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.
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.
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.