CBS Says ‘No’ to Star Trek: Renegades

CBS Says ‘No’ to Star Trek: Renegades

Space might be the finale frontier but Star Trek is still trying to return to the small screen after the 2005 cancellation of Enterprise. Many have pitched show concepts and ideas but only a few have really made anything concrete. One of the biggest is Star Trek: Renegades, a crowd-funded fan film starring many Trek alum including Walter Koenig, Manu Intiraymi, Gary Graham, Robert Picardo, and Tim Russ who also directed the film\pilot. What is Star Trek: Renegades?

According to writer Ethan H. Calk:

It is nearly ten years after Voyager’s return from the Delta Quadrant, and the Federation is in a crisis. The Federation’s main suppliers of dilithium crystals are disappearing. Space and time have folded around several planets, effectively isolating them from any contact with outside worlds. And this phenomenon is not natural – someone or something is causing this to happen. This necessitates drastic measures; some of which are outside the Federation’s normal jurisdiction. For this, Admiral Pavel Chekov, head of Starfleet Intelligence, turns to Commander Tuvok, Voyager’s former security officer and current head of the newly reorganized Section 31. Tuvok must put together a new covert, renegade crew – mostly outcasts and rogues – even criminals. This new crew is tasked with finding out what is causing the folding of time and space, and stopping it – at all costs. But will they be able to put aside their differences and stop trying to kill one another in time to accomplish their mission?

So, the film takes place after the close of Star Trek: Voyager, leaving many of our Delta quadrant friends in the mix. The film disregards the semi-canon Star Trek Online video game and doesn’t really mess with the future prime timeline used in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 film. Instead, Star Trek: Renegades takes a darker, smaller look at Trek with a focus on a small group of outcasts who are the Federation’s only hope. It’s an attempt to bend and maybe even break the rules set by Gene Roddenberry. The Federation of Renegades is surely no utopia.

Star Trek: Renegades Props

How did the Kickstarter fare? Decently well, in fact. It managed to get funded with $242,483 with an initial goal of $200,000. It was definitely no major hit like LeVar Burton’s Reading Rainbow campaign which brought in over five times their original million dollar goal. But, reaching a goal is reaching a goal and the film\pilot for Renegades was funded and has been produced. Backers of the Kickstarter have even received their digital versions of the film over the last week with physical copies of DVDs and Blu-Rays going into production in the next couple of weeks.

Star Trek: Renegades DVD and Blu-Ray

Everything sounds like it’s been going well for the fan-made film. Well, everything is not holodeck credits and shore-leave for Renegades. The primary goal of the campaign was to produce a pilot strong enough to pitch to CBS, the owner of the Star Trek television rights. We now know how that went. CBS has decided to pass on Renegades for reasons we were not told by the production team. Trek rights are complicated due to Paramount and CBS sharing them along with the new JJ-verse and the love for the original Prime timeline. If I were to speculate, I’d say that CBS either can’t make a show in the Prime timeline due to Paramount’s newer movies (don’t forget that Star Trek Beyond is supposedly coming out in 2016 for the 50th anniversary of the franchise), or CBS already has plans to bring Star Trek back to TV in the near future and Renegades didn’t fit with those plans. Either way, we won’t be seeing Renegades on CBS or any official network.

Star Trek: Renegades Icarus

This is not the end though. The Renegades team announced to their Kickstarter Backers that all is not lost. Since CBS has passed on the pilot, they are going to turn the film into the pilot of a fan-made web series, or as they put it “an independently produced fan-supported Internet TV Series!” Their plan is to leverage the pilot\film as the first episode and produce a total of 12 episodes a year using a fairly normal TV series production schedule with episodes being produced in the span of a week or so. Walter Koenig has agreed to stay on through Episode 3 which will be the conclusion to the Episode 2 cliffhanger but after that, he plans to retire his Chekov character. According to the report, the Renegades team is actively writing the second and third episodes and a new crowd-funding effort is to be announced soon.

If you’re not familiar with the production, check out the trailers here.

