re: Star Trek Redux

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by trekkist, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. trekkist

    trekkist Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    This doesn't really fit (by format) this sub-forum's 1st 2 header threads; I hope moderation will be as gentle as I invite readers' critiques to be harsh!

    What follows is a header statement for an as-yet nonexistent website. As thoughtful as folks here are, I figured feedback from square one would be to my benefit. Does this say too much? Too little? Do I come off badly in tone? As all writers ask, would you want to read more?

    David Winfrey


    What, another Original Series era fan film?

    Not exactly. Nor is Star Trek Redux a “re-imaging” of TOS. Exactly.

    Over a decade ago, I wrote some essays as to what I’d do if given the authority to re-make Star Trek. My first goal was an obvious fannish one (since realized with Star Trek Exeter, New Voyages/Phase II, and others) – to recreate on screen the fantastic sets and imagery of Star Trek, which I believed could capture an audience even decades after their creation, and to tell new stories set in that universe. The larger goal was the same as Gene Roddenberry’s in 1964: to use a believable science fiction format to tell stories outside the parameters of acceptable contemporary television narratives.

    Despite the relaxation of broadcast standards, certain issues remain untouchable, even on cable. Capitalism, patriarchy, polygamous and/or polyandrous sexual mores, above all the mixed ramifications not of fundamentalist religion, but of religion per se remain generally outside the scope of television storytelling.

    In 1964, a utopian future Starship boasted a female second in command, a multi-racial crew, and a token alien on the bridge. A year or so into production, it was realized that of course the Enterprise should have a Russian crewmember.

    Of what would a contemporary vision of a utopian future consist?

    In 2002, I penned a two-hour pilot script introducing the newly-launched Starship Endeavour, its captain Fazal Allende – a practicing Muslim. My navigator was a Chinese woman, my helmsman a gay man, my science officer Richard Daystrom’s son, my Engineer and First Officer female, my chief medical officer a Vulcan, my transporter officer a three-legged, three-armed Edoan. Had Star Trek Redux debuted back then (on TV or online), its vision of a unified future Earth would, I think, have struck more nerves than did Star Trek’s Lieutenant Uhura across the American south.

    Overwhelmed by the impossibility of the project, I put Redux aside. But the concept refused to leave my mind. In time, another fan joined me – of his own free will, I should add – in fleshing out Redux. New characters were developed, a pair of villains introduced, story arcs worked out, scripts written and polished. In time, a seven season series took shape, my pilot followed by major events, developing storylines, and a projected conclusion. At present, about 20 episodes (all but the first forty-minute, four-act teleplays with teasers) exist, along with another 80 or so story ideas (all told, about one-half our would-be series)…as well as a projected spinoff set in the Mirror universe.

    Certain aspects of Star Trek Redux are apt to take long-time fans aback. As this website’s headers illustrate, the Starship Endeavour is not exactly the Constitution class we have come to know. Nor are its technologies and operating characteristics quite in line with those dubbed “canonical.” Neither divergence, however, is intended as difference for difference’s sake. Rather, they are based upon a painstaking examination of what the Original Series (and to some degree, its sequels) showed. A shuttlecraft large enough to stand erect in (whose interior would not fit into the soundstage exterior prop), dwarfed as depicted on-air by her mothership’s hangar deck, leads to the inescapable conclusion that Enterprise was more than 947 feet in length. A “standard orbit” from which a Starship would if powerless quickly plummet is in fact not an orbit at all. An impulse drive capable of taking a Romulan warbird readily into and out of Federation space, of outpacing the planet-killer, of completing a journey to Regula requiring twelve hours at warp speed – of taking a Galaxy-class saucer anywhere from where Geordi left it and Argyle stationary when returning to the “arsenal of freedom” – is not a merely sublight propulsor. It is for these and other reasons that my pilot script – like the Next Generation premier – takes its time in introducing not just crew, but vessel. Neither are “revisionist” for the sake of empty theatre, or purposeless grandeur – but both are unfamiliar, despite decades’ age. Thus, Star Trek Redux.

