King Daniel wrote:
They re-imagined the Enterprise, just like they re-imagined the Klingons.
Well, not really.
After all, they took care to show the old
ship as well, in that Rec Deck display of images. TOS wasn't supposed to be "remembered differently", or forgotten. Not in that particular respect anyway.
The thing about the TMP ship is that, backstage measurements aside, every part of her is bigger than the "original" TOS counterpart. The saucer could have been created by adding a new rim and bulging out the bulges a bit more; the secondary hull could have received a new surface layer of spaces; the neck could have been strengthened.
Basically, the old ship would fit inside the new one, save for the engines and the secondary hull bow.
The pic in the rec room was a cute little nod for fans, but that's about it. Gene Roddenberry himself suggested The Original Series as an inaccurate portrayal of the 23rd century in his novelization of The Motion Picture. And of course, he's on record that the Klingons "always" looked the way they did in TMP and beyond, and that's the way it was until DS9 made a joke of it and Enterprise's fan-wank-tastic final season that said otherwise.
The complete change in look from 60's TV (with randomly blinking coloured squares for buttons) to late 70's movie (with far more realistic interfaces) is subsitution, not a plausible in-universe evolution.
Yep. The Klingons were always supposed to have ridges, but unfortunately, no one could just say, "Oh, OK," and leave it at that. The repercussions are even felt in Abrams' Trek, where he hedges his bets and the Klingons wear those silly helmets that only hint at ridges.
As for the look of the Enterprise, it was more problematic. The most recognizeable symbol of "Star Trek", it wasn't possible to just say it "always" looked that way. There needed to be an explanation of the new look, and a "refit" was as good as any.
I'd be curious to know if anyone at the time considered saying it was a new and different starship Enterprise. Although, I could see them being uncomfortable with that idea because it meant either Kirk's Enterprise was destroyed sometime between TOS and TMP, or it was retired. And of course, there would be registry number issues because the new ship couldn't technically be NCC-1701. Guess it could've been NCC-1701-A, though.
But it's silly to rationalize the ship as a refit of the TOS Enterprise. It's just too different in size and proportion. No attempt was made by the designers (of the model and sets, not in-universe designers) to keep bits and pieces of the old look just as a nod to the idea of it being a refit.