Let’s do this!
I’m going to start by letting you know who is talking to you. The name’s Eric Campbell and I’m a Captain Power fan. No, that’s not an attempt at an over used pun to make me sound like a helpless addict of a Science Fiction property. Back in October 2013, the three guys in charge of Captain Power, Gary Goddard (the show’s Creator), Roger Lay, Jr (Goddard Film Group Executive in Charge of Production) and Eric Carnagey (Goddard Film Group Executive in Charge of Development) picked me to be the one who reached out to the fans and keep them up to date on all things Captain Power. I don’t work for the Goddard Group (Gary’s Company), I have nothing to do with production and I ain’t getting paid. I do this because like you, I love this show and what it meant to me as a kid lives inside me to this day. Roger and Eric bumped into me at a vintage toy shop in LA and when the words “Captain Power” got dropped in the conversation, I couldn’t stop talking about my love for it. And that’s literally how it came to pass that I am here writing this blog for all you Resistance Fighters right now.
So now the question is, “Okay, well, if you’re the one who is supposed to be keeping us all up to date on the state of Captain Power… why haven’t you been keeping us up to date”? That’s one of many questions we are going to dive into right now. Fandom can be a double edged sword and that’s a good thing. Because the truth is, the same passion that’s fueled frustration over the spotty information coming down the pipe here at Captain Power, is the same passion that’s fueling the desire to see this show come back with a vengeance. That frustration may be a bit misdirected, but I’m getting ahead of myself. So lets address the cynics, the lovers, the confused, and the eager all in one go!
“Where’s Phoenix Rising? Are you guys even doing the show any more?”
It’s alive and yes, they’re still doing the show. In fact, I’ve been told I can tell you all that the Writer’s (Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens) just finished revising the latest draft of the Pilot episode script this week. They have also finished revising the bible for the 13 episode arc that would comprise the first season of Phoenix Rising. Hiring the writers and devoting time to developing a TV show is something a company simply doesn’t do unless they mean to get a project produced. This is particularly true in the case of a project that’s a labor of love, which Captain Power / Phoenix Rising is. Most people who have a property or an idea for a TV show don’t go and spend their own money to get it developed and ready for camera. The Captain Power team isn’t most people. Four years and hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent preparing Phoenix Rising for its debut and if a network called tomorrow and said, “Okay, we’ll air the show, let’s do it”, production could begin almost immediately. The trigger is ready to be pulled on Phoenix Rising. Once there’s a Green Light, the only thing left to do will be to build the sets, get it cast and shoot it.
“So then why hasn’t it happened?”
Time to show you how sausage gets made.
Back in 2014, I published the State of the Resistance here on this site. It was a blog posting that detailed where Phoenix Rising is at and why it hasn’t been produced yet. The reasons detailed in that blog haven’t changed since 2014, but there have been some updates. Essentially it all boils down to this: Phoenix Rising needs Domestic Distribution here in the United States or it can’t fly. It is the only piece of the puzzle that’s missing. Some might ask, “why not just air it internationally”? Frankly, the North America market is the most important market in Television and it’s where the bulk of Captain Power fans can be found. The money that would come in from airing the show internationally would not be enough to sustain production costs. There are ways to try and deficit finance a show in order to close the gap, but now you’ve started producing a TV show and you’re already in debt. Not good.
Yes, it steals the romanticism a bit when you talk about Captain Power like it’s a product to sell. But to create and sustain a show, there has to be a Domestic Distribution deal in place. Airing the show outside of the United States only could be a death blow and a frustrating development for those of us here in the US that want to tune into Phoenix Rising. The balancing factor in this cold cash philosophy is this encouraging fact: you haven’t seen Phoenix Rising yet because the people behind it refuse to sell it off internationally and execute it without all the proper resources in place. In other words, if rebooting Captain Power was about exploiting late 80′s nostalgia (something we all know is being done to DEATH) for the sake of financial success, then the new Captain Power series would have been produced already.
