Yeah, you read that right. None other than Captain Kirk himself has signed on to perhaps one of the odder projects he’s been involved with, and in doing so steps into the world of crowd-funded entertainment. Along with genre favourites Morena Baccarin, Ray Wise and Bill Moseley, Malevolent is currently seeking funding for post-production with a release planned for later this year.
Just where does Shatner get his energy? In his Autumnal years he’s seemingly turning into some sort of polymath, designing watches, collaborating on a batshit, crazy-looking trike, appearing in many varied projects and lobbying to play Captain Kirk once more. And now this. 2D, hand-drawn animation? Billed as the first-ever US-made animated horror movie? Co-starring Firefly, Gotham and Deadpool alumni Baccarin and Twin Peaks stalwart Wise? It is a brave new world indeed.
Here’s the synopsis:
“When her billionaire sociopath father Cyrus (Ray Wise) learns he is dying, Cyrus calls Miriam and her three siblings together to “discuss his will.” However, what he actually has planned is to pronounce judgment on them all. They are, in his view, traitors, and he has grisly death traps planned for each of them.
“The wrinkle: a race of intergalactic gamblers, who wager on human conflicts as bloody sport, have chosen Miriam as their protagonist for this match. Thus the entire situation is being manipulated by the Gamemaster (Morena Baccarin,) who has the power to reverse time and reconfigure events as they play out. And so the playing field is constantly changing under Miriam’s feet — sometimes to her benefit, but usually, not. Through it all, The Overseer (William Shatner) calls the game.”
Makers Coverage Ink Films have form in this type of field with previous output including shorts Showdown of the Godz, which starred Star Trek‘s original Sulu George Takei, and pilot show Liberator, which was also crowd-funded and co-starred The Next Generation‘s Worf, Michael Dorn.
Of course, many ex-‘Trek cast members have gone down the fan-film route in recent years, notably Walter Koenig reprising his Chekov and Tim Russ, Star Trek: Voyager‘s Vulcan Tuvok, both directing and acting in privately funded spin-offs. Shatner has no doubt been asked many times to do the same with Kirk and we’re glad he’s always said no, and he’s only providing his voice to this effort, but it’s an interesting development regardless, especially with the pedigree afforded by his (voice) co-stars. The second golden age of television that we’re currently lucky enough to be in the middle of, and the quality of output that’s now able to be produced by semi-professionals, is driving the development of ever-more niche product. Whilst we don’t expect to see Leonardo DiCaprio in some Kickstarter sci-fi web series any time soon, the quality of such output, and the increasing amount of viewers it’s garnering, can only a good thing.
You can view and contribute to the development of Malevolent here. Meanwhile, watch the trailer below: