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Josh Reviews Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols’ Star Trek Swan Song in Renegades: The Requiem

October 30th, 2017
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Tim Russ played the Vulcan Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager, and I always felt his performance was one of the best things about that show.  Back in 2007, he was one of the early pioneers in the world of Star Trek fan films, directing the feature-length fan film project Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.  Looking back on it now, it certainly has an amateurish feel in some areas, but the project is drenched in a love for Star Trek, and it was super-cool to see so many actual Trek actors reprise their roles, or play new characters, in this story than spanned the Star Trek generations.  (The film featured Mr. Russ himself, along with Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Grace Lee Whitney, Alan Ruck, Garrett Wang, Ethan Phillips, J. G. Hertzler, Cirroc Lofton, Chase Masterson, and Gary Graham!  Click here for my review, and click here to watch it.)  I was excited that Mr. Russ was getting back into the Trek fan-film game with 2015’s Star Trek: Renegades, co-written by Ethan Calk, Sky Conway, and Jack Trevino.  The Renegades film was intended to be the pilot for a new “independent” Star Trek series, but I didn’t much care for it.  (Click here to watch Renegades yourself.)  However, I was intrigued that the second Renegades episode, called “The Requiem,” was announced as featuring the final performances of Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov and Nichelle Nichols as Nyota Uhura.

I wish I could recommend “The Requiem,” in the way that I have sung the praises of other Star Trek fan-film projects such as Star Trek: New Voyages (also known for a while as Phase II), Star Trek Continues, and Axanar.  Unfortunately, while I wanted to like “The Requiem,” I was disappointed by the amateurishness of the whole enterprise (sorry) and the lack of anything resembling a coherent plot or interesting characters.

Walter Koenig was one of the first professional Star Trek actors to give his blessing, and lend legitimacy, to Star Trek fan films when he reprised his role as Chekov for the third episode of Star Trek: New Voyages, called “To Serve All My Days.”  That was a beautifully-produced fan-made episode, with a lovely story that provided what might have been the best dramatic work of Mr. Koenig as Chekov in all of Trek!  Few other “official” Trek installments gave Mr. Koenig as much of a spotlight as did that episode.  Take a look, I think the episode holds up extremely well.

Sadly, there is nothing on par with that here in “The Requiem.”  Mr. Koenig has a lot of screentime (Ms. Nichols less so), but none of his scenes mean anything, or … [continued]

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Josh Reviews Tim Russ and Walter Koenig’s Return to the Star Trek Universe — Star Trek: Renegades

October 16th, 2015
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Though this is a slow period for new “official” Star Trek, there’s a lot of exciting, professional fan-made efforts happening.  I’ve written a lot about the two groups working on creating their own new episodes of the Original Series, new adventures of Kirk and Spock and the Enterprise.  Star Trek: New Voyages/Star Trek: Phase II (they seem to keep switching their name) has been doing this for over a decade, generally releasing one new episode a year.  (Click here for my review of their most recent finished episode, Mindsifter.)  Star Trek Continues is a newer group, and they just released their fifth episode, “Divided We Stand” — click here for my review.  Meanwhile, Alec Peters and the folks at Axanar created the incredible Prelude to Axanar short film (click here for my review, and watch it here now) and are working on a feature-length Axanar film, to star Richard Hatch, Tony Todd, Kate Vernon, J.G. Hertzler, and Gary Graham (all professional actors, and all incredibly talented performers whose names will be familiar to fans of Trek and Battlestar Galactica).

Which brings me to Tim Russ and his Renegade Productions.  Mr. Russ played Tuvok on Star Trek: Voyager, and several years ago he directed Star Trek: Of Gods and Men.  This was a feature-length film, released on-line in three parts, that starred actors from many different incarnations of Star Trek.  Walter Koenig reprised his role as Chekov, Nichelle Nichols reprised her role as Uhura, Grace Lee Whitney reprised her role as Janice Rand, and Alan Ruck reprised his role as Enterprise B Captain John Harriman (from Star Trek: Generations), and Mr. Russ himself once again played Tuvok.  A host of other professional Trek actors appeared in new roles: Ethan Phillips and Garett Wang from Voyager, Cirroc Lofton, Chase Masterson, and J.G. Hertzler from Deep Space Nine, and Gary Graham and Crystal Allen from Enterprise.  (Click here for my review of the film, and here for more information and to watch it yourself.)

Mr. Russ is now back at it again with the creation of Star Trek Renegades.  He and his team recently released their hour-and-a-half-long film, which they intend to be the pilot of a new series.  (Originally they apparently had a dream of pitching this to CBS — now the plan is to continue to release Renegades as a web-based series.)  Click here for the Renegades web-site, and here to watch the pilot episode!

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Once again Mr. Russ has teamed with a group of professional actors.  Most notably, Renegades again features Walter Koenig as Chekov, along with Mr. Russ himself as Tuvok.  Several other actors from Voyager reprise their … [continued]