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Breaking: Star Trek Phase II Fan Series Recasts Their Kirk – Exclusive First Look & Details

Tonight we have some late breaking news from Star Trek: Phase II, the most popular of the fan productions. Executive Producer James Cawley has decided to recast himself and brought in a new professional actor to play James T. Kirk. This new actor is currently filming the new episode "Bread and Savagery." More exclusive details and the first look at this new Kirk below.

 

New Kirk for Star Trek: Phase II – Cawley To Focus On Producing Series

James Cawley has sat in the captains chair of the popular fan series Star Trek: Phase II since it originally launched (under the name Star Trek: New Voyages) in 2004. Cawley has worn two hats, as both executive producer and star of the show, which has so far released seven "new" episodes emulating the original Star Trek. But this week that all changed with a brand new actor stepping into the role of Captain James T. Kirk.

Cawley tells TrekMovie that he has made the decision that he wants the cast to all be trained and experienced actors, including the role of Kirk which he has played for the last eight year. While Cawley has a successful performance career as an Elvis impersonator, he is not a professional actor. So he decided to focus on being the executive producer and earlier this year he began a search to find a new Kirk. The actor he chose was Brian Gross who is not only a big fan of Star Trek, but also has many screen credits to his name.


Brian Gross, the new James T. Kirk for Star Trek Phase II

Gross has been in a number of feature films, including a supporting role in George Lucas’ 2012 film Red Tails. The 33 year-old actor also has a long list of guest spots and recurring roles on network TV shows including NCIS: Los Angeles, CSI: New York, Psych, Saving Grace, and Cold Case. Cawley tells TrekMovie "not only does he have the right look, resembling Shatner, but he has the balls to back it up."

And the recasting of Kirk is only part of what Cawley is calling a "relaunch" of the fan series. He is also planning some additional changes, to be announced later.

The Phase II crew is currently shooting "Bread and Savagery," which will be Gross’ first appearance as Kirk. It is a sequel to the original Star Trek episode "Bread and Circuses." Cawley tells TrekMovie that he usually doesn’t like to do sequels but he felt that the story (written by sci-fi novelist Rick Chambers) was so strong, they had to do it. The production (helmed by horror movie director Mark Burchett) is already on its fourth day and should wrap by the end of the month.


Brian Gross, the new James T. Kirk for Star Trek Phase II

Star Trek: Phase 2’s “Bread and Savagery” should be released online in 2013.

More details on Gross, the new episode, and the schedule for the remaining unreleased episodes starring Cawley that are still in post-production are forthcoming. Look for other updates on Phase II here at TrekMovie soon.

UPDATE: Brian Gross Showreel

Here is a 2008 show reel, featuring some of Brian Gross’ TV work up to that date.

 

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MJ
June 20, 2012 11:14 pm

This is unbelievable. I took so much flack from people here earlier this year when I humbly suggested that Cawley, who is the Gene Rodenberry of fan productions (I love the guy!), would be best served leading the production and recasting Kirk.

Yep!

Glob
June 20, 2012 11:24 pm

Kudos to Cawley on this move. There’s a lot of ego-perks to being the “star”. Most people wouldn’t have the self-awareness, or selflessness, to even consider that someone else might be a better fit in their very personal project..

Obviously I have no idea whether Gross really WILL be a better fit, but if Cawley believes so enough to step aside himself, then I am confident it’s the right move.

Trekprincess
June 20, 2012 11:24 pm

He looks great let’s hope he does well portraying Captain Kirk

Denise Dion
June 20, 2012 11:27 pm

OMG….I am sad to see him go…but happy they have someone in his place, that actually resembles Kirk….now they need to recast McCoy…not doing it for me…

njdss4
June 20, 2012 11:32 pm

Good move. I never liked Cawley’s Kirk. He’s a great guy who has made a great show, but I felt like his performance was a bit too amateurish. (of course I never brought it up before for fear of being ripped apart by the fans…)

Mark Anton
June 20, 2012 11:32 pm

Very interesting. Maybe this move will result in more episodes. They are so few and far between, and I really look forward to seeing them. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate James Cawley for everything has done for Star Trek. I actually enjoyed his take on Kirk, but I am curious to see the new guy perform the role. Phase II is really great, and a real gift to fans of the original series.

Danielcraigismywookiebitch
June 20, 2012 11:52 pm

I find the timing of the decison and the reveal to be a little telling lol, you know just following the recent press coverage and excitement and building buzz surrounding the Star Trek Continues series.

Ive given watching phase II plenty of chances, but never really could get into it. However the Continues series from the get go looks like its going to be top notch on the performance side as well as visually.

Neumann
June 20, 2012 11:54 pm

With this and this “relaunch/reboot” talk I’m getting the feeling these two TOS “continuation” fanseries are in a hot war with each other. This should be interesting.

