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Phase II’s James Cawley Bringing Buck Rogers To The Web January 12, 2009

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: Fan Productions,New Voyages/Phase II,Sci-Fi , trackback

It looks like James Cawley, the man behind the most popular independent Star Trek production Star Trek Phase II, is going to be taking on another sci-fi classic. Today Cawley Entertainment announced it has secured the rights to create a web series based on the classic comic Buck Rogers. TrekMovie has the exclusive first details.


Buck Rogers in the 25th Century returns in the 21st

James Cawley and his Cawley Entertainment Company plan to do with Buck Rogers, what he has done for Star Trek, and bring it to the web with a regular series of new episodes. However, this time it will not be another ‘fan film,’ but a fully licensed show made with professionals, both in front of, and behind the camera. The plan as of now is to start Internet streaming advertising-supported episodes of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in the Fall of 2010.

The character of Buck Rogers, a World War I pilot who frozen in suspended animation to be awoken 500 years in the future, was first created back in 1928 by Philip Francis Nowlan in a novella in the pulp magazine Amazing Stories. The character was then serialized in a comic strip, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D., which ran from 1929-1967.

Buck Rogers – first popularized as a comic strip starting in 1929

Buck’s adventures were also seen in film serials starring Buster Crabbe in 1939, and heard in a radio show in the 40s and 50s. Most people today probably remember the character from the TV show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, starring Gil Gerard and Erin Grey. The NBC series, which ran from 1979-1981, re-imagined Buck as a NASA Astronaut. More recently it has been announced that Buck Rogers is headed back to comic strips and there is currently a feature film in development being written by Frank Miller.

Buck Rogers on Film in 1939 and TV in 1979

The Buck Rogers property has been owned by the Dille Syndication Company since John F. Dille purchased the character for the comic strip in 1929. In 2008 Cawley approached Flint Dille with the idea of bringing Buck to the web in a new series that would go back to the roots of the character from the ‘Generation One’ comics, and a deal was soon struck. Dille will join Cawley as an executive producer and consultant for the web series, and he will be instrumental in keeping true to the Buck Rogers mythos.

Starting with the pilot, which is currently being written, this new Buck Rogers web series will tell the origin story as laid out in the comics, showing how Lucas ‘Buck’ Rogers was propelled from World War I, into a future Earth in the 25th Century. The plan is to use what Cawley calls a ‘retro-contemporary’ look to the show, harkening back to the old style comics, but also using modern techniques, including CGI.  Cawley explains:

We will be using the technology we have today, to present The Original version of The First Sci-Fi Hero ever!  Previous filmed incarnations never really captured the original Buck from the comic strips, which is what we aim to do.

So all the classic elements of Buck Rogers will be there, from the Rocket packs and ‘atomic disruptor pistol’ to the fight between the Earth Defense Directorate and evil villains such as Killer Kane and Princess Ardala. Buck will be joined by his familiar team including Dr. Heuer, his girl friend Wilma Deering and Wilma’s brother Buddy Deering. And Cawley has already cast his Buck, who will be played by Bobby Rice, who has been seen as Peter Kirk in Phase II. Rice, 25, is a trained actor who has appeared in some independent films and also as a regular in the vampire show The Lair, on the HERE channel.

Promo image of Rice as Buck Rogers for the new web series coming in 2010
(click to enlarge)

Rice, who will continue to play Peter Kirk in future Phase II episodes, tells TrekMovie that his Buck will be a "more serious" character than Peter and he does not plan on playing it for camp. The actor is already preparing, saying:

I am super-excited to be Buck Rogers. I am flattered and I have been doing research, like the fun campy show from the 80s and I watched all the Buster Crabbe serials. I feel privileged and excited

Cawley has yet to cast the rest of the show, but says he does not expect any other cross-overs from Phase II, including the actor who plays James Kirk, joking "you can tell people I am not casting myself." Cawley expects the cast to be trained and professional actors plus some well-known genre cameos that Phase II has used well in the past. However, much of the team behind the scenes at Phase II (many of whom are industry professionals) will be involved in the new production, including Star Trek vets like Jon Povill and David Gerrold.

Cawley Entertainment hope to put out twenty 40-minute Buck Rogers episodes a year, starting in the Fall of 2010. Production will be done using some of the same facilities used for Phase II in Ticonderoga, NY, as well as a new studio with new sets. Cawley expects there to also be a lot of location shooting. The show will be streaming online, along with paid advertising, which is a biggest difference from Star Trek Phase II. As long as productions like Phase II were not for profit, CBS (the owner of the Star Trek), has kept a bit of a ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ attitude towards the whole thing. Over dinner one evening, Cawley and his team got to thinking about how they take the production team and facilities they had, and put them to professional use. After a casual mention of the idea of doing something with Buck Rogers, the team soon took the notion seriously and not long after, a deal had been struck with Dille.  

This new licensed Buck Rogers web series is going to become a big part of Cawley’s life, as well as the life of many of his Phase II vets. However, he feels it will not actually cut into the production of the Trek fan series, which also plans to put out a number of episodes over the next two years. In fact Cawley believes that Buck Rogers will benefit his Trek show, saying "It wont do anything but help it, because it puts people here more frequently."

The next Trek production from Cawley Entertainment will be Part 2 of "Blood and Fire," which should hit the web around March. TrekMovie will be keeping track of both the Trek and Buck productions coming out of Ticonderoga over the next couple of years, so stay tune for updates.

For more on Star Trek Phase II visit the official site.

And for more on this new Buck Rogers In The 25th Century web series, visit


1. Ian Watson - January 12, 2009

Congratulations, James! This looks like it’ll be a lot of fun. I’m a big fan of the retro-future and pulp genre conventions, so I’m sure I’ll have a blast watching them.

2. TheBigCW - January 12, 2009


hmmm….is the world ready for an all-new take on the original Buck Rogers?

…. and Rice just reminds me TOO MUCH of the “young” Flash Gordon. :)

3. S. John Ross - January 12, 2009

That’s just entirely cool.

