Abrams Picks Chambliss as Production Designer for Star Trek XI | TrekMovie.com
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Abrams Picks Chambliss as Production Designer for Star Trek XI December 19, 2006

by Anthony Pascale , Filed under: ST09 Creative , trackback

Studio sources have told TrekMovie.com that JJ Abrams has selected long-time collaborator Scott Chambliss to head up the design team for Star Trek XI. The award-winning designer has worked with Abrams on the TV shows Felicity and Alias as well as Abrams directorial debut film Mission – Impossible III. Although Chambliss has been repsonsible for defining the look on over a dozen TV and film projects, this will be his first time in science fiction (unless you count the few genre touches to Alias). For his work on Alias he received 4 Art Directors Guild ‘Excellence In Production Design’ nominations and 3 Emmy nominations (winning one of each). It is no surprise that Chambliss was chosen, and it highlights how Abrams is putting his mark onto Trek. This hire makes Star Trek XI the first Trek film without Herman Zimmerman as the Production Designer since Star Trek V in 1989. So far every single person associated with Star Trek XI is both new to the franchise and has worked with Abrams before (most on M:I:III).

A new look?
Chambliss was unavailable for comment, but sources indicate that he and Abrams are already working on some designs for Trek XI. Although it is known that the film will take place around the Original Series era, it is still unknown how close the film will mirror the look of the 1960s show. Abrams and the writers have indicated that the film will stick with Trek canon, but it is hard to believe that they will slavishly duplicate 40 year old TV budget designs in a big budget motion picture. Unlike the recent TNG films, the design of the 6 Original Series films had a very different look than the TV show they were based on (although being set after the show helped justify the changes as not being violations of continuity). One thing can be sure; Trekkies will be looking very closely at the work of Scott Chambliss.


Here is a brief clip featuring Scott Chambliss and JJ Abrams from the MI:3 DVD



1. Adam Cohen - December 19, 2006

Well, Chambliss was given a large budget with Mission: Impossible III, and the sets were quite good. I suppose we should expect the same for Trek XI.

I love how these things are going forward without the official greenlight.

2. StillKirok - December 19, 2006

I wish they would stop beating around the bush and announce Shatner and Nimoy playing older versions of Kirk and Spock in the 24th century. The set designer doesn’t bring money. Shatner and Nimoy do.

Time to give Kirk a better ending. Anything else will be disappointing.

3. StarTrekkie - December 19, 2006

I’m happy to see Trek taking a new fresh perspective in terms of design and creativity, but I’m sad to see production staff that has done such a good job in the past shown the door.

It’d be interesting to see if trekMovie could get a comment by Herman Zimmerman.

4. Jim J - December 19, 2006

If they annouce that, all the hype will be gone…it’ll just die out. Doing it this way is better for the hype, plus we don’t KNOW that they WILL be involved as actors. Heck, not to sound cruel, but at their age, it’s hard to be sure they’ll be around when filming starts.

Not having those two involved as actors would be a big blunder on Abrams’ part, however. Berman & Braga always shyed away from them and look where it got them!

5. Anthony Pascale - December 19, 2006

Star Trekkie,

to be fair no one is being shown the door, they just arent being invited back in the door. The way things work in film, everyone is essentially fired at the end of a production. And of course from Abrams point of view, if he didn\’t hire the people he likes working with then he would be showing them the door. Should Abrams loyalty be to his team or to people he has never worked with before

TM hopes to add comments from him, but bear in mind that Abrams and Paramount have a tight lid on Trek XI and even people who arent working on it but still do work in and around Trek and Paramount tend to not want to go on the record about anything. Shatner seems to be an exception, but it is likely that this is part of the agreement in his contract….he is after all part of the public face of Trek.