    This website presents Redux in its entirety, as it presently exists. Not a frame of imagery has been shot, not a foot of soundstage constructed. For the present, Star Trek Redux lacks a cast, a crew, a budget. Its “production staff” consists at present of two men writing words. Just words. Good words? We think so. And with those words, we hope to spark the idea in others that this fan film too should see its genesis.
     
  2. Barbreader

    Barbreader Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Right now, this is fan fiction.

    Are you are trying to turn it into a drama (film, live action, or audio)? Please say so.

    Personally, in a reboot I would also update the tech, eliminate the clone wars of the 1990s (they didn't happen) and the World War of the 2020s (it's unlikely). I would also just delay everything by 100 years, including the arrival of the Vulcans.
     
  3. trekkist

    trekkist Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Right now, it's fan fiction in script form. I would indeed (should I win the lottery, or enough volunteers/online funding) pursue a film series, whether live action or animation. Hell, I'd welcome a comic book artist! Anything to get it off the "printed" page.

    Omitted from this short(!) description is Redux being an alternate timeline: that of TOS -- i.e., 1960s orbital nukes, 1990s Eugenics Wars, DY-class sleeper ships until 2018, etc. Post-TOS canon is recognized, but their "correction" or reconciliation of what are now to us events of the past is disregarded.

    I want to add that Redux does NOT consists of a top-heavy collection of "message" stories. Like TOS, we mostly do character stories and SF, with the occasional "if this goes on--" or "what if the ____ took over" type story.

    And the phrase "empty theatre, or purposeless grandeur" should not be read as a dig at existing fan films, but rather the current "franchise."

    David Winfrey
     
  4. Barbreader

    Barbreader Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This map: https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=....640503&spn=26.320794,127.210694&source=embed (which you can move around and zoom in with) shows productions currently under way and others which have produced a film before disbanding. You might want to seek out people who have worked on a film near you geographically. You might also want to volunteer to work on somebody else's fan film for a while, the learn about independent productions. There are also threads in this forum which discuss many aspects of filmmaking you might find useful.

    If you are completely rethinking it, you might want to consider severing the last ties and just making it an independent production so that if you ever do make the film, you can run it on You Tube with commercials and sell DVDs.
     
  5. trekkist

    trekkist Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Thanks for the map link! I'd never seen that.

    I've been making my way (slowly) through this site's primer. Great stuff.

    David Winfrey
     
  6. Captain Atkin

    Captain Atkin Commander Red Shirt

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    All of the subjects you listed above were covered in Star Trek. Most notably, they were all covered on Deep Space Nine.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2013
  7. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    I'd like to see a fan take on a new version of TOS. :techman:
     
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As I think is apparent to anyone who's read this forum for a while, I'm all about encouraging and in a small way educating people in what it takes to actually produce a film, so I hope I'll be forgiven for this. I want to see people make their productions happen, but I'm weary of self aggrandizing Mission Statements about how innovative and wonderful a nonexistent program is going to be when and if it ever gets made. Maybe it's just me, but I want to see and learn about what you're actually doing, not hear prettily worded plugs from the top of a soapbox.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  9. trekkist

    trekkist Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    As I said (quite clearly I think) what I'm doing/have done is WRITING. Being as how I lack the resources to do more…and since the only way to attract such (sans pay) is to attract volunteers…it seems to me the practical next step is to advertise the product. I'm not first out of the gate, and what's been done already is incredible. As has been said elsewhere, "Why should I be interested in Capt. Y aboard Starship Z?" What I've posted here is the introduction to "why." Which I tried to keep short and NON-self-agrandizing. I welcome scathing criticism, but a simple dismissal isn't useful to me in trying to tweak the product (i.e., my eventual website intro).

