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A2 G325: Advanced Portfolio in Media

Section A: Theoretical Evaluation of Production

To Boldly Go Where No Fan Has Gone Before1

The original Star Trek set out on a five-year mission that network execs cut short in 1969.
Now a new confederation of amateur Kirk worshippers and studio renegades is repairing
the space-time continuum and finishing the job.

By Chris Suellentrop

Captain James T. Kirk is working on some much-

needed repairs to the bridge of his spacecraft when a
member of his crew dares to suggest that the Imperial
forces from Star Wars are tougher than the Klingons. "I
am so sick of the debates," Kirk says. Then he explains
how he could take out the Death Star without firing a
single photon torpedo. All he'd have to do is pilot the
starship Enterprise in close - out of enemy-weapons
range but within the range of his transporter - and beam
over a piece of antimatter. Blam! Simple. "I can settle the
question once and for all, but you just won't listen," he
says wearily.

Kirk's ship has come to rest at a long-shuttered car

dealership in Port Henry, New York, at the foot of the
Adirondacks. Bats hang from iron beams above the
garage. In the showroom, stalactites of dead insects
cluster on strips of flypaper.

A mocked-up TV Guide cover tacked to the wall of the

dealership's dilapidated kitchen explains what brought
the Enterprise to this strange new world. The three main
characters from Star Trek - Captain Kirk, First Officer
Spock, and Ship's Doctor "Bones" McCoy - peer from
the cover, dated September 21-27, 1969. But Kirk is not
portrayed by William Shatner. Instead, he's a professional Elvis impersonator, with muttonchops
and a hornlike pompadour, who lives in nearby Ticonderoga. Spock works at a Virginia
videogame store. And McCoy is an Oregon urologist. Above their picture is the cover line that
never was, the dream that this car dealership's quixotic tenants hope to make real: "Star Trek
returns for a fourth season on NBC."

James Cawley, who plays Kirk, and director Jack Marshall are the cocreators of Star Trek: New
Voyages. They are repairing a rift in the space-time continuum, fixing the most glaring flaw in the
history of science fiction. As every geek in the galaxy knows, Captain Kirk and the crew of the
USS Enterprise set out on a five-year mission to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life
and civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before. But NBC canceled the show in
1969 after only three seasons. New Voyages aims to fill fans in on what they missed. In
September, Cawley and Marshall assembled more than 50 Trek lovers from across the US (and
the UK and Canada) to shoot the third episode of what should've been season four. At their
current pace of one episode a year, they'll finish the five-year mission in 2054.

SUELLENTROP, C (2005). Wired [Online], Issue 13.12, December 2005, Available at:, [Last Accessed: 20/04/10].
A2 G325: Advanced Portfolio in Media
Section A: Theoretical Evaluation of Production
This spring they will release episode three, titled "To Serve All My Days." Like the first two
episodes of New Voyages, it will be downloadable for free at You'll also be
able to snag bonus features, outtakes, and commentaries. You can burn it all to a disc and put it
on the shelf between your Star Trek the Original Series - The Complete Third Season boxed set
and your Star Trek: The Motion Picture director's edition DVD.

Just like the original series, each New Voyages episode lasts 51 minutes and is structured in five
acts (act breaks are where the commercials would go, if there were any). Like the original, New
Voyages begins with that ethereal theremin score. Like the original, New Voyages favors bold
primary colors, velour uniforms, and leggy women in miniskirts. And the third episode of New
Voyages will even star one of the regular cast members from the original series.

Fans have been making films about their favorite copyrighted characters for decades. But the
combination of cheap video, easy desktop editing, and fast broadband distribution made fan films
take off in the late '90s. Today the Internet teems with amateur movies by science fiction and
comic book geeks, some as elaborate and meticulous as New Voyages. But the typical fan film is
a parody (a camera crew follows stormtroopers at work at work, as on Cops) or a genre mash-up
(Batman fights the Predator). Marshall and Cawley are attempting something far more audacious.
They aren't satirizing or remixing Star Trek. They're resurrecting it.

Marshall, 39, specializes in science fiction reclamation projects. His first extreme makeover was
a recut version of the catastrophically lousy Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. Using
a homebuilt editing facility, Marshall minimized objects of fan loathing, like the character Jar Jar
Binks. His cut - a clear improvement over the George Lucas version - became part of the
burgeoning online trade in sci-fi samizdat. Marshall followed his Phantom Edit with a recut of the
widely reviled film Star Trek V. He excised references to Spock's half brother (a character Trek
fans consider their own Jar Jar), and deleted errors, like a turbolift shaft that travels through 78
decks, "when we know the ship has 21 decks total!"

Marshall first met 38-year-old Cawley - where else? - on the bridge of the Enterprise. (The two
had been in phone contact about other Trek fan films.) For almost 20 years, Cawley has been
assembling the Enterprise piece by piece, initially in his grandfather's barn. It's a perfect re-
creation of the set used during the 1966 to 1969 run of Star Trek. When Marshall walked onto the
set in upstate New York for the first time, he looked at Cawley, cast his arms wide, and
exclaimed, "Brother!" Soon after, they decided to make New Voyages together. In addition to
filmmaking chops, Marshall brought promotional skill and a crew of aspiring actors from a
previous independent film project. Cawley provided funding, costumes, and the bridge. Still,
Cawley would have been content to film himself and his friends playing dress-up for their own
amusement. It was Marshall who wanted to put the finished product on the Internet - and maybe
change the course of Star Trek history while they were at it.

To generate fan interest and recruit a cast and crew for the first New Voyages shoot, Marshall
posted a photo of Cawley's bridge on a BBS for prop geeks. John Kelley, a urologist who lives in
Coos Bay, Oregon, saw it. He's the kind of guy who has a bookshelf in his house that slides open
when you press a button on a nearby bust of Shakespeare, revealing a Batpole that takes you
down to his bar. Naturally, he flew across the continent to play Leonard "Bones" McCoy in the
first episode.

Each New Voyages episode is produced with the help of a growing network of Star Trek
professionals. The makeup supervisor for the new episode, for example, is Kevin Haney, who
worked on one of the many Trek TV series spun off from the original (and won an Oscar for
makeup in Driving Miss Daisy). The script is by D. C. Fontana, a story editor for the original Star
Trek series and author of some of its most beloved episodes. (Who can forget the one where Kirk
steers the Enterprise into the Neutral Zone, near Romulan territory? Or the one that introduces
A2 G325: Advanced Portfolio in Media
Section A: Theoretical Evaluation of Production
Spock's parents?) And it will star Walter Koenig, the actor who played navigator Pavel Chekov in
the original series and seven of the 10 films.

The fact that Trek pros are taking part in this fan project is something new in the world of
filmmaking, the cinematic equivalent of semi-pro ball. But Star Trek has always welcomed the
contributions of its fans in a way that other science fiction franchises have not. For most of its
existence, it has been almost open source: Fans have sold freelance scripts to the show,
circulated diagrams of how a six-chambered Vulcan heart might function, and created ship
blueprints that are now considered official.

And it's the fans who keep the show alive every time Hollywood tries to kill it. A letter-writing
campaign saved Star Trek back in 1968, when it was in danger of being canceled after season
two. Over the next decade, fans watched the series devotedly in syndication, but they also
organized conventions, wrote fan fiction, and published mimeographed zines. Ron Moore,
executive producer of the Sci-Fi Channel's Battlestar Galactica series and a former Star Trek
producer, doubts Star Trek would ever have made it back on the air without the dedication and
ingenuity of Trekkies. "There might have been a revamp of it, the way everything else got redone,
from The Beverly Hillbillies to The Dukes of Hazzard," he says. Instead the show returned not as
a campy Nick-at-Nite nostalgia trip but as a series of successful feature films and spinoff TV

But all that ended with the cancelation this May of the most recent Star Trek show, UPN's poorly
received Enterprise. For the first time in over 25 years, Paramount, which owns the rights to the
franchise, is not producing any new Treks. "Paramount is licking its wounds," Koenig says. "But
that doesn't mean the people can't rise up and defend Star Trek. In the absence of the ruling
class, the peasantry has picked up their pitchforks and shovels and gone into battle."
The fans saved Star Trek before. They just might do it again.