4. fred - January 12, 2009

wow this is going to be so good ( i hope) i will be watching it

5. TheBigCW - January 12, 2009

…and when did it become Lucas Rogers – it was Anthony Rogers in the original story. (The TV Series it was “William Anthony Rogers” :)

6. Cyberghost - January 12, 2009

When i was in high school,I had a crush on Erin Gray (Wilma) in the campy series in the 79-80 series, wow those spandex outfit she wore. I met her 2 years ago at Comicon and I must say she still LQQKS beautiful after almost 28 years after the show was on TV. Very friendly and overall nice person. I saw Buck (Gil Gerrard) last year on some TV movie and almost didnt recognize him because but has really put on some weight. But I am sure he is a cool guy as well

It would be cool if Crawley would put them in his series as a camio or something, but who knows.

Good luck to Phase II,on their next project, they do great work.

7. FSL - January 12, 2009

A very creative way of getting funding for the PII equipments.

8. Illogical - January 12, 2009

So what happened to him doing the Wild Wild West?

9. The Angry Klingon - January 12, 2009

OK. this looks like BIG fun!

10. Canon Schmanon - January 12, 2009

James! Do Marcus Welby! You’d make a great Kiley.

11. cellojammer - January 12, 2009

What, no Twiki?


I gotta say, the Gil Gerard show was a guilty pleasure. I’ve enjoyed it again recently by renting it.

12. DavidJ - January 12, 2009

This sounds really cool! I just hope they remember to keep it fun and light, with lots of action and witty dialogue.

The last thing we want is another dull and ponderous Flash Gordon.

13. WannaBeatle - January 13, 2009

how funny that James is wanting to do this.

I was just thinking about the show a lot myself the past day or two (and wanting to rent the show from Netflix–which I’m hooked on now at the moment)

congrats James on doing such a great job on Phase II…I’m sure Buck Rogers is in great hands now.

14. Enterprise - January 13, 2009

Will Kyp Lennon do the music?

15. raulpetersen - January 13, 2009

John Carrigan should play ming!

im there all the way!

bring back quincy james!

16. Smittmaestro - January 13, 2009

Ming aka Ming The Merciless was the main villain in Flash Gordon and not Buck Rogers.

Good luck JC and hopefully it won’t clash with the version Frank Miller is doing. If that ever gets made that is. But we’ll see.


17. Quarksbartender - January 13, 2009

Congrats James! I look forward to this new version of Buck Rogers, and hope this works. I remeber watching all the original serials with my father when I was a kid.

18. tribble farmer - January 13, 2009


Is it just me or does that second poster look awfully reminiscent of Star Wars?

19. Nick Cook - January 13, 2009

Awesome news indeed.

20. jeffery wright - January 13, 2009

niles crane, of the 25th and a half century!

21. Andy Patterson - January 13, 2009

That’s cool news. Glad they’re staying true to the original idea of this character. I just want to know….how does Cawley have all this time to do things like this? Maybe I need to quit my job so I can do my projects. I don’t know how I’d make a living but…………

22. Star Trackie - January 13, 2009

That kid is supposed to carry a licensed series? I hope he gets some acting lessons before he steps into the center stage, his work on New Voyages was fine for a fan film but hardly proffessional caliber.

Having said that, I like the idea of a modern “retro” art deco style Buck series, that could make for some very cool visuals.

23. Al - January 13, 2009

Erin Gray plus spandex = heaven

24. Driver - January 13, 2009

Congratulations Mr. Cawley. I wish you extreme success. How about a Star Trek/Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon crossover episode?

25. BeyondtheTech - January 13, 2009

I stare at the new logo and I just can’t help but think of Daffy Duck in “Duck Dodgers.”

Any chance of making it look a little more sci-fi looking, or what’s the angle or theme to the series? Are you planning something a little campy and parody-like?

Looking forward to any of Cawley’s work. He’s got passion, that’s for sure. I find myself nearly accepting New Voyages/Phase II as canon when I watch his shows.

26. CmdrR - January 13, 2009

biddee biddee biddee…
…time to get down and get funky, Buck.

Love the Gil Gerard poster… with the faux six pack. Even during the run of the show, he had the full kegger.

This could be fun. It would be nice to see Mr. Cawley be able to actually make a buck, make changes, etc.. It will be interesting.

And I’ll add my two cents (Since you didn’t ask…) — I think Buck Rogers works best with an absolute minimum of contemporary cultural references. (Hence, my opening joke.) It’s a cool idea… everyman takes a huge leap forward and lands in deep doo doo. Please, there’s no need for Buck to teach future-men about rap, or twitter, or speed dating. Just tell us cool stories about characters we care about.

27. Dr. Theopolis - January 13, 2009


No Twiki? No dude dressed like a bird? And if Buck isn’t “Gettin’ Down” at a 25th Century Disco party, then this is clearly a canon violation. Therefore, James Cawley raped my childhood!


Looks like a great project! Congrats!

28. Weerd1 - January 13, 2009

I am certainly looking forward to this- far more than a version all in Black and White with splashes of the color red for Buck’s tie. Excellent!

29. Daoud - January 13, 2009

Which original though… I’d love to see Armageddon 2419’s version of Buck Rogers… the US has been conquered by the Asian “Han” people, and we’re in the midst of a second War of Independence to kick the Chinese out.

Turns out Nowlan’s original vision of American conquered by “the yellow race” made 80 years ago wasn’t far from one version of the future as the Chinese have the US literally pwned when it comes to finances.

With JC having such a small independent production studio, he could actually make the original cyberpunk character come to life without concerns that a major studio would have in making the Chinese the villains.

30. Some Dude on the Internet - January 13, 2009

Congratulations James and company!

Three words: Erin Grey appearance!! :)

31. Big Paul - January 13, 2009

This is fantastic stuff, folks…

And my insider sources tell me it is only the TIP of the iceberg!