Are you disappointed that Star Trek: Renegades will not be picked up by CBS? Are you glad it’s staying a fan-made production? Let us know in the comments and look for our review of the pilot in the coming weeks. Oh, and live long and prosper.

About the Author
Founder and Executive Producer of the Heroes Podcast Network. Host of Screen Heroes and Redshirts & Runabouts podcast series. Known Trekkie, gamer, and all around nerd.

41 comments on CBS Says ‘No’ to Star Trek: Renegades

  1. Frank Jenks says:

    I like the idea of CBS having another plan for Star Trek on the small screen but I’m not sure if this the case. It may be that it wasn’t that good. The idea reminds me too much of a miniseries. I’m not sure I like the premise of Renegades, it reminds too much of the Maquis story line that I never really cared for. In the pilot they would have to demonstrate why the Federation at large hadn’t investigated this. I worry its just a plot device to make things … … well less uptight being that a small rag tag group is more fun that the TNG show. Its not saying this is the case, you can still have a great show from a shabby idea but I can’t say I’m entirely excited about Renegades, atleast plot wise speaking. Aside from some decent production value and acting talent I’m not too excited about it.

    1. Grayson says:

      This is ridiculous and I can’t understand why you would speak so negatively about such an awesome production team after just the pilot episode.
      What kind of comment is that? “It sounds too much like a miniseries?” What a vague and useless criticism that is altogether wrong. Did you know the writers have announced an initial 10 episodes with possibly more to follow? That #2 and #3 are being written right now even as I type this comment?

      The fan following of Renegades on Facebook and in different Star Trek forums is very interactive and it’s growing and gaining momentum every single day.

      The truth is that we now have the technology to beautifully render scenes in space. If you paid attention, you would notice that Renegades has set a damn high standard, if not the highest yet in a TV series, for rendering starships, planets and even combat in space.

      1. Olivier Laborde says:

        Seriously, what’s wrong with you ? Why all the aggressiveness ?

        If you quote someone and uses this quote to go on a rant against them the minimum is to quote correctly. “it sounds like” and “it reminds me” are very very different. Frank was just giving his opinion, as we are all allowed to.

        And I don’t see how Renegades could set the highest standard for battle scene rendering in a TV serie when Axanar fight scenes are already waaaay better

        1. Frank Bones McCoy says:

          Thanks for the defense of what I wrote Olivier.

          I have a great deal of sympathy for the people who worked on Renegades but this just goes to show everyone just how hard it is to get a show going. I believe that the acting, sets, props, and special effects were all pretty good its just that the plot doesn’t really seem like its up to par. People just don’t realize how many stars have to come into alignment to make a successful show. When one does become successful it makes you appreciate it all the more.

      2. Frank Bones McCoy says:

        ROFL

    2. clebertl says:

      Star trek renegades has so much potential that writers could make it interesting for the viewers. Sadly, production of something like this is more about finances and where the funding will come from. Sad that these individuals made such an effort to make something worth while; but nothing will come out of it but the one show.

  2. Marek says:

    Not disappointed in the least. Renegades’ premise is deeply flawed and out of character for what – IMHO – Trek fans en masse expect. I applaud them for making a quality fan film, but it is that – a fan film. The performances were less-than stellar, but a decent story could have outshone any deficiencies. Alas, no.

    The current standard of quality independent Trek films lies with the folks behind Axanar. “Prelude to Axanar” was, in its short 20-minute teaser, heads and tails above anything else out there. I have to say, I prefer it to any of J.J. Abrams’ new Trek films in style and content. The Axanar full feature starts shooting later this year, and we’re on tenterhooks waiting for its debut in Summer ’16.

    1. daniel says:

      **** you the jj movies are great!!!

      1. Eric says:

        If you think the jj movies are great, then you’re not really a Trek fan. They were OK as SF-adventure films, but they left most of what makes Trek Trek out of the finished products.

