During the Star Trek fan event at Paramount Pictures last night, executive producer J.J. Abrams addressed a question about the ongoing litigation Paramount and CBS are pursuing against the makers of the fan films Prelude to Axanar and Star Trek: Axanar. The case has led to interesting moments, like a brief claiming the Klingon language cannot be copyrighted as it is now a live language with dictionaries and other materials in print.
The case was also interesting as it marked a changed in both companies’ stance on fan films. While tolerated in the past, Axanar promises to features veteran Star Trek talent in front of and behind the camera. Excerpts from Prelude to Axanar also indicated a level of special effects sophistication to rival the professionally made Star Trek.
It seems the case troubled Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin, who shared his concerns with Abrams. “We started talking about and realized it was not an appropriate way to be dealing with the fans,” said Abrams. “Fans of Star Trek are part of this world. So we went to the studio and pushed them to stop this lawsuit. Withing the next few weeks, it will be announced that this is going away.”
According to Buzzfeed’s Adam B. Vary, the companies have offered a statement on the matter:
— Adam B. Vary (@adambvary) May 21, 2016
It also seems that everyone may have been caught off guard by Abrams’ announcement as Vary also posted that Axanar co-writer and producer Alec Peters was unaware Abrams would speak on the matter or what the statement actually means.
Now that Abrams has started the ball rolling, it remains to be seen what the settlement will entail and how the companies will formalize their relationship with fan film producers.
Bill Watters contributed to this story.