There's a good chance that no more new episodes of the fan-film "Star Trek: New Voyages" will be produced. But that doesn't mean the meticulously constructed re-creation of the original "Star Trek" sets will sit in the dark.
James Cawley, the producer behind "New Voyages," is now opening those sets to the public in Ticonderoga, New York. The project, which has been licensed by CBS Consumer Products, will begin July 30 and include guided tours and photo opportunities.
"To me, there is no other franchise around that is more enjoyable and more socially relevant than Star Trek," Cawley said, in a release. "I'm very thankful for all the support I've received on this project, and can't wait to begin welcoming my fellow fans this summer."
"New Voyages" was not the first Trek fan-film to be distributed online, but it became one of the most prominent ones, primarily because of both the massive set construction in Upstate New York, and Cawley's passion.
Cawley built the sets exactly as they were laid out at the old Desilu Stage 9, now Paramount Pictures, for the original run of "Star Trek." Cawley began building the sets in 1997 using his own money after receiving a copy of the original set blueprints from the late original "Star Trek" costume designer William Ware Theiss. That started what would become a 15-year project researching, crafting and refining his set replicas. Over the years, that has included a lot of blood, sweat and tears from Trek alumni, Trek fans, as well as prop fabricator Ed Miarecki and special effects supervisor Daren R. Dochterman.
“To me there is no other franchise around that is more enjoyable and more socially relevant than Star Trek,” said James Cawley. “I’m very thankful for all the support I’ve received on this project and can’t wait to begin welcoming my fellow fans this summer.”
Cawley would study still and frame captures from the series, as well as source vintage materials and antiques.
Ticonderoga is a small town in northeastern New York of about 5,000 people. It's located five hours north of New York City, not far from the Vermont state line. It's actually closer to Montreal, located about two-and-a-half hours south of the Quebec city.
Fan-films have been under a microscope over the past several months after CBS Corp. and Paramount Pictures sued one "independent" fan-film, "Star Trek: Axanar," for copyright infringement. While that case is ongoing, CBS and Paramount have released fan-film guidelines that now limit the amount of money that can be raised, and restricts anyone who has worked in the Star Trek realm in the past from taking part in a fan-film. The studios have said that while these guidelines are not rules, any fan-film that follows all of them will not have to worry about provoking a legal response from the Trek copyright holders.
The lawsuit and other factors have really soured Cawley of the fan-film process. He posted a statement on a Facebook forum discussing the Axanar lawsuit that fan-films have "not been fun for me in quite some time."
"When I started so many years ago, it was always about people pooling their talents and resources to get things done," Cawley said. "Somewhere it all went south. People getting involved who say it can't be run like a summer camp, 'James you are doing it wrong,' many folks demanding it needs to be more professional."
"The uniqueness and appeal of fan-films were that they were doing these amazing things with little or no money, and that they were fund to do. And most importantly, that fans were clever enough to do them. That has all been lost. It needs to find its way back."
Tickets for the tour range between $11 and just over $22, depending on age. Other details can be found right here.