Aurora is an original animated production set in the Star Trek universe.
Aurora follows the exploits of captain Kara Carpenter and her new (and only) Vulcan first mate T'Ling on their tiny merchanter cargo ship Aurora. These fully CG-animated movies are set just after the original Star Trek series in a lawless sector of space, where Kara and T'Ling engage in their marginal venture while trying to both turn a profit and stay out of trouble, but even in the vastness of space, trouble is never far away...and sometimes the past is never far enough behind.
Inspiration for Aurora
The inspiration for following the exploits of interstellar merchanters rather than Starfleet characters comes from the many civilians that Kirk's Enterprise encountered in the original series: as a kid, I would see these jumpsuit-clad people on this planet or that station and wonder more about their stories–where did they come from? How did they get there? What happened to them afterwards? "Mudd's Women," for example, always stuck with me, perhaps because it contained some of the only extended scenes in the original series between ordinary human civilians with no Starfleet characters around–particularly the scenes where Eve and the miner Childress go through a kind of prickly courtship, and Childress proves to be nicer and more vulnerable than he seemed, and Eve proves to be tougher and smarter than she appeared; it was a rare glimpse into a whole different side of the Trek universe by showing us fleshed-out civilian characters with their own histories and personalities, and suggested endless possibilities for non-Starfleet characters and stories. But for all the civilians–even Harry Mudd–it seemed to me that they'd have to be almost as courageous as the Enterprise crew to leave their home planet behind and put themselves out there in that very same unpredictable and sometimes hostile galaxy–but without a heavily armed starship at their disposal!
Other inspiration for me, in terms of space merchanter life, comes from the many science fiction novels of C.J.Cherryh (who has won both Hugo and Nebula awards for her writing). Cherryh's sharp writing, eye for technical detail, and portrayal of characters who don't act like characters but instead act like real, flawed people make for fully realized settings and stories where it doesn't take a giant space battle to make you turn the pages (not that there isn't the occasional giant space battle), since space has hazards enough for anyone willing to try to get from point A to point B in one piece. Cherryh also particularly shines at creating believable aliens and alien cultures. I recommend the Chanur Saga and Downbelow Station as good books to start with.
I guess I hadn't really realized what a lifelong Trekker I was until I decided to create Aurora. I had always been interested in animation, and when I finally had the means to do an entire movie, Star Trek was the first thing I thought of. Perhaps it was partly that Enterprise had recently been cancelled, but I was feeling a void, and it seemed like the only way to fill it was to do it myself. (I'll confess that I didn't know that there were other fan films until after I had started production!) In any case, working on Aurora made me think about how I really grew up on Star Trek: as I mentioned, I watched the original series first-run as a little kid in the 60's; got to know the episodes by heart in syndication in the early 70's; went and saw Gene Roddenberry talk at the local university in the mid-70's; got together with friends for a party to celebrate the launch of Next Generation in the 80's; almost couldn't keep up in the 90's between Voyager, DS9, and the movies; and finally in the 00's there was Enterprise, which I had to tape and send to a friend who didn't get UPN. I don't know what the future holds for Star Trek, but all the fan productions, fan fiction, and general Trek activity on the web is certainly exciting and proves there is still widespread interest, so I'll continue to work on my little corner of the Trek universe.
Star Trek: Aurora: it's "Trek" outside the uniform...
For news and information about how Aurora is produced, please go to the Production page.
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