It centers around a Japanese raccoon, the titular Captain MacTaggart, and her voyages on the Stellar Typhoon. Originally a series of "web literature", which ran from 2015-2017, it is currently being grown into its own franchise. It was originally set to be integrated into the ColorWorld Universe, but creative differences caused the franchise to be jettisoned from the combined setting.
Early history and fan-fiction Edit
Many elements of Space Pirate Captain MacTaggart began their lives as part of a series of fan-fiction stories created by Craig Black, based on the British hospital radio series Space Gypsy. In all, Black wrote five stories in the series: Project Kumo; Curse Of The Chrome Paw; Wearing Flowers In Your Fur; Kyoko The Other Woman; and Return Of The Chrome Paw.
Many of the elements Black added to the Space Gypsy universe were later carried over into MacTaggart, and there are some drastic differences between the two versions. The most notable of these differences is in Jaws MacTaggart herself. Jaws was originally a much more villainous character, out to capture (and later destroy) the Space Gypsy herself, Gemma Mildury.
These stories gained a small, yet loyal, following, in the form of Jake Elmer, a fellow fan of Space Gypsy. Elmer became a major player in the creation of the stories, making creative suggestions and even producing artwork.
C&D and integration Edit
Black's Space Gypsy stories soon came to the attention of some of the small crew behind the original series. Their reactions to this take on their work were generally neutral, but Black was asked to try and shed off the dark edge he'd given to the stories. This put paid to certain ideas Black had for future stories, which were luckily reinstated during the development of MacTaggart
Sadly, even Black's efforts to tone things down weren't enough, and things came to a head in July 2015, when Black was issued a cease-and-desist order from Derwent Valley Productions, the producers of Space Gypsy. This effectively put his fan-fiction to an abrupt end, halfway through publication of Return Of The Chrome Paw, which he was forced to remove (Kyoko The Other Woman was also removed, of Black's own accord). However, the other three stories can still be found on Black's deviantART page.
Around the same time, though, he had coming up with ideas for a spin-off from his fan-fiction, focusing entirely on Jaws MacTaggart. Due to the C&D, he decided to retool his idea into an entirely original project. He transplanted most of his original additions to the Space Gypsy universe over to this new series, which soon gained the title of Space Pirate Captain MacTaggart.
He soon started a partnership with cartoonist and musician, Jacob "Jake" Elmer, who was also a Space Gypsy fan. Black would write the stories and Elmer would illustrate them. He still plays an important role to the series.
Jordann Edwards, best known for creating The Dynamite Twins and Friends, discovered what was being developed through Jake Elmer, who also had a hand in the project. Almost immediately, Edwards was on board, and he integrated it as part of the recently created Transmedia Universe, alongside his own stories, and those created by many of his friends/creative partners.
Only a few months after the C&D, the first "episode" of the new series was released on October 2nd, 2015. Titled The Jolly Roger Of The Stars, it revamped the story of Jaws MacTaggart in a much more positive-if a bit grisly-light.
During the time the first few "episodes" were released, Elizabeth Mogan, one of Edwards' closest friends, after being introduced to Black's stories, decided to create her own space opera title, Ghosts of Earth, which would eventually be the first instance of an expansion beyond MacTaggart.
Expansion to other media Edit
As the story is being developed, Jordann Edwards has had plans to take things further - case in point, as he read the first "episodes", he'd imagine it as an animated series. He plans to work with the creator in working out deals in co-producing a series on YouTube, provided that a strong fanbase is in place.
Animated series Edit
Main article: Space Pirate Captain MacTaggart (animated series)
An animated web series is in development for YouTube. It is still very early in stages.
See also: Tails from the Federation
As MacTaggart became part of ColorWorld, Black and Edwards both discussed plans on where to take the series after writing the first "episodes". As of December 2017, Black has written and published 65 episodes of the original series, with no intention of writing any more.
In the short run, Black has been considering the possibilities of writing additional material based around the Captain MacTaggart universe, to flesh it out and provide a great deal more scope. However, with his own commitments to the actual series (as well as the expectation of showrunning the web series), the most likely course of action would be for Black to delegate much of this work to certain people, in a similar vein to the Star Wars Expanded Universe. For instance, in the case of Bloody Cutlass, he has entrusted those particular stories to the hands of Edwards and Mogan.
