Exclusive: Star Trek Set Tour Planning ‘Next Generation’ Expansion, Opening Film Academy In Fall

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.

James Cawley being interviewed by TrekMovie’s Denes House at William Shatner Weekend at Star Trek: The Original Series Set Tour

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.

Set Tour planning to expand to include sets from Star Trek: The Next Generation

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.

Set Tour to add Auxiliary Control set

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.

This fall you will be able to recreate the magic making Star Trek (Photo: Star Trek Set Tour)

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.

Karl Urban at Star Trek Las Vegas 2017, will headline Trekonderoga 2018

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.’”

James Cawley looks on as William Shatner is interviewed by the media at the Star Trek: The Original Series Set Tour (Photo: Star Trek Set Tour)

To learn more about Star Trek: The Original Series Set Tour and upcoming events, visit startrektour.com.

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When the Star Trek theme park in Las Vegas closed, what happened to the Enterprise-D bridge set? Did anybody save it, or was it bulldozed into oblivion?

Part of the actual Enterprise-D bridge was on exhibit at the former Hollywood Entertainment Museum in Hollywood. You could sit in the real Picard captain’s chair. They had the three chairs and the arch behind it with Worf’s security station set-up. The museum closed down several years ago.

Fans had salvaged much of it and were in the process of restoring what they found but I’m not sure what the status of that project is.

I seem to recall it was in LA and you could rent it for movie screenings, romantic dinners and such. But that was six years ago or so

That set is not at all screen accurate. It’s cool someone saved it and all but it’s a second rate knockoff of what we see on screen. Though I will say as a kid I loved setting foot on it!

According to this:


Alec Peters’ (AXANAR) Propworx auction house sold “Pieces from Enterprise D replica bridges” at the “Star Trek: The Experience Warehouse Sale” they held in 2010.

Pretty sure The Hollywood Science Fiction Museum has it…they’ve been trying to get off the ground for a long time, going to cons with the three main chairs, but my understanding is they have the full set and it’s been restored.

‘You are my childhood hero, and thank you for all of this.’ Well said, my sentiments exactly.

Wish those sets were available as party rentals…

Alec Peters: Take note. This is what happens when you respect and work with the owner of the IP.

@Finnigan Agreed.

Yea right, don’t take people’s money and make two episodes you never release…oh wait!

Nice to see Cawley found a use for the set he built. I was wondering what had happened to everything from across all the various productions.

walking on the TNG set would be awesome…. now we’re talking. Good work James!!

I remember seeing a replica on the Experience World Tour in Germany back around December 1999. Amazing to just step on the bridge.

Yeah, I’ve been there, too. But, as someone already stated, it was a second-rate replica of the actual set, wrong dimensions, cheaper materials, etc. Still cool, though, but not comparable to the two TOS 1:1 replicas (this one and the STC one)…


Having walked on the replica in Vegas’ Hilton, myself, yes it was.

I would love to go to see the tour, but Ticonderoga is a bloody mess to get to unless you have a car.
Car rental and driving out there from Albany is the best option I’ve found as a tourist from outside the US and that’s a big hassle :(

It is not easy to get to. But fans from Israel, South America, and more far-flung places have made the trip. Look for my upcoming review of the Tour itself. It is amazing, and worth the trip for a Trek fan.

@Hauke Fischer — good point. I realize they live in Ticonderoga, but moving the operation to Burlington (44 miles away), or even Pittsburgh (55 miles away) might be a better move in the long run. I’m surprised CBS wouldn’t actually stipulate something like that at some point.

They’ve been having conventions there, as the article notes. The logistics of getting in and out of there from ports of call must have been worked out by now? I seem to recall their website has a link to some city government tourists guide?

Then again, what could I know of such? Even though I live in a large metropolitan area served by all sorts of transportation options, I still went to every Trek convention that I ever attended via gasomobile. But we carpooled!

Thanks for reminding me about the travel info on their site. I’d been trying google maps and Amtrak to find train times before and came up empty.
Just rechecked and there’s indeed train service going there. Nice. I might make the trip up there after all next month. Excited!

Ernst Hauke Fischer,

You’re welcome. Glad I could help.

A one day rental from Manhattan was 200 bucks. Plus gas and hours on the road. But it was well worth it! I took the late morning tour to drink it all in, had lunch in town, and then went back for a one on one tour early afternoon to shoot photos while I chatted with the tour guide

Hmmm…I would have thought the Galileo stage, either through acquisition or duplication, would have been next?

