James Cawley On The New Enterprise

There have been some reports about comments made by Star Trek New Voyage’s Creator James Cawley regarding the new film and the Enterprise design he has seen. TrekMovie.com has invited Mr. Cawley to share his thoughts with the TrekMovie.com community as well as clarify some rumors. More below


First off, I would like to start off by saying that I am surprised, and flattered that anyone would care anything about my opinion(s) at all. That being said I do not know who started the rumor that that the new Enterprise “has wings,” but I certainly did not. I have been asked by Anthony to try and describe what I saw, and all I will say is that the ship design seems to borrow heavily from “Contemporary Trek”. That is as much as I feel comfortable in sharing.

Much has been made about me not liking the design. So, let me explain why I don’t. I have been a fan for 35 years. I grew up with TOS. I am a TOS purist. I see Matt Jefferies designs as "Timeless" not dated. To me they are pure Sci-Fi, we do not have anything that looks like them at all. They were clean and streamlined, I love the candy colored buttons with multiple functions, I prefer the Fantasy look, as opposed to The LCD screens and Computer type buttons we have right here and now as featured on "Enterprise". I believe the Original design especially the exterior of The Enterprise is so iconic, that it should be used with only minor updating. But, Just because that is my opinion, does not mean that many more of you, won’t like the possible New Look. Star Trek is an amazing piece of our pop culture, and it’s fan’s are as devoted as they are diverse. I have the utmost respect for Mr. Abram’s and his team. and I wish them all well, in what is sure to be a VERY HARD TASK. I really would love to see The original designs on the big screen, with loving details, I have been waiting for that ever since the announcement of STMP back in 79′. I know that I am not the only one who feels that way.

I more than anyone want this film to succeed! I do not want Star Trek to fail, I hope it continues to speak to all fan’s new and old for many, many years to come. I am dying to see Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock once more, and disappointed that The Ultimate Captain, William Shatner so far, is not in the film. Sorry, that’s the purist thing speaking again! So let me close this all by saying I will be in the audience opening night, with my fingers crossed that J.J. and Co. will have achieved their goal, even if I don’t like the ship, or the costumes, or the color of anyone’s eyes.

The majority of fans said similar things to say about my New Voyages, but in the end many of them have come along for the ride. Gene Roddenberry was sure that the human race was full of "Optimism and Hope". So let’s all remain full of both, and actively look forward to what could be a fun ride. "Go get em’ J.J. "

-James Cawley

The Enterprise as seen in the upcoming STNV episode in "Blood and Fire"

James Cawley is the star and executive producer of Star Trek New Voyages.

As with all guest editorials, the opinions are those of the writer and not necessarily those of TrekMovie.com

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First? Thanks for that, James.


I hope they pull it off.

Well said, James. I’ll be sitting beside you in the cinema hoping for great success here, as well.


Awww man…. just leak the darn pictures and get the wars over with.

BTW- first?

How close is the new ship to the original? Will it be recognizable as the TOS Enterprise, or will we need another wild stretch of the imagination to believe that a refit could change the ship so much?

I’m up for whatever they throw at us. I can’t imagine it being drastically different from the original so time will tell.

Oh my, this thread is going to explode…

just finished watching in harms way again, my girlfriend screamed NO! at the tv when the planet killer came through the planet at the enterprise!!
class!!! quinto looks amazing, im convinced that some cloning is going on in hollywood!!!

Damn… when they said the Enterprise had “Wings”, I was hoping that meant that Paul McCartney was doing the soundtrack… ;)


I was stoked with TMP as well. Remember the 1st time you saw the D7 battlecruisers as it opened? Holy Crap! They looked absolutely right, but the level of detail as they made their pass was uncanny, and still sticks in my mind (with the that music pulsing as well).

I would like to see JJ do THAT with the classic design. It IS possible to generate wonder and awe with these classic ships. Just try.

On BBS, A poster calling himself General Custer mentions “the wings.”
In context, it sure seems like he’s attributing it to James.

Over at the New Voyages website James Cawley who plays Kirk has answered threads that he has seen the ship and has confirmed that it has been redesigned and he doesn’t like it. He said he had friends in high places and they showed it to him when he was out there. It does not even resemble the one that we know of in the original series and was pissed they didn’t keep it true because Star Trek has stayed alive for 40+ years because we love what we see. It has wings. If there is any source to trust then it is Cawley since Paramount gave him permission to create New Voyages and he has spent 100s of thousands of dollars of his own on sets and costumes from the original series. I will try to get a link to the threads. I think he is right when he says you shouldnt change something that has worked for all these years such as the Original Series. Anyway are ou ready to see the ship with wings?