Patty Wright
June 21, 2012 12:10 am

I think I can safely speak for the cast and crew and say that we here at Phase II are heartbroken. James will always be Captain Kirk to us. But we know, sadly, this is for the best. With James back to work pretty much full time as Elvis it could be years before we’d be able to film a new episode with him in the Captain’s chair.

Thank God he showed the true leadership he has always had and went after and found a very good, experienced and well known actor to fill the role. Brian is an AMAZING young man….down to Earth, fun, and without a drop of that Kirk ego that is coming across in his frighteningly good performances.

It’s been hot as hell up here on our sets, but it’s been sheer heaven working with both James and Brian. Truly, the best of times!!!

Jeffrey S. Nelson
June 21, 2012 12:18 am

The KIrk hair could use a bit of tweaking. Too much of a part on the side of the head. And it needs more of a wave in the front! After watching Shatner’s hair for all these years, I can’t help commenting…

Jeffrey S. Nelson
June 21, 2012 12:19 am

He looks like a lot like the new Kirk in the Star Trek Continues fan-based series also just getting underway…

June 21, 2012 12:24 am

I’ve commented that the amatuer actors needed to step up their game. They needed acting lessons. That’s not an insult. If I were going to sing in public, I would certainly train for it. It’s great that James Cawley really cares about his product.

Right now with his production and the other fan Star Trek production, these are the only quasi-TV Star Trek shows in the game. I hope these shows are so successful that CBS may take notice. Best Wishes.

Bob Tompkin
June 21, 2012 12:35 am

I always appreciated the fact that this is James Cawley’s baby and that he could do as he pleased with it. I kept my mind open and went along for the ride. The production values always amazed me, the writing was usually very good, and I was happy just to get some Trekkin’ on a semi-regular basis. That James was willing to step aside for the improvement of the production is a class move- but I would continue to a fan of his under any circumstance.
Thank you Mr. Cawley for all that you do for fandom!

Toonloon
June 21, 2012 12:51 am

Good luck to them all. I look forward to seeing the new episode!

June 21, 2012 12:56 am

Recast is never an easy task and recastin the lead role even less…!!
It’s a bold move from Cawley and a very smart one, as to say.
I know he has some other projects running in parallel so probably he can be much more sucessful just taking the role of producer and let the dream to continue…! ;)
Once I had a dream to do what he acomplished… So, I admire him and his sucess. He is now a man who is a fan and told the fans than some other dreams can come true…! And this is such a wonderful thing…!
I wish good luck to the guys on the “Phase II” project…!
May all dreams can come true…! And keep on trekking…!! ;)

June 21, 2012 12:58 am

Recast is never an easy task and recasting the lead role even less…!!
It’s a bold move from Cawley and a very smart one, as to say.
I know he has some other projects running in parallel so probably he can be much more successful just taking the role of producer and let the dream to continue…! ;)
Once I had a dream to do what he accomplished… So, I admire him and his success. He is now a man who is a fan and told the fans than some other dreams can come true…! And this is such a wonderful thing…!
I wish good luck to the guys on the “Phase II” project and to the “new Kirk”…! May all dreams can keep coming true…! And keep on trekking…!! ;)

El Chup
June 21, 2012 12:59 am

Cawley was terrible as Kirk and his holding of the role was clearly nothing more than to self serve his own childhood fantasy. Credit to him for now deciding to put the piece before his own personal interest,

June 21, 2012 1:11 am

I actually enjoyed Cawley as Kirk. You got a sense of the passion he has for the character.

My feelings on this?

Sad, yet excited. If the new guy can act as good as he looks, Kirk-wise that is. It should be good.

#4
That McCoy is pretty good.

Al
June 21, 2012 1:15 am

Here’s Brian’s showreel

Al
June 21, 2012 1:15 am
June 21, 2012 1:22 am

@9
Strange that there is no mention of James’ decision to step down on either the Phase 2 web-site or forum…

June 21, 2012 1:40 am

Captain’s Log – supplemental… I saw the show-reel for the “new Kirk”… It seems he got the looks… But his voice (and maybe the interpretation) is not “all that”… Just a sensation…
OUT.

Ric
June 21, 2012 2:01 am

I believe this was a great move if it works out – and made for the best of the franchise you are developing – that took guts and a moment of self sacrifice… I think the productions are great.. it is like constantly looking at the site when the next available shows are online… see you are looking for funds to help out—would this speed up production at all? if so what about kickstarter and share there? that would get the word out…

love you guys and the sacrifices and all the work you are putting into this!

CmdrR
June 21, 2012 2:51 am

Elvis has left the bridge.

Still love you guys! Mark my words, controlled-budget online productions are on the rise, bigtime!!!