6. TrekLog » Blog Archive » Trek XI - Scott Chambliss - December 19, 2006

[…] Scott Chambliss wird bei Star Trek XI den Posten des Produktionsdesigners übernehmen. Damit löst er HermanZimmermann ab, der seit 1989 für Star Trek gearbeitet hat. Chambliss hatte schon in der Vergangenheit mit Produzent J. J. Abrams zusammengearbeitet (Alias, Felicity, MI:III) und es ist gut möglich, dass sich das Design von Star Trek im nächsten Film etwas anders darstellen wird als wir es bisher kannten. Die Originalserie stammt aus den 60ern, und schon im ersten Kinofilm wurde bewusst eine Designänderung für die große Kinoleinwand vorgenommen. Dies war auch kein Problem, da die Geschichte von diesem Zeitpunkt an stets in die Zukunft weitererzählt wurde. Star Trek XI jedoch wird höchst wahrscheinlich zu den Ursprüngen zurückgehen, und es könnte interessant sein, die Neuinterpretation des 60er Jahre Designs mitzuerleben, zumal es sich zumindest an den anderen Kinofilmen zu orientieren hat. Ich persönlich vermute daher, dass sogar das gelungene Re-Design der Schiffsbrücke aus der ENT-Episode “In A Mirror, darkly” nicht wirklich als eine mögliche Option betrachtet werden darf, aber wissen kann mans natürlich nicht… […]

7. senya cartel - December 19, 2006

“but it is hard to believe that they will slavishly duplicate 40 year old TV budget designs in a big budget motion picture.”

I have nothing to do with Hollywood, so I have no idea exactly what a Production Designer is charged with. I suspect from your comments it involves set design. If so, let’s hope that designing award winning sets for Felicity’s preppy college experience and 20th century scenery for MI-3 (a movie I enjoyed) translates to creating realistic 23rd Century Starship interiors. Like your comment suggests, I can’t imagine it will look at all similar.

I assume at least some of the movie will take place on a starship, though I admit I would at once be both more intrigued and more concerned if I found out that it did not. ST4-TVH was good despite having no Starship Enterprise (nearly), so I suppose it could be done.

8. Trevok - December 19, 2006

It is good to see more names being linked to Trek 11. I don’t mind the idea of new people bing involved, it will hopefully add new life to Trek something it needs if it is going to attrack a new audiance. Live long and prosper.

9. hitch1969© - December 19, 2006

It should be noted for the record that even a non-alarmist such as hitch1969© views this continued development of all the eggs in the Abrams basket as one of trepid concern.

However, in light of severance to the Berman and Braga era, we are optimistically concerned at hitchworld at this time.

Yellow Alert™.

Lettuce simply make note at this time and carefully babysit the project to successful fruition. Trek XI is going to be a great one!



10. TomBot2006 - December 19, 2006

Frankly, new blood is what is needed, and to be blunt, if it’s based on TOS, he already has a template, he just needs to interpet in a new but acceptable way. Touchstoning others efforts is fine, if it’s applicable, but otherwise, let the ghosts of past Trek Films have their legacy and let’s start over: fresh!
I am curious how technological and design asthetics will be addressed… will TOS be relegated to some Holodeck Historical Recreation, that the ancient Kirk and Spock chuckle at over the inaccuracies? Just kidding. ;-) Perhaps, we will just be given a new vista to embrace without cumbersome explanation, and just go along for a glorious ride?

11. Greg Stamper - December 19, 2006

Remember, IF this film is about Kirk’s First Command of the Enterprise — it’s possible the color scheme of the Bridge may be that of the Captain Pike era. The bright Red may simply come later. Scott Chambliss may consider this …

12. CW - December 19, 2006

“A new look?
Chambliss was unavailable for comment, but sources indicate that he and Abrams are already working on some designs for Trek XI. Although it is known that the film will take place around the Original Series era, it is still unknown how close the film will mirror the look of the 1960s show. Abrams and the writers have indicated that the film will stick with Trek canon, but it is hard to believe that they will slavishly duplicate 40 year old TV budget designs in a big budget motion picture.”

O.k., you know what? Don’t screw with what’s been done before. Maybe detail it a bit more, but unless you want all of hell’s flames unleashed, then don’t screw with established designs.

Don’t do to Trek what Bay is doing to Transformers.

13. hitch1969© - December 19, 2006

I think they should rebuild the old sets exactly like the New Voyages™ folks are over there.