James, if this is not your view, then apologies. However, we’re all VERY hungry for input on this project, so I can’t quite blame myself or anyone to reacting to something that seems like news. I’d LOVE real news releases from the actual studio, but I guess that’s a lot to ask.

Thanks for that James… Well said.

Perhaps It’s not about the ship- It’s about the Human Adventure.
(as long as it’s believable Enterprise- I s’pose for the New Fans they didn’t want her to look TOO ’60’s old school)

I have been with NewVoyages since the beginning, and have enjoyed watching your production team and actors mature into that great group that made World Enough and Time.


I look forward to Darren D’s further influence on your very good (and well lit!) take of the Big E- and wish you much success.

I also love the nods to Phase II that seem to be coming…

Oh, and PS-

Don’t forget about our friend Gary Seven- If you’re going to bring back Mudd you’ve got to find a Gary Seven & Roberta Lincoln.

can anyone tell me where he has seen the new enterprise design?

11. Agreed. I remember seeing TMP on opening night on the big screen and being impressed with the sense of 3D as the camera flew over the D7 with the stars flying behind it. It was that shot along with the first and final shots of the 1701A that were truly memorable for me.

Contemporary Trek–HMMMM –

WAAAAAAAAAYYYYY too much blue neon

WAAAAAAAAYYYYYY too many bright white overly large portholes that would make lovely targets to any enemy with a brain and a descent targeting system

Stupid phaser ring instead of individual banks.

A nursery / pre-school three decks away from the torpedo bay???

Looks like a flying shoe????

Am I on the right track????

This has been one huge rollercoaster for me. I will be very disappointed if the design of the original 1701 has been radically changed — I could not agree more with Mr. Cawley. Change for the sake of change NEVER WORKS!!!! NEVER HAS WORKED!!!! NEVER WILL WORK!!!!!! Abrams is treading on dangerous territory here — this is a 40+ year old franchise with a fan affinity that is second to none!!!! I only hope that Cawley’s friends at Paramount are playing a practical joke on him!!!!

This may be the next best thing we can ever have besides having a young Shatner, Nimoy, and the rest, back doing new shows and movies. I for one will be willing to suspend my disbelief at a new cast just to see Kirk and Spock together again. For the first time.

Contemporary Trek could mean only that it has all the details and layering that we have seen on the Enterprise E, Archer’s ship, etc., in order to bring it more in line with all the other Treks we have seen since, including ST:TMP.

From what I’ve read above (thank you for clarifying, James!), it is merely a case of being a purist seeing changes, where to his eyes and heart there should not need any.

Its merely aestetics. James feels his way, and someone else would like it if Enterprise were tweaked or changed a bit.

I don’t think there is any cause for great concern.

BTW, James, I remember reading your resume, and I portray Buddy Holly in shows, so we have a close lineage with doing tribute acts!

Pathetic that it has been redesigned when IT HAS BEEN PROVEN that the Classic TOS looks beautiful in CG. Let’s see the new red-headed step child.

I’m sure whoever let James see those designs did it with the strict confidence that it would be kept private. Cawley should have just kept his mouth shut. This is a non-issue really and he could have saved all of his opinions for when the ship is actually unveiled. This sort of public discussion about what is still a confidential item is not good press for Cawley or New Voyages.

You know, IF the ship does have wings, one way to redeem this movie is to use this movie to erase Generations.
Since it’s supposedly a time travel movie when Spock hopefully returns from his mission to save Kirk he finds he altered the future and Kirk is alive and survived his run in with Soran. With that I could overlook the wings, barely, if there are wings. We’ll see in a little over a year.

I don’t have a good feeling about this…..
I can accept moderate updating and was expecting the design to be to a certain extent, but I’m hearing terms like “radical change” being used on other forums to describe the new look.
Now with James Cawley describing it as looking “Contemporary Trek”, I’m remembering how disappointed I was with the look of the NX-01.

Please don’t mess too much with the 1701, or we’ll end up with another “Americanized Godzilla”

I won’t get up in arms if the Enterprise is a total redesign as suggested above, but I will be *very* disappointed. If it’s the Enterprise, I think it should look like the Enterprise. If it doesn’t, it just won’t work. Updating it is fine — I know we’re not going to see the ship exactly how it looked on TOS — but the design should still bare a resemblance to the classic ship.

Having said that, I am not jumping to conclusions. With all due respect to Mr. Cawley, I need to see the design myself before I believe it’s been redesigned. Perhaps the design he saw was a draft? Maybe it was another ship? Or maybe even a fake? It’s not likely, and again, no disrespect to Mr. Cawley or his ability to tell what’s what, but you just never know with these Hollywood types. All this time we (or at least I) have been led to believe that we will be able to tell it is the Enterprise, even though it will *not* be the TOS Enterprise. So I will reserve compliments and/or complaints until I see an actual design for myself.

But I really do hope they remain true enough to the original design that we can tell it is, indeed, the Enterprise. As Abrams himself said, you can’t screw this up. ;)

As I stated over at the NV forum, this franchise deserves more respect than this move- giving the E a “contemporary Trek” look, ala “Enterprise”- indicates.
I am a purst as well, and I did not think that this would happen, especially now that Berman is not involved.
I firmly believe now that James, through his efforts with NV, and the others with Classic Trek inspired series, are the ones who will continue to honor and respect the original vision, NOT these guys. Now I’m certain of it. And I don’t CARE about the script. That’s right! It can be Shakespeare, but if they stylistically trash what’s been established- for over FORTY YEARS- it’s an insult, plain and simple. There is MORE to it this time around.
-Donn aka/ QuasiOdo
And if it IS a reboot, they should have the balls to just SAY SO!!
Maybe then I and others will consider respecting the changes.

I had no idea they were actually changing the design of the Enterprise as well as the uniforms. I can’t believe Leonard Nimoy would be a part of this disgrace! The Enterprise is such an iconic image, as well as the uni’s. I hope this is just an earlier version of the NCC-1701 we haven’t seen before and not a whole new one just because. If it is, I will cease being a lifelong Star Trek fan and boycott the movie.

They didn’t need to overhaul it to this extent. The Constitution-class ship looked amazing in CG when compared to an NX-01 class ship.

Mr. Cawley: Despite my goofy name this is a real person here. Thanks for your unique insight and devotion to Star Trek in your version as despite questionable actor portrayals yours as Kirk is really good and deeply appreciated. I’d love to see you as Kirk in the new movie or to see your show have the budget required and needed to properly address the casting issue because your show does
have excellent highlights and shouldn’t be overlooked. I LOVED the show with Sulu – it shined!
Please continue your vision of the show. Have you ever considered having first time professional actors on your show just to add the needed credence in that area? You’re # 1 never forget that. Ok?

WHY GOD WHY??!?!?!?!? can they not just make moderate changes and an earlier version.????? WHY????????

#20 RaveOnEd — I agree. Mr. Cawley is a purist, after all, so let’s just wait until we see the design for ourselves before, um… panicking. ;-)

Listen, J.J., Don’t you DARE change the Enterprises Original design! The fans will be mortified to say the least. I know I will. That ships iconic symbol is a part of history- thats why the original fourteen foot model sits on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute. We trust in you. Don’t blow it.

You might as well tell me that Santa wears a blue suit.

I for one will not be able to accept this movie even with Leonard Nimoy as spock, if the Enterprise does not look like itself as much as Quinto looks like Nimoy!
It will just not feel right and I wont be anything but angry and upset while watching the movie. It may very well be a fault with me, but I do believe that will be my reaction. A slight modification and update, I could accept but anything to far off and it will not be Star Trek to me. Just another footnote in Trek History like the TV series Enterprise is sure to be.

He could also have seen the ship in an earlier version… we know the trailer has it under cosntruction! That said, I don’t mind more hull detail, ala ST:TMP, at all.

Wow….this is good publicity for New Voyage’s…..

My guess? It’ll be the same *amount* of change as from TOS to TMP but *different* changes. Lots more detailing on the hull, and some big changes to some things like the nacelles and the dish, with lots of minor changes to things like the bridge, the impulse engines..

I can see a purist being upset with that, but I think it will become invisible to most people within ten minutes of screen time. I really can’t believe they’d do anything more drastic than that. I can’t imagine it looking even as different as, say, the Enterprise-E. That’d be crazy, but I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt.

So long as the Enterprise has two nacelles and a saucer section, I really don’t mind if they update the ship. I thought the Motion Picture did a fantastic job of staying faithful to the Original Design. However, if the new designers had depended upon even that design for Abram’s new Enterprise, fans like Crawley would still be crying foul.

With a 150 million dollar budget and the evolution of special effects, I would expect the level of detail on the models to increase substantially. It will be interesting to see how the ships move as well. Changes in our understanding of technology since the 1960s should certainly be incorporated. Maybe they are looking to update some of the science of Star Trek in this film in order to improve its believability. Whatever the case, I’ll withhold judgment until I see the ship myself.

Isn’t the short teaser rumored to feature the new Enterprise? If so, can’t wait to see it.

How true it is…

I’m getting ugly….

“It has wings” is a common phrase meaning that something has taken flight, begun its journey, etc. For instance, if I recall right, Buzz Aldrin said that the Eagle had wings when it separated from Columbia on its way down to the lunar surface.

I imagine that is the source of the misunderstanding.

The constitution that appeared in a mirror darkly loooked fantastic and with subtle but not sweeping updates worked well- I’d love a faithful big screen recreation. But I can accept and understand an updated look- I will be majorly disappointed if the configuration and general shape has changed though, ugh.

The remastered TOS episodes has beautifully shown how good the Enterprise can look with modern special effects. No more “tweaking” to the design is necessary.

If the LCD-screen had existed back in the 60s, I think Gene Roddenberry would’ve included some on the bridge of the USS Enterprise.

Back then there were candy-buttons, today there are touch-screens.

Vulcan logic clearly states that there should be LCDs on the new Enterprise.

End of line.

Someone correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t Gene Roddenberyy, in his novelization of TMP, when he describes Kirk’s flyover, allude to the classic design (Saucer, neck, nacelles), as something distinctly female? Perhaps in Kirk’s brain only? My copy is long since destroyed, but I remember it.

I mean, what are the coolest ships in 2007 that the kids will buy? Transformers? Star Wars ships were either cities in space or fighters, or pieces of crap held together with duct tape and love. The BSG ship (I don’t watch) was a relic with telephones on board.

JJ has a chance to introduce the classic “female” design to an unsuspecting public, as anything else will be a guess based on focus groups, which are usually wrong

When James said “contemporary”, I heard one word: Akiraprise. *shudders*

Really, I have very much been hoping for a “classic” Enterprise–and I still am. That fracking red railing and the original blinky-blinkies is so crucial to the old bridge, and as for the exterior… well, it’s the Enterprise. The Original. The Big E. Don’t go messin’ with it. And get the d*mn spinny lights in the nacelles right, for Q’s sake!

That said, it’s far from a deal-breaker for me. Looking forward to seeing what it looks like.

I love the original Enterprise, however I also really liked the changes/updates they made for the original crew movies. I was never a big fan of Picard’s Enterprise D… sure the saucer separation was interesting but the ship just seemed too huge and curvy for my tastes. I liked the final Enterprise E design from the last couple movies, they had an updated back to basics look. I think what they did for the Enterprise series with the NX01 was a pretty cool look as well… I’m talking ships here not the insides of the ships, wasn’t a big fan of the bridge of the NX01. I did like how they made the warp engines look a little more like engines, while still keeping a very similar design.

Point is if they update the look I hope they stick to what made the original ship special to begin with… the hull, the engines, the saucer attached to a riser off the hull. As long as they stay within that design spec and update the ship to have more detail and more realistic, science/technology based ship parts then I’ll be happy with the look. It seems silly to think they would move completely away from the original basic design of the ships of the original series era…

If wings can work for MaxiPad, they can work for the Enterprise too!

Sorry if this has been addressed already as I skimmed through the comments, and this is meant as NO disrespect to Mr. Cawley.. but I wasn’t even really aware of who he was. So how is it that he wound up seeing the designs?

ummmm okk

Maybe what he saw was the Enterprise-F? :-) (I mean, come on, part of the movie *must* be taking place somewhere around Nemesis or post-Nemesis, so we’ll probably get to see something. Would be nice to have a little connection there a la Nimoy/Quinto. The old and the new. Or hell, maybe it was just the Titan he saw afterall…)

Some time ago, it was mentioned that Eaves was brought back to the team, but not as the head designer. Maybe the new guys take care of the 1701 while he’s back to do some 24th century stuff to stay consistent with his previous work on Trek? Keeping the big E a secret as long as possible would be my top priority as a producer here.

Or maybe someone just showed him a picture of Gabe Koerner’s (cool but completely Trek-Xi-unrelated) E-redesign?

I think the important thing is not necessarily the outward appearance of the ship, but the sense of how it operates and maneuvers. TOS Enterprise felt like a naval ship: it had momentum, it couldn’t turn on a dime, there was a sense of pitch and roll, commands used nautical and naval terminology. “Modern” Star Trek ships seem more like fighter jets. This seems to be a side effect of improving special effects technology (and possibly of the fact that there are fewer military veterans among the cast and crew).

I think as long as the viewer feels like he is watching people interact with a massive, powerful, complex, and dangerous machine, the ship design is secondary. The details don’t really matter, except as tools to encourage the viewer to overlay his preexisting notions of a ship at sea onto a new medium.