    I don't know the length limit on posts, and figured it rude to post a script (in which pudding the proof, if any, would be). But Maurice, if you'd care to sample the product, drop me a PM with your email address. Maybe you'll like it, maybe not. And if that doesn't grab you, how about letting me know what SPECIFICALLY in my "intro" put you off -- other than its mere existence?
    David Winfrey
     
  10. trekkist

    trekkist Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    I'd slap down fully 1/3 of TOS as worth viewing by anyone. In watching every episode of every sequel, I found most of the first 3 years of TNG abysmal, DS9 interesting but lightweight (with occasional exceptions like "Duet"), Voyager kind of tedious, Enterprise…well, why go on? Compare the average level of any post-TOS "socially relevant" script with that maintained week in and out by Babylon 5 or the Galactica reboot, and I'll think you find the former lacking. Fun? Sure. Pretty? Yep. Decent in SF terms? Sometimes. But "deep"? Hah. Now compare TOS with its contemporaries…and consider that it still stands up today. I hold that TOS outshines all its sequels, which far from pushing the envelope conceptually or contemporary-comment wise, came off as sophomoric compared to what was THEN on non-SF TV.

    David Winfrey
     
  11. Duane

    Duane Captain Captain

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    I prefer "short and sweet" web site intros, and let them read more if they want to by digging further into the website. My own project has a "concept introduction" which is a bit shorter than yours, and I am always trying to trim.
     
  12. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    First, I have no problem with the "mere existence" of the project. It's the hand waving around the idea instead of the actual idea that I tire of reading on this site. The "tone" is self important.

    Me, I prefer details about what something IS to fluffy aspirations.

    Example:

    Etc. etc.

    That's a brief show pitch. It's got what, where, why and how, and now only needs the who—the characters. There's meat there: the setting, the episode format, and, most important, the theme the show would explore.

    (BTW, I just made that up on the fly, it's not something I'm writing.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  13. trekkist

    trekkist Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    OK Maurice, how's this?

    David Winfrey

    Star Trek Redux aims to resurrect the spirit of TOS with a mix of SF, action-adventure, drama and the occasional comedy, and to re-introduce to this franchise the challengingly mature social and political commentary characteristic of TOS at its best, a torch since passed to the likes of Babylon 5 and the new Galactica. The USS Endeavour follows Defiant’s launch by some months, serving to maintain fleet strength pending advent of the refitted Enterprise and her sisters.

    The cast of Redux aims to recapture the then-utopian mix of Kirk’s crew. Captain Fazal Allende is a practicing Muslim (as startling a hero as was Uhura a bridge officer in the 1960s). A female First Officer and Chief Engineer, a (rightfully, though amusingly) culturally proud Chinese helmswoman, a gay navigator, Richard Daystrom’s son as science officer, a Vulcan Chief Medical Officer, a Security Chief from the deep South, and various others season the mix.

    Redux rings changes on familiar Star Trek technologies as well – though not as a re-imagining, but rather per close examination of what TOS depicted (as vs. what has since been maintained to be canon). Endeavour’s impulse drive is hyperlight-capable, her saucer routinely detachable, her photon torpedoes the energy pods of matter and antimatter introduced subsequent to “Balance of Terror,” not the physical armaments of the films and sequels. Her overall length is 1262 feet (as deducible from the relative proportions of a full-scale shuttlecraft and hangar as seen in TOS – though notably the remastered episodes – and required to permit the rec deck and parallel torpedo bays of the refitted starship).

    Redux includes both stand-alone and multi-part episodes, series-long character development, a pair of recurring villains, and ongoing story arcs. Per the latter, the beginning and end of a projected seven-season series exist, as well as certain “waypoint” events – but only some 20 scripts have been written, offering many opportunities for future screenwriters. This website offers the opportunity for others to explore and contribute to the would-be Redux universe.
     
  14. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Why is the sole listed characteristic for the navigator is that he is gay? That shouldn't be in the "press" releases, it should flow naturally from the stories themselves. A regular gay character would've been a big deal twenty-five years ago. Now, I just don't see it as a selling point.

    Not too many people are going to know or care who Richard Daystrom is.

    I also hate when someone tries to nail down the entire crew right at the first episode. It reminds of Modern Trek's '7-by-7' formula, seven characters for seven seasons with little change no matter how useless a character becomes (*cough* Riker *cough*).

