Picard's Enterprise-G Uses 'Old' Designs to Make Star Trek Feel 'New' (2024)

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 was a celebration of the franchise's legacy, from the inclusion of the NX-01 refit to the christening of a new USS Enterprise. The series also drew on the many ship designs in Star Trek: Online for the Frontier Day fleet. However, the ships introduced in Picard, including the Enterprise-G, drew on classic Star Trek designs to make Starfleet feel new.

Walter Matthews Jefferies designed the original USS Enterprise, serving as the art director for Star Trek: The Original Series. While the ship is the most enduring legacy, replete with his namesake, the Jefferies Tubes, he also designed sets like the bridge or the planet-of-the-week. He returned to the franchise for Star Trek: Phase II, which eventually became both The Motion Picture and The Next Generation. While he stepped away, designer Andrew Probert stepped in. At the same time, models of the updated Enterprise were already in production. Nonetheless, he redesigned the Enterprise with, as Jack Crusher said in Picard, "perfectly clean retro lines." Probert stayed true to Jefferies's silhouette. Yet, he added new hull plating, a glowing blue deflector dish and squared-off nacelles. In fact, there is a lot of "Kirk's Enterprise" in the Starfleet ships throughout Picard.

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The Enterprise and Starfleet Ships Were Too Sleek and Too 'Flat'

Picard's Enterprise-G Uses 'Old' Designs to Make Star Trek Feel 'New' (1)

One of the reasons the USS Enterprise is sci-fi's most beautiful ship is how unconventional it was for the time. In the 1960s, the flying saucer was all the rage. The saucer section of the myriad Enterprises was only begrudgingly added because a spherical shape didn't work. Jefferies was a student of real-world aircraft and early spacefaring vessels. "We had to base it all on fairly solid scientific concepts, project it to the future," and visualize a few centuries' worth of evolution, Jefferies said in The Making of Star Trek by Stephen E. Whitfield. Probert honored this with his Enterprise. But he also dreamed up a more radical change based on what he called "organic" shapes.

Probert was always bothered by the fact the warp nacelles sat above the saucer section, according to The Next Generation Season 1 DVD special features. He also felt that the ship should have an organic shape, as if it was molded out of a single piece of metal. He drew up a design mostly for his own amusem*nt. Longtime Star Trek producer David Gerrold saw it up on his wall, grabbed it and stormed off. He took it right to Gene Roddenberry, who approved the design for the USS Enterprise-D on the spot. Its follow-up, the Enterprise-E, designed by John Eaves under the supervision of Herman Zimmerman, flattened the shape and started a trend towards more "arrow" shaped ships, according to Picard showrunner Terry Matalas on The Shuttlepod Show.

Matalas often points to Probert's Enterprise redesign as his favorite of the Enterprise ships, so it makes sense the Picard ships hearken back to it. A veteran of the Rick Berman-era of the franchise, Matalas brought back many of the designers from that time: Eaves, Doug Drexler, Michael and Denise Okuda. Led by production designer Dave Blass, they "updated" Star Trek by calling back to classic design details, LCARS displays on the computers and, of course, the rebuilt Enterprise-D bridge.

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Picard Season 3 Proved the Visual Vocabulary of Star Trek Is Timeless

Picard's Enterprise-G Uses 'Old' Designs to Make Star Trek Feel 'New' (2)

While the production design legends took inspiration from the past, they didn't simply recreate them. The Enterprise-G, the Sagan-class Stargazer and other ships are as new as it gets. Yet, they feel right at home in Roddenberry's universe next to the other iconic vessels at the Fleet Museum. In the same Picard episode where Jack Crusher appreciates the Enterprise-A, one of Brent Spiner's Soong characters of all people seemingly puts the design philosophy of Picard into words. "Evolution is not an act of preservation," the hologram Altan Soong says, "it's addition." The Picard design team added to the visual vocabulary of the franchise rather than recreating or reimagining it.

Star Trek's designs are influential even beyond the franchise itself. George Lucas was a Star Trek fan, and Star Wars' "dirty" technology was meant to stand in contrast. Before J.J. Abrams rebooted Lucas's universe, he took a stab at Roddenberry's. Save for the chunky nacelles inspired by hot rods, the Kelvin Timeline Enterprise didn't stray too far from Jefferies' original design. However, the Picard team kept their focus on Probert's style. The squared-off nacelles of the Enterprise-G evoke the retrofit original but maintains the blue and red colors added into the Enterprise-D.

Picard Season 2 and 3 drew on the design talent that best understood the evolution of Star Trek. They didn't do something wildly different, like Season 1's La Sirenna, nor did they simply recreate past ships. Instead, like Jefferies before them, they looked at what existed and imagined how it might shift and change. Design trends in the real world are often forward-looking, but they also look backward, too. In doing so, the ships of Picard drew on the classic shapes to become instant classics themselves.

Picard's Enterprise-G Uses 'Old' Designs to Make Star Trek Feel 'New' (2024)


Picard's Enterprise-G Uses 'Old' Designs to Make Star Trek Feel 'New'? ›

While the production design legends took inspiration from the past, they didn't simply recreate them. The Enterprise-G, the Sagan-class Stargazer and other ships are as new as it gets. Yet, they feel right at home in Roddenberry's universe next to the other iconic vessels at the Fleet Museum.

