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