Paramount permits Trek-related fan projects, as long as the creators don't profit from them. So
New Voyages is distributed for free. The fans in the cast and crew not only work gratis but also
make cash donations to keep the project afloat. Cawley has sunk more than $100,000 into the
bridge set (he stopped counting two years ago). The two-week shoot in September of episode
three cost at least $40,000.

The value of the labor donated to New Voyages by Star Trek professionals far exceeds any out-
of-pocket expenses. Makeup supervisor Kevin Haney directed a team whose bill would have
come to tens of thousands of dollars. The show's special effects are supplied by Cawley's friend
Max Rem (the professional CG f/x creator uses a pseudonym to protect his day job). Rem worked
on Star Trek for more than a decade, and he has worked on New Voyages since its inception in
2003. For the second New Voyages episode, Rem created more than 200 effects shots - from the
Enterprise flying through space to backgrounds for greenscreen shots - all of which would have
cost more than $1 million if he had billed New Voyages.

Rem is just another version of Marshall and Cawley: a die-hard fan who wanted to be part of Star
Trek. The 52-year-old took part in the 1968 campaign to save the show. "All I ever really wanted
back was the original," he says. In the 1970s, Rem and a friend ran a Star Trek memorabilia store
called the Federation Trading Post. He later became an Oscar-winning makeup artist, then
switched disciplines and begged his way into a dream job as a production designer and scenic
artist for several Star Trek films and TV shows.

Rem met Cawley in the mid-'90s, while Cawley was visiting the sets of the Star Trek TV series
Deep Space Nine. Intrigued by Cawley's ambition to rebuild the original Enterprise sets, Rem
gave him a binder filled with specs for graphics and signage, down to the labels on the bottles of
chief engineer Scotty's favorite whiskey. Rem also pledged to do the special effects for Cawley
when he finally made the Trek movie he was always talking about.
A2 G325: Advanced Portfolio in Media
Section A: Theoretical Evaluation of Production
Rem made good on his offer, even though he was working on UPN's Star Trek: Enterprise at the
time. There was an awkward moment when Paramount learned of Rem's involvement with New
Voyages. "They basically said they would look the other way," Rem says. "I lucked out. I thought I
would get fired."

The unofficial nod of approval Rem received from Paramount eventually led to a couple of subtle
references to New Voyages in UPN's Enterprise, such as the mention in one episode of the
heretofore nonexistent USS Ticonderoga, an allusion to Cawley's hometown in upstate New
York. When Star Trek: Enterprise filmed an episode that required an original bridge set, the
Enterprise art department called Cawley and asked to borrow one of his props, a Suluscope built
for New Voyages.

The pros have become fans of their amateur counterparts. Manny Coto, formerly an executive
producer for UPN's Enterprise and now an executive producer of 24, says of the latest New
Voyages production, "I'll be downloading it." And earlier this year at a science fiction convention
in Pasadena, California, Cawley positioned himself behind the table where William Shatner was
signing autographs, hoping to get a picture with the Enterprise's original captain. As he stood
there, astonished at how close he was to his childhood - OK, adulthood - hero, a voice behind
him yelled, "Hey, Kirk!"
"I turned, and so did Bill," Cawley says. Their two heads rotated together to see a couple of staff
writers for UPN's Enterprise. "And with God as my witness," says Cawley, raising his right hand
into the air, "they said, 'Not you, Bill. We're talking to him.'"

In May, the keepers of professional Trek and amateur Trek gathered in an Embassy Suites hotel
near the Los Angeles airport to watch the series finale of UPN's Enterprise. Eugene Roddenberry
Jr. - the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry - asked Marshall to stand and then paid New
Voyages the ultimate compliment: "This is the closest thing to the original series since the original

A fan from Washington state showed the chipper, cackling director his own DIY project: a set of
New Voyages trading cards he had created on his computer. Marshall autographed one as his
wife, Pearl, rolled her eyes and smiled. "This is ridiculous," she said.