What is the difference between Kirk's Enterprise and Picard's Enterprise? ›

Kirk (William Shatner) and his USS Enterprise in one particular way. Not only was the Enterprise-D significantly larger than Kirk's Enterprise in Star Trek: The Original Series, but it also housed the families of many of the officers on board.

What happened to the Enterprise-F in Star Trek: Picard? ›

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Wasted USS Enterprise-F

Admiral Shelby was apparently killed and the Enterprise-F became the flagship of the Borgified Starfleet. Even before the Enterprise-F was assimilated, its first appearance in Star Trek: Picard season 3 was already earmarked as its last and only appearance.

What does the NCC stand for in Star Trek? ›

NCC is the Starfleet abbreviation for "Naval Construction Contract", comparable to what the U.S. Navy would call a hull number. Jefferies rejected 3, 6, 8, and 9 as "too easily confused" on screen; he eventually reasoned the Enterprise was the first vessel of Starfleet's 17th starship design, hence 1701.

How old is Picard supposed to be? ›

Jean-Luc Picard, as he is seen in 2401, is 96 ( or 106 in Beta Canon, or 2, depending on your perspective on cybernetics). He was born July 13, 2305, in La Barre France. He joined Starfleet in 2323, on his second attempt.

Why is there no Enterprise-E in Picard? ›

Picard season 3 was set two decades later and turned the fate of the Enterprise-E into a gag, with Goerdi noting the ship wasn't available and Worf defensively saying it wasn't his fault, leaving it a mystery.

How many versions of Enterprise are there in Star Trek? ›

Gizmodo's Io9 blog ranked the original design of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) as the best version of the Enterprise, characterizing the original as still superior to 11 later versions of the Enterprise that had appeared in the Star Trek franchise.

Why Worf left Enterprise? ›

Worf was the Federation's best link to Chancellor Gowron and a meeting between them was arranged. He was asked to resign from Starfleet and join Gowron on the Klingon campaign to invade Cardassia.

Who took over the Enterprise after Picard? ›

Star Trek: Picard showrunner Terry Matalas recently revealed that Worf (Michael Dorn) captained the USS Enterprise-E after Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart).

Why did Star Trek Enterprise get Cancelled? ›

UPN canceled Star Trek: Enterprise due to low ratings and a lack of network support for the series. Enterprise season 4 involved a creative shift with Manny Coto taking over as showrunner, but it couldn't save the series from cancelation.

What do Star Trek fans call themselves? ›

As a collective, trekkies/trekkers are known as "Star Trek fandom", in parlance, especially among themselves, often contracted to "Trekdom".

What does nx stand for in Star Trek? ›

NX” stood for “Naval Experiment” (or “Experimental”) and was used for any ships that were not in standard production; this could be ships meant to be test beds for new technology, prototype ships, etc. Both were typically used for ships attached to Starfleet itself, rather than just the Federation.

What does USS stand for on Star Trek? ›

The Making of Star Trek explains that USS means "United Space Ship" and that "Enterprise is a member of the Starship Class". Licensed texts, on-screen graphics, and dialogue later describe the ship as a Constitution-class vessel.

Why does Q look older in Picard? ›

') The creators do go some way to explain this is the show. Q appears at first as the young that man Picard and audiences know, thanks to some fancy de-aging CGI. He would then snap his fingers to appear much older to match his old friend Picard, turning himself into de Lancie as he looks today.

Why did Picard not like children? ›

Picard's views of family and children were irrevocably shaped by his difficult childhood and the loss of his mother at such a young age. After working through much of his childhood trauma in Star Trek: Picard season 2, Jean-Luc slowly became more open to the idea of romance and family.

Who is Picard married to? ›

In novels by Pocket Books, Picard has married Beverly Crusher, and they have a son named René Jacques Robert François Picard. Jean-Luc also corresponds regularly with Marie, his sister-in-law, who still maintains the family vineyards.

What is the timeline difference between Kirk and Picard? ›

Star Trek: Picard season 2 is set in 2401, a full 30 years after Kirk's death in 2371 as seen in Star Trek Generations. After Picard met Kirk, he remained as Captain of the USS Enterprise-E for another 14 years before he was promoted to Admiral (and subsequently quit Starfleet in protest) in 2385.

What was Kirk's Enterprise? ›

Kirk, the Enterprise carries its crew on a mission "to explore strange, new worlds; to seek out new life and new civilizations; to boldly go where no man has gone before." Star Trek: Strange New Worlds (2022–present) depicts the Enterprise under the command of Kirk's predecessor, Captain Christopher Pike.

Which Starship Enterprise is the best? ›

The first is usually the best, and in many ways, the original Enterprise from the 1966 series remains the most iconic design in science-fiction. It's hard to argue with its basic simplicity and instantly recognizable silhouette.

What is Picard's Enterprise? ›

USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), or Enterprise-D, to distinguish it from other vessels with the same name, is a starship in the Star Trek media franchise. Under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, it is the main setting of Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994) and the film Star Trek Generations (1994).

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