|STAR TREK FAN FILM|
Starship Valiant is a web-based fan-film series with an indeterminate number of episodes to be produced. It has been in the planning and production stages since September 2013 and the first episode is near completion with a debut date of June 27th, 2014 at the Sooner Con sci-fi Convention in Midwest City, Oklahoma and a web release date of July 1st, 2014, however, this date was changed to July 4th, 2014 due to the production team wanting to go back and complete some audio/effects sequences that they did not have the time to complete while rushing to get the film ready for its sooner con release.
Starship Valiant: Legacy was indeed released on June 27th, 2014 at Sooner Con Ballroom C. In attendance were actors Michael L. King, Doneco Wellington Guy, Shirley Amauric and April Chamberlain. Crew members attending were Director Brady Foster, Editor Ben Richardson and Richard Wells of Starbase Studios. Audience members, including legendary trek super-fan Larry Nemecek found the film quite in the spirit of the original series but character-driven focusing on the character of Jackson K. Bishop and spending time fleshing him out. Some stated it felt like classic trek but felt like something different as well but definitely taking place in the trek universe. Representatives at Sooner Con, were pleasantly surprised by the film and scheduled it for another showing the following Sunday. The series was created by Michael L. King.
The series is closely related with Star Trek: The Original Series, i.e., 2267-2269 and takes place during the "4th season" of the original series. It is intended to return to the TOS environment in terms of stories and scenery but focusing more on character development and internal strife with the highlight being the betterment of the human condition. The series starship was inspired by the notes of DC Fontana where she listed the USS Valiant as an alternative name for one of the original 13 Constitution-class starships, registry number NCC-1707.
As of July 1st, 2014, Starship Valiant is in pre/post-production stage now as certain scenes are being edited and the sound mix is being set. A trailer for the first episode or vignette was released June 20th, 2014 to overall positive response. The film itself debut at Sooner Con #23 in Midwest City, Oklahoma on June 27th, 2014 to overall positive response. However for its internet release it was held back an additional 4 days to tweak and make changes that the production team did not have time to complete. The internet release will be the definitive version of the film. The web-series is using the bridge set with the endorsement and blessing of Jimm and Josh Johnson who produced Starship Exeter. The bridge set is now housed at Starbase Studios under the care of CEO's Scott Johnson and Richard Wells and are generally known as the Starship Ajax sets. Other fan films have used the bridge set including "Yorktown: A Time to Heal," and "Hanlet."
Michael L. King conceived the series as direct inspiration of Starship Exeter and always held the dream of creating his own expression of Star Trek, albeit on a more personal level with the characters taking center stage and the action being a distant second. In May of 2014 during filming of "Legacy," he was quoted as saying, "Valiant is about the people that inhabit the world created by Gene Roddenberry. The series will have aliens, phaser fights, ship battles but none of these will ever out-class the characters. Valiant will focus exclusively on the people. It's about humanity at its core and our stories will revolve around what makes us all who we are. Some may find this way of telling a story amidst all the other films that focus on action-oriented film-making a bit different but I envisioned the series this way. There will never be gratuitous special effects just for the sake of special effects." He brought together a winning team to help, consisting of professional photographer Brady Foster, the director and cameraman; Ben Richardson, editor and acting coach as well as assistance from Scott Johnson, Richard Wells, Randy Betterton and
Craig William Frey is in charge of special visual effects and have rendered all the effects work for the vignette. He has completed 90% of the effects as of this article. Frequent updates in photos and video production reports of the progress are posted by the producer and staff on the official Facebook page.
Jackson K. Bishop
Jackson K. Bishop (played by Michael L. King) is an exceptional officer and has often proven his abilities in command of the USS Valiant. He is cool and calm in the face of danger and is quick to pull his phaser when needed.
He does not often ask for others opinions when he is in command and he’s always analytical. He's seen many battles and has proven invaluable to his captain and he has the utmost respect of the crew, especially his best friend Leeza S. Kennedy.