Phil123
June 21, 2012 2:53 am

I always liked Crawley, but a cast of professional actors is a great idea. I mean this with no disrespect, but they also really need to recast scotty. the accent is beyond laughable (my parents are Scottish). dohans wasn’t perfect, but he was a great character and well acted.

be interesting to see if this or Continues turns out best…

AwesomeJohn22
June 21, 2012 3:03 am

Lookin’ good so far, but I will be reserving final judgment. I’m a big fan of Cawley and how he’s handled the character so far.

AwesomeJohn22
June 21, 2012 3:04 am

@25 I could not agree more. While I respect what this group has been doing, the Phase II version of Scotty is an insult.

crazdaystrom
June 21, 2012 4:04 am

Is it just me or does this new actor Gross looks a little like Gene Roddenberry Jr. to anybody else?

A little competition between the fan series could be very interested.

Dave Galanter
June 21, 2012 4:08 am

@21 Nearly everyone involved with Phase II is likely up at the shoot where internet is hard to come by easily and updates to the website are difficult while filming and/or exhausted from filming. :-) Cut them slack–they’re working hard to bring you Star Trek. (There’s no internet at the studio. It’s hard to come by internet in that whole town!)

Dave Galanter
June 21, 2012 4:11 am

@25 His name is Cawley, not Crawley. ;-)

@25 and @27 I quite like Charles Root’s Scotty.

New Horizon
June 21, 2012 4:17 am

> 30. Dave Galanter

I like Charles Root, but his performance and accent as Scotty are pretty shaky.

Dave Galanter
June 21, 2012 4:26 am

@31 I disagree about Root’s performance. I’ve come to quite like his Scott from his early days, and remember they’ve filmed a lot you’ve not seen yet. :)

Landru's cousin, Dandru
June 21, 2012 4:36 am

To be honest, I pretty much consider this non-news. These fan films are pretty weak in terms of writing, and basically come down to adults who can’t act playing dress-up. Plus, when you factor in the behind-the-scenes shenanigans (one group stealing sets from another, a writer claiming to own a script when she’s merely adapting someone else’s work and thus not actually writing anything new, etc.), my desire to watch these productions diminishes even more. The sets and costumes are impressive, sure, but that’s about it. Star Trek, in my opinion, is the movies, any future TV shows, and the licensed spinoff comics, novels and so forth. For me, this isn’t Star Trek–it’s amateurish cosplaying.

EM
June 21, 2012 4:54 am

I enjoy the Phase II shows. They have gotten much better, production value wise. They look more proffesional. And as far as writing and acting goes, there is none better in the fan film world.
Wihat I want to know is what ever happened to Mr. Cawleys “Buck Rogers” project?

June 21, 2012 4:56 am

Ya know, old lies never die, they just keep being rehashed because folks believe everything they read on the internet.

FACT: No one stole sets from anybody. Ask those that are actually in the productions instead of someone with an axe to grind because they don’t like somebody.

James and the other Executive Producers have done some amazing work with Phase II. It is indeed a bold move to recast Kirk. I applaud him for the move.

This is not a contest to see who is better. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. We do this for ourselves. We share it because it is in our nature. Like it or leave it. I don’t care. Comments like Dandru’s are nothing more than self-serving to bring some attention to himself. Lame!

Al Hartman
June 21, 2012 5:23 am

I’ve always liked James Cawley as Kirk, and to echo Patty… I’m heartbroken he has chosen to step down from the role.

But, I trust James and if he has decided to pass the baton to Brian, then I’ll look forward to seeing what Brian is going to bring to the role.

I think Doc John IS McCoy. I can’t imagine anyone better for the role.

Charles Root does a good job as Scotty. He’s not doing a Jimmy Doohan imitation. He is doing his own interpretation of the character that I like.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Chris Doohan does with Scotty on Star Trek Continues. He would be the only other person that I would like to see in the role.

I think people are way to harsh about the acting. A lot of the TOS actors were pretty cheesy too…

I think this can put to rest all the false accusations that James is an ego maniac. He stepped aside for the good of the production. James is about entertaining, not about James. He is a very kind, down to earth person.

I’m looking forward to meeting the new Uhura, and to see what the other surprises the relaunch has in store for us.

Al Hartman
June 21, 2012 5:33 am

@Michael Bednar – I really wish people would stop pitting the various productions against each other.

I know that stuff has happened. We can’t go back and change them.

As someone else observed, this is not a “zero sum game.” STC does not take away from P2. It just means there will be more Trek.

I’ve always liked the Starship Farragut production, and was very happy that you got your new studio and built your own sets. And especially happy that you’re sharing them with STC.

This makes sense to me. And is good for the fan film genre.

I wish Farragut and STC the best of luck. Admittedly, I’m unhappy about certain things, but I’m going to follow your lead, and James Cawley’s lead and not be one of those attacking STC or Farragut.

That would be like biting ones nose off to spite ones face.