@Disinvited — excellent point. But then you’d need a hanger bay to put it on! ;-)

That said, I’d say the bigger issue with the Galileo is that it’s kind of a Tardis problem — the inside is much bigger than the outside. Hard to display it properly without some trickery …

Curious Cadet,

I would think to serve the purposes of the museum they’d display it as the working set that it was?

@Disinvited, right, but then you’d need two sets — the full-sized Shuttle itself used for exterior shots, and then the even larger interior set. All things considered, a sizable investment to do it correctly.

That said, I guess I proceeded from the incorrect assumption that, even though these sets were built as such, for filming a fan series, that the museum was somehow meant to be a suspension of disbelief fantasy that visitors were actually aboard the Enterprise. Obviously if the tour is meant as no more than a visit to the production stages of TOS sets, then I am in full agreement that the interior set of the shuttle craft should be the next item on their list. The Auxiliary control room is kind of anti-climactic compared to everything else, though the Emergency Manual Monitor room always kind of excited me, but seems like something of a liability for a tour, only accessible by the able-bodied anyway.

Curious Cadet,

Don’t forget. The article said he was buying the building next door “…which has double the square footage of the current tour and has two floors.” There would have been enough room.

This is what happens when you abide by the license holders wishes and don’t misappropriate $1.6 million of fans money and produce NOTHING!

Yeah, they got greedy, with both the money and the fame. They should have shot the principle filming LONG before the case against them was made. It might have helped them against the charges.

Hey, they produced some carpeted offices. :)

James is from the community, and it needs all the help it can get bringing in tourist dollars, so this way he gets to help the community as well. And also, the rents hella cheaper in Ti than it would be even in the low rent district of Burlington.

@GraniteTrek — fair enough. Nothing against Ticonderoga, just that if I were CBS, I’d be pushing to make the tour more accessible. Not sure what their take from the admission is, but if it were more accessible, it’d be more, perhaps justifying the higher rent in a more accessible location.

I wonder, does Ticonderoga do any tourism marketing with the Trek tour? I have to admit I have no interest in going to visit the Ticonderoga area otherwise, but then again, I know nothing about the area, or what else it could offer me besides seeing the Trek sets. With most other tourist draws, the location determines where the attraction establishes itself to pull in the general visitor. But in this case, the attraction is the sole draw, so only the die hard fans are going to make the trip without added incentives in the area.

The other big tourist attraction in the area is Fort Ticonderoga. I went there in the morning before doing the set tour in the afternoon. It’s mostly a reconstruction since the occupants through the ages tended to blow it up before leaving :) Still a great visit. If you like hiking, the place is beautiful.
Ticonderoga itself is not in that great a shape, you can see that by the number of closed stores that it is on the decline. Hopefully the Star Trek tour will help bring it back to life. I know that the local chamber of commerce is really proud of James (and rightly so).

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but if I recall Ft. Ticonderoga was captured from the British by Benedict Arnold’s and Enthan Allen’s men. And soonafter some 50+ cannons made the arduous trek to Dorchester Heights to lay seige to Boston in an attempt by Washington to drive out the British from the city. It worked. A little bit of American history there…

When we visited the set, we also had a discussion with Cawley that started, “why Ticonderoga, for pity sake?” James told us about the set and tour being an important part of the local community, bringing in extra money and showing lots more people about the area. Good points. Wherever we stopped in the area, people knew about the set, and acted proud of it.

With the fan productions shut down, James Cawley has turned a lemon into lemonade.

I’ve been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade; make life take the lemons back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give me lemons! Do you know who I am? I’m the man who’s going to burn your house down! With the lemons! I’m going to get my engineers to invent a combustible lemon that burns your house down!

I was thinking more of using those lemons for margaritas, blended, salt on the rim.

That is pretty cool. Ticonderoga is a bit on the out of the way side of things. But if I ever find myself out that way in the future I will be sure to check it out!

This is an exotic dessert to a forward thinking mind. Call it a quantum vitamin for ones brain. Imagination, creates concepts, creates research and eventual a crossroads, when science converges with science fiction. We can do what we think🌠

I wish they would do the bridge from the movies from 1979-1991. The refit Enterprise and Enterprise A.

@skyjedi — yup … but that’s a much more expensive proposition.

Will the Paramount approved Films made by the School be for private viewing or could the be released on-line and promote the school?