Richard Hatch has been a favorite of genre fans for decades, after starring in all three versions of Battlestar Galactica, the original movie the 1970s TV series and the highly-popular remake. The actor returns to the sci-fi genre with a unique short film entitled Loadout: Going In Hot, which will debut on Machinima Prime on December 16. The short is inspired by the popular third-person shooter that was created, developed, and released by Edge of Reality, starring Richard Hatch as Captain Gaz.

In a novel twist on the well-traveled sci-fi genre, Loadout: Going In Hot follows a group of "merchant marines in space" who compete with other local haulers in the highly profitable (and extremely dangerous) antiquities and curios shipping business. Like other critically acclaimed sci-fi properties (Firefly, Battlestar Galactica), Loadout: Going In Hot is peppered with genre action and violence while focusing on character development and interactions. I recently had the chance to speak with Richard Hatch over the phone about Loadout: Going In Hot, which fans can see in its entirety below the interview. Take a look at what he had to say in our exclusive interview below.

First off, can you talk a bit about what first piqued your interest about this project, and what lead you to come on board?

Richard Hatch: It actually happened very quickly, at least for me. A week or two before they actually filmed it, Alec Peters came to me. He is the producer and writer for this new Star Trek: Axanar, this groundbreaking Star Trek indie film that they're putting together. I don't know if you've heard about it, but you should definitely check it out. On YouTube, you can see the full 21-minute prelude. It's all professional, done on a studio level film. Anyway, he came on board as a producer on this project, and he came to me and asked if I'd be interested. It's been a crazy busy time for me, but I said I'd take a look and see what it is. I have to be honest, I was very, very surprised, because of the quality of the writing and the quality of the dialogue. There are these delicious, fun characters and, for me, also, this crazy, over-the-top captain, who is very hardcore, in terms of loving his broken down ship, and refusing to replace it. It's coming from that place where he's the guy that makes sure everything gets done, everything gets fixed, everything is going to hold together, to accomplish the task at hand. His crew is a bunch of crazy little genius, in different ways, all smart in their own ways, and he's got to keep them together, keep them on track, and keep their ship from falling apart to accomplish their mission. They carry cargo, commodities, and they're always trying to outsmart the bigger shipping companies in space, trying to out-strategize, out-think these bigger, badder companies. It's a pretty crazy life and death universe, and they have to use every skill they have to get through it, so it's a constant challenge for this captain, dealing with this ship, this crew, and outsmarting all the bad guys.

This is based on a video game of the same name. Was there anything you looked into, as far as the game's characters, or did you create this from scratch?

Richard Hatch: I created it from scratch, to tell you the truth. I didn't know the game, and it came to me so late, I didn't know I was doing it until a few days before we shot it. I think they were just deciding what they were going to do or not do. I looked at it, and I loved the script, I loved the characters, I loved the relationships. I was very pleasantly surprised by it, and I loved the concept and what they were trying to do. I said yes, and, essentially, I started doing what I always do. I think any talented writers or producers, when they create a new show or a new story, whatever it happens to be, it's a collaboration between the artists and writers and directors, and you start taking those characters that are on the page, and you start breathing life into them. The characters evolve. They take flight, and each actor brings unique elements that may not be in the script. It's just give and take, you know. You start out with a basic character that's written, and I liked the basic character that was written, but then I just started getting some creative ideas, and they were open to collaboration. I loved the fact that this guy has this crazy love-hate relationship with the ship, which is constantly falling apart and he's always yelling and screaming at it. Sometimes he's cajoling it, trying to make love with it, trying to get it to the next step, and sometimes he's screaming at it. The number one relationship in his life is his ship, and second is this crazy, quirky crew that he has to keep on track and, somehow, some way, try to get through the day, and accomplish their missions, deliver their goods, and be able to pay his crew, so they can survive another day. For me, there's nothing more fun than trying to find solutions to impossible circumstances.

You said you came in very late in the game, so did you have a lot of time to get together with the rest of the cast?

Richard Hatch: We actually didn't have a lot of time, but we did have one night when we were doing costumes and going over everything, and we did a table read and we went over to the producer's house. That was the one night where we all got to talk to each other. I've been on so many productions over the years that I can only say that sometimes you walk in and there's no relationship, there's no chemistry, and it's a cold set. Other times, you're fortunate, you have an incredible group of people who all seem to be at the right place at the right time, and there's this instant rapport and friendship and camaraderie. That's kind of what we had. It starts at the top, and the producers and director and writers and everyone involved in this thing, they have so much passion and they're so excited and they want the best for everything. They're very supportive, very collaborative, and nobody was a diva. That kind of attitude came down to everyone, the crew and the cast. I haven't seen such a well-orchestrated, well-directed piece in a long time. It was really a pleasure to work with these guys. I was really impressed with how they handled it. The director was really calm, really good with the actors. He seemed to have this quiet authority and the ability to guide the production very smoothly. Productions can be very crazy and very frustrating and the way he handled it blew me away. I have to say that Machinima, here's a group of guys who are on the cutting edge of where the industry is going. They seem to have a very powerful plan and strategy for how they want to position and leverage the show and deliver it to the public. I think they're going to come up with some revolutionary new ideas and ways to do everything, which is where the industry is going anyway, finding new ways to build that relationship to the audience, without necessarily having to go through the gatekeepers of old. Not that those options aren't open, but they're finding new ways to develop these shows.

Is there anything more you can say about Star Trek: Axanar? I believe you're in pre-production on that right now. Is there anything you can say about the story?

Richard Hatch: Well, number one, these Trek fan films, started out as fans replicating shows from the original Star Trek. Then they began bringing in a few professionals here and there, and the productions got better and better. They're usually just replicating what had come before, and doing a very good job of it. Sometimes telling the same stories, sometimes finding new stories, but they were really just replicating what had come before. Axanar is kind of a different beast, because the battle of Axanar is very well-known in the Star Trek canon, but it's never really been explored. When Kirk was in Starfleet Academy, he looked up to this Starship commander named Garth of Izar, who was really the guy who won the big battle of Axanar. They never really went into what that was, or what happened during that time. These guys decided to actually expand upon that part of the Star Trek canon and, basically, build a story around Axanar. It deals with how all of these various civilizations have banded together to overcome the superiority of the Klingons, whose ships and technology were far superior to the humans and other cultures. They had to catch up, to stop the Klingons from basically conquering the world. The Klingons never respect anyone until they meet a worthy adversary, and ultimately, over this four year war, they developed this respect because they are a warrior society, but they have a great respect for a worthy adversary. Ultimately, the humans become the worthy adversary. It's the story of that, and the prelude, which is out now. You will get an insight into the character, the war, what took place, but it's kind of a documentary-style intro, and it's really well done. The movie is going to be a movie, though. They are now renting a studio, they're building sets, and we'll be filming sometime in the new year. I play the Klingon general Kharn.

That's about all I have. Thanks so much, Richard. It was a real pleasure.

Richard Hatch: You're more than welcome.

You can watch the full live-action short film Loadout: Going In Hot, starring Richard Hatch, in the video player below. The short also stars Bonnie Bower, Matt Mercer, Jon Enge, Becca Hardy and Circus-Szalewski. Vincent Talenti (The Guild) directed the short film from Wayside Creations, the creator of some of the most popular live-action shorts based on the world's most popular video game franchises including Fallout: Nuka Break and Fallout: Red Star.