So far, its biggest delay is also its best example of this fact. One of the big Hollywood talent agencies that Goddard Film Group was in discussions with for getting Phoenix Rising out to domestic broadcast outlets (such as TV networks, cable or premium channels, etc) , spent an entire year figuring out what they wanted to do with the Captain Power property. In the end it was discovered that rather than being interested in helping Phoenix Rising get made, they were more interested in getting their own clients onto the project so the agency could get a hefty packaging fee as well as percentages from their clients’ earnings. But Phoenix Rising is already staffed. It has its show-runners, its producers, designers, FX team, composer, and a full team of production personnel ready to go. When it was made clear that Goddard Film Group had no intention of compromising itself or replacing the people that made Captain Power and now Phoenix Rising what it is, all efforts with the talent agency came to an end. One year down the drain.
It was a blow to the morale of everyone involved but it didn’t stop anyone because it was a decision between losing control of the show or staying true to what the show is and seeing it done right. The Goddard Film Group Team decided they didn’t want to betray Captain Power and watch a talent agency change it into something else with other creators just to get a domestic network deal in place. Networks are not villains, but they’re not necessarily fans either. A new TV show is essentially a new business opportunity and the team at the Goddard Group took issue with Captain Power being viewed as product and only a product.
It’s a rare thing in Hollywood when the creator owns all the rights to their own creation. To put it another way, even J. Michael Straczynski doesn’t own Babylon 5. Joss Whedon doesn’t own Buffy or Angel. Chris Carter does not own the X-Files. While these shows are all fantastic and eternally loved by us fans, their destiny is dictated by the Networks or studios that owns them. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t need to scream at Fox to bring back Firefly already. To have a property that was as beloved by its fans as Captain Power still be in full control of its creator is almost unheard of. That puts any new Captain Power project in a unique position of giving it’s producers full control of its own telling and its own direction. And the Power Team wants to keep it that way rather than see it taken over by folks just looking to cash in and tell whatever version of Captain Power they see fit.
“What’s happening now?”
There’s been a course correction and in the last few months the Goddard Film Group team has gone back to focusing on a grassroots movement to get the project launched without the involvement of Hollywood talent agencies or the big industry management groups. The big news is two former Cable Network Executives have joined the team to help develop the show further. These two new-comers have the power and the relationships with the studios and broadcasters to get Phoenix Rising on the air. Can we tell you who they are? To be blunt: no we can’t. Not yet at least. But to quote Roger, “When fans find out who these two Execs are, they’re going to realize that these are really capable people and both are longtime players in the industry. They’ve been responsible for getting dozens of shows on the air for more than two decades and they are a great addition to our team. We’ve been having a blast working with them and we are all on the same page when it comes to the creative vision for the show”.
There have been a few other set backs and false starts in the four years of development. One of those setbacks actually answers the next question on our list.
“Will the original Series ever be released on Blu-ray or Digital HD?”
One cynical remark on the Facebook page, was that our big update for 2015 would be that we were releasing the show again on Blu-ray. It wasn’t. Our big news was that the original Captain Power series was coming to Hulu and other VOD platforms. We even made the announcement if you recall. And when the day came to see it done, there was a huge hiccup that brought it all down. Hulu likes their newly-acquired shows being able to stream in HD and while we love them for that, it was an issue for the classic Captain Power episodes. The good news for the aforementioned, irritated commentor and bad news for the rest of us, is that a Blue-ray version and/or HD version of the show will simply never happen.
Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future will never be released on Blue-ray or True HD. Ever.
That was my question too and when I heard the answer from Roger I wanted to throw myself into traffic. The story goes like this:
The original film elements, over a million feet of film… were destroyed. Back in the 90′s one of Gary’s partners at Landmark Entertainment decided the company was spending too much money on storage fee’s for their film archive at the Pacific Titles vault. So he made the decision, on his own, to throw away all of the original film and sound elements. In other words, the vital piece of the puzzle to create a Blu-ray or HD version of the show doesn’t even exist any more. Let that sink in, because after hearing this part of the story I wanted to chew on a handful of steel bolts. Roger Lay was a part of the team that gave us the Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-ray sets and collected a couple of Saturn Awards from the work. My initial impulse to ask him “are you sure nothing can be done”, was tossed upon the realization that the man knows what he’s talking about when he tells me there isn’t.
“Our distributor had a Hulu release lined up and we had to tell them we didn’t have any masters in HD.” Roger lamented to me, “If it was possible we would have done it, there’s no other way we would have canceled our plans when we had a deal lined up.”