    Just some thoughts.
     
  15. trekkist

    trekkist Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    >Why is the sole listed characteristic for the navigator is that he is gay?

    I agree, and thought this as I wrote it. Bear in mind 3 things though: first, the pilot (and cast) dates to 2002, when a gay male on TV was less common or acceptable than today; 2)lack of gay representation in official Trek persists to this day and 3)the purpose of this section of the description is to play up the diversity of the crew by (relatively) contemporary standards.

    I certainly agree that the guy's being gay isn't a defining characteristic as such, nor in fact does any existing script reference it. As for Daystrom's son, I agree that only TOS fans would recognize the name; citing it was a covert way of saying "he's black."

    The painful truth is that franchised Trek hasn't broken new "radical" ground in diversity since Number One. A black commander was no big deal by the time we met Sisko, a woman Captain a "so what?" on introduction of Janeway. As I asked a friend once, given a united Earth, what would be the most statistically unlikely identity for a typical captain? Answer: a white male.

    I hasten to add, Redux' cast isn't diverse for the "sake" of diversity, but to try to tell its audience, subliminally, "See? It's the future…we're all equal now" with as close as possible to the impact of Uhura & Chekov on the bridge. Thus my "enemy as hero" captain -- an intrinsic reminder that all is no longer as it is today.

    I'm surprised no one has taken me to task for religion, BTW. I'll say only that, secular utopia though it appeared, TOS made repeatedly clear that Kirk, McCoy & Uhura (at least) believed not just in one god, but (in the former & latter cases) Christ. Were they "Christians" by contemporary standards? Roddenberry couldn't/wouldn't address that. But I find it unlikely that identifiable beliefs will all be gone by the 23rd century. Changed, sure; matured, hopefully…but not gone.

    David Winfrey
     
  16. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    "Who are you?"
    It sounds like you're trying to attract interested parties to get things going, but it also sounds like you're far from production. For the reasons I give below, one major concern I have is that this will turn into one of the numerous projects already out there, that stays in development for five or more years without a single frame of footage being made.

    With 20 or more scripts already in hand, at this point, I'd worry less about attracting people to write for the show than I would actually making it. Pick one of the 20 scripts and turn it into a pilot. If that's too challenging, pick one scene. Nothing will get people interested in participating as much as seeing what you already have, in the form of a video they can watch.

    At this early stage, getting too specific in what's been reimagined doesn't really help such a project, in my view. Star Trek isn't about photon torpedoes, it's about characters in situations. If the stories and situations aren't compelling, then who cares how a photon torpedo operates? Stories don't write themselves, given just the setting.

    Finally, in terms of sets, I'd suggest sticking close to TOS (or TNG/VOY) standard sets, if for no other reason than to make use of the resources out there and the work that has already been done by other fan productions. This is especially so in your pilot episodes. Standing on that work will give you a leg up in production, and help you get something made more easily. Even with standard props and sets, you can can still have things operate differently under the hood, if that's important to the story.

    Try contacting other successful productions. I imagine they'd be glad to help with suggestions, if not even more concretely, as much as they can. One of the biggest risks I see in something like this is to try so hard to reinvent the wheel that nothing really gets done.

    Best of luck!
     
  17. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You're still hand waving. Stop comparing it to other shows. Stop hyping how innovative it is. Stop naming other ships. Those are distracting you from telling us what the show is about. What is the ship's mission? Where? How does the crew feel about it? Are they there willingly?

    Your cast as summarized are not people, they're labels. What's interesting about the Captain other than he's a Muslim? I was once a Catholic but that's one facet of who I am and not something anyone would sum me up as. Why is he there? What does he want?

