This Slate article on Star Trek Revelations, the fanflic, May the Force Be With You, and You, and You …, points out just how accessible the technology of creativity has become.
Our most cherished sci-fi franchises are in a creative trough. Lucas’ movies have spiraled into unwatchability; Paramount has so exhausted its ideas for Star Trek that it’s folding up its tent and going home. The fans, in contrast, still give a damn: The director of Revelations, Shane Felux, is clearly more knowledgeable about the strengths and weaknesses of the material than Lucas himself. Felux’s movie retains the funky vibe of the original Star Wars, down to the kitschy, ’70s-style wipes, the obligatory scene in an alien bar, and Darth Vader’s throat-choking technique.
The fans can also give Industrial Light and Magic a run for its money. When it comes to special effects, Revelations is nothing short of astonishing. […]
How could Felux produce scenes this good? Because desktop animation and editing programs like Bryce and Adobe Premiere Pro allow anyone to blow up a CGI spacecraft on a garage-band budget. What’s more, Felux relied on the techniques of open-source design. Hundreds of people worldwide offered small bits of work, purely for the love of the project—and a chance to brag about their contribution. […]
Fan-made art is also easier to distribute than ever before. The proliferation of broadband in the past few years means that a movie doesn’t have to open on 3,000 screens to get seen by millions of eyeballs. In only one week online, an estimated 1,000,000 people have already downloaded Star Wars Revelations. […]
George Lucas has always encouraged Star Wars movies, so long as the wannabe auteurs didn’t try to make a profit. (That’s the case with Felux—he isn’t selling his movie or any associated merchandise.) Lucas should do more, though. Once he stops polluting the world with prequels, he should slap a liberal “Creative Commons” copyright license on the Star Wars franchise. That would explicitly allow any fan to remix an existing movie, or create a new one in homage, so long as there’s no profit involved. Everyone wins: Movies like Revelations keep the fan base alive, and Lucas can continue selling figurines until the sun explodes.