He’s a very driven man boiling over with emotions. He can be combative, harsh, seemingly uncaring at times and arrogant but he is also capable of the reverse of all these things. Few know the true person behind the uniform. His personal life is a mess, hiding feelings of terrible guilt and persecution. He's a haunted man and the only thing that seems to bring him temporary peace is serving on board the Valiant, which takes his mind temporarily away from his problems. Though he may have many personal problems, when he is in command the safety of the ship is foremost on his mind. He is overly protective of the crew given what they have all gone through together.
He’s seen many of his shipmates die… perhaps too many and it weighs heavily on him. Often time, he wonders if he has the strength inside to handle another death. He knows that it’s inevitable that death will occur again. It was at the behest of Senior Admiral Parker who goaded him in commanding the ship for which he reluctantly took command but he can’t shake the feelings of deep guilt over the fact that his deceased captain was his best friend and may be somehow he let him down. Still, he will challenge even those most high in Starfleet if he feels they are wrong. He is very protective of his crew and he will do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of his ship and company.
Leeza S. Kennedy
Leeza S. Kennedy (played by Kelley Wyskiel) is 3rd in command of the USS Valiant. She takes her job very seriously and often oversees many departments on-board the ship and many crewmen report directly to her with status reports.
She is the classic workaholic and thrives on it. Leeza loves the Valiant and even though the ship was nearly destroyed and put to space dock, her overriding goal was to get her ready as fast as possible so that Valiant could once again leave the galaxy.
Although not assigned to oversee the refit of the ship, she chose to personally take the responsibility into her own hands. Valiant is a ship that she considers her home and she has taken ownership of the starship. In that instance she shares a sense of peace and tranquility just as Bishop does when he is on-board. The ship brings them both peace of mind.
Admiral Shelly Parker
Admiral Shelly Parker (played by Shirley Amauric) is a senior admiral in Starfleet. Parker’s career spans many years of dedicated and honorable service for Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets. She worked her way up from a lowly ensign, then captain, commodore and finally an admiral.
She has the distinction of being the first female starship captain and commanded the very first Constitution-class starship, the USS Constitution upon its initial launch in 2240. She commanded the earliest incarnation of these ships which would become the vanguards of the Federation and paved the way for early deep space exploration.
Abigail Bishop (played by Doneco Wellington Guy) Daughter of Commander Bishop of the USS Valiant, Abbey harbors quite a bit of anger and dissatisfaction with her father. She blames him for the death of her mother and for his lack of parenting in her life. To say that there is an uneasy peace between the two of them would be universal exaggeration.
Abbey was raised almost exclusively by her grandfather Jacob Bishop and as such she grew very attached to him and even thought of him as her true father. Her actual father buried himself in his work to try and cover the pain that he felt at the loss of his wife, Bell but this often kept him away from the daughter that they sired together causing a tremendous rift between the two of them.
Their relationship is one of pain and distress and it's not quite certain if she can ever bring herself to simply... like her father. Strong-willed and very intelligent, she is a mirror copy of her dad but she'll never admit it as she hates everything that makes him... him.
Lt. Kim Torres
Lt. Kim Torres (played by April Chamberlain) serves as the communications officer on-board the USS Valiant. When the ship fell under enemy attack, Torres's fiancee was killed leaving her emotionally scarred and
unable to continue her duties on the ship. Lt. Jack Taylor, head of security on the ship died defending the Valiant from an alien incursion on board. His death precipitated a career change for her and she transferred to the USS Ajax under the command of Charles Boone.
The brainchild of Michael L. King, Starship Valiant went through several phases until finally the story morphed into the shooting script. Though generally, the ideas that were conceived stayed the same, many story elements were changed and rewritten. The introductory episode "Legacy," almost did not see conception as it was a last minute decision by Michael L. King just before the opening episode, "Desperation," began production. It was at this time that King decided against going into a full story with characters that were not 3-dimensional. So, he decided to write an introductory story focusing on the star of the web-series, Commander Jackson K. Bishop. It was his desire to explore the character in a way that many fan films had not done with their lead characters and not only develop him but make him relate to other people and real while exploring the human condition. "If I were to say anything about Bishop, it would be that he is a very flawed human being but at the same time, he is a man with the potential to be better than he is. He can learn and he can grow. Humans beings aren't limited to one behavior. We aren't wind up toys or reprogrammable computers. We can strive to be much more than we are. Ultimately we can better ourselves. Bishop is a very brave man. He is strong-willed. He would sacrifice his life to save the innocent. I could have written a "perfect" character but in light of the human race that would not have been a true representative of the humanity." - Michael L. King.
