Voyager Virtual Season 8 LaunchesBy Lisa
June 22, 2001 - 3:59 PM
With Voyager now over and at least three months until the premier of Enterprise, fans have been left without new episodes of Star Trek. Unwilling to settle for a Trek-free Suimmer, a group of fans have taken matters into their own hands.
Voyager Virtual Season 8 (VVS8) is made by the fans for the fans. Its aim is to keep fans happy with the show now off the air by providing a full season of new 'virtual episodes.' A new episode will be released online each week, complete with UPN-style promo trailer to whet fan appetites.
The idea was originally spawned by 'Thinkey,' a fan fiction writer known online for her Voyager and X-Files music videos; who had been closely following the X-Files Virtual Season 8. "It was just a matter of - well maybe this would work for Voyager," she said. "Of course the end of Voyager was disappointing to a lot of viewers, so I believe this would really soften the blow, so to speak."
Virtual Voyager picks up after the TV series finale 'Endgame.' "We're not dismissing Endgame, we're working with it as best as possible," said Coral, one of the series producers. At the start, Voyager is about a light year away from Earth. But just like its journey home through the Delta Quadrant, the remaining trip won't go smoothly for the crew. "VVS8 will have voyager lost somewhere for a period of time," Thinkey commented cryptically. But will it deal with the crew getting home to Earth? Yes and No. "It's probably best summed up as 'getting home via the scenic route when Mom has the map upside down. And inside out,'" laughed 'Katane,' one of the project's authors.
Though VVS8 will follow 'Endgame,' many involved with the project were not satisfied with the way Voyager's producers ended the seven-year series. "The special effects were good - this coming from a Digital animator studying in the industry," said Thinkey. "Beyond that - I dreamed up better endings. What I found it failed to do was make the plot actually fit the effects. The story had no sound soul to it, however the effects definitely stood out." Coral echoed her sentiments: "All trimmings, no meat," she said.
"The main point [of this] is to see if we can do better than Paramount," said Thinkey. "It's an experiment of sorts that we hope will work out. If it does, perhaps it will prove that the fans had a point after all." For the writers, VVS8 is about having fun, and they hope this will also be the case for their audience "It was [Paramount's] show, they did what they wanted with it," said project director 'MaquisKat.' "Now it's sort of free game as a playground to play in. So now we're having our fun."
The team aren't fazed by official competition for their endeavour. The Pocket Books novelisation of 'Endgame' is due out any day now, with an expected Voyager relaunch, carrying on where the series left off, in print next year. According to Thinkey, the "Novelisation isn't canon." The team intends to follow what they saw on TV, not the print version. With he first half of the season already planned and part written, the 'Endgame' novelisation will appear too late for VVS8. The project maintains that it isn't an attempt to "steal thunder" from the Pocket Books Voyager Relaunch, but rather offer another viewpoint. "I think one big difference is that our imaginations are freer - there is no-one from Paramount sitting on our shoulders, vetoing ideas because they don't fit their narrower world-view," said Katane.
There will be some major and obvious differences between the two, mainly in the relationships between the characters. Many fans were angry about the way relationships between characters were resolved in 'Endgame,' including some members of VVS8. "I feel like they tricked us. They suckered us in and then pulled the rug out from under [us]," said MaquisKat. "I for one wanted to see if they would actually do something with the JC element," said Clare009, writer of VVS8's second episode. "We're trying to develop everyone's relationship - and not just romantic - in a sensible way," said Coral.
So will VVS8 have a Janeway/Chakotay romantic relationship? "Some," said Coral. "It's not going to be the J/C show! But it's not going to be 'No relationships please, we're on Voyager' either." Does that mean there's no place for the Chakotay/Seven romance featured in 'Endgame' and 'Human Error'? "We will resolve it," said MaquisKat. "It's there as a tension builder," Thinkey assured.
Many, if not all, those involved in the VVS8 project have a background writing Voyager fan fiction. The project main site even includes links to several relationshipper archives on its main page. The team openly acknowledges that fan fiction will be a large influence on he project. "VVS8 is the thin red line between the TV show the Novel and Fanfiction," Thinkey said. Katane elaborated. "It's perhaps one of Voyager's greatest weaknesses and strengths - the quality of the fanfic. On the one hand, that so many people have written so much fanfic for it suggests that there were things missing [in the show itself] - but how can you then fault a show that provided the basis for the Talking Stick/Circle series of fic?" VVS8 is keen to redress this balance.
The VVS8 team is keen to stress that they're fans, not Ferengi. "The point is to have fun." said Coral. "We're not out to bring down [Paramount]."
If you'd like to join the team for Voyager Virtual Season 8, the first episode 'Hiatus' by Jemima is out now. It and more information about the project can be found at the Voyager Virtiual Season 8 site.