        1. Joe says:

          You’re right jj bastardized Star Trek and to be quite honest I’ve always wanted to see section 31 series I think it can add a lot of depth to to genes vision

        2. Eric S says:

          I despise the JJ movies. The people who like them are not true Star Trek fans. They are sci fi action movies but they are not Star Trek.
          A new TV series, set in the prime universe, in sequence, after Voyager, would be the best.
          I just watched Star Trek: Renegades, episode 1. It was good and a studio version may have worked but I believe there’s better ideas to be produced.

      2. akeel1701 (@akeel1701) says:

        the JJ movies were a badly written pile of mince

    2. Olivier Laborde says:

      I totally agree with you. While I like the first movie and tolerate the second one, I see them as action movies, not Star Trek, and definitely non cannon. With this in mind, Prelude to Axanar was the best Star Trek thing I have seen since the series.

      1. Frank Bones McCoy says:

        I second this.

  3. Dave says:

    The CGI for the space battles is amazing, the ambiant cgi when in a “cave” or “room” is horrible. I don’t know if the same company/people worked on both CGI but there is a HUGE quality difference. As for the plot….it’s OK, not a huge deal.

  4. Rick says:

    If you want to see a production that does indeed make you say: That’s Star Trek, look at Axanar — http://www.startrekaxanar.com/ . I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. This team has now reached a goal level that will allow them to complete approximately 50% of a full-length feature film through “crowd funding.”

    Axanar is the story of Garth of Izar as he becomes a legend in the 4-year war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. This production also has actors associated with it that were on various incarnations of Star Trek (notably DS9 and Enterprise) as well as Mr. Richard Hatch (or Battlestar Gallactica fame — both incarnations!).

    To take a look at what started the drive to complete Axanar for supporters of Trek look a this short film named “Prelude to Axanar” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W1_8IV8uhA

  5. James Patterson says:

    How about just releasing something…a lot of people kinda feel ripped off…

    1. Ben says:

      James, if you’re referring to Axanar,.they’ve released prelude to axanar, which was a prequel movie, and the first part of Axanar. Now that they’re closed this round of funding, they’ll start filming the rest. What more do you want?

  6. Scott Nakada says:

    ST:Renegades is out there on YouTube right now, in full feature length if anyone cares to look at it.

  7. Grayson says:

    I would just like to say that it is pathetic the “Star Trek: Anexar” fanboys who are cutting down Renegades for childish, selfish reasons.
    You are obviously not Star Trek fans, you are simply trying to shove your production down people’s throats by insulting Renegades without basis.

    Nothing you are typing holds any weight coming from such biased sources.

    1. Gemma 7 says:

      I saw Renegades. I felt their first fan-film, Star Trek: of Gods and Men, was a better film (albeit, it needed better editing too). The film may have pretty space battles, but many of the FX matte shots looked like they came from the early 90s. The story was all over the place. This was not a well-written story. For the money they raised, they could have hired an actual Trek vet to write the script.

      My biggest beef with this film though was the nepotism. The daughter of the writer/producer who played Chekov’s great-great-grand daughter could not act. They should have cast a trained actor for that role – a role that was not even needed in the film, to be honest.

      Walter wants to retire Chekov in their 3rd film. This worries me. If the producers of Renegades kill him off, I feel they are crossing a line. If you are making a fan film and borrowing established characters, you need to treat them with respect. At the end of the day, the final story of the life of Chekov belongs to the owners of the Star Trek franchise.

    2. starbase63 says:

      And where are Axanar supporters insulting Renegades? Many Axanar people were involved with Renegades, it would be foolish to insult their work.

      1. ademol says:

        Am a backer of Axanar and also for STR.

        I’ve noticed some people seem to be disappointed. It won’t change my mind, I liked STR and will keep on backing. I want to see more of STR.
        Sure some actors are stronger than others, but you have that in any movie/tv series.
        Some effects could use improvement, sure…
        This can all happen in the future episodes.

        I remember the very first STNG episode… lots of actors were not as strong… however they did improved over the time.

        1. Olivier Laborde says:

          I am rewatching all Star Trek as I do every few years and the two first seasons of TNG are very hard to watch. The following seasons are much better.

