Spoilers Starship Design in Star Trek: Picard

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Picard' started by pst, Jan 9, 2020.

  1. DEWLine

    DEWLine Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't have a problem with the Kelvin-'verse designs, but we're digressing here.
     
  2. ATimson

    ATimson Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    He's busy working on The Orville S3.
     
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  3. Kpnuts

    Kpnuts Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I loved The Force Awakens and quite liked Rise of Skywalker, but you're probably right, JJ might have done his best and cared deeply for it but he wasn't a good fit for Star Wars. His vehicle combat is just terrible, especially in IX and the Starkiller base attack.
     
  4. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Although Dening took his design cues for the S31 ships from the Vengeance from ST: Beyond. Not a major issue, but I wouldn't call his ship designs 'original.'

    I too think the new shows should be taking a new approach to design rather than just utilizing 'what came before,' whether that means sticking to common design elements, or sticking with people who have worked on the show before. That's not a dig on Drexler et. al, but new blood is always interesting.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
  5. Blue Squadron

    Blue Squadron Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Even sticking to the basic formula for Starfleet ships, there are plenty of sleek, impressive designs that can be created from a primary hull (from circular to stretched ellipsoid), plus some form of secondary hull and one pair (or possibly two pairs) of warp nacelles. It’s worth remembering that, out-of-universe, they still have to be recognisably “Star Trek” to the general, non-fan, audience...

    The classic Constitution Class shape of the TOS/movies Enterprise is, perhaps inevitably, still going to provide the basic form-factor for the majority of Starfleet ships.

    TNG made the whole thing very organic and curvilinear, with the ellipse replacing the plain, circular primary hull. The Galaxy Class (and presumably the associated Nebula Class) ships of that era are still only half-way through their projected 100 year serviceable lifespans. Similarly, the later designs such as the Intrepid and Sovereign classes placed (more-or-less) elliptical primary hulls with the long-axis along the length of the vessel, rather than across the beam, and effectively introduced the compressed neck section. It seems fair to assume that these vessels would also have a similar projected duration of service to the earlier TNG-era ships.

    Given the level of technology involved, that lifespan doesn’t seem at all unreasonable — but, inevitably, there are completely different out-of-universe pressures to change designs just because, or from the point of view of new marketing and merchandising.

    Sure, there are plausible in-universe reasons to explain apparently random changes: losses from the Dominion war, apparent shortcomings of older designs, need to replace ageing vessels from the late-23rd / early-24th centuries, new technologies developed or discovered, and so on — but it’s worth remembering that these are often NOT the primary drivers behind the introduction of new designs as far as the producers are concerned. There may well be keen production staff members who are fans and want to put together all the rationalisation that they know the rest of the fans want to see (and I guess Sternbach and Okuda are the masters here) but that’s always going to be secondary to an exec producer deciding they want to see a new ship.

    From an in-universe point-of-view, I can imagine that those ship designs that were “fully worked-up” (i.e. had been on the drawing boards for a long time and had proper initial NX “class-lead” ships to test, prove and improve the designs) probably have a longer expected lifespan than those classes that were cobbled together in a hurry to meet the Borg threat or the needs of the Dominion war.

    Given the timescales involved, it would be entirely appropriate to see mid-life post major-refit versions of the Galaxy, Nebula, Intrepid and Sovereign classes as part of Starfleet around 2399. Equally, given the comments made about the aftermath of the Doninion war and the effects of the loss of the Utopia Planitia yards, it seems entirely appropriate that for any new vessels being built, Starfleet may have chosen to focus heavily (at least in the short term) on less extravagant but more robust and somewhat smaller ships that could be built and commissioned more quickly, in order to bring the fleet back up to whatever numbers were felt to be necessary.

    That might be as much of an explanation as we ever get; we know that (a) the producers are at pains to point out that this is not a show about big Starfleet ships and lots of characters in uniforms — so clearly doing clever things with various classes of Starfleet ships is just not of interest to them — and (b) we also know that it pretty much sounds like they were up against it, from a VFX point-of-view, in terms of time to get everything done and dusted for the final episode. Therefore whatever we finally got to see was whatever they were able to put together in the time available, rather than what they might have wanted to give us.

    Again, however, this still comes down to production priorities and, ultimately, all they were really interested in was to be able to have 20 to 30 seconds of screen time with a big impressive fleet of Starfleet ships that arrived in the nick of time and saw off the nasty bad guys; the precise fanwank details just weren’t that important to them and the cut-and-paste nature of the fleet just didn’t bother them that much.

    Chabon has hinted that the Enterprise will appear at some point — but that he feels that this should be “an event” rather than just a “throw-away” moment (which is why it wasn’t in Ep 10) so this then suggests a whole set of different priorities and implies that this *would* be something into which they might then want to put time and effort.

    It does, of course, beg the question of *which* Enterprise they will choose to have in 2399 and right now the answer to that has to be “Who knows...?!” — but my guess is that, from a story point of view, they will likely want to make it the 1701-E as there is no reason why it shouldn’t still be in service and, rather more importantly, it’s the ship Picard once commanded — and that gives them something very specific and important to work with that a new but essentially “sterile” 1701-F just wouldn’t have.