    Nobody cares about the length of the ship, etc. Is the ship old? State of the art? A flying deathtrap? audiences care about the relationship the characters have with this tin can they're flying around in, not it's length or mass or how many welds it has.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2013
  18. trekkist

    trekkist Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Damnit. Look, it is "Capt Y of Starship Z," just as any number of existing fan films. What distinguishes it is just what you're seeing as unimportant -- a re-imagining (size & tech) that (in my view) isn't a reboot, but a closer view than "cannon"; a crew mix that (inasmuch as its possible in 2013) recaptures the "shock of the new" of Kirk's crew's diversity. Why does it matter that Allende's a Muslim? Because today -- in a world divided into opposing politico-religious camps -- THE most shocking hero would be the one we're in apparently endless war with. What the show is "about" IS those things, and the intent/desire to (again, occasionally) bring to Trek not just SF, drama, etc., but contemporary political relevance -- as TOS caught when "A Private Little War" debuted during the Tet Offensive, "A Taste of Armageddon" carried body counts to the ultimate extreme. What the show is "about" IS what I'm "hyping." Within that unique format occur stories. Good, bad, relevant, mundane -- but not situated in a universe specifically characterized other than by the things you keep seeing I shouldn't try to play up.

    It's a TOS era series on a stock Connie. What sets it apart is what I've been talking about. A Romulan war era series, a series aboard a lost ship, a non-Connie, etc., would have those elements as unique. My unique elements are technology, Captain & crew mix, and a degree of (hopefully) reflection/commentary on modern issues. And as for "comparing it to other shows" -- without plot details, isn't that how pitches are typically done? "It's 'Basic Instinct,' but with a woman cop." "It's 'Nutty Professor,' but with a black scientist."
     
  19. David.Blue

    David.Blue Commander Red Shirt

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    The "shock of the new" is a good point, imho. But IMHO you have two options in going forward.

    First, simply accept you're writing fanfic in script format and go for that. Or adapt the format in some way to make it more palatable for the average reader.

    Second, knuckle down and get the help/support to put this on in some way. Audio drama, fan film, animated short, whatever.

    Good luck!
     
  20. trekkist

    trekkist Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Maurice, I want to thank you for hanging in on what may not be the most interesting exchange. I know I've been a bit testy, but that doesn't mean I don't value your feedback, which is exactly the sort I showed up looking for.

    Production…boy. Everything needed, I lack…CGI skills for a start, an idea where to go to find free professional-grade actors, let alone the wherewithal and/or knowledge for set building or even green screen. I'll be going to the Farragut open house in December, but confess to considerable shyness at the prospect of saying "Hey! Can I rent your sets?" Thinking "practical," I scripted a teaser awhile back…of which I'll ask the same as of what I've posted already. If this existed (today, post-Phase II et al, as vs. when I wrote the damn thing), would it serve as an enticing sales pitch for talent?

    David Winfrey

    TRAILER

    FADE IN:

    A slowly drifting starfield.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    You think you've seen "Star Trek."

    As the narrator speaks, each word appears one-by-one on
    screen. HOLD a beat; then, all but the words "Star Trek"
    vanish and we

    CUT TO:

    A machine-gun-rapid montage of shots, reeling back the years:
    begin with scenes from "Star Trek: Nemesis" (or whatever film
    is in latest release), proceeding backwards through
    "Enterprise," "Voyager," "Deep Space Nine" and "Star Trek:
    The Next Generation" and the latter series' films, continuing
    then through the original series spinoff films, (NOT
    including the direct-to-DVD/video "Special Edition" of "Star
    Trek: The Motion Picture"), and into scenes from the original
    series itself, concluding with a shot of Captain Pike and Mr.
    Spock on the bridge (from the original pilot episode "The
    Cage"). HOLD on this final (i.e., the very first) image of
    "Star Trek," then

    CUT TO:

    A slowly drifting starfield.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    You think you've seen "Star Trek."
    (a beat)
    You haven't.

    The U.S.S. Endeavour – an original series (Enterprise-type)
    starship – explodes into frame and out (a reprise of the
    original series title sequence to-and-from pass of
    Enterprise).