This will be a fantastic production… top quality in writing, acting, directing, effects, music, sets, costumes, props… the works!

Bobby Rice is a SPECTACULAR choice to play Buck! Not only a great guy, but a FANTASTIC actor too!
A whole new group of fans will be drawn to this guy, who is already garnering a huge fanbase for his work on The Lair, Hidden Frontier, and Phase 2.

Taking Buck back to where he belongs… like it was back in the comics!
Heck, I loved the old TV series with Erin Grey (I loved HER too) and Gil Gerard… but taking Buck back to the way he was originally portrayed is something no one else has tried before, and it’ll be great!

So excited for this, I can’t tell ya!

32. Cyberghost - January 13, 2009

Regarding the birdman in the 79/80 series, I liked it better B4 he arrived, so w/o the birdman, it’s fine with me. But from what I can tell, Crawley is going create his own take on the show. I do remember watching the black and white version many years ago on TV, and I am sure Crawley can do better.

Friday BSG is back, finally. Maybe Crawley will reimagine BSG, doubt it though, RDM did as good a job as could be done. And as I always said.

Battlestar Galactica is the best Sci Fi show on TV.

33. CmdrR - January 13, 2009

Turns out Nowlan’s original vision of American conquered by “the yellow race” made 80 years ago wasn’t far from one version of the future as the Chinese have the US literally pwned when it comes to finances.

a) AdmrR is Chinese, so my bets are covered.

b) If anyone thinks he/she/it isn’t owned in this life, they’re delusional.

c) It’s only a webshow. Relax.

34. captain shroom - January 13, 2009

Cool idea. And probably a good way to help fund more of Phase II.

I admit, I was a big fan of the early eighties incarnation of Buck Rogers…mind you we were pretty starved for TV sci-fi back then. I’ll always have a soft spot for the show, as cheesey as it was.

Would absolutely love to see Gil Gerard or Erin Gray in cameos. After all, Buster Crabbe appeared in one of the eighties shows, it seems only right.

35. JP Saylor - January 13, 2009

E GAD he should’ve made a Captain Proton series!!!!!!!!


36. Daoud - January 13, 2009

#33 Eh? “one version of the future”: I’m talking about Armageddon 2419 A.D., the original Anthony Rogers novella… he wrote it in the 1920’s. Maybe take a look at it, k? It would be decried today as racist, I’m rather sure; and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s banned in China. Funny how when the serial strips changed the baddies from “Han” to “Mongols”, since the Han/Mongol racial divide is literally a ‘great wall’!

Anyhoo… relax thyself… I’m talking about the original material, where Wilma’s a young girl based in Pennsylvania leading the rebels in their goal of retaking Nu Yok from the Asian Han invaders. I’m just wondering if all their gear will be made from ultron! Invisible shields, armor, weapons and things like that.

37. Dr. Theopolis - January 13, 2009

True Dat –

The show jumped the shark when they all jumped on the Searcher, complete with the Glen A. Larson hangar bay.


Regarding the birdman in the 79/80 series, I liked it better B4 he arrived, so w/o the birdman, it’s fine with me. But from what I can tell, Crawley is going create his own take on the show. I do remember watching the black and white version many years ago on TV, and I am sure Crawley can do better.

38. Scott B. here. - January 13, 2009

I was excited when I first saw this: clearly James Cawley understands the benefits of capturing the look and essence of what makes something work. And I’ve long wanted see a retro-future pulp sci-fi series based on a property like Buck Rogers! Wow!

But then I saw his lead actor. I’m sure Bobby Rice is a nice guy, and may be a fine actor … but he looks like my 15 year-old son’s best friend, not an action hero. Still, I suppose he’s not out of step with the times. In an age when diminutive, baby-faced actors like Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Leo DiCaprio, Matt Damon and Keanu Reeves can be (and have been for a number of years) taken seriously as action heroes, I should know I’m beaten — a relic, a dinosaur.

Still, I long for the kind of rugged leading men who headlined movies and TV shows in the pre-youth-obsessed past.

Don’t mind me. I’ll go away now and console myself with a DVD of “Combat!” or “The Rockford Files” or “Star Trek.” :-)

In the end though … all best wishes to James and crew on a successful “Buck Rogers” show. I mean that sincerely.

Scott B. out.

39. Jorg Sacul - January 13, 2009

#35… Captain Poorton (sic) don’t pay the bills. Buck($) Rogers will. Advertising-supported is a good thing– I bet they don’t pay in Home Depot cards!

James & Crew… Best of luck, break a leg, and most of all: don’t be shy with the teaser pix and videos!

though…if you *were* to do a Captain Proton show, I’d be watching!

40. Big Paul - January 13, 2009

Scott B,

Who would have EVER seen Matt Damon as an action star… but watch the Bourne movies and tell me he didn’t pull it off!

Bobby is an amazing actor, and HE WILL pull it off as well!

41. J_schinderlin56 - January 13, 2009

If you put too many “Irons in the fire” Soon you won’t be able to get much of anything done. Good luck anyhow.

42. Imrahil - January 13, 2009

I’ll be interested to see what happens with this. My gut instinct is that 20 eps a year is way too ambitious, and that they’ll all end up crappy. Cut back to 10 or 12 and the FX will improve, and the actors will have time to get the performances right. If this isn’t going to be played for camp value, you need that time.

Also–get Michael Ansara to do a cameo as Emperor Draco. :)

43. James Cawley - January 13, 2009

I have an agreement for 20 episodes, that does not mean they are all coming out in a year. This project is going to be a ride, and it is one I am looking forward to.

44. Gary - January 13, 2009

@6 Yes, Gil Gerard porked up to 350 lbs, but youtube has some video about his getting gastric bypass and losing all that excess weight.

45. Big Paul - January 13, 2009


Mr. Gerard gained weight, and has subsequently lost it.

From those of us who have done the same, please refrain from terms like “porked out”.

I had dinner with Ms. Grey last year, and she told me all about Gil’s amazing weight loss, and how teriffic he looks right now.