    I think I’d be happy enough to see what a 25-year refit of the Enterprise-E might look like, as long as they don’t dash it off at the last minute again!
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
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  6. Dukhat

    Dukhat Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I was right there with you until this point:

    I simply don't see the necessity or longing to bring back the Enterprise-E. It was a ship designed 25 years ago for one good movie and two crappy ones, and just doesn't have the same nostalgia that the Enterprise-D had. I would rather they take the Probert approach: have someone really spend a lot of time lovingly designing a new ship that everyone can be proud to call the Enterprise. If that takes an entire season to do it, so be it. I don't see it as 'sterile;' I see it as a challenge.

    And for heaven's sake, don't let the fans design it. That's how we got those awful non-canon Odyssey and Luna classes.
     
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  7. Blue Squadron

    Blue Squadron Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I don’t disagree...!!

    I guess that I was trying to put myself in the writers’ position and consider what and how they might want to use the Enterprise in terms of story development relating to Picard as a character, rather than just showing it because...

    — ultimately, that’s what will drive this, if it happens.


    If the new Enterprise was the focus of the show, as was the case with 1701-D in TNG then, yes, absolutely I can see them wanting to go down the full Probert design route. For one episode out of ten, I’m not so sure that they would throw quite that much at it (but I also accept that it’ll be one of those things that once they know they have the digital models available they might be more tempted to use it again...).

    In truth, if they hadn’t trashed the ship in Generations, I absolutely agree that the real nostalgia factor lies with 1701-D and not with 1701-E. The Sovereign Class wasn’t a bad design but, love it or hate it, the style of the Galaxy Class isn’t the point, it’s more the visceral link of that ship to Picard and his crew through seven seasons and around 150 episodes.

    I’m not desperate to see an updated Sovereign Class but then I’m not that bothered about a new class Enterprise-F that has no links to Picard either. I’ll take whatever comes...

    I absolutely agree about fan designs...!
     
  8. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't have issues with the Odyssey or Luna classes. So that may be your particular take on those classes.
     
  9. pst

    pst Commodore Commodore

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    no kidding.

    point is, they're distinct and new. and most fans dislike them because of that.
     
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  10. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I have far less issues with Discovery's Crossfield class then the new JJ-Prise.
     
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  11. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I would take most of the Kelvin designs over the PIC and DSC designs. I would take the JJ Enterprise for the ugly Discovery.
     
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  12. Ghouleddie74

    Ghouleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    The Kelvin Timeline starships are closer to looking like TOS than almost all of DSC's.
     
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  13. Spock Must Diet!

    Spock Must Diet! Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    For those who dislike the fan designed Odyssey and Luna classes, or STO classes:

    What are y'all looking for in the next Enterprise in terms of design?

    (Me, if the E shows up, I hope it is with an unknown captain and the ship is given a heroic destruction. The F can debut in a new show set a couple of decades down the road.)
     
  14. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Wow. Hyperbole much?

    For the record, "Et in Arcadia Ego, Part II," was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning and Nebula Award-winning author Michael Chabon, not by Alex Kurtzman. If you're going to slag off the writer and pretend you know how to do it better than him, at least get the writer's name correct.

    Also, I really don't think Chabon was all that interested in the fleet; the episode wasn't really structured to make that "memorable and compelling" per se. It was structured to make the human drama the focus, not the spaceships.
     
  15. Ghouleddie74

    Ghouleddie74 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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  16. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Vice Admiral Admiral

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  17. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Exactly.
     
  18. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Commodore Commodore

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    It's not the same ship though, it only looks vaguely similar.
    But I do think they combined several classes and their specialties into one can-do-all design. Strength of the Sovereign, maneuverability of the Intrepid, fly-thru shuttlebay from the Akira,...
     
  19. SolarisOne

    SolarisOne Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Those ships are really fucking ugly.
     
  20. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    As was the E-D when she first appeared.

    What really counts is the feeling of era-appropriateness. The E-D launched a decisive TNG era look. The E-E now features a retinue of lookalikes, too, for that post-TNG look; the Kelvin ships created their own era look at a single stroke, and a TOS movie era look also ultimately emerged from all sorts of kitbashes. If these designs here are the future of starship building, fine. At this point, they can't be outliers yet...

    DSC is different in that it introduced a lot of designs at one stroke, but did not go for a family look, apart from the nacelles. Which makes all sorts of in-universe sense, but leaves much more room for debate than the other approaches. The last time we got something like this was ST:FC, and there, too, we could assume that we're "finally" seeing ships from previous starship families that are only now catching the camera, as evidenced by their registries. (Likewise, the DSC registries are all over the map, but any correlation between looks and registry is missing, unlike with the ST:FC ships where higher numbers did tend to go with more TNG-appropriate looks and low ones thus could correlate with ships from a generation we missed between the TOS movies and TNG.)

    Timo Saloniemi