C.E. Evans wrote:
One way to easily reconcile it was already mentioned earlier in this thread--an idea that the Enterprise's refit started off originally as just an engine upgrade and that it ballooned into a total redesign of the vessel.
This one's been around for years, but it's an impossible upgrade if you look at both designs one over the other. There's just no way unless they dismantle 1701 completely. There's no reason to absolutely want it not to be a retcon, just like those people on TNG holding their tricorders upside down doesn't mean it was a different model.
An intriguing missing link exists in 'Star Trek: Phase II'. Now, while TMP's sets and overall design were originated in Phase II, I can't help wondering if the Phase II refit wouldn't have come across as a bit less of a visual leap than what we got in TMP.
Oh, absolutely. There are a few pictures of the plans and the model and aside from the struts and nacelles, it was very similar to the old model.