Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.
—Dr. Carl Sagan
With these words hanging on the screen, the fan film Star Trek: First Frontier begins. It’s a fitting start, since the Star Trek franchise has always been about the wonder of discovery. And perhaps that’s why fan films like First Frontier are so pervasive. Trekkies love delving into new stories for Trek characters as much as those characters love exploring space.
This determination to boldly go where no story has gone before has bred countless indie creations. They run the gamut, from productions with at least as good VFX as you got in the original series (AVALON UNIVERSE)… to unique mashups (STAR TREK VS. BATMAN)… to the pretty bizarre yet likeable, such as an episode with musical numbers and the Easter Bunny (see ADVENTURES OF THE USS PARKVIEW: “The Bunny Incident”).
You can find a longer list to explore here, if you want to really go down the rabbit hole.
In many ways, Star Trek: First Frontier reminds us what makes fan films so much fun, especially in the Trek universe. It has ties to characters Robert and Sarah April, from “The Counter-Clock Incident,” an episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series, yet the story is unique. The Aprils were part of the USS Enterprise’s initial crew, the holy grail of origin stories.
First Frontier was funded entirely by its director, Kenneth Smith. As with any indie effort, some of the production quality is shaky, something Smith attributes in part due to funding issues related to COVID-19. Frankly, the production value on the Original Series is often shaky too, and we still love it, so this isn’t exactly a deal breaker. Smith also says he dropped in easter eggs for sci-fi fans to hunt for, so be on the lookout for them.
Right now, First Frontier has managed to avoid the studio lawyers that have plagued other fan creations. Even now, it’s possibly only a matter of time before the studio makes YouTube pull the film down. So you might want to watch it sooner rather than later.
Watch Star Trek: First Frontier here, if you can.