46. bill hiro - January 13, 2009

Three cheers for a Michael Ansara appearance – although I don’t know if he’s still acting.

47. T.U.M. - January 13, 2009

This is really exciting. We’ve seen what JC can do on half a shoestring – I can’t wait to see what he can do with an actual budget!

48. CmdrR - January 13, 2009

Daoud — I’m just stirrin’ the pot. No worries.
But, it is handy to be married to a China gal. Beijing would only ban a comic or series if they thought it went against obeying the party line. I could be wrong, but the folks I’ve met don’t seem to give enough creedance to Americans to care what we call them. It’s not racism. They just don’t see Americans as ‘all that,’ nor do they seem to have that brand of sensitivity. Plus, they have some pretty hilarious names for Westerners.

49. Andros - January 13, 2009

Great, I’m glad Cawley is doing this since he always has all this extra time on his hands. Oh wait…

Expect 2 episodes a year for Phase II now.

50. Jason P Hunt - co-creator of COMET TALES - January 13, 2009

First, congratulations and good luck to Mr. Cawley and Co.!

(Although I agree that Bobby Rice looks too young for the part, but anyhoo…)

I think we’re going to start seeing more of this – independent productions gearing up for the web with known properties. I wouldn’t be surprised if a new “Flash Gordon” or “Dick Tracy” might be on the way… My own Comet Tales will first be offered on the web in the tradition of the 1930s serial. I think the Internet is the perfect match of modern technology for Old Style movie serial storytelling!

And as for Erin Grey… who can forget “Off think. Off think!”

51. OneBuckFilms - January 13, 2009

James Cowley may have hit a Jackpot !!!

He’s always maintained that he wanted to create a true production company, rather than simply make fan films, but getting an official license to use the original Buck Rogers comics for a Web series?

Way to go guys !!!!

James, you are in that lucky realm where you get to make a living doing what you love. Break a Leg.

52. mtngracie - January 13, 2009

Wow! This is amazing!

So excited to see Cawley get the license to Buck…. his attention to detail and vision are going to make a series that ROCKS fans of the comic!!

and, man… sorry folks, but Bobby Rice looks WAY OLDER as Buck on the promo poster than he did as Peter Kirk. As a long time comic fan, I know Buck was a young World War I ace pilot…. which would put him in his late teens/early twenties at best. In fact, Bobby may be too old for the part…..

Soooo looking forward to this. Can’t believe we have to wait until the end of 2010. Cawley is tormenting us with this news.

53. Dennis Bailey - January 13, 2009

I really like the raygun – it appears to be either patterned on or an original Buck Rogers tin toy raygun:

54. Wolf Trek - January 13, 2009

I just can’t see Rice being a convincing Buck. The promo shot makes him look more like a young Indiania Jones.
Rice also claims that he will play the character without any “camp”, which should make the production look and feel like a bad SciFi Channel show. AKA – dull and boring.

55. Devon Richards - January 13, 2009

That’s amazing! Did you folks know that Frank Miller himself has been trying to acquire these rights?! And Cawley beat him to it! Incredible!

56. James Cawley - January 13, 2009

Our Buck is 23 years old, and a WWI pilot!
Bobby is 26, he is a a very warm, charming, talented young man and I am sure will surprise a lot of people with his abilities in this role. I am most excited about the begining of this story, how it invovles WWI and who this young Buck Rogers guy actually is! We are spending a lot of time
on character, and I hope you all will enjoy what we have planned for our spin on the classic characters.

57. frederick - January 13, 2009

Buck! A-a-a-a-h! He’ll save every one of us!

58. frederick - January 13, 2009

And #55… we should thank God for that.

59. Eric - January 13, 2009

Phase II has good CGI and story writing, but is hampered by horrific acting. Absolutely terrible, painful to watch. If they are going to make a marketable series, they better get find trained actors instead of fanboys.

60. James Cawley - January 13, 2009

Frank Miller is working on a major Feature Film re-imaging of Buck, and he is working with Flint Dille on his version. Our versions are going to be radically different. Both versions are going to bring major attention to the character!

61. James Cawley - January 13, 2009

Hampered, and horrific lol! Please tell that to all of the 200,000 downloads and still counting folks in just three weeks for “Blood and Fire”.

62. Big Paul - January 13, 2009

Eric, #59,

Bobby Rice IS a trained professional actor. And a teriffic one at that. Peter Kirk is a character he plays, and is NOT Bobby. Don’t confuse the two.

And if you read the article above:
“…Cawley expects the cast to be trained and professional actors plus some well-known genre cameos that Phase II has used well in the past.”

And, I think the acting on P2 has been pretty darn good. Wait’ll you see “Blood and Fire, part 2″ or “The Child”… it all gets even better.
Especially the guy playing Ahrens in “Blood and Fire”, and Kyril in “Enemy: Starfleet”.
He’s damn good.

‘Nuff said.

63. ~~TARA~~ - January 13, 2009

I really liked Bobby Rice’s acting in “Blood and Fire” and can’t wait to see him as Buck Rogers!

64. Dr. Image - January 13, 2009

I have this coffe table book with all the early Buck strips from the beginning until the 40’s.
James- I hope you use the look of those really early strips, because it’s fantastic!

65. Fleetlord - January 13, 2009

@James, were are you going to shoot this? Your current location is pretty cramped with the fixed Enterprise bridge set. Did you lease another studio in the same area? Just curious. – tom

66. Eric - January 13, 2009

I’ll give one of them credit, the guy who plays Checov is good, but for the rest of them, Cawley especially, there will be no Oscars in their future.

67. Eric - January 13, 2009

Not even a Golden Globe!

68. Jerry Seward - January 13, 2009

Really hope you guys reconsider and use “Tony Rogers” as his given name was in the original short story. Otherwise, I’ve been looking forward to this…. wondering what was going on with it after the Miller movie announcement…

69. mtngracie - January 13, 2009

geez…. it’s so easy for people to criticize something they couldn’t come close to doing in a million years.

The acting in Phase II has gotten better every time and BAF is top-notch.. the guys have come into their own. YOU try acting in the footprints of one of the TOS people. Checkov is the only one that sucks… he’s not acting, he’s impersonating Keoenig…NOT the same thing!! Bray makes me gag.

Cawley DID get an internet Oscar… Best Actor by the Travolta award people, and he deserved it.

#69… met Rice at a convention, and you’re right. Not Peter Kirk at all… how young the guy comes off is due to his acting. Can’t wait to see him tackle a new “mature” role that he can sink his teeth into.

Again.. way to go Cawley and company! Can’t wait!

70. Tony Whitehead - January 13, 2009

I think this was already done as “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow”

71. CmdrR - January 13, 2009

James —
In all seriousness, if the new Buck Rogers (or Phase II) has any Atlanta connections, then contact me. We’d love to interview you on the morning news show I produce here. Anthony can give you my email.

72. Eric - January 13, 2009

AN INTERNET OSCAR!!! Well i stand corrected, shame on me, lol.

73. Daoud - January 13, 2009

@JC: How closely are you following the original Armageddon 2419 device of returned-from-WWI-Rogers falling asleep in a mine due to some strange combination of gasses?

I hope you’ve come up with a superb alternative (and I’d blab mine, but I’d rather not make it unusable…)

Echoing #68, Anthony Rogers is better. But if you want to play off of Buck more, use something else. Again, I won’t blab my idea, but it does have something to do with U.S. “precedence”.

74. Green-Blooded-Bastard - January 13, 2009

” 60. James Cawley – January 13, 2009
Frank Miller is working on a major Feature Film re-imaging of Buck”

Good god, no! I’m so sick of Miller’s films.

75. Imrahil - January 13, 2009

James–great, 20 eps total is wonderful. Take your time with these. :)

76. Odkin - January 13, 2009

I hope Cawley goes totally deco / steampunk / retro. Any element of modern cynicism or grittyness will kill this. Which is of course, why Miller’s version will stink to high heaven.

I want unabashed Rayguns! Mad scientists! Aviator helmets! Chest emblems! Jet packs!

Although the original comic strip is the main inspiration, I hope he is at least a little familiar with the strip work by Murphy Anderson, and the great Frank Frazetta’s “Famous Funnies” covers. Good stuff there, too.

77. frederick - January 13, 2009

I know that James must sometimes wish he could fire a large photon torpedo shaped like a hand giving a finger right up the exhaust pipe of some of the non-achiever belley-achers here.

James, kudos for doing what 999.99.9% of the fans here only dream of!

78. Ryan Thomas Riddle - January 13, 2009

Congrats, James! It’s good to see you doing something “for profit” with your group of highly dedicated behind-the-scenes folks. Also, it’s about time we got some good ol’ fashion Space Opera adventure.

I’ve thought long and hard that it’s time for Buck Rogers to come back in some form, and a retro web series is just what the doctor ordered.

79. Ryan Thomas Riddle - January 13, 2009

P.S. James, you probably have your team together so I don’t know if you’re looking for anybody that would be interested in working on the series. But if you are, is there an email address to contact you to discuss such matters and specialties.

80. touchstone35 - January 13, 2009

Fingers crossed for a Gil Gerard cameo !

81. Eric - January 13, 2009

You know peeps, the only reason i’m posting repeatedly today is because i’m stuck in a hospital E.R., bored, and the TV has Hillary’s confirmation hearing, where the GOP is being uncharacteristically deferential to her.
So no senatorial fireworks to watch.
What are you guys doing, or not doing, that you have the time to rush to the defense of this FakeTrek?
And as to the two insinuations that i wish i could create and orchestrate a fan-show, I wish no such thing, though i wouldn’t mind having an TOS Enterprise bridge in the garage, right along with an Oval Office mock up, complete with either Martin Sheen or President-Elect Obama.
That being said, i apologize that my criticisms are bothering the militant 200,000 FakeTrek followers. Though if you are offended by my opinions of the caliber of Cawley’s acting, (hehe) then my opinions on some of the actual TOS episodes would send you rioting into the streets, i.e. the terrible Apollo episode, the western gun slinger one with the Earps, and the Harry Mudd episode with the robot woman, more excruciating to watch then anything Phase II produced.

82. Doug in Kabul, Afghanistan - January 13, 2009

LOL @ #81… someone has taken their cranky pills today… either that, or one of the nurses gave you an enema at the hospital.

83. James Cawley - January 13, 2009

76. Odkin – January 13, 2009
I hope Cawley goes totally deco / steampunk / retro.

You can count on it!

84. James Cawley - January 13, 2009

And for those who are unfamilar with The original age of Buck Rogers, accorcing to writers Phil Nowlan, and Dick Calkins Buck was 20 years old and a WWI pilot who was mustered out of the air service at the end of the war in 1918.

85. Big Paul - January 13, 2009

Once again, making Bobby Rice an excellent choice for the part.

86. Izbot - January 13, 2009

“More recently it has been announced that Buck Rogers is headed back to comic strips and there is currently a feature film in development being written by Frank Miller.”

This is terrible news. Why must Frank Miller continue to dispespect the work of others before him? He trashed Will Eisner’s Spirit and now this. He’ll find a way to put chicks in Nazi uniforms and S&M gear in Buck Rogers.

87. Dennis Bailey - January 13, 2009

#70:”I think this was already done as ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow'”

A great movie and an inspiration for a lot of folks as to just how much can be done with CG art and technology. I can imagine “Buck Rogers” looking *something* like some of that, but with a lot more color.

I like modern science fiction and fantasy – love Ron Moore’s “Battlestar Galactica” – but sure do get weary of the monochromatic design.

88. JMAN - January 13, 2009

Sounds exciting to me – kudos to James Cawley for once again being an Internet entertainment pioneer.

And for those of you who have critical words for Cawley’s excellent New Voyages/Phase II series – come back when YOU’VE been nominated for a Hugo award, and then we’ll talk. World Enough and Time was one of the best hours of sci-fi I’ve seen in a long time. Sure, it had the odd rough patch, but what those guys achieved on a volunteer/not for profit basis was extraordinary.

89. Doug in Kabul, Afghanistan - January 13, 2009

James, congrats on a fun choice for a “new” hero!

I look forward to it!

Am still very much enjoying Blood and Fire…

Incidentally, my countdown is at 28 days and dwindling before returning to the states! hoooyah!

90. James Cawley - January 13, 2009

When you come home to the states, Please feel free to drop by and visit the sets, We all would like to meet a Real Hero who is actually defending this country.
With Thank’s,

91. CMX54 - January 13, 2009

I love Cawley’s NV/PII films, and I’m sure this will be fun, but can’t anyone in the “fan film” world make a wholly unique film? Original characters in an original universe, hello? Does everything have to be based on something that’s already been done? Any fresh ideas out there? Anyone? Is everyone creatively bankrupt nowadays? Damn…

92. FredH - January 13, 2009

I’m looking forward to this, but honestly I hope this series *won’t* be doing the American-resistance-fighting-the-Han-Chinese arc, or at least not for long. That aspect of the early years of the comic, to say nothing of the original novella, is pretty unpleasant 80-odd years later. I’d much rather get to the spaceships & such…

93. Dennis Bailey - January 13, 2009

Well, you know, Cecil B. DeMille was once asked why he made Biblical epics.

He’s supposed to have answered “Three thousand years of advance publicity.”

Works for me.

94. Andy Patterson - January 13, 2009

70, 87

“Sky Captain” was done very well. It to me was one of the most exciting movies of the past few years. It paid great homage to movies of old and the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons (which I was so surprised they made no mention of in the DVD extras). If this is done in that style…that’d be cool. I think the Fantastic Four movies could have benefited from that approach and retro feel.

95. Sikileia - January 13, 2009

Good for you, guys… :-D!! Retrofuturism forever!! :-D

96. mtngracie - January 13, 2009

The two books with Anthony Rogers were pre-comic, and aren’t canon to the comic series. The article says they’ll be using the comic strip… so I don’t expect there’ll be any Chinese horde in this series. The new name “Lucas” verifys that they won’t be using the books as reference to me.

97. Relentless - January 13, 2009

I would like to see him do a production of Space:1999

98. S2 - January 13, 2009

is it too much to ask to get a good lighting director? Please nilla!

99. Enterprise - January 13, 2009

He looks like the guy from the failed Flash Gordon Sci Fi Channel series.

100. DEMODE - January 13, 2009

James… I am a union actor who lives in Toronto…. but let me tell you, I would LOVE to audition for this show. If you need an evil looking bald man for any of the roles, drop me a line :)

101. Nephronial - January 13, 2009

This could be neat. I love the whole “retro-future” thing and and the pulp-adventure vibe as well. Sounds like they’re going to do a straight-up pulp interpretation, instead of some kind of high-concept re-imagining like that horrible Flash Gordon thing that came out recently.

Dunno about that kid though. At first glance he doesn’t seem to have the presence of a swashbuckling, two-fisted pulp adventure hero. Looks more like a teeny-bopping mall-creature some 13-year-old girl would have postered up in her locker.

102. sb - January 13, 2009

Especially interesting that David Gerrold may be involved; not only because I’m a fan of the man, but because he himself had an abortive run at Buck Rogers back in the 70s, before Glen Larson got hold of it.

If my memory’s being good to me, I think DG wrote a pilot script for a proposed BUCK series at the time which was to have been reasonably faithful both to the original novels and the comic strip (with certain elements updated for a contemporary audience). I don’t recall, if I ever knew, who was involved as executive producer, but I’m fairly sure that DG would have been the story editor had the pilot been finished and picked up as a series.

Gerrold’s take on it sounded really interesting, and I can remember how disappointed I was when “Bucklestar Garogers” was what we ended up getting.

All of which is a kind of long-winded way of idly wondering if James plans to invite David to contribute some concepts and/or script ideas that were originally planned for the project of thirty years ago…

103. OM - January 13, 2009

“Rice, who will continue to play Peter Kirk in future Phase II episodes, “

…Cue the spoiler weenies :-P

104. Wolf Trek - January 13, 2009

I can see why Mr. Cawley chose Buck Rogers for this next project (it’s a well known product), but that franchise was more of an inspiration for George Lucas to make Star Wars. If you were to look at SciFi serials of the early to mid 20th century, you would find that Star Trek has closer ties to Rocky Jones and the Space Rangers when it comes to technology concepts and plot points. However, you’d be hard pressed to find a lot of people who have even heard of Rocky.
Hey James, if you ever decide to corner the market on Rocketship Serials, give me a call. LOL
** #97 – I agree. I’d love to see some Fan Films based on Space:1999.

105. Jerry Seward - January 13, 2009

And I suppose naming him Lucas is a nod to that which inspired the creator of STAR WARS… still hoping for Anthony though….

106. Garovorkin - January 13, 2009

This could very interesting, I look forward to seeing what he can do with it.

107. Eric - January 13, 2009

Pardon me while i Wikipedia Hugo Award to find out what it is.

108. T.U.M. - January 13, 2009

I don’t mind what his given name is, as long as he isn’t “Roger Rogers” or something like that.

109. Starscream2112 - January 13, 2009

Cool..I wonder what could be next? Lost In Space maybe?

110. Mr. "Why does Paramount keep screwing with Trek"? - January 13, 2009


Wow! I hope this really works out for Mr. Cawley and the rest of the crew.

Best of luck “May the wind be at your backs”.

BTW: I will be changing my screen name from Mr. “Why does Paramount…” to Mr. “There are always possibilities”.

It’s OK if no one cares.

111. Buddy Deering-68 - January 13, 2009

Talk about out of left field!!!!!, I had no idea this was happening. After finding a lot Cawley’s work satisfying for an old school Trek fix.
You go and pull this stunt.
I’m so glad someone who appreciates the Grandfather of spacemen is making a new series.
Good Luck and Godspeed!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(my stop Frank miller prays are being answered.)

112. Spock - January 13, 2009

Personally I wish they’d cut their teeth on Buck Rogers first, and then gone on to do Star Trek with their skills honed and their infrastructure up and running. Hehehe.

113. JMAN - January 13, 2009

CMX54 – Nothing is really completely “original” – it’s all based on what has come before. At any rate, the whole point of the “fan world” production is to do productions of the shows they love. If they did something different, then it wouldn’t be a “fan” film at all!

114. TheBigCW - January 13, 2009

What i find interesting in all this is that the web-series rights were available and seperate from the film or tv rights!

Smart move on the Dille people! :)

I wonder if other rights owners of classic proprites have thought this way :)

(I for one wouldn’t mind seeing a Charlie Chan web series!)

115. paul - January 13, 2009

James cawley wil more than likely be getting a separate website for this series and he will more than likely have the nesscary information for how you can audition or seek work

mr cawley i still hope you plan on coming to southern california still willing to work for free as an extra

116. P Technobabble - January 13, 2009

I think this is a fine choice for Mr. Cawley. I have a gut feeling he will nail the Buck Rogers look/feel, the way he did with STPII’s amazing re-creation of TOS.
Between the positive embrace he’s gotten with STPII, and now Buck Rogers, I’ll bet Mr. Cawley is pinching himself, wondering if this is all really happening…
Congratulations and best wishes!

PS: I wouldn’t mind taking a crack at Lost In Space. All drama, no camp.

117. Mark Weller - January 13, 2009

Is this the production Erin Gray mentioned at some point she might be involved with?

118. Falvoant - January 13, 2009

hmmmm Erin Grey mentioned being in a production …now that is interesting……

119. Diggin' up Bones - January 13, 2009

Yes! Go back to the old strips! My brother had a big book of the original strips (like #64 mentions) back in the 70’s when we were kids. I spent hours and hours with that book. Even as a kid, I knew the Gil Gerard version had it all wrong and was ruining the legacy. Don’t forget the Mongols and the anti-gravity belts!

120. The Non Fanboy - January 13, 2009

While this is a cool idea I’ve never been impressed by any of the writing and little of the acting that has appeared in New Voyages/Phase II. It’s clumsy and fannish…even those script which have pros working on them. Why this is, I can’t say, but they’re going to have to really step up the story and acting quality to make this worthwhile.
Best of luck to them, tho!

121. Daoud - January 14, 2009

Erin Grey as a gender-f version of Dr. Huer. Would be excellllllent.

122. deathstaraven - January 14, 2009

Nice!!!! Hopefully this will be as good as your ST P2 series is. Loved the original series from the thirties and the seventies as well. Keep up with the classic Sci-Fi.

123. Clive - January 14, 2009

@118 Falvoant–Erin Grey is providing a computer voice for Sandy “Batman: Dead End” Collora’s upcoming feature film directorial debut, “Hunter Prey.” Maybe that’s what she was referring to.

124. Falvoant - January 14, 2009

123Hmmmmmmmmmmmmm COULD BE!

125. jc - January 14, 2009


126. Star Trek: Phase II Starts Buck Rogers Web Series « Fan Cinema Today - January 14, 2009

[…] has the exclusive story (kudos to Tony on the scoop) and it’s quite a doozy. The new series will take a retro-styled stab at the character, following the original 1920s comic strip plotline where Rogers is a World War I flying ace who is flung far into the future. To achieve the show’s retro veneer, they’ll be using modern-day technologies like CGI to achieve the steampunk-styled look of the early comic. […]

127. Al Hartman - January 14, 2009


The talented people you’ve assembled for P2 will shine using this series as an opportunity to further showcase and polish their talents.

I can only guess at how P2 will benefit from this… But a bigger and more modern studio would be a great asset to Port Henry/Ticonderoga area,

Beyond Buck Rogers, many more projects are possible once the talent and facilities are developed there.

I’m a fan of the Larsen series, camp and all… I loved the design of the Starfighter and some of the weapons. From what I understand, Brad Nelson did some prop work for Buck Rogers. I was told he designed the mini pistol used in BR, and also used in BSG 1980.

Are you going to have standing sets or use virtual sets like Sanctuary originally did?

The success of Sanctuary is a path I think you could easily follow.

My first reaction is to not be crazy about Bobby as Buck. But, I’ll wait to see him on screen to have a real, informed opinion.

I hope you find a place for Luna in Buck Rogers… Maybe as Ardala’s mother?

Best of luck with this… And hopefully, no more water line breaks!


128. Jason P Hunt - co-creator of COMET TALES - January 15, 2009

91. CMX54

RE: something original

I think there’s room enough for both. Why can’t fans tell their own stories for fun and non-profit? It’s a good way for “non-professionals” (and by that I mean not paid…) to cut their teeth on known characters, familiar universes, whether it’s TREK or WHO or BSG or anything else. I could even see a fan-made STARSKY & HUTCH… hmm, maybe that could be my next project…

My own COMET TALES is original, but it’s inspired by Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers of the 1930s. And those were also major influences on Star Wars. So it’s really a big “what goes around, comes around” type of affair.

I’m looking forward to seeing what James can do with “Buck Rogers”. I think it will be an interesting take on the character. And the Internet is the perfect match for a serialized story. I’ve been saying that for years.

129. Mugz - January 15, 2009

Wow I am super excited by this news – surely if anyone can bring back Buck Rogers to the internet/TV and remain loyal to the source that man is James Crawley.

The thought of modern special effects being used to create the ORIGINAL looking world from the original comics is very exciting indeed. Lets bring the FUN back to it as well – the spirit of adventure. Run the original episodes back to back, as well as the original Star Wars – perhaps – to get the feel for this new project.

