FanMade Update: Cawley Talks Phase II Production

In last week’s FanMade column, TrekMovie reported on the production of the latest episodes for Phase II (formerly New Voyages), but some things have changed and so producer/star James Cawley has given TrekMovie a new update on how the production went and what is next for this popular fan series. Plus he sent over some exclusive pictures from "Enemy: Starfleet".


Enemy Starfleet (almost) done
Last week we reported that the Phase II team were going to attempt to actually shoot two episodes ("Enemy: Starfleet" and "The Child"), however due to some health concerns for Cawley the second episode shoot was moved to the Fall. Cawley tells TrekMovie "I was just having some problems and getting a bit faint, I’ll be OK but we couldn’t continue shooting the second episode." Cawley did say that they got almost ten days of shooting in for "Enemy: Starfleet," featuring Barbara Luna, and there are just a few shots to ‘pick up’ left.

"Enemy: Starfleet," written by Dave Galanter and Patty Wright, tells the story of a Federation starship that was lost for eighteen years and resurfaces in the hands of a renegade alien named Alersa (Luna). Cawley calls Luna’s performance "wickedly fun" and says at one point the whole cast and crew spontaneously applauded after she did one of her key scenes. The episode was originally going to be directed by Kevin Rubio of "Troops" fame, but there were creative differences between he and Cawley regarding the script, most notably the length. Cawley tells TrekMovie that "there is no animosity, it was just a creative difference and we couldn’t strike a balance." Rubio also agrees telling TrekMovie that there are no hard feelings noting "it was a difference of ideologies and what we put first." The issue of episode length is something TrekMovie has brought up in past reviews. On these projects full of volunteers it is often hard to cut things, and even though the Phase II work has been best in class for fan films, episodes have tended to go over the traditional TOS episode length. In the end "Enemy: Starfleet" was directed by Ben Tolpin, who also is the new Spock for Phase II. Cawley said that Tolpin did a great job, noting "he is a real actor’s director and really drew out some of the best performances we have had so far."

Barbara Luna in "Enemy Starfleet"
(click to enlarge)

Moving towards TMP – moving back to more Kirk, Spock and McCoy
When it was first announced that New Voyages was changing its name to Phase II, it was indicated that the show would start to try embrace the planned "Phase II" show from the 70s and bridge the gap between Star Trek The Original Series and Star Trek: The Motion Picture. This will be very much evident in "Enemy: Starfleet" which will include 1970s Phase II designs for the hand phasers and many costumes (most of which are originals bought at auction). In addition you will see part of the new engineering set (including lots of guys in those TMP radiation suits). One of the biggest changes will be in the Enterprise herself, which will have undergone a bit of a refit between the next episode to air "Blood and Fire" and "Enemy: Starfleet." The new Phase II elements are based on original Matt Jefferies designs and the new digital Enterprise model was built by Daren Dochterman. Cawley tells TrekMovie he also hopes to create a ‘short’ that will bridge the gap between the next two episodes that will show the Enterprise getting its refit.

One of the things that got New Voyages so much attention was its use of big name guest stars like George Takei and Walter Koenig. Having veteran actors on board both raised the quality of the show while giving it a higher profile. However, this did come at a cost. As noted in our previous reviews,  in order to accommodate the big stars, New Voyages has downplayed the core characters. Cawley tells TrekMovie that guest stars will continue to be part of the show, but they will no longer be so dominant

Starting with "Blood and Fire" [which guest stars Denise Crosby], one of the edicts was we have to be about Kirk, Spock and McCoy. And this goes full bore with "Enemy: Starfleet." I am happy to bring it back to traditional Trek, but it makes things more difficult for me as an actor of course. We will always have guest stars it is a hallmark, but as far as doing things like we did with Takei or Koenig, I don’t think we will go that way again. 

Kirk with Luna in "Enemy Starfleet," back to being the leading man
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The Child is next
This October Calwey’s team plans to finish up the ‘pickups’ for "Enemy Starfleet" and then move on to "The Child," which was written for the original Phase II by Jon Povill, and was later turned into a TNG episode of the same name. The episode has been reworked by Povill to fit with the new Phase II. The original story was about an alien impregnation of Ilia, but since she is not part of the new Phase II crew, this will be done with a guest star (who will play a Deltan). Povill will also direct the episode (and is an Executive Producer) and he is currently casting his new Deltan. It hasn’t been decided if this guest star will go bald as the original Ilia did. Cawley says they aren’t looking for a big name ‘stunt casting’ and hope to find someone like the talented Christina Moses who played Sulu’s daughter in "World Enough and Time."

Cawley and Povill behind the scenes during the shooting of "Enemy: Starfleet"
(click to enlarge)

Blood and Fire showing at Shore Leave
Before these new episodes, Phase II still has to release the two part episode "Blood and Fire." Cawley tells TrekMovie he is bringing both parts to the Shore Leave convention this weekend in Baltimore. However the viewing will be a bit of a preview as all the visual effects aren’t complete (especially on part 2). Cawley hopes the final version of Part 1 can be be ready and online by September (or possibly or October), with part 2 following 3-4 months later. Cawley says that he hopes that both "Enemy: Starfleet" and "The Child" will be released in 2009.  

For more on Phase II, visit their official site.


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