With the completion of the series, however, along with the disbanding of the ColorWorld Universe team, Black has decided to take on the task of expanding the universe himself. By expanding on the past and future of the universe, and filling in gaps that couldn't be dealt with at the time, Black intends to continue with his own work, as he comes up with new ideas for potential audiences...
Tails from the Federation Edit
Tails from the Federation is the nickname given to the universe of MacTaggart. It is considered to be similar to an "expanded universe", launched by Black, Edwards, and Mogan. As well as MacTaggart itself, other projects come under this umbrella, including:
Bloody Cutlass Edit
Bloody Cutlass is a spin-off focusing on the character of Darkblade reuniting with a few old pirate rivals-turned-friends to do what they call "pirate things". This spin-off was co-written by Jordann Edwards and Elizabeth Mogan (but mostly by Edwards), though its canonicity with MacTaggart is debatable, especially with it being more laden with references.
Ghosts of Earth Edit
Taking place before the events of MacTaggart, the premise of Ghosts is a cat on a voyage back home on Earth, while searching for answers. Originally a separate project by Elizabeth Mogan, this series was later retooled as a prequel to MacTaggart, only to then be cancelled outright as Mogan moved on to other commitments. Elements from the series have since been reused in MacTaggart, most notably in the two-parter The Ghost In The Typhoon.
The Lumarions Edit
A possible sequel to that will take place years after the events of MacTaggart, about a new crew, operating an interstellar courier service, while trying to contend with evil forces old and new. Based on an idea by Craig Black, he is now currently developing it with Jake Elmer, although they can't guarantee it'll ever see the light of day, especially with the franchise shifting hands. However, Jacob is still determined to get this project off the ground.
Creative differences and cancellation Edit
In late 2017, the creative differences that stemmed back in 2016 became too great. It restrained any freedom among the individuals, especially Edwards, who was on the verge of a "despair event horizon" after being slammed by friends and idols on DeviantArt for relying too much on politics and popular culture jokes. After a long chat with Craig, while wanting to focus on his own work, Edwards decided to cease involvement, ceding control of the franchise. There is some good at the end, as he and Craig have written a story that will be part of a rejuvenation for the TDT franchise.
Style and themes Edit
Due to the creative direction guided by Craig Black, this series is stylistically different from its counterparts in the Universe - for instance, the musical influences are more based on old-school rock tunes. It also largely shies away from pop culture slants, which is a staple of Edwards' The Dynamite Twins and Friends, and focuses more on the integrity of the characters.
There is a noted anime edge to the series, thanks in no small part to Black's inspirations (see below), and he admits that the direction he wanted to take the series was "What 'Star Wars' would have been like if it'd been directed by Hayao Miyazaki". This is apparent in the stories carrying many themes that are also apparent in Miyazaki's work, such as transitions through a stage in life (Alasdair's recruitment and subsequent integration into the crew of the Stellar Typhoon), the negativity of war (Leslie being a former veteran of the Sorados Civil War), environmentalism (Alasdair's hidden fondness for the beauty of the natural world) and strong female characters (many of the commanding characters in the series are female, such as Jaws herself; however, Black confesses that this particular theme was carried over from Space Gypsy, which followed a similar character pattern).
Main Protagonists Edit
- Jaws MacTaggart: The main protagonist of the series, and the Captain of the pirate cruiser Stellar Typhoon. Born Keiko Kaizoku, Jaws is a raccoon, who sports an eyepatch and a robotic replacement for her right arm. Formerly of the Stellar Federation, she now fights against them after her dismissal for a past incident. She speaks with a Japanese accent, with a slight Scottish intonation.
- Leslie Kennedy: Jaws' first mate. Leslie was born on the planet Eileandu, in the Sorados Cluster. Thus she was caught up in the Sorados Civil War, and in fact is a veteran of that conflict. She has her own score to settle with the Stellar Federation, as her mother Argyll was a casualty in their attempt to end the War. Leslie is a red squirrel, and speaks with an Aberdonian-Scottish accent.
- Blackmask: Jaws' second mate and Weapons Expert. Rather laid back and perverse at times, Blackmask was born on Earth, where she grew up in an atmosphere of gang warfare. Named for the raccoon-like mask across her face, Blackmask is a yellow cat, who speaks with an American accent, with a slight urban dialect.