Hulu regretfully had to decline and once again, we were left with out having an update for the fans.
To quote Kurt Vonnegut, “So it goes”.
“So what’s next?”
Last I heard, Roger is on an important Phoenix Rising conference call tomorrow night, coordinating with Eric who is on a business trip in South America, the Writers who are in Canada, and the Execs who are in New York. I’m revealing this because I want to stress to everyone who thinks this isn’t happening, even after everything I’ve revealed, that the guys in charge haven’t and won’t ever stop trying to get Captain Power back to us. I can also reveal that right now, Phoenix Rising is closer to reality than it has ever been.
In the mean time, there’s been a lot of talk about reinvigorating the Captain Power fanbase and we’ve been pitching ideas on how to do this without recycling the “Remember when Captain Power did this?” posts which fans are now, understandably, becoming irritated with. Before, there wasn’t much of a choice. False starts and dead ends made it difficult to chose what could be said and what shouldn’t be said in case it fell through.
As of this past month, that’s no longer the case. The momentum Phoenix Rising has gained in just these last four weeks, has everyone at the Goddard Group (and me) holding their breath. It’s like watching to see if the game winning shot from the free throw line goes into the hoop. Patience and persistence has brought Captain Power this far and so, without getting their hopes up, the Power Team and its two new players are being quiet and diligent. But these things take time and precision.
You all don’t even know how badly I am looking forward to the day when I can get on facebook as your Fan Liaison and say, “Alright everyone… POWER ON”, signaling that the show has begun production. You look for that post. Because I’m more confident now than I have been since I was first brought into the fold, that it’s going to happen. Phoenix Rising is going to happen.
So what can you do to make sure it does? As fans, as the Resistance, what can you do? We need a US distribution deal and the show is good to go. So take that passion you’re posting on facebook and direct it at the Networks! Write SyFy, or TNT, or Starz, or even Netflix and tell them you want to see the new Captain Power show: Phoenix Rising. We’re ready to go! There’s some Bio-dreads out there that ain’t gonna just roll over and die on their own!
Captain Power needs YOU!
For my part, here’s what we want to do with the fans. First of all, we want to start facilitating more accessibility to the fans so that you all aren’t kept guessing about what’s going on. To do this, we wanted to pitch an idea to all of you; it’s something that Roger and I thought would be a great vehicle to keep our blood flowing. We want to produce a limited run of Podcasts that would air once a month, where we talk about the show, give any updates we can and hopefully have some of the cast and creative personnel from the original Captain Power on as well. It’s also been suggested that we get one of you, the fans, to guest host with us once a month!
There’s also been talk about releasing the Training Tapes on DVD. We want to ask you all what your thoughts are on that? Is that something Fans would love to see again?
So that wraps this up, for now anyway. If any you have any questions you want to shoot our way, leave it here or on the Facebook Fan Page and I will do my very best to answer them.
I’m going to close this by putting everything into perspective. The last episode of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future aired twenty seven years ago as of March. And here we are. We’ve made it this far because of you. All the great stories out there we love, live on because we refuse to let them die. We resist apathy, resist letting something we know is amazing, vanish into the mists of our childhood. That’s what we are. The Resistance. Yeah, it’s a cheesy sentiment, but that’s the ultimate power of Fandom. That’s the power of the Captain Power Fandom. Hang in there Power fans.
The Phoenix will Rise.
- Eric C. Campbell
The Power Base
“Awesome! So… when is it happening?”
This past March 27th marks, to the day, 26 years since the last episode of Captain Power aired. So let me be devil’s advocate and ask, why launch the new show now? What’s bringing it back?
Is any of the original cast being approached for the relaunch?
Here’s a question I see a lot and I’ve wanted to ask you guys directly about. The show was crazy popular when it came out only to get canceled after the first season. So what the heck happened there?
Yeah! I spotted on Wikipedia that the Second Season was written!
So this actually leads me to my next question: There was a character, a secret character that didn’t get introduced in the original show?
So… since you know all the scripts from the Second Season of the Original Show… can you please tell me what happened after they blew up my girlfriend (AKA: Corporal Jennifer ‘Pilot’ Chase)? Was there a story there?
