‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Legally Had to Redesign the Enterprise
Star Trek: Discovery had design continuity issues from the beginning, and the U.S.S. Enterprise only complicated matters. As it turns out, the CBS drama is legally prohibited from utilizing the classic Enterprise, raising questions of how much we’ll see in Season 2.
You’re warned of light Star Trek: Discovery spoilers from here on out, but we weren’t surprised to see the U.S.S. Enterprise looking slightly different in its finale appearance, as all aspects of classic Trek have been given design makeovers at one point or another. That said, it seems modifications needed to be made for legal purposes, as designer John Eaves revealed in a recent Facebook post (h/t io9). The Discovery Enterprise had to be 25% different than the original, given complicated rights-sharing issues:
Back in April of 2017 the task of the Enterprise making an appearance came to be and work was to start right away. The task started with the guideline that the Enterprise for Discovery had to be 25% different, otherwise production would have most likely been able to use the original design from the 60’s. But that couldn’t happen so we took Jefferies’ original concepts and with great care tried to be as faithful as possible. We had the advantage of a ten-year gap in Trek history to retro the ship a bit with elements that could be removed and replaced somewhere in the time frame of Discovery and the Original series. […]
After Enterprise, properties of Star Trek ownership changed hands and was divided, so what was able to cross TV shows up to that point changed and a lot of the crossover was no longer allowed. That is why when JJ [Abrams]’s movie came along everything had to be different. The alternate universe concept was what really made that movie happen in a way as to not cross the new boundaries and give Trek a new footing to continue.
Questions of design also came up in an earlier Discovery episode, as images of Enterprise sister ship U.S.S. Defiant showed heavy modifications to the original design. Season 2 has not yet made clear if we’ll actually see the Enterprise interior, which could potentially include similar 25% changes. All we know to date is that Anson Mount will play the role of Captain Christopher Pike; predecessor to Kirk.
Production is expected to begin in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more Enterprise-ing details of Star Trek: Discovery Season 2.
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