JJ Abrams: The ‘Axanar’ Lawsuit Is “Going Away”

Paramount and CBS ending lawsuit against Star Trek: Axanar

Speaking to fans and members of the media in attendance at the Star Trek Beyond fan event on Friday night, J.J. Abrams addressed the status of the Paramount and CBS lawsuit against the crowdfunded film Star Trek: Axanar.

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“A few months back there was a fan movie — Axanar — that was being made and there was a lawsuit that happened between the studio (Paramount and CBS) and the fans and Justin was sort of outraged as a longtime fan. We started talking about it and we realized that this was not an appropriate way to deal with the fans. The fans should be iceboating this thing, like you’re saying right now.” Abrams said when asked about the Axanar lawsuit.

“We all — fans of Star Trek — are part of this world. So we went to the studio and pushed them to stop this lawsuit and now, within the next few weeks, it will be announced that this is going away,”

On Saturday, Axanar producer Alec Peter took to Twitter, letting his excitement be known.

Abrams on stage with "Mythbusters" star Adam Savage
Abrams on stage with “Mythbusters” star Adam Savage (Anna Yeutter/TrekNews.net)
Abrams, Savage and "Star Trek Beyond" director Justin Lin
Abrams, Savage and “Star Trek Beyond” director Justin Lin (Anna Yeutter/TrekNews.net)

Brian Wilkins

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Brian is a Boston-based UX/Visual designer, photographer, Apple enthusiast, sci-fi/horror movie fan and lover of all things Star Trek.

41 Comments Join the Conversation →


  • Arron Bubba Ratcliff

    These two need to just stay away from Star Trek.After In to Darkness Abrams has no room to comment on any thing Trek related.And this new Trailer makes Lin’s movie Look like fast and furious in space.I’ll hold out hope for the new series but i am not wasting money or time on Beyond in any shape form or fashion.

    • AndrewJoyce86

      They need to stay away and not comment on anything Trek related… when it appears that they were two of the main people inside the company trying to stop the lawsuit.

      Yeah, your logic is flawless.

      • Arron Bubba Ratcliff

        If so then that is all the more reason for them to be kept far away from any thing star trek related.

      • I am not Herbert

        …don’t be fooled by “appearance”, or *anything* that Jar-Jar says (it’s purely manipulation and backtracking)
        my money is on Jar-Jar / boborci being behind the lawsuit in the first place… =(
        (Justin Lin is the true fan and good person here) =)

        • DavidisALLright

          That’s completely rationale.

    • Maric

      Into the Darkness grossed $467,381,584. Almost $100 million more than it’s predecessor. They are by far, the top grossing films in the Trek franchise. So apparently your opinion is in the minority.

      From what i’ve seen of Beyond, it looks like it will be the best of the three.

      • sandwyrm

        No, The Motion Picture, adjusted for inflation, beats every other Trek Movie on domestic and world-wide gross. While Khan still wins hands-down for sheer profit.

        http://theback40k.blogspot.com/2016/03/is-trek-dying-enterprise.html

      • milojthatch

        You don’t understand basic business, do you? Yes, the reboot films have made a lot of money, but they also cost a lot of money to produce and market. Hence, when compared to most of the original ten films, the reboot films have not made as much profit for the studio.

      • Arron Bubba Ratcliff

        yea summer pop corn action movies always seem to rake in cash. and that is all the last two Trek movies have been pop corn action movies.after seeing the new beyond trailer i am convinced it is nothing but The Fast & Furious in space.And i am fine with being in the Minority of fans of Real Star Trek.

        • Fear not, we ‘minority’ fans are quite probably the silent majority.

      • Christopher Andolini

        I’ve seen Abrams’ Star Trek and Into Darkenessonce and will never need to see them again. I watch TMP a few times a year when the mood hits me.

        Case closed.

      • p3orion

        That’s the gross. Given that, especially with the advent of premium-priced 3D, IMAX, and Big-D seats, average ticket prices are MUCH higher now than a couple decades ago (even after adjusting for inflation) it would be a surprise if Abrams’ weak efforts piggy-backing on superior work didn’t end up with a higher gross.

  • Tzadik

    Factually inaccurate title.

    They are SETTLING the case, not DROPPING it. BIG difference. There will also be new fan film guidelines for all future fan films, from CBS & Paramount.

    • I am not Herbert

      …they ARE dropping it, in seeking to settle (eyesroll) =P

      • Neale Davidson

        There has been no announcement of the case being dropped, and the trial date is still set for January . There is currently a negotiation period to allow for a settlement before the courts settle it for them.

        There is nothing here that says ‘Axanar won’.

