As a follow up to my previous post talking about the possible redesign of the Enterprise NCC-1701 in Star Trek 11, I thought it would be interesting to do a design comparison based on another thing that many people are very passionate about.
How do classic cars figure into talking about Star Trek? Have I completely lost my mind? Well let’s find out…
We’ll start off with the main subject of our attention: The original series version of the starship Enterprise NCC-1701. Below you can see what the “classic” Enterprise and the “modern” version of what is supposed to be the same ship:
The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-A
Back in 1979 when the new NCC-1701 premiered, instead of being outraged, fans fell in love with the new design. Why? Two reasons:
1. While obviously updated, it was incredibly faithful to the original design of the ship. There were subtle changes made to most of the ship, mainly in added detail to the outer hull. The biggest changes were to the nacelles and pylons which deviated quite a bit from the original design.
2. It was in fact, a redesign of the ship and that was made clear in the film. It was stated that the original was 20 years old and was due for a refurbishing.
Regardless, the new look was quite faithful to the original while at the same time in many ways much more beautiful.
At this point it’s unclear just how much they’ll change the original design for the new Star Trek film, but here we do have an obvious difference: It’s supposed to be the same ship. I could actually live with a version of the ship very similar to the 1979 version, but with straight pylons and cylindrical nacelles. I wouldn’t argue with that and I can understand the cinematic reasons for adding detail to a big screen version of the ship. Anything beyond that however, is bound to aggravate existing fans.
So just for fun, let’s compare some classic vs modern versions of popular sports cars and how they might relate to the redesigned Enterprise…
Above we have a classic 1960’s Chevy Camaro and the brand new redesigned version that will be available soon. Let me say that I think the new Camaro is really, REALLY hot and from a design standpoint pays homage to the classic version, but that degree of change for the Enterprise would be completely unacceptable.
Here we have a classic Corvette and the latest generation version. This latest model is a vast improvement over the previous and is actually the closest in overall look to the classic Stingray than we’ve seen in over 20 years. Transfer that to the NCC-1701 and while it would still be too much, it’s not as radical a change as far as I’m concerned compared to the Camaro.
Here we have the classic Ford Mustang and the newest model. Here again, like in the models above the designers have obviously attempted to pay tribute to the look that made the original a classic (and I’m a huge fan of the new version). It’s more streamlined but all the main lines of the original are still there. I would say there’s a bit of a stronger difference between these two cars than there is between the 1960’s and 1979 NCC-1701, but not too much more. This is about the upper limit of change I think I’d be willing to accept in a new Enterprise. The very upper limit.
Finally we come to the classic Porsche 911 and it’s modern counterpart. I think that here we are approaching the level of difference that we see between the classic Enterprise and the first movie version. Yes, it’s different in many details but overall I think if you could transport the new one back to the 1960’s people would still recognize it as a Porsche 911. I might not be ecstatic about it, but I could probably live with this degree of upgrade to the classic model.
Keep in mind I’m a hard core Star Trek fan and that my favorite series is in fact the original. Maybe I’m mellowing with age or I just understand the fact that some things do need a bit of updating 40 years later. .. it’s just unrealistic to expect them not to make some updates to the design.
But to J.J. and crew I’ll say this: Please just don’t go too crazy trying to put your own personal stamp/vision/design on such an iconic spaceship.