Alright, I’m going to get to the question I’ve been wanting to ask since we first sat down, but I wanted to pose a question that people who are just finding out about Captain Power, might ask. The Man Versus the Machine thing has been a hugely popular story in Sci Fi. The Terminator, Cylons in Battlestar Galactica, The Matrix, The Cybermen in Doctor Who, the Borg in Star Trek. What does Captain Power bring to Sci Fi that hasn’t been done before?
Oh, holy crap.
Alright. So here’s the big question. Phoenix Rising. Where are we at with that?
Gary Goddard, Creator of Captain Power, Roger, Eric & Writers Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens
Alrighty then! Have you guys been exploring other ways Captain Power can find it’s way into the hands of fans?
Will there be any more Toy Lines?
Is there anything else you wanna put out there for fans? Something they can look forward to next?
When I was seven years old, I joined the Resistance.
I lived in a post apocalyptic world where technology had corrupted human flesh to the point of no return. Cities were in ruin, we lived in hiding and every day brought the possibility of being Digitized: having every piece of your organic matter broken down into encoded data and stored by the machines. This was the world of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. Where the adults could go enjoy those hefty rated R films that kids like me couldn’t see, at home, there was a dark, gritty show that I could watch all on my own. It didn’t talk to me like I was a child, the stakes were high and the danger was very real. Captain Power was the birth of my fandom. It was the ignition switch that propelled me over the edge into a full blown lover of all things Sci Fi. Sure, there were other incredible properties that exploded onto the scene in the 80′s. When thinking back on what they loved about their childhood, some people think of that familiar hissing sound when a lightsaber bursts to life, or the cool blue pulse of a Warp Nacelle just before the Enterprise leaps across the galaxy. For me though, it was hearing Actor Tim Dunigan say the words, “ Power On ” and watching Captain Jonathan Power morph into a golden clad juggernaut with a blaster at his side.
It was a show that made me drop the old cliche’s of my childhood. Good guys weren’t invincible anymore. There was no, “I’ll get you Gadget” or “Foiled again”! No, this was a whole new ball game. The bad guys had already won. This was about hitting back and looking good while doing it. There was a sense of desperation and determination that I couldn’t find anywhere else. It made me want to help. I had to go buy Captain Power toys! I had to get Captain Power Armor! The Resistance needed me! And holy hell, the toys were incredible. The only thing that rivaled the excitement of an impending birthday party or Christmas morning, was knowing I was about to hunker down in front of a television with my Powerjet XT-7, pop in the Captain Power Raid on Volcania Skill Level 3 VHS and save the world. I remember flailing around in front of the TV, weaving the Powerjet as skillfully as possible to avoid being shot at. If you were lucky, you made it to the end with out triggering the sensor in the Powerjet, shot from a light source on the TV and causing your Captain Power action figure to explode out of the cockpit and sail through the air. There was simply nothing like it. Nothing! When the TV was in use, it was time to strap on that plastic Captain Power chest plate and put on that Captain Power helmet (that never sat still on your head, causing frequent blindness at critical moments in battle).
Megatron was certainly one of the most iconic villains of our childhood, but I will never forget the first time I ever saw Lord Dread. I thought someone had taken Sark from TRON, crossed him with a T-800 and an Imperial Officer from Star Wars and then put him on a Throne that made Skeletor’s look like a lawn chair. There were the Bio-Dreads, the robotic CGI Sentries of Volcania. CGI! On TV! In 1987! Seven years before Babylon 5 made us sci fi nerds flip out with its special effects, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future was bringing us face to face with robotic CGI demons hell bent on digitizing everyone that defied the orders of their master. Soaron was a frightening foe, cunning and wicked. His sleek silver look and those red eyes would haunt me as a kid. Sometimes during recess, I would keep my eyes on the sky just in case he had found out about my other life in the real world and planned an attack while I was vulnerable. Part of me wanted him to! But it was the relentless menace of Blastaar that nearly gave me nightmares. His voice, those tank treads for feet…
And of course, there was the healthy crush I had on Corporal Jennifer ‘Pilot’ Chase, played by the beautiful and talented Jessica Steen (who has continued her trend of playing bad ass warrior women throughout her career).