In early September of 2013, Michael L. King presented a story treatment to Scott Johnson and Richard Wells and early elements had the story being called "Starship Pegasus," a name inspired by the 1978 Battlestar Galactica episode, "The Living Legend," where guest star Lloyd Bridges commanded a Battlestar called the Pegasus. The episode itself struck a cord with King and the fact that the spirit of the ship, in that episode fought to the end and was portrayed so legendary, he felt the name was perfect for the Constitution-class starship.
To his dismay however, he discovered that the name "Pegasus," had already been used in a fan film production and was even listed in Franz Joseph's Technical Manual. Research began a new as King watched several original series episodes for clues on a ship that was presented but never had been used. Through communications with Richard Wells of Starbase Studios, the name Valiant was presented by Wells. Following more research, King discovered that the original series gave very little if any data on the Starship Valiant and it was decided that the ship would indeed serve the web series well.
In the original draft of the first full episode called "Desperation," King created a classic story which had many elements that made the original series so great. It would have been a story that featured new lifeforms and explored the very fabric of the Federation. The perspectives of right and wrong and the preservation of life would have been themes as well. This story was ultimately put on hiatus to be produced at a later time as King made the decision to go with "Legacy," which would become a three-part story arc called the "Suculon Trilogy." These story-lines will explore the tensions and superstitions that people have with not only others that are different than them but with how they deal with those differences.
"Legacy," is a story that King feels covers many different themes. Loss, pain and the trauma that can results from it. Losing oneself to grief and depression in so much that it becomes a force that overcomes our every actions. The overwhelming feeling of uselessness. The devastating results of the mistakes that we have made in the past and how they can afflict those that we say that we love. He felt that it was a very human story that audience members could certainly connect with on many different levels.
When the time came to shoot the film, King approached professional photographer Brady Foster,
who himself had a great love for the original series to film Starship Valiant. Brady did not hesitate to not only film the vignette but King also asked him to direct it, even though he himself had desired to do just that but given that he was starring in the film, he did not want the distraction of acting in the production and directing so he would bide his time. Brady took on the reins of directing the film. Though it was the first time that King had worked with Brady, the two clicked and both men felt very comfortable producing the film together. Brady had many creative ideas that not only enhanced the story but adding to the realism of the picture. Brady would also go on to do all the post-production effects himself and those would encompass the opening sequence featuring all the "fire,"/flashing effects on the Valiant hull, the debris field, the cemetery headstone writing, the futuristic buildings, the shuttle fly-over and the ending titles. Brady did a remarkable job and exactly what the script called for. During the shoot, Brady's professionalism and skill elevated the production to higher level than King ever thought there would be. To this day, every time King looks at Legacy, he is impressed by it. "Everything came together so well. I remember the first time I saw the film on opening day. I was so emotional by what we all had accomplished that I became teary-eyed. I am so thankful for Brady Foster. He was/is a God sent and is one of the most kind people that I have ever known."
- Starship Valiant: Legacy: The Special Edition (2015) on YouTube
- Starship Valiant: Crosses to Bear (2016) on YouTube
- Starship Valiant: Penpals: A Star Trek Fan Film (2016) on YouTube
- Starship Valiant: Cageless: A Star Trek Fan Production (2017) on YouTube
- Starship Valiant: The Ancient Light: A Star Trek Fan Production (2017) on YouTube
- Starship Valiant: Discover: A Star Trek Fan Production (2017) on YouTube
- Starship Valiant: The Valhalla Stone (2017) on YouTube
- Starship Valiant: Gemini: A Star Trek Fan Production (2017)] on YouTube
- Starship Valiant: The Ties That Bind (Special Preview) (2017) on YouTube
- Minard (Special Edition) (2019) on YouTube
- Starship Valiant: Animals (2021) on YouTube