@7 – You’re right, the timing of the relaunch is not a coincidence as far as I can tell. Instead of badmouthing other productions, the Phase II team has decided to up their game in response.

I’m sure this will start a healthy competition between the two productions, the result of which will be the best Trek ever produced.

I applaud the high road that Phase II is taking. I’m 100% on board.

Dave Galanter
June 21, 2012 5:33 am

I’ve known James Cawley for some years now. If the man has one great flaw it’s that he doesn’t like to let people down. As flaws go, it’s probably the best one someone could have.

TrekMadeMeWonder
June 21, 2012 5:59 am

WOW! A real life, authentic, TOS KIRK!!!

Does he come bubble wrapped?

Best casting move I have seen in Trek since Picard.

star trackie
June 21, 2012 6:05 am

The series has always excelled as a fan production, but it had it’s limits…some, of which, made it hard to watch at time. This has the possibility to take this series to a whole new level. And I’m sure, for Cawley, it also is a chance to stir things up a bit and keep it interesting. Even playing Jim Kirk has to get old at some point. I haven’t tuned into an episode in a long while, but I’ll be their for the new launch. Very interesting that we also have the launch of that other series with a new Kirk and crew just around the corner. May the best Kirk win!

Phil
June 21, 2012 6:16 am

@33. Looks like you are todays designated whipping boy. Keep a stiff upper lip now….

June 21, 2012 6:18 am
It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to put together a production like this for a network, let alone a fan-based production where all the money comes out of the pockets of one or two people. I have always held James Cawley in high esteem for not only the decision to do this production in the first place, but to keep improving and stretching the boundaries. His decision to recast Kirk is another step in the maturation process as a producer. It’s always hard to let go of something like this – I know, I’m a video producer and a videographer, but I find myself having to do less and less videography, and it’s tough not to have that hands-on control. But sometimes in order to hold on you have to let go, and perhaps James felt the production would be better served by having someone else in the captain’s chair. This way he’ll be able to redirect his energies to, hopefully, putting out product more often and improving the quality of the acting. But the main thing to remember is that this is James’ thing. It’s his labor of love. I can’t see how being as critical of his project as we are of, say, J. J. Abrams is productive in any way. Cawley could say tomorrow, you know what, screw you guys, I’m done. But this is obviously something he wants to do, and puts a lot of effort into. He’s not a network executive or… Read more »
June 21, 2012 6:18 am

Having said that, though, I think they ought to part Gross’ hair on the other side. :-)

June 21, 2012 6:20 am

Never mind – just saw a promo still of the Shat as Kirk, and the hair is right.

June 21, 2012 6:20 am

This guy’s got the look, no question.

June 21, 2012 6:21 am

Cawley has done a lot in the furtherance of Star Trek. I didn’t embrace his performance as Kirk (not because he couldn’t act but because his whole presence didn’t match the character) but I do have the deepest respect for him and his crew. Best of luck.

June 21, 2012 6:26 am

Smart move.

Some of the acting and writing has been not quite there and tightening those little things could give them a much better product.

June 21, 2012 6:28 am

Took a look at Gross’s show reel – wow. The guy’s got skills and substantial professional onscreen experience. Good and good.

NoKhanPlease
June 21, 2012 6:30 am

I think it’s great. But let’s not forget how much effort Cawley has put in.

My biggest complaint about Phase II is how long it takes for an episode to come out. It may be several years before we see this guy.

Of course, I get why. It’s not a TV show with a TV budget. These guys don’t make money off it, and do it on their own dime. So despite not liking the wait, I appreciate the effort tremendously.

June 21, 2012 6:36 am
My interaction with Brian was nothing but positive, what an incredibly nice guy, and talented actor. Especially give his introduction to the sets was at 100 degrees with 98% humidity, enough to make anyone want to turn and run to the nearest A/C unit! As for Phase 2, we don’t compete with anyone. All Trek Fan Films have their positives and negatives. We wish nothing but the best for the folks at Star Trek Continues, or for that matter any group of people that want to take on the difficult task of recreating the adventures of the USS Enterprise. It’s a huge sandbox, Phase 2 doesn’t own it, there’s no real gain from producing these episodes other than the fun from doing them, therefor there’s no competition. @25 & @27 I’m sorry you don’t like my Scotty, it is certainly not my intention to “Insult” you. I’m not trying to mimic James Doohan, nor do a perfect Scottish accent, as I’ll be the first to admit I can’t. If you look through the catalog of film, there are a lot of actors that do a lot of bad accents, it’s a tough thing to not only learn all your lines, and how to deliver them, but now put an accent on it. It’s a whole new layer that most actors don’t have to deal with. I take solace in knowing that James Doohan himself said he wasn’t going for a 100% authentic Scottish accent when he was playing Scotty. @34… Read more »
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