Productions, wrote in an email to "We hope that the lawsuit will be resolved before the need to file any further motions with the court."

Director Robert Meyer Burnett created this trailer from visual effects and voice-overs produced in December before the lawsuit was filed. He declined to answer legal questions about the production but said he hopes the story can move forward soon.

"One of the questions 'Axanar' poses, especially for those in the Klingon Empire, is this: Can there be such thing as an honorable war? Can wars be fought in an honorable fashion?" he said in an email to "If so, why? Isn't war simply something to be avoided altogether … or is there a time when war should be embraced?"

The story, Burnett said, is intended to deal with some of the same notions expressed in the first episode of the original "Star Trek" TV series to feature Klingons. The episode was called "Errand of Mercy" (which first aired in March 1967, during the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union). It featured Klingon and human negotiations over the planet Organia, which didn't have an alliance with either side in the war.

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Elizabeth Howell
Staff Writer, Spaceflight

Elizabeth Howell (she/her), Ph.D., is a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022 covering diversity, education and gaming as well. She was contributing writer for for 10 years before joining full-time. Elizabeth's reporting includes multiple exclusives with the White House and Office of the Vice-President of the United States, an exclusive conversation with aspiring space tourist (and NSYNC bassist) Lance Bass, speaking several times with the International Space Station, witnessing five human spaceflight launches on two continents, flying parabolic, working inside a spacesuit, and participating in a simulated Mars mission. Her latest book, "Why Am I Taller?", is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada's Carleton University and a Bachelor of History from Canada's Athabasca University. Elizabeth is also a post-secondary instructor in communications and science at several institutions since 2015; her experience includes developing and teaching an astronomy course at Canada's Algonquin College (with Indigenous content as well) to more than 1,000 students since 2020. Elizabeth first got interested in space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, and still wants to be an astronaut someday. Mastodon: