James Cawley To Appear In New Star Trek Movie + Talks About Visit To Set

EXCLUSIVE: As the creator of the independent fan production Star Trek New Voyages, James Cawley has sought to recreate an exact replica of Star Trek The Original Series, right down to the braid on Kirk’s sleeve and the color of the bridge railing. So it is not surprising that he has been on the skeptical side with regards to JJ Abrams’ Star Trek ‘re-invigoration.’ But a chance encounter on the Paramount lot has turned the purist Calwey around…so much so that he is now literally ‘on board.’ In an exclusive video interview (below) Cawley tells TrekMovie.com all about his new Trek adventure and what he now thinks of Abrams and his new Enterprise.



Below is a summary of the interview with some select quotes from Cawley regarding his time at Paramount with director JJ Abrams and his new crew.

Cawley on his chance encounter with JJ Abrams on the Paramount lot

As we walked past the entrance to [stages] eight and nine, it was like the hand of fate. There was JJ Abrams walking out. He looked at me and I looked at him….as I turned to say hello he instantly said to "I know you, you are James Cawley."

After running into Abrams, Cawley was invited to visit the set where they are currently shooting scenes on the bridge of the Enterprise. Cawley offers his thoughts on his visit.

On Abrams:

He is such a normal down to Earth nice man. I guess I didn’t know what to expect, but to experience his generosity and his humor was the best of it all.

Does Abrams get Star Trek?

One of the conversations with JJ I had was about his feelings about Star Trek. And that’s what absolutely sold me on JJ Abrams. He said how much he believes in the philosophy of Gene Roddenberry, the humanity, and the message that The Original Series delivered. That ‘s his focus. That put everything in perspective for me. I thought ‘things don’t have to look the same as long as the message and the heart is there.’ And he’s got it

On the sets and the bridge

I like the set. The bridge is spectacular, absolutely stunning, but it is not what I would  have done. But I think the fans are going to go ‘woah’ I think people are going to be genuinely stunned. I think people are going to be impressed. It is a beautiful set.

On the costumes and uniforms

The uniforms are perfect, spot on perfect. I wouldn’t have done anything any different. When I saw the look of what he was going for, he’s got it.

On actors’ performances

Brilliant. I think these people I the characters. And I think these peole have a handle on these characters and keep them familiar to all of us…These guys are going to be very well respected and I think they are going to shock a lot of people. When they come out people are going to say ‘why did we ever think nobody else could play these parts.’

After James’ visit at the Star Trek set last week he was offered a role in the film. He has been fitted for a costume and has to report for work on the set today (Wednesday Jan 23rd). All he knows is that he will be playing a Starfleet officer on the Enterprise.

James still considers himself ‘a purist,’ and admits that he would have done things differently, but rejects the notion that he has been ‘assimilated’ by the offer of a role. Cawley explains

No two people are going to share the same ideas. I can like aspects of it, even though they are not my choices…If I had been in his position I would have done things a little differently because I am not JJ Abrams. He has an idea and is going to follow that to the end, just like we do with New Voyages…We can have differences of opinions and still enjoy each other’s work. Would I have made some design changes? Sure! Would I have made a red button, blue? Ya! Are his sets spectacular? You better believe it!


TrekMovie.com thanks James for sharing his adventure with us and wishes him the best on his exciting day today on board a different Enterprise.


Cawley (seated) on the set of “Star Trek New Voyages”


For more on James Cawley and Star Trek New Voyages, visit startreknewvoyages.com


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Wow that’s pretty cool. Congrats to James on that!

this is pretty cool, I’m glad he has gotten the opportunity to be in Star Trek

Wow. Some people wish they could be Bill Gates or win the lottery, today, I just wish I was Jim Cawley.

What an opportunity…I would have passed out for a chance to see what we’re all dying to just get glimpses of these days…the sets, the uniforms, etc…

Congrats, Jim, and keep up the good work on New Voyages!


Cool stuff, I’ll be interested to see the reactions of other purists in this talkback.

Can’t wait to see the bridge … and I like the notion that JJ gets the ‘heart’ of Trek. Also, ‘perfect’ uniforms? Sweet!

If JC can wrap his arms around XI, so can most others. Get off the high horse and see the future.

Wow. Congrats, James. That would be the highlight of my year. I wonlder how many times he had to walk past stages 8 & 9 before the ‘hand of fate’ took over? LOL. I would have camped there all day….

Come to think of it.. it must kill Shatner to know that the Kirk of a fanfic is in the movie.. but not him!

Not a pro/anti Shatner thing, just funny is all! But cool none of the less!

James! Congratulations! That is an absolutely amazing opportunity! Would you have believed you would be doing this when you started up New Voyages? :) All the best!

Wow if James is on board with all the new ideas then so am I!

He’s definitely star struck haha. Down to earth yada yada. What the heck is a purist? I grew up watching star trek it was about tech and it was based 100’s of years ahead of us. Our tech has changed since 1960. All I have to say is they had better change a lot and this better not be a Brady Bunch reboot. HAHA

Wow, now James will be a “real” Trek actor! Double the honor.

It’s bound to be awesome if James Cawley gives his approval!

Oxford – England

Lt. Elvis to engineering!

What a cool guy JJ is. It’s like it’s Christmas (already) at Paramount and he’s being a very careful Santa. I know most of these favors will be one-liners or no-liners, but what fun! I’d give the third toe on my right foot to be a blur behind Chris Pine going into a turbolift.

Congrats James!

As a STNV fan, I am very happy for you. The ultimate TOS fan gets to be in the new movie.

Your endorsement of JJ’s team, that they understand and have the spirit of TOS in the new movie, is a fantastic endorsement.

Can’t wait til Christmas!

This is the best news I’ve heard in some time. Thanks for posting this interview Anthony!

That’s awesome.

Goes to show, and I’ve said it before, it’s all about the story.

Get the story, and a good execution by the actors, and you’ll have a winner.

Look how popular ST was in the 60’s and even today! My 6 and 8 year old sons are hooked on the original series.

BTW…I posted that the trailer did nothing for me yesterday…I pumped up the volume and watched it again…it rocks.

Our spies are sleeping on the job.

We should’ve had a leaked script by now.

” I thought ‘things don’t have to look the same as long as the message and the heart is there.’ And he’s got it”

That’s true, I guess, to some degree. For some, the look is as much a part of why they like TOS as Kirk and Spock. And for others, Trek is just an fun-sci-fi action adventure show that has real people facing unreal situations. The whole pie-in-the-sky idealism aspect of Star Trek gets a little blown out “of proportions at times. .

The bridge is spectacular, absolutely stunning, but it is not what I would have done.”

Nice. Can’t wait to see that. Hope pics surface soon!

“The uniforms are perfect, spot on perfect. I wouldn’t have done anything any different. When I saw the look of what he was going for, he’s got it.”

Knowing James is an expert who worked with the master Bill Theiss himself, they must be pretty damn cool and true to TOS. The “TOS uniforms are corny and will be laughed off the screen” crowd won’t sleep much tonight with this revelation.!

“When they come out people are going to say ‘why did we ever think nobody else could play these parts.”

Naturally, coming from someone who is playing Jim Kirk, this reaction is expected. Having said that, I do hope the chemistry is there. It’s that fun friendly feeling you get when Kirk, Spock and McCoy are all three bouncing off one another that makes it worth the visit.

All in all, it sounds like it’s really shaping up to be one heck of a ride.

Getting James in on the production, although a gamble, was a good move by JJ. Getting a good buzz from Cawley would go a long way toward bringing like purists into the fold. And I think this will do just that.

Smart man!

Anthony…this was awesome. GREAT content, sir. Thanks for bringing it to us and thanks to James for taking time to sit down with you.


I am not a purist by any means, but all of my doubts about this film have been put to rest by James Cawley here. If one of the most vocal purists can be converted, anyone can.

This makes me feel good like you wouldn’t believe. I love JC’s work and see myself in his place and must say that if they impressed him then I’m impressed.


…as much as some people (including myself) might scoff at THE NEW VOYAGES, it’s a pretty classy move on J.J.’s part to include Cawley in the film.

Of course, the cat-calls of “Cawley’s in, but Shatner’s OUT?!?!?!” will be deafening and more than a little annoying…


Yes, a big thanks to Anthony for pulling this stuff out of the ether every day.

A vote of confidence from a TOS purist! I love what Cawley has done with STNV and if anyone who loves TOS has not seen them, you MUST check it out.

I am also a TOS purist, and I am glad to hear what James said about the new movie. I knew we would never get the type of Enterprise or bridge that us purists want, however, I agree with what he is saying about JJ’s vision, and I think in order to capture a new worldwide audience, the new directors and producers have to be able to do their thing in order to tap into the “pulse” of a new and different audience. The fact that Cawley says JJ respects and honors the core message of Star Trek speaks volumes to me about what the new movie will be about. It’s kind of another Easter Egg for TOS fans that Cawley will actually be in the new movie too.

What a cool interview! Thanks TrekMovie.

If James has put his blessing on Trel XI, than I think it’s quite certain there is nothing to worry about. But then again, seeing as how he now has a part, I doubt he would go on trashing the thing would he? However, I doubt he would take a role if they were making an abomination. At the end of the day, it is becoming more and more apparent that this movie will be true to the original in pretty much every detail with the exception of the updated sets which suits me fine as long as they keep some references to the original.

#7 “it must kill Shatner to know that the Kirk of a fanfic is in the movie.. but not him!”

Shatner has valuable uses for his time. He’s a big millionaire iconic star.

But it is killing me! [rolls eyes at JJ] GROAN.

-Well ..the tos fans have now reasons to be happy…i like tmp and the rest of the canon..but tos it means nothing to me..i’m a non tos fan..altough i readed very good books about original trek..

this is very very promising!

With Blood and Fire and this new movie this is going to be a great year for trek. My only regret about the franchise is that Enterprise never got the chance to finish it’s run. Manny Cotto was doing a great job with the show. I have so much respect for James Cawley.

What a great endorsement! Congrats James!

See, it’s going to be OK! LOL

wow james bet you dont get any sleep the night before your shoot!
congrats… sounds amazing!

What do I have to pull to get in the movie. I’ve seen Alias, Lost, MI:III, Cloverfield, surely that could get me in!

James: If you’re lurking here,please give Chris Pine your best Janice Lester-as-Kirk imitation, “I’m Captain Kirk!!!!!!!”

William Shatner created James T. Kirk while Abrams was still in diapers, now JJ owes The Shat his rightful place at center seat!

It’s the human thing to do, and as The Shat says, GOOD BUSINESS!

PS: James Cawley, Congratulations, wish you were the one directing XI.

Nothing but net, Jimbo – kudos. This is due dilligence and hard work come to fruition. It must be surreal for you – I bet this was the last thing you’d have thought would happen a few years ago, when you were starting to build the STNV sets. Let’s just hope J.J. doesn’t redshirt you so you get killed by an exploding console. ;-)

See the interview? He’s already wearing the new uniform–the Big E is for “Enterprise.” See JJ is doing a great job, no worries! ;)


I feel better now.

Perhaps James, as a purist, would relish the red-shirt treatment (especially if he gets a red shirt).

Wow, that’s shocking. I mean it really impresses me that Abrams even knows who James Cawley is (I’d bet half the Trek fans don’t!). I suppose that means he watches New Voyages? I’m just amazed. He certainly didn’t have to offer him a visit to the set, let alone a part, given the criticisms Cawley was leveling at the production design. All this does is reassure me that Trek is in exactly the right hands. I’m glad he could make a believer out of Cawley!

Now he just has to offer Stanky & Iowagirl a visit! I keed, I keed.

I think it’s very interesting that Cawley was so approving of the costume design. Wonder if we’ll be seeing something closer to the 60’s designs than we thought?

And I love the subtle New Voyages plug on the monitor in the background! Haha.

Congrats, James! Hopefully this gets the rest of the purists to calm down. This is going to be a fantastic film.

Gosh! It’s getting better and better every day…I’m a BIG fan of New Voyages and I really feel relieved that Cawley approves what JJ is doing. As for him being part of the movie (while the Shat isn’t)…well, it’s interesting to say the least…

I think it’s time to release a remastered version of New Voyages on official Paramount DVDs…they could make it a charity release with its incomes donated for a good purpose…”In Harm’s Way” needs serious SFX updates but the two episodes with Koenig and Takei are brilliant as they are…NV could soon become an official part of the legacy…In my book it already is!

Okay, what does “spot on perfect” mean, in relation to the wardrobe? I wonder how much of Orci and Kurtzman’s MacGuffin is the Romulans going back before the primary crux of the movie. I mean we see Kirk’s parents, Spock’s parents, etc., right? If they (the Rommies) are going back before the primary part of the movie, then Roberto and Alex can get away with there being “changes” in the look of the ship, the uniforms, et cetera, because there would be reasons for change, i.e. a change in the timeline that would cause subtle changes.

I am from the camp that accepts that change is not always just for change. Let’s be honest here, Gene changed the way the Klingons looked when he had the resources to make them look closer to the way he originally imagined.

I don’t think James is being emotionally bribed with his cameo role on JJ’s ST. He made it pretty clear that he liked “this” but would have “done this differently.” I am envious though! It would be funny, if like my nom de plume, he were to wear a red shirt, and get zapped, instead of Chekhov.

If Roberto and Alex have any sense of humor (which I think they do) they should zap Pavel, right? It’s a long tradition to torture him on screen!!!

If James feels comfortable, then that reasures me to no end. I love how he has given absolutely nothing away in terms of spoilers, but has managed to answer so many fans questions. And considering this guys is one of the most informed fans in the world, I feel as though a weight has been lifted over whether this movie is going to be ‘true’ Star Trek.

Great interview and set report from James. I think what he’s said will make a lot of fans feel good about the new film and JJ Abram’s approach to it.

See, and you people thought I was just making this all up about Cawley being in the movie.

Nah Nah.

Elvis on deck!

‘Tis brilliant!

Puts me in mind of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” as a fitting recipe fur this picture…

It also goes ta show ya that thar’s world enough and time for all us trek fans to serve all our days together, and not fractionalize, so this bit of news can be our last battlefield of the purist debate…

Harrr! Righto! How silly o’ me ta think that… I’ll have shat nerds ‘fore we stop debating TOS vs JJ

Useless Sailor Trivia: I tried out fur a part once… or rather auditioned fur one I made up… as the bilge scrubber fur the latrines on Voyager… turns out they don’t have potties in Star Trek…