Excelsior Intended to Replace Enterprise

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Jeff Tube, Jan 27, 2011.

  1. Jeff Tube

    Jeff Tube Lieutenant Junior Grade

    Jan 27, 2011
    I'm undecided about Harve Bennett's legacy.

    Was his intention to replace the Enterprise with the Excelsior misguided? I understand this was his plan.

    Did he show a lack of understanding towards the notion of the big E as another character? Yet he produced ST3 where we see the big E go out with a flourish in one of the best scenes in a ST movie ever.

    Could the Excelsior ever replace the Enterprise? Or would it have been the metaphorical 'empty vessel?'
  2. ColeMercury

    ColeMercury Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jan 23, 2011

    Doesn't mean he fully grasped how much the Enterprise would've meant to people.

    I think he probably thought of it like, say, your house getting burned down. It'd be a very emotional moment, one that any skilled writer/producer could capture on film. You'd be miserable -- not only because you have no place to live, but because there's a lot of memories in houses and now the place where it all happened is gone... but still, you'd ultimately just go and buy another house. In the same way, the Enterprise crew lose their ship -- but they can still just get another ship. Bennett didn't get how attached people were to the original Enterprise, and how they wouldn't accept a replacement which was in any way different.
  3. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Aug 26, 2003
    ...Yet these people had accepted the TMP Enterprise easily enough.

    Timo Saloniemi
  4. BlobVanDam

    BlobVanDam Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 10, 2010
    I wouldn't have accepted the Excelsior as a replacement to the Enterprise.
    Not because it's different though, just because it's ugly as a butt.
  5. F. King Daniel

    F. King Daniel Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    This actually happened, with Bennett's approval, in the old post-STIII DC comic series (probably the best Trek comics of all, imo).

    STIV's ultimate reset button finale, where the last two films may as well have never happened, was a little much. A different ship would have served as a reminder that actions do have consequences.
  6. SMC

    SMC Lieutenant Red Shirt

    Jan 10, 2011
    Would have been intersting of they'd rennamed the Excelsior as the Enterprise-A but ultimately it has no bearing on the storytelling what ship they used.

    I do however think the assertion that the ship was a character on the show to be patently ridiculous. It is an example of fanboy insecurity at its worst. It's an inanimate object within the context of the show/films and a fictitious one in the real world... Star Trek IV proved that you could have a very successful Trek film without the Enterprise even being present until the last 2 minutes....
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2011
  7. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 2, 2009
    Why did he even listen to the ten hardcore fans. I also think it would have been much more interesting to shake things up. I like ST 4, 5 and 6, but Spock actually staying dead or the Enterprise being replaced by the Excelsior, those things would have been great.
  8. BlobVanDam

    BlobVanDam Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Dec 10, 2010
    I don't think it's too ridiculous. I consider it a character. Not an essential one, as you've given a good example for, but as one of the most iconic parts of Star Trek, I definitely think it needs to have a strong presence in some form. And there are definitely distinctive elements of the Enterprise that people expect to be maintained, although it's a very loosely defined set of rules.
    I don't believe the Excelsior strayed too far from that formula to warrant any issue here, although I don't think it's a good enough looking ship to be the Enterprise. But they've proven since then that you can have an Enterprise that looks very different to the 1701 and still be accepted. The Enterprise is a character, but one that you can recast :p
  9. Shon T'Hara

    Shon T'Hara Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 11, 2010
    Scotty and Kirk certainly viewed her as a character given the way they talked about her in the original series.

    You could say the same about Spock in Star Trek III.
  10. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 5, 2005
    About the importance of the original Enterprise...

    You have to understand the times, way back in the 20th century. For the old fart fans, there was one Star Trek, one crew, and one Enterprise. THE Enterprise. That's it.
    One starship to pin all our hopes and dreams and adventures on.

    Fans who came in with TNG onward maybe don't understand. They are accustomed to all kinds of starships and Enterprises and crews and series.

    But at the time, the ONE Enterprise was a pretty big deal. For us fans, sure. But also for TOS. We had Kirk talking about her as "a beautiful lady and we love her."
    Also "...and NOTHING is more important than my ship."
    And "Never lose you. Never."

    So you can't really overstate how important THE Enterprise was to TOS, especially back in the day when that's all there was.
    somebuddyx likes this.
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Canon Warrior Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2001
    Escaped from Trumpistan
  12. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 24, 2009
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    The 'death' of the Enterprise was awesome. I wouldn't have minded if we'd got the Excelsior as a replacment If I'm honest (we only had two movies to go in any event) but that doesn't diminish my love for the original ship. The TMP Enterprise refit is the ultimate ship for me.

    I also cried when Zen died in B7.
  13. Commodore_Rook

    Commodore_Rook Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Nov 13, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    Well, we were all led to believe this was going to happen, and even at the end of IV, they all assumed they were getting the Excelsior (even Sulu was hoping for it!) then we got treated to the Enterprise-A and the legacy of the NCC-1701 was cemented forever in history! I wonder who's brain child that was to introduce an "-A" to it Vs. making it USS Enterprise II NCC-1778 (or some such, which was the standard practice then).