    The following shots appear in synchrony with the Narrator's
    words.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    "Star Trek" as it would have been—

    CUT TO:

    SFX SPACE

    Endeavour in low orbit of the Moon, a gorgeous "beauty shot"
    of ship and world alike.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    "Star Trek" as it could have been—

    CUT TO:

    A fleet of Romulan "warbirds" (the flat-hulled, bird-painted
    original series vessels) falling in close formation toward
    the surface of a star.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    "Star Trek" as it should have been—

    CUT TO:

    INT. ENDEAVOUR HALLWAY

    A striking redhead in a command-blue miniskirt stands in a
    ladder alcove.

    WOMAN
    Ensign.

    A hunky ensign steps into the nook—

    WOMAN (CONT'D)
    This is not an order.

    ENSIGN
    (stuttering)
    Roger that.

    —and is pulled into a passionate, full-body-contact kiss.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    "Star Trek" as it almost was—

    CUT TO:

    SFX SPACE

    A fleet of Klingon D-7s (original series starships) at high
    warp, some of the vessels exploding (and otherwise suffering
    debilitating damage) mid-flight.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    "Star Trek" as it never was—

    INT. HANGAR DECK

    A woman in a Starfleet minidress leaps out of a diminutive
    version of an old-style shuttlecraft and begins to run flat
    out for the hangar bay's airlock. The shuttle is still moving
    from a position just inside the closed hangar bay doors;
    the sound of rushing air fills the soundtrack. ZOOM on the
    woman as she runs to reveal her eyes are tightly shut.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    "Star Trek" as it always was—

    CUT TO:

    INT. BRIDGE

    Original series vintage, with a high back on the captain's
    chair. In the hot seat is COMMODORE WESLEY (Barry Russo), as
    established in original series episode "The Ultimate
    Computer."

    COMMODORE WESLEY
    All phasers to overload power.
    Burst the emitters. One salvoed
    shot.
    (a beat)
    Fi—

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    —again.

    CUT TO:

    SFX SPACE

    Endeavour hurtling toward the galactic barrier.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    "Star Trek" as you knew it—

    CUT TO:

    INT. ENGINEERING

    An attractive brunette in an Engineering-red minidress sits
    at the main console, eyes going to the ceiling as the engines
    howl on the ragged edge of detonation.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    "Star Trek" as you loved it—

    CUT TO:

    INT. BRIDGE

    On the main viewscreen, a crystal-eyed, reptilian Gorn.

    GORN
    (screaming in Gorn-ish)
    RUU-HAY!

    NARRATOR
    "Star Trek" as you made it—

    CUT TO:

    SFX SPACE

    Three tri-nacelled Starfleet Dreadnaughts maneuvering in
    close formation, like jet fighters. PULL BACK as the nearer
    and farther of the two perform a primary/secondary hull
    separation, their saucers banking into and out of frame,
    barely missing the single-engined Starfleet destroyers riding
    flank.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    Again.

    CUT TO:

    SFX SPACE

    Endeavour as she lets go with everything she's got: twinned
    phaser beams pulsing from the saucer's underside, photon
    torpedo shots between; single phasers lancing unbrokenly from
    just in front, and to the left and right of the bridge.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    "Star Trek—"

    INT. KLINGON BRIDGE

    An old Klingon (original series vintage – no bumpy forehead),
    his face and body covered with scars, turns suddenly to face
    the (unseen) viewscreen, a look of horror on his face.

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    —again.

    CUT TO:

    SFX SPACE

    A haggard-looking fleet of Klingon starships – of various
    configurations – is set upon from behind by a somewhat-faster
    trio of Romulan "warbirds," the lot exchanging fire.

    CUT TO:

    A slowly drifting starfield.

    IMPOSE TITLE:

    STAR TREK

    The two words – their font contemporary "Trek" standard –
    morph transporter-style into the original series font, and in
    time with the narrator's reading of them, become

    STAR TREK REDUX

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    "Star Trek" Redux—

    CUT TO:

    A gunfire-rapid series of (hitherto-unseen) "teaser" shots.

    CUT TO:

    A slowly drifting starfield, which with the last word—

    NARRATOR (V.O.)
    Again.

    —explodes toward us as we go to warp speed.

    FADE OUT.

    THE END