1) We defintely will not be a slave to canon, but try and weave it into what we are doing.
2) Our design aesthetic is NOT going backwards from "the Cage" (which I consider bad 50's sci-fi). And we aren't a slave to TOS either. We will try and make it all sensible, but like "Enterprise" or even JJverse, the simple fact is the look of the future has changed since 1966. You aren't going to make NEW Star Trek that is a slave to TOS design aesthetic. But, we do get very close.
Our bridge will be Phase II's bridge, with a new captain's chair and command console. No red paint (psudeo-cage) and a bunch of stuff changed. We nod to TOS but show this ship is different.
3) A few people have mentioned the deflector. As Tobias says, it isn't quiet so bright when you animate the ship. Plus, nothing says that we can't have a very different deflector. The whole idea of the USS Ares is that it is a purpose built ship of war.
4) Kirk was a "new-fledged cadet" at the Axanar Peace Mission in 2250 according to the official Star Trek chronology by Mike and Denise Okuda. But while it makes sense that the Peace Mission would be right after the battle, sometimes it takes years to finally settle a war. In 2245, when "Axanar" takes place, the Battle of Axanar will be decisive. But we haven't written the conclusion, as there are actually a few threads that run through it. Could the Battle be in 2245 and the Peace Mission start the next year and take a few years to finalize? Sure.
Either THAT or we set it in 2250 and then the Constitution Class is in service and we have to deal with THAT! Wouldn't they be in the war? And there were only 12. And none were lost in the war. So that causes a lot problems. I didn't want Garth to captain a Constitution Class ship.There are plenty of fan films with other Constitution class ships, (and bravo to ones like Ajax which don't use one!). I didn't want to be just another fan film with just another Captain of yet one more of the Constitution fleet. And we want the Constitution and the D-7 to be the dreadnaughts of the time. The arms race is which side gets theirs into service. That is a major piece of the story.
So we make an assumption that it takes a while to get to a final peace. It is a better choice for our story. And the story is pretty damn good according to everyone who has read it. A lot of Star Trek geeks giving feedback directly on our script, and Dave Galanter, who has written 5 Star Trek novels, is the story editor.
5) Also, we know that there are MANY things that don't make sense that are canon. There are many mistakes. In Fact in "Whom Gods Destroy" Kirk talks about the Battle of Axanar basically creating the Federation, and we know THAT wasn't true! So you have to take canon with a grain of salt.
As you can see, we have very strong views of what our story is and where we are going. I love hearing all the feedback. Thank you all.