        • I am not Herbert

          *AS IF* that’s what i’m inferring, let alone saying…

    • RickRussellTX

      And that’s really the right way to do it. Put an application process in place (whether it’s Star Trek-themed web sites or convention signage or fan films) for folks to apply for a license, review the applications conscientiously, and if it looks like the effort will add positively to the Star Trek brand then issue a letter clearly stipulating what the fan product may use and how it must be used.

      That allows Paramount to maintain all the control it needs over IP without putting artificial barriers in front of fans who want to make Star Trek-themed stuff.

    • dougclark

      A few months back there was a fan movie, Axanar that was being fan made,
      and there was this lawsuit between the studio and these fans. And
      Justin was sort of outraged by this as a longtime fan. And, we started
      talking about it and realized this was not an appropriate way to deal
      with the fans. The fans should be celebrating this thing, we all [as]
      fans are part of this world. So he went to the studio and pushed them to
      stop this lawsuit and now within the last few weeks it will be
      announced that this is going away and the fans will be able to
      [continue] their productions.

      In case you needed a refresher on what was said as you seemed confused by what JJ actually said so here it is.

  • Teleri

    This is a good thing they’ve done 😀

  • I am not Herbert

    …thank you, Justin Lin! =D

    You are true fan, and a good person!

    Thank you for helping Jar-Jar to see the light!

    Reply

  • bonesmccoy

    JJ’s comment was that the lawsuits “were going away”.
    He didn’t use the term “drop” or “Settle”…undoubtedly there is hope that the parties will settle the matter. This approach to copyright and trademark enforcement is a lousy way to support shareholder interests. The only people making $$$ are the attorneys!

  • Kyllein MacKellerann

    Amazing! CBS has done something sensible! Paramount probably pointed out that the more interest fan-films generate, the more money that CBS/Paramount will make off their “Product” releases. Heck, this may even keep CBS’s “special” Star Trek series going another few months.

  • Rick Davis

    I agree. Attacking the still uncirculated Axanar, hoarding even very old content, CBS is shooting their collective feet off
    whilst, finally, Saints be praised
    offering streaming content w/o
    the elephantitis that is extra crap
    cable & satellite( nerds paying
    ESPN’s entire budget)forcefeed
    us!! Streaming has changed the
    world, that was begging & pleading for alecarte programming for decades
    I’d pay a few cents to see the
    King of the pride kill a hyena
    or a commercial free episode of
    Star Trek the Next Generation
    rather than 50% of my cable
    (satellite)dollar go to ESPN
    (THE ONLY SPORTS I WATCH
    AIN’T ON IT) love, galaxy5

  • Silvio Renzulli

    Abrams ruined Trek for me, So I just content myself with watching the original series and its spinoffs on Netflix. As for the lawsuit, in my opinion its because the fans did a better job staying true to the original concept and did not erase a generation of canon.

    • ZOD

      Who erased anything? The ST 2009 timeline can only exist as a result of events in the “prime” timeline. Hell, it looks like the new show might even take place after Spock disappeared.

      • milojthatch

        I don’t care what JJ and friends say, everything from 2009 was in a different universe. Nothing for the time that was supposedly “Prime” looked and felt like “Prime,” not even Nimoy.

      • Jason Becker

        The TV show has nothing to do with the new movies. Two different companies. The CBS show takes place in the original Roddenberry universe. The new movies have clearly gone off into their totally own world. Crap like personal teleporters that completely remove the need for Starships shows how screwed up it is and how they have zero interest in the original shows/movies.

        • ZOD

          Of course the stories will have nothing (or almost nothing) to do with each other. That was the whole point of creating the alternate universe. So far, the “prime” universe and the new movie universe are only related by Spock as played by the late Nimoy & some dead Romulans.

          I hope the alternate universe movies do their thing well and the prime universe TV show to does its thing well. There’s room for both.

          • p3orion

            “The “prime” universe and the new movie universe are only related by Spock as played by the late Nimoy & some dead Romulans.”

            You forgot the most important part: they’re related by decades of painstakingly-developed fan loyalty, which the producers are more than willing to trade away in return for a couple more trips to the cash well.

      • p3orion

        Yes, assuming you posit that the Narada’s incursion into the prime timeline was the point of divergence from “prime Trek” into “AbramsTrek.” But then why did the Narada, a massively-armed mining vessel, sit around for a couple of decades waiting to get revenge against Spock rather than totting on over to Romulus to prevent the catastrophe there in the first place? Why, no matter how well luck played out for Kirk, would Starfleet award him command of the flagship when he hasn’t even taken his senior-year courses at the Academy, and is indeed junior to not only the older and more experienced first officer (who has apparently gotten over his “mental incapacity”; good thing his mother wasn;t named “Martha”) but even idiot ensign nawigator? (And don’t give me any fanboy bullshot from patch-that-plot-hole comics; only what gets filmed counts.)

        Any plot that depends on utter stupidity as a driving force of events does not, and can not count.

        • ZOD

          Actually, I’m not s fan of the renegade-boy-genius plot device. I didn’t like alternate Kirk’s background as much as TOS Kirk. I would have rather seen this Kirk’s drive to succeed come from a darker place, maybe… But he should have earned his rank & command over the course of years not days.

          I’m definitely not saying that ST 2009 was a perfect movie. Abrams created a separate space to tell his kind of Star Trek stories. In many ways he’s done a good job. I liked ST 2009 more than the last 2 TNG movies or Generations. Those films weren’t much fun and really mucked up the ongoing narrative that we’ve been following for decades. While not a perfect Star Trek movie, ST 2009 was a very good movie. It was fun to watch with nice emotional scenes & FX that made Star Trek look fresh for the first time since TNG. I don’t think into darkness was as successful. Hopefully the new film will be better.

          Anyway, I’m looking forward to the new show. I hope they return to the tradition of buying stories from Sci-Fi authors. ST thrives on those injections of ideas.

          I think it would be a mistake to dismiss everything that Abrams brought to Star Trek just because it’s different. Paring away the technobabble & focusing on characters was a good move. So was treating the FX more creatively. It gave his films an immediacy that hadn’t been a part of Star Trek since the 60’s.

    • p3orion

      “Abrams ruined Trek for me…”

      In fairness, after the last few seasons of “Voyager”,, the first two seasons of “Enterprise,” and the last two NextGen movies, “Insurrection” and “Nemesis”, it didn’t take much more for it to be ruined the rest of the way.

  • Max Wilder

    Why do they so often have such stupid chairs for the speakers to perch on? If I ever went to speak at a panel like that I’d just stand. They look absurd.

    • p3orion

      Well I’m glad somebody finally spoke up about the biggest issue at question here…

  • Jean Valjean

    He went to the studios and said drop it and they did.

    It’s more likely that he pointed out to the studio that this lawsuit was damaging the brand and the long term investment they had made in this franchise might not be recouped as a result.

    The lawsuit would have made them nothing and would have cost them more in ticket sales and merchandising down the road.

    There are no heroes here. Just people being greedy and realizing that if they are less greedy and selfish now they can get more later on.

    • I am not Herbert

      Justin Lin is *MY HERO* for helping those greedy people to see the light! =D

      P.S.: if u take jj at his word, u r a fool …but whatever, i’ll take it

  • milojthatch

    Has anyone here, even for a moment, stopped to consider that maybe this is all about gaining positive feelings for the new reboot film coming up? That after the bad PR from the law suite, the fan anger over the last movie and the the first trailer for the new movie, that Paramount started worrying that they needed to do something fast to gain fan support before Beyond comes out?

    Think about it, on Axanar social media and general Star Trek fan boards, I’m seeing fans that admit they hate JJ-Trek also say that with this new they will not support the new movie. What if that was the point of this all along?!?!

    • Erik

      Exactly.

  • AgentLobos

    How to fix “Into Darkness”: have Khan assimilated by the Borg when he and his followers find a floating hulk of a ship that came through a wormhole from the Delta Quadrant…then the hipster trek would be in the fight of their lives. As the war against this resurrected borg goes badly for the Federation, Spock discovers the only way to save it from Borg destruction is to go back in time to 2233 to destroy the Narada before it alters history. Vulcan is saved. The USS Kelvin continues to explore as it did before. Later a shot of the TOS Enterprise with sound fx fades into the starfield with Shatner’s intro voice over.

  • p3orion

    There’s a good reason why, after literally hundreds of Star Trek fan productions, the studio decided to bring out the big guns against the production of “Axanar”: because what they have so far is worlds better than either of JarJar Abrams’ Star Trek features (and at a tiny fraction of the cost.)

    If you’re a Trekkie and have somehow not yet seen “Prelude to Axanar”, you owe it to yourself to go watch it NOW: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W1_8IV8uhA

  • Christopher Dalton

    Abrams and Lin SHOULD NOT have interfered with the lawsuit. The ONLY reason they used their clout and did was because they feared a negative backlash against their upcoming film.

    Hate to break this to Abrams and Lin but their interference is already causing a backlash on their new film by those who dislike Abrams. If not more.

    I’l say this much – if Abrams thinks he has gotten a lot of hate mail because of his involvement with Star Trek, he is going to get A LOT more hate mail for his interference in the lawsuit against Peters. Same goes for Lin.

    Congratulations Abrams and Lin. Your third Star Trek film is going to bomb because of your foolish interference and ignorance!