Production designer Tamara Deverell recently talked about the task of re-creating the iconic bridge of the USS Enterprise for the Discovery season finale.
One of the biggest gripes the gatekeepers and detractors of Star Trek: Discovery have had is how it visually looks nothing like the original Star Trek. Because obviously if you’re making a series in 2019 you should make sure everything visually looks just like it did when you were making a series in the late 1960s.
Insert a Picard facepalm GIF here.
Thankfully the visual effects team on Discovery said to hell with that nonsense and instead updated the look of the Original Series era of Star Trek while keeping various Easter eggs and nods to what came before.
And let’s be honest here. Discovery is one visually amazing series. Every episode looks as good or better than any of the feature films, including the Kelvin Timeline movies. Discovery is arguably the best looking series currently on television.
A lot of the credit for that can go to Tamara Deverell, the production designer for Star Trek: Discovery. And for the penultimate episode of Season 2, she was tasked with the responsibility of re-creating the bridge of the one and only USS Enterprise.
While we got a look at the exterior in the Season 1 finale, “Such Sweet Sorrow” takes us onto the iconic bride of the legendary vessel for the first time in Discovery. And holy crap, is it stunning or what? Since the episode aired fans have been talking nonstop about just how freaking cool the remade Enterprise bridge looks.
For that you can again thank Deverell, who was instrumental in designing the look and feel for the updated bridge. She recently spoke to Star Trek.com about what went into the effort and what it felt like to create something new yet familiar at the same time. And according to her, it all started with the Original Series.
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"I really started with TOS, which is what I grew up with, and looked at that ship and how we could do all kinds of nods to it without making it look like it’s made out of cardboard. As much as we all love TOS, the audiences of today want more. We started with the same size as the original Enterprise and, of course, we enlarged it by adding a back hallway. Some of the parameters of the original size… the step down, the placement of the captain’s chair, where the consoles were, where Uhura was, where Spock was, all the main characters, we kept that general layout, much more so than some of the other Enterprises we’ve seen."
You may not believe it, but for Deverell color played a huge role in the final look of the Discovery version of the Enterprise bridge.
"Then, I really wanted to color-code. So, I was playing a lot with the colors of the Enterprise. There are actually variations [of the red-orange] in the Enterprises. That’s very distinct, and I went through the archives at CBS to look at those colors and try and match them, but in a new way. We were bringing in the Discovery feel, but also using materials and methods of building it that were new to us, like metal powder coating — metal pieces that are powder-coated create a really rich color and strong basis to build the set. We experimented with it on the Enterprise, and I think we’re going to use it more in Star Trek. It looks more like a ship than just using wood and plaster."
Look, I love the Original Series as much as the next guy. And I thought when The Next Generation recreated the original bridge in “Relics” it was incredibly cool. But that just wasn’t going to work on Discovery. And this redesign, this is next level cool.
It would be even cooler if we got to see if every week in a Star Trek: Captain Pike series. Are you listening CBS?
The second season finale of Star Trek: Discovery airs next Thursday on CBS All Access.