If you're a Trekkie, then you've probably heard of Axanar: the crowdfunding campaign is branding itself as the first fully-independent, professionally-made Star Trek fan film ever. In all honesty, the project is pretty impressive: judging from the short clips available on Axanar's Indiegogo and YouTube pages, the team behind the film know what they're doing. It's still very clearly a fan film (don't expect J.J. Abrams-level effects here), but compared to similar projects, it's on another level.
Maybe that's why the project has become so popular: as of this writing, the Indiegogo page is sitting at roughly $565,000 in donations, while the Kickstarter page raised over $630,000 - for such a relatively niche audience, that's impressive. Granted, there's still a long ways to go....but now, there's a good chance the production will never make it to the screen.
While CBS and Paramount have typically been lenient on fan-made projects, the Star Trek copyright holders have stepped in to shut down Axanar's crowdfunding campaign. Not only that, but the studios are also seeking damages against the production team - long story short, things aren't looking good for Axanar.
CBS and Paramount (via THR) have made it as clear-cut as they possibly could have:
"The Axanar Works infringe Plaintiffs' works by using innumerable copyrighted elements of Star Trek, including its settings, characters, species, and themes."
To be fair, CBS and Paramount have every right to shut down Axanar. It's their property: while they've been lax with fan productions in the past, Axanar is clearly meant to be something more. It's a noble effort on the team's part...but at the end of the day, Star Trek isn't their toy to play with.
There's no word on exactly how much the studios are seeking in damages, but given how much the two Axanar crowdfunding campaigns have raised, it's probably quite a bit.
It's clear that the Axanar crew is extremely passionate about what they do, and it's a shame to see the project seemingly end like this...but at the end of the day, CBS and Paramount own the property. It's up to them what happens - and as it stands, it doesn't look like Axanar is going to happen.
The next official movie, Star Trek: Beyond, is set to hit theaters in July 2016.