    And we eventually got an Enterprise-B, Excelsior class with different Captain, as it just wouldn't be TOS with Kirk commanding anything other than a Constitution class.
  14. Cyke101

    Cyke101 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Feb 11, 2007
    It's the same kind of love one would give to, say, a car or old planes and such. Doctor Who would be very different without the TARDIS, the DeLorean is is synonymous with Back to the Future, the Ghostbusters video game has a scene of worry when the Ecto-1 gets incapacitated (also a lengthy "Making Of" section ... for the car!). Some other movies and TV shows go even farther than Trek in this regard: Serenity, Battlestar Galactica, and seaQuest are all the names of the movie/show AND the starring vehicle -- they're not just characters, they're the titular emphasis, to the point where the living, sentient characters worry about the safety of the ship just as much as the safety of the crew (you'll see similar behavior in car documentaries and reality shows).

    The point being that it's not just fanboys who equate inanimate objects to characters, because those objects have an injected, almost sentimental value, that's often key to storytelling, because the vehicle is often going to be the thing that ultimately saves our heroes, accompanies them in their adventures, and is very often a literal plot device itself.

    The same could be said about Adult Spock in Star Trek III, but that doesn't render Leonard Nimoy any less important or relevant to the franchise. But one could argue (probably a literary critic at that) that having the Enterprise appear in the end was an essential way of ending the film, since it was about tripping up to restore the status quo: Earth is returned to normal, whales are saved from extinction, Kirk gets his classic rank of Captain back (weird that he spent more time as Admiral than Captain and yet everyone thinks of him as Captain, but oh well), our crew manages to stay together instead of being disbanded, Sarek gets his son back from the dead, and finally, the Enterprise returns.
  15. Marc

    Marc Fleet Admiral Premium Member

    Nov 14, 2003
    Shinning Waters
    In Star Trek Movie Memories, Shatner (so take it with appropriate amount of salt) puts the attitude down to the differing war time experiences of Bennett and Roddenberry.

    Roddenberry had been a bomber pilot and fixed wing pilots tend to become attached to their aircraft and get pissed when they lose them. Bennett was a chopper pilot in Korea and a rotary pilots tend to go bird's broken get a new one.
  16. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 26, 2007
    Maryland, USA
    I remember seeing the Excelsior for the first time in STIV and thinking it was the coolest ship ever. Whether it would have been the new ship, or if a new Enterprise was built from the same class, I would have been totally fine with it.

    Now, in retrospect, I hate the Excelsior, for a multitude of reasons. However, I still think it would have been nice to have a different ship for the Enterprise-A, if only because reusing the old model that looks exactly like the previous ship kinda detracts from the feeling of loss of the original Enterprise (pretty much like the DS9 crew getting an identical Defiant two episodes after the first one was destroyed, or the Voyager crew building an identical Delta Flyer one episode after the first one was destroyed, etc.).
    somebuddyx likes this.
  17. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Feb 27, 2002
    If the Excelsior was meant to replace Enterprise...would that mean that Sulu would be promoted as her commanding officer and staff her with the old Enterprise crew? Would Kirk still remain an Admiral? This has interesting alternate universe possibilities.
  18. Colonel Midnight

    Colonel Midnight Vice Admiral Premium Member

    May 31, 2001
    Colonel Midnight
    The Excelsior looked good from the side when it was introduced at the beginning of STIII but... it's image was forever tarnished in my brain during the 'Clankity Clank" scene moments later as the ENT-A blasts away into warp.

    Not so much from the scene itself (Way to go, Scotty! :)), or Captain Style's demeanor, etc., but when the ship herself "flares" up in front of the Spacedock... *erk* *Barficon*

    That had/has to be one of the worst angles to photograph the Excelsior from, with the combination of the huge secondary hull, the thick ribbed (for her pleasure?) neck, etc. *BLECH* Very unflattering to the design.

    Just IMO, of course.

  19. Vance

    Vance Vice Admiral In Memoriam

    Oct 27, 2005
    Colorado Springs
    Nope. Remember that the TSFS was supposed to be 'the end really we mean it this time I think maybe'. The Excelsior was not supposed to be liked! This is evidenced by its introduction, the very clever casting of the bridge crew, and its role as a potential foil for the Enterprise.

    The loss of the Enterprise was meant to be a powerful moment (and, believe me, it was), so Bennet clearly understood the importance of the old girl, as well as showing Kirk's ultimate sacrifice for Spock.

    Kirk was never going to capatain the Excelsior.. which is why the next Enterprise appeared at the end of IV.
    somebuddyx likes this.
  20. Admiral_Young

    Admiral_Young Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Feb 27, 2002
    Yeah I think it is mentioned in the commentary for The Search for Spock that Nimoy says the intention was for Excelsior to be rejected by the fans in order to prop up the importance of the Enterprise.