        2. Frank Bones McCoy says:

          I agree with most Star Trek pilots are pretty bad. I do love Enterprises pilot and the second remake pilot of the Original Series as far as TV production value goes. TNG, DS9, and Vygr pilots are very hard to swallow. But on a side note BSGs pilot is outstanding.

          I don’t think people give writing its proper due and often blame the actors. I think all of the actors did a fine job considering what they had. Its hard to write a pilot.

    3. Olivier Laborde says:

      You should not read the comments section if you do not want to see people giving their opinions.

      I have seen both and Prelude to Axanar was much better in terms of script, acting and visuals, and I do not think those are childish and selfish criterias to judge a movie or a serie.

  8. Stardawn Cabot says:

    I was pleasantly surprised by Renegades. I’ve been a fan of Star Trek since TNG, and I’m a HUGE Xena fan as well. I’ve been following the Renegades project for both reasons (Adrienne Wilkinson, who plays Lexxa Singh, and also played Xena’s daughter Eve/Livia and the ST world in general). I know Renegades was made on a tight budget, so I wasn’t expecting all the CGI and special effects to be as good as they were. I think the story had it moments, but if look at it like a pilot (which is was intended to be) it left lots of room for character growth. It made me want to know more… not just about the new Trek, but about the characters and how they got to be where they are. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this and will continue to support it.

  9. Mike says:

    Bring on the Trek!

    Whether it be Renegades, Axanar, Star Trek Continues, or Captain Worf…the fans want to see more Star Trek. There is room and interest for them all. CBS may well be limited, but I am grateful we are at a point in time when these projects can move forward anyway.

    The Renegades pilot has me eagerly awaiting more stories about the characters they have created. Captain Lexxa could well be voted Trek’s best captain in a few years. Watch the show when I get the opportunity, and keep watching. There are very talented people working on Renegades (and Axanar as well) with a ton of experience in the Trek universe. I for one will re-watch this pilot more than Encounter At Farpoint or Caretaker, which both kicked off 7 years of great Trek viewing for their respective series.

    It has been too long since fans have been able to watch an on-going Star Trek show. Bring them on, please!

  10. David Hill says:

    After watching Renegades, I can’t blame CBS for passing on it. I thought it was really disappointing. A lot of the performances didn’t go over well with me, but I think a lot of that is more attributable to the writing than the acting.

    There were too many scenes where I kept getting frustrated and saying, “wait, what?” Like when Lexxa catches back up with the Icarus in a shuttle…and then they just leave the shuttle floating there in space? Because we don’t see it again, and we don’t see it fly away after delivering Lexxa. So from a viewer’s perspective, it’s just sitting there where they left it.

    Or **SPOILERS** with the revelation that the mechanic was actually a hologram, was he moving around off the ship? If he had the Voyager EMH’s mobile emitter when he ‘died’, does that mean he’s no longer able to leave the ship? If he doesn’t have the mobile emitter on him…how was he even in the place where he died? **SPOILERS OVER**

    I don’t know. It could have been an interesting idea, but I felt like the script was a fairly early draft and hadn’t yet been refined as much as it needed to be. Too many of the character conversations were conversations I would have expected to have happened a long time ago, but were happening now so the audience could get the character dialogue and interactions to see who had what powers before they were needed for the plot. Making that tradeoff almost never works well.

    1. Steff says:

      I agree. a lot of cheese, could have been produced and directed better on the budget…

    2. Marc says:

      Well, yes he DID have the mobile emmiter on him while on Syphon, so it was lost when the planet had space collapse around it. So in future episodes Fixer will not be able to leave the ship…unless they are able to recover it. What’s still not known is where the planets went when space folded around them. (They actually were not destroyed).

  11. Shawn Irwin says:

    Departing from the rules set by Gene Roddenberry is definitely a bad idea.
    I do not believe in utopianism, but there is a great deal to be said about a show that has an uplifting message, versus one that gives the viewer nothing.