Pearl supports Jack on her schoolteacher's salary while he works full-time on his films. "She
thinks of this as the putting-me-through-med-school period," he says. A couple of years before he
began shooting New Voyages, Marshall quit his job at a local educational TV station in Maryland
to make a movie and submit it to Sundance. He insists that New Voyages is not a fan film, but
rather an "independent film." Despite the fact that the Marshalls' one-bedroom apartment is
stuffed with Trek memorabilia, including a Spock-shaped decanter, he makes pains to
differentiate himself from obsessive Trekkies.

"I'd love for New Voyages to continue," he says. But he also talks of moving on if he and Cawley
can't figure out a way at least to break even. Maybe they could sell merchandise, he says, or CDs
of the score, or even a DVD. Failing that, he wants to pitch a series to the Sci-Fi Channel.
Marshall's hubris can be staggering: "I'm not Kubrick. I'm not Hitchcock. They had great minds.
I'm Lucas and Spielberg. They have great people."

The great people helping Marshall make New Voyages have grown more proficient with each
episode. But it's still obvious at times that this is the work of enthusiastic amateurs. As with
almost all fan films, the weakest element of New Voyages has been the acting. For this third
episode, the New Voyages staff has worked hard to improve things. Cawley lacks Shatner's
vulnerability, but he has a little of his swagger, enough to be passable in the role of Captain Kirk.
And there's a certain verisimilitude when the guy playing Chekov is, well, Chekov.
A2 G325: Advanced Portfolio in Media
Section A: Theoretical Evaluation of Production
Koenig was 31 years old when he was cast as Chekov on the original series in 1967. He sees
New Voyages as a chance to prove that his character could have been more than the supporting
player who screams when a mind-controlling worm burrows into his brain, or the comic relief who
can't pronounce "nuclear vessel" because of his thick Russian accent. The actor is the lone
member of the bridge crew from the original series who doesn't have a star on Hollywood
Boulevard's Walk of Fame. "This was the episode I never got to play and never would get to
play," Koenig says. "I've never had the opportunity to do something that required more than
reading off Warp Factor numbers on the navigation console."

Episode three, "To Serve All My Days," centers on Chekov. A radiation burst causes him to age
rapidly - a plot device that allows for the reintroduction of Koenig, now 69, into the role - and he
must wrestle with his own mortality. "I don't mean to be morbid, but I did have a quadruple bypass
13 years ago," Koenig says. "This might be a really good wrap for my career."

With this episode, New Voyages breaks with the Star Trek canon in a dramatic way and ends
with a scene that will be momentous (and heartbreaking) to Trekkies. It's sure to spark outraged
flame wars on discussion boards. (And if this were such a message board, we'd have to write
spoiler alert! at this point.) Some fans will think New Voyages has upset the well-tended
continuity of the Star Trek universe by creating a time paradox that makes certain events in the
films of the '80s and '90s impossible. The New Voyages creators are unconcerned. Scriptwriter
Fontana says she's working on the best science fiction show of 1969, and what happens in some
fictional future doesn't matter. "We don't have to pay attention to what came after," she says. "We
say, forget that. This is the canon."

At the car dealership in upstate New York, Koenig's colleagues try to act like professional
filmmakers and not gushing fanboys. As they eat pizza between takes, the actor regales them
with stories about that scene-stealing jerk Shatner. But there's an awed hush when he staggers
onto the set as the rapidly aging Chekov to play his final scene. His skin is spotted, his hair
nothing but a wisp. As the Enterprise navigator lies down in his quarters for one last rest, his
captain comes to bid him farewell. "Who would have thought I would live so long," Chekov
wheezes, "in such a short time?"

Koenig has given James Cawley one piece of acting advice: Captain Kirk does not cry. But the
cameraman is crying. The dolly grip is crying. The boom-mike operator is crying. And as he walks
off the set, Jack Marshall's face is streaked with tears. Chekov is dead. Star Trek lives.

Chris Suellentrop ( wrote about Everquest auctions in issue 13.08.