- Kyoko Mori: The Chief Engineer onboard the Stellar Typhoon. Kyoko also happens to be Jaws' niece. She's kept busy maintaining the cruiser's systems, and is sometimes called upon to invent gadgets for the crew to use against Jaws' enemies. Very shy and sweetly spoken, Kyoko develops feelings of love towards Alasdair over the course of the series. Like Jaws, Kyoko is a raccoon, and speaks with a Japanese accent.
- Alasdair Geddes: The newest recruit onboard the Stellar Typhoon, and the audience surrogate for the series. A gypsy who's had his wings clipped, Alasdair acts as an Assistant to Kyoko Mori, and their growing relationship forms a major component of the story. Alasdair is a raccoon, and speaks with a Scottish accent "so thick you could cut it with a knife".
Main Antagonists Edit
Stellar Federation Edit
- Commander Barratt: The man most frequently sent by the Federation to deal with Jaws, having been her former superior in the Stellar Federation Military Police. Needless to say, he constantly fails at this task, but is always able to persuade the Federation to give him another chance. He acknowledges the crew of the Stellar Typhoon as worthy opponents, and a good match. Commander Barratt is a grey wolf, and speaks with a notable Canadian accent.
- Captain Mandarin: The latest in a long string of Commander Barratt's assistants; the person who does all the dirty work. Despite being a high ranking Federation officer, Mandarin doesn't have much say in what goes on; Barratt always dishes out his own orders. However, Mandarin is happy to accept the blame when things do inevitably go wrong. Mandarin is a red fox, and speaks with a thick Geordie accent.
- Lieutenant McMurdo: Another of Commander Barratt's subordinates. Though she's ostensibly a main character, McMurdo does very little of importance in the series. Her main duties are limited to carrying out her superiors' orders, and reporting on their latest failures. Lieutenant McMurdo is a red fox, but with a genetic mutation which makes her fur a sandy yellow colour. She speaks with a light Scottish accent.
Midori Empire Edit
- Princess Midori: The leader and heiress to the throne of the Midori Empire. Known as the Green Fox by her enemies, Midori is said to have been responsible for the dismissal of Jaws MacTaggart, who has sought revenge against her ever since. It should be noted that despite her moniker, Princess Midori is actually a red fox.
- Numbers: An army of elite soldiers working under Princess Midori. They have been conditioned to show complete devotion to the Princess, and the mere thought of rebellion is enough to make any of them spit. Their background isn't known, but given that both currently known Numbers-86 and 88-speak with Cockney accents, they can be assumed to be working class civilians indoctrinated into Midori's service.
- Captain Darkblade: Another space pirate. Darkblade has his heart set on Jaws, not caring that she's married, or that she wouldn't like him even if she wasn't. However, Darkblade misinterprets her brushing off as simply playing hard to get. He is an Alsatian, and speaks with a vicious Orcadian accent. When he's not out in his cruiser, the Bloody Cutlass, Darkblade resides somewhere in the pirate controlled Herfang Nebula.
Main article: List of Space Pirate Captain MacTaggart episodes
There have been numerous influences for the development of the series. How it was influenced was contributed by the creative team.
- Craig Black was influenced by the original Star Wars trilogy, as well as the works of Gerry Anderson, and the British radio series The Space Gypsy Adventures. He also added a lot of Japanese influence, citing the works of Hayao Miyazaki and Leiji Matsumoto, in addition to Go Nagai's X-Bomber (released in Britain as Star Fleet).
- Jordann Edwards, as the series was in development, brought some of the influence for his own series (namely his love for Japanese culture, and his affinity for urban music) as well as his brand of comedy, which is prominent in his comic series The Dynamite Twins and Friends. Once he discovered the series, he pointed out that it had the scope of Star Wars, mixed with Guardians of the Galaxy, Futurama, and Tripping the Rift, in terms of humour.
- Jake Elmer contributed to the look of the characters through his own artwork, which was partially influenced by that of Mark Smith, the artist for Space Gypsy and cartoonist for the "Transmission" webcomic. This in turn had influences of both The Raccoons and the works of Cosgrove Hall. Its also said, he was influenced by the work of cartoonist, Bill Watterson. Musically, Jake was influenced heavily by Punk Rock, Thrash Metal, and Country.
- Elizabeth Mogan shares her mutual love of Doctor Who, Japanese anime (including Miyazaki) and the furry fandom, as she also applies that to her Ghosts of Earth concept.