During the William Shatner Weekend at the Star Trek: The Original Series Set Tour in Ticonderoga, NY, TrekMovie had a chance to speak with tour founder (and former Star Trek: Phase II creator and star) James Cawley, who talked about the weekend’s event as well as giving us some exclusive news on future plans.
Tour looking to add TNG sets
Cawley revealed that they are currently in preliminary discussions with CBS to expand the set tour to include the USS Enterprise-D sets from Star Trek: The Next Generation. The current plan is to take over the building next door, which has double the square footage of the current tour and has two floors, to allow for more and larger locations for the TNG tour. The objective is to create the “full footprint” of USS Enterprise sets as used on TNG. Cawley tells TrekMovie the TNG sets will be built from scratch, describing the expansion as part of The Set Tour’s long term plan, and hopes to begin work on the project within a year.
In the shorter term, there are also plans to make some additions to the current The Original Series Set Tour, including adding the USS Enterprise’s Auxiliary Control Room as well as the Emergency Manual Monitor on the second floor of the Engineering set. Both are expected to be part of the tour by the fall.
Film Academy launching this fall, in talks with LeVar Burton to lead first class
At STLV last summer, The Original Set Tour announced they were creating the Star Trek Film Academy, where you can enroll and experience the process of creating an episode of Star Trek. Speaking to TrekMovie, Cawley revealed the Academy should open in mid-October of this year. He also revealed that they have lined up a number of Star Trek veterans to guide students, including makeup designer Michael Westmore, visual effects designer Doug Drexler, and designers Mike and Denise Okuda. They are also currently finalizing plans to have Star Trek: The Next Generation star and director LeVar Burton be the first director for The Academy.
The Star Trek Film Academy will be held on the TOS sets and at a local college where there will be seminars. Pricing has yet to be finalized, but Cawley revealed that it will be tiered, with the choice to take part in just the seminars or both seminars and production on set. “We want to give fans the most bang for their buck. There are going to be different price points, to hopefully make it available for everyone”, said Cawley.
Karl Urban to headline Trekonderoga Con
Each summer The Original Series Set Tour holds a Star Trek convention called Trekonderoga, and this summer’s will be held August 24-26. James Cawley revealed the headliner this year will be Karl Urban, who is a big TOS fan and of course plays Dr. McCoy in the Kelvin Star Trek films. Urban will be doing tours of the sets along with photo ops in sick bay. So, he cannot say “I’m a doctor, not a tour guide,” because this time he will be both.
Shatner on set is a dream come true
The Star Trek: The Original Series Set Tour has previously hosted all the living members of the main cast of the original Star Trek, but it wasn’t until earlier this month that schedules finally worked out to bring William Shatner on board. “It’s a bucket list moment,” said Cawley of seeing Shatner on the bridge for the first time, adding “We have only seen that on television, so to see him there for real is an amazing moment. There are no words.”
Cawley came to Star Trek fame by creating the popular fan series Star Trek: New Voyages (later renamed Star Trek: Phase II). “When I did my fan film, it was all about being a kid again and putting on my uniform and running around the backyard,” said Cawley of the experience of taking on the role Captain Kirk. However, this weekend wasn’t about trading notes on playing the iconic role, telling TrekMovie: “I am not going to go to him and say ‘I played Captain Kirk.’ That’s not important. What’s important is to say to him, ‘You are my childhood hero, and thank you for all of this.’”
To learn more about Star Trek: The Original Series Set Tour and upcoming events, visit startrektour.com.