It was a an insurgency. Captain Power was everywhere and all my friends and I ever wanted to do was watch it and play it. My course had been laid in: I was a Sci Fi nerd for life! Then, one morning, tragedy struck and it struck hard.
I didn’t realize it as I sat down in front of the TV, but I was about to watch the final episode of Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. As a kid, I never followed the trends of what shows were doing behind the scenes or if it was being canceled. Kids today seem knowledgeable of such things, but back then no one really paid much attention to the politics or ebbs and flows of television programming. Shows get canceled all the time, but not Captain Power! Something this amazing? This original? This huge? No way. Yes way. And it ended with a heart crushing punch to the feelers.
I had already been exposed to death when it came to characters I loved. Optimus Prime anyone? Folks my age love to reference that moment, when Optimus hands the Autobot Matrix of Leadership over to Ultra Magnus… then quietly dies from his wounds. It was a stunning moment for us kids. But Optimus never truly died, did he? We heard his voice at the end of the film as Hot Rod becomes Rodimus Prime. And then there’s his resurrection in the cartoon show shortly after. Optimus died, but he came back big time! Corporal Jennifer ‘Pilot’ Chase dies and the show died seconds after her. Not only does she go out in a heroic blaze of glory, but we are treated to a gut wrenching montage of her life with the team and tender moments with Jonathan Power, just before we go to the last credit sequence of the show.
I was at the edge of my seat. Blastaar was in the base! Pilot was alone! Captain Power is trying to get to her! But there’s no time! She’s wounded, out gunned and everything is about to be lost! She makes the hard call: she has to destroy the Power Base! The seconds that followed her decision were seared into my mind and stayed there well into adulthood:
Pilot confesses her love.
Bastaar breaches the door and lays down his ultimatum, leveling his gun to digitize her. Pilot turns, her hand hovering over the Self Destruct switch and rage on her face.
“GO TO HELL!” she defiantly screams!
And then I watched the both the woman little seven year old me loved and the Power Base that I had come to call home, explode. A surreal quiet settles on the bridge of the Powerjet, as our Hero, Captain Power puts his head in his hands.
Mom had to come see why I was crying.
Captain Power never returned to the airwaves and eventually I became a nostalgic teenager who would occasionally remember that final dramatic scene from that one show I used to love. Not too long after that, I became an adult and Captain Power was a fleeting memory. And then one day, Captain Power walked through my door. It’s a story for another time, but it’s enough to say that a chance meeting with a pair of deeply passionate sci fi fans who just so happen to be involved with the relaunch of this incredible show, crossed my path and found a kindred spirit.
Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future was a gem. It was ahead of its time, so far ahead in fact it couldn’t sustain itself in the decade it was aired. But now it’s 2014 and guess who is back? It’s time for this fantastic story to rise from the ashes and here in the Mentor Files, you’re going to be kept up to date on what is happening with the relaunch of Captain Power, now called Phoenix Rising. My name is Eric and I am a proud member of the Resistance against Lord Dread. Chances are, if you’re reading this right now, you are too. Welcome back Captain Power Fans.
– Eric Campbell
Fan Liaison & Mentor A.I. Systems Specialist
Welcome to the definitive source for historical data on Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future featuring exclusive information direct from the production offices and the archives at Goddard Film Group. In the coming weeks, Power Fans will get a peek at never before seen images, documents, and artifacts pertaining to the classic show and future projects. New blog posts will feature interviews with the people responsible for the making of this groundbreaking cult classic as well as behind the scenes videos and stories. First up, MENTOR would like to share this image from yesterday’s reunion of the Captain Power Post-Production Sound team including composer Gary Guttman, Sound Design Producer Ted King, and Re-Recording mixer Frank Morone who’s gone on to mix such hit series as LOST and HANNIBAL.
Captain Power fans will get a special treat in the coming weeks with new video interviews featuring Frank and fellow Captain Power sound mixer James Porteous. Longtime Power fans have already heard from Gary and Ted on the Complete Series Collection DVD set as well as the collector’s booklet included in the Soundtrack Album, but this is the first time they’ll get to hear from sound wizards Frank and James who were part of the team responsible for the show’s iconic sound elements – everything from the Power-On sequence to the sound of Soaron’s voice. Stay tuned for that and more!!!