Pleased don’t modernise this too much – it would be truly a thing of wonder to see the original architecture, costumes, spaceships, etc bought to convincing life. so much sci-fi all looks the same these days – drab, boring and hum drum. Lets bring back the ‘Sci-Fi Fantasy’ glamour of the original comic book covers/artwork.

I often wondered what the original Buster Crabbe originals would look like given the Lowry digital clean up treatment, and newly created 5.1 soundtracks – I’m sure it would be a smash. Now it looks like we’ll get something close to that but with even better FX – awsome!

Best of luck to you and the team James – I haven’t been this jazzed about a sci-fi project in a LONG while.

– Mugz

130. Okie Trekker - January 15, 2009

Sounds like a great idea – but why is it that whenever anybody does an adaptation of this character they can’t get his first name right? Here they call him Lucas; in the Gil Gerard series it was William. But in the novel “Armageddon 2419 A.D.” by Philip Francis Nowlan – the novel that introduced the character BEFORE it became a famous comic strip – Buck’s real name was ANTHONY. It seems like such a little thing, but of they’re wanting to “go back to the roots” they should try to get the name right!

There, I’ve said my piece. I’m still looking forward to seeing how they do. Best of luck to all concerned.

131. Doug in Kabul, Afghanistan - January 15, 2009

#90: James, thank you for the gracious invite. I was quite moved when I read your post, and honored al the while.

I don’t think of myself as a hero, but there are plenty of men and women over here who fit that description.

You guys are in NY state, aren’t you?

132. Gary Evans - January 15, 2009


Doug, Ye sin Upstate New York.


The first comic superhero in portrayed in the movies by a live actor was Captain Marvel. The actor, Tom Tyler, hailed from Witherbee NY, in the Town of Moriah which is where Port Henry is located. Seems a big coincidence that Phase II and now Buck ROgers will film there.

There was a film studio in Port Henry in the 1920, Artic City Studios, run by a man known as Caribou Bill (william F. Cooper of Saranac Lake). Interesting story in and of itself. Mr. Cooper was a celebrity in his day for long-distance dog-sledding, winnign as much as $10,000 prizes in his heyday.

133. Big Paul - January 16, 2009


If you can make it to one of our shootings, then I’ll personally escort you around, and buy you some breakfast at the Miss Port Henry Diner.

Come home safe first.

134. Rick - January 17, 2009

This sounds like a great project and I hope it really works out! It is also interesting to see others have read or know of the Armageddon 2419 A.D. novel which is the basis of BUCK ROGERS. I found the 1960’s publication of this novel in an antique store as a kid on a trip to CA. I picked it up because of a blurb on it stating it was the BUCK ROGERS origin. As a kid I was a bit curious why Buck was called Anthony, but the story was interesting enough for me not to care about that detail. In fact as I kid I read it a few times.

A few years after having gotten the book I used to do sketches based on passages from it and wanted to do a comic book based off of it. I am sure if I read it now it might not hold together as well and be really dated in some areas of the story. But I do have to say it had some fun tech ideas and the way the conquered American tribes used Anthony’s knowledge from his past to fight back was a cool concept. It would be great if some of the stronger and better elements from the novel made it into this project.

Anyways I really look forward to it and hope it keeps a fun retro/pulp type scifi feel!

135. TheBigCW - January 17, 2009

136. Insert Name Here - January 22, 2009

Though I think Rice is incredibly talented, I’m more than a little disappointed at his decision to leave “Hidden Frontier” to do this.

137. Savage Unicorn - January 30, 2009

I’ve seen Bobby Rice act in both Hidden Frontier, and Phase 2. And its shitty.

138. Joel - May 18, 2009

Is it true that James Cawley defaulted on the contract the by the building they were filming in????

139. PYROBOY - May 19, 2009

Please make yourself more clear in your question.

140. David Noack - May 24, 2009

Please concentrate on New Voyages/Phase Two, Jim!

141. Tony - July 1, 2009

Your thinking of when he was in down town Ticonderoga, They raised the rent and he moved, It was too small anyway

142. Neville A. Ross - August 11, 2009


Cawley will be facing a lot of nasty criticism from the Asian community if he even considers adapting Armageddon 2419 for the screen: the concept will have the Asian-American community (in particular the blogs Racilcious and Angry Asian Man) up in arms, even if the show can only be downloaded. He’d better not do that.

143. Buck Rogers Flies Again! | Better Than Cleavage - December 2, 2009

[…] the start of the year word broke via TrekMovie that Cawley had secured the rights to the Buck Rogers franchise – and would create a […]

144. Teaser Trailer de BUCK ROGERS « Comics en 8mm - December 3, 2009

[…] FUENTE […]

145. Ronald - March 9, 2010

At least we’ll still have STAR TREK: PHOENIX… it’s better anyways

146. Matthew B - September 23, 2010

Well, here it is Sept. of 2010 and no word on BUCK ROGERS. I don’t know if money or time is the problem. For all the haters who want to bash Cawley or Rice just tune out. If your not a fan then just go away and watch the same old crap you always watch. James Cawley has to be given all the credit in the world for what he has managed to accomplish. I wish I’d gone after my dreams the way he did. As for Bobby Quinn Rice, well just watch the trailer. He comes across great. Bobby can play this part and he’s going to be fantastic. Again, don’t confuse one of his other characters with this one. Bobby is an actor and a trained one at that. When he takes on this persona of Buck your all going to be happy with what he brings. By the way he writes I can tell you that this is one nice, caring and talented man. Personally I would have loved to have seen him get a part on TRUE BLOOD. He’d fit right in.

147. sad_fan - January 17, 2011

i would love it if the new series were to have a version of Twiki–but ig uess that wont happen =(

148. James - April 18, 2011

Is Buck still in the works?
@57 LMAO =)

149. My Best Fiend - August 25, 2011

I just heard a WMMR interview with Gil Gerard where he said that the production was canceled. It was a bit vague, but something about not being able to meet delivery dates and funding (of course). is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.