  12. dennycranium says:

    Renegades was never a pilot. That was just propaganda to stir interest.
    I doubt cbs even looked at it. If they did, it was out of courtesy to Mr. Koenig and Mr. Russian.
    Renegades had some decent moments.
    I enjoyed the chase scene with the USS Archer.
    They tried but it was just Star Trek: A-Team to me.
    If they get more money, I hope they invest in wardrobe that fits and get a real Captains Chair for Lexxa

  13. Robot_Quentin says:

    I did enjoy Renegades, albeit my expectations were a little bit low. Pleasantly surprised with the end results… Ok certainly some scenes were pretty bad. Most of the stuff in Chekov’s office was less than stellar with the granddaughter etc, but Sean Young was right on target. I wish the script could’ve been tightened up a bit without the main problem with MOST of these fan productions, over-explanation or under-explanation. There is alot of potential here for Lexxa and the rest of the crew to have some excellent adventures. Thanks to Tim Russ and the rest for his tenacity in getting this project done.

  14. Oswaldo Ziel says:

    The debut trailer has just been released, showcasing impressive visual effects and an even more impressive cast of Star Trek alumni.

  15. Steff says:

    Worst part: adrienne Wilkinson is about to sacrifice herself for the earth, very cheesily this crack head dude jumps in and takes her place, later on then when we think he’s dead, he magically appears on the ship… Dont like the directing, worst of trek imo, nice space ship stuff. Big up sfx crew…

    1. Marc says:

      He “magically” appears because he was a hologram as explained by the doctor right before he reappears. Except he is an earlier copy of Fixer with no memory of the sacrifice he made. However, he can no longer leave the ship because the mobile emitter was lost.

  16. David Strange says:

    If there is one thing Gene Roddenberry knew is that Star Trek was nothing without the fans. He was personally responsible for more leaks and props disappearing from the set and finding there way into the hands of fans during the making of the movies than anyone else. He knew how to build hype and feed the fan base. Know CBS is handed a fan based series to hit the ground running with and in there infinite stupidity they turn it down. But then again how many TV series and Movies have been ruined by the studios controlling them. God help us if CBS is even thinking of trying a series based on the J.J. Verse (The Jolly Jackass Verse). CBS and Paramount have actually filled suit against a fan film apparently because they fill its a better movie then the one Paramount is putting out. Check out Prelude to Axanar on YouTube. Paramount and CBS and never taken issue with any fan film previously made which establishes a legal precedent they will have to overcome in there suit. Terms such as Vulcan come from mythology (Roman god) and can’t be copyrighted, Gene took a lot of his ideas from classical literature. If CBS and Paramount continue to alienate the fan base and destroy what Gene created, like destroying the planet Vulcan in the first J.J. movie, they may find they don’t have a fan base any more. CBS were fools for not picking up Star Trek Renegades, but its just a symptom of a larger struggle for the heart of what Gene created.

  17. Joseph Freeman says:

    While Renegades had a good start, I am hoping they will do more eps and make the plots more thoughtful like the original. ST Continues is basically the “original” in every sense. The New “Crappy Blowhard Sphinkters” cbs star trek series will not even be available unless you want to pay to watch it online. I don’t have cable or satelite. I have only free broadcast, but that is 29 channels so far, and is un-compressed . cable/sat can’t give the same quality. hbo etc series are always available at the library free as well.

  18. Robert Robinson says:

    The birth of this nation depended on George Washington’s privateers that greatly fight the British ships on the year 1775-6. If it was not for pirates, there would be no USA.
    This is like that. This you can call it, Chekov’s privateers.

  19. Damien says:

    I agree, STR is too dark. It would not have been adopted by Gene Roddenberry. STR takes a hard left turn from the Social and Political ques that Star Trek has always addressed.

    STR is a steroidal version of Babylon 5. As for J.J. Abrams, very little is known of Kirk’s history so it’s fairly open to artistic interpretation. Also, ST: Enterprise had few Timeline issues. The most notable being the encounter with the Ferengi .. supposedly it was STNG who encountered them first…

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