I think the uniforms, ships, everything… should be identical. AND I want to see present day shatner in his old uniform.

Nimoy as well. Then they should put Matt Damon in there and maybe Benny Affleck as Spock.

I want old school Klingons, too. Original school Klingons with the brown shoepolish makeup and NO forehead ridges.

And there better be a Captain PikeMobile™ somewhere in the movie. One beep for YES, two beeps for NO.

Kirk travels back in time to get the one that got away – Miramaneeeeee™!!!

going back before the asteroid was a problem and he got lost in the obelisk. Thats where Matt Damon comes in. And he walks up to Miramanee by the river and says, “I’m a free man, come on and dance with a PIMP!!!” And of course, she does.

Then Shat and Nimoy steal the enterprise and go back to the future part III. Find Khan… Ricardo Montalban in the PikeMobile™!!!

Thats what I want to see but I would still be happy with another kind of story and look because I realize that it’s not all about me.



14. DB - December 19, 2006

I don’t think that the more conservative among TOS fans can quite unless hell’s fires. A bonfire in a trashcan, maybe.

15. trekmaster - December 19, 2006

Present Kirk in his old uniform and Khan in Pike’s electronic wheelchair? LOL

16. Admiraldeem - December 19, 2006

Hitch…I think maybe you did a little too much LDS in the sixties!

17. DB - December 19, 2006

BTW, I dunno whether Zimmerman was the Production Designer on Star Trek V, but he certainly designed many of the sets. His version of the bridge of the Enterprise was the best-realized of any of the Trek films, IMAO. I know some folks prefer the ST 6 version of it, but as far as I’m concerned Meyer’s mandated changes to it just trashed the aesthetics of the thing.

18. senya cartel - December 19, 2006

“Thats what I want to see but I would still be happy with another kind of story and look because I realize that it’s not all about me.”

Sorry, but that sounds an awful lot like derision for the opposing viewpoint to me.

I say we just go ahead an redesign the bridge to look like a superstar destroyer from Star Wars. Kirk piloting an X-Wing fighter to blow up some people…YEAH!!! That would totally “rock”.

19. trekmaster - December 19, 2006

The Star Trek-5-Enterprise-A had the interior of the Enterprise-D. Her bridge had no buttons, so it was too modern for late 23th century in comparison to the 24th century. But the failure of Star Trek 6 was, that the ship’ s interior in this film was much less comfortable to the ship’s interior shown in Star Trek 1.

20. senya cartel - December 19, 2006

I’m surprised to hear that you two didn’t like the ST-6 bridge. I thought it was excellent.

They were filiming TNG at the time, so I didn’t really much care for the reuse of, say, the Ten Forward set for the President’s office (that was pretty obvious). I also didn’t like the observation room on STV-TFF – it looked like a room from TNG as well. But I thought the actual bridge was alright. I preferred that design to both Excelsior and the TNG Early 24th century designs (i.e. Stargazer, Enterprise-C, etc.)

That said, I really liked the bridge of STII-TWOK and (obviously) prefer the movie bridges to the one from TOS. Mainframes in space!!! (Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure it looked good in it’s time.)

21. DB - December 19, 2006

The Star Trek 5 Enterprise A returned to the basic design signatures of the original television series, simply streamlined and amped up quite a bit.

The use of Okudagrams and lack of buttons for most instruments on the bridge – established in the final shot of “Star Trek IV” – would be carried through in both “Star Trek VI” and “Generations,” though a few switches were added for specific purposes in VI.

22. hitch1969© - December 19, 2006

Didnt we learn about the second Vulcan eyelids when spock went blind in that episode with the IDIC?

Ben Affleck played DareDevil, who was also…. you guessed it, BLIND.


Captain Pike in the PikeMobile™. Ricardo Montalban is also totally paralyzed these days as well.

Lets mash up some SpyKids III cgi and take Khan back to Talos iV.

“now now mister scott… young minds, fresh ideas”

23. StarTrekkie - December 19, 2006

To those who think that the sets should look like they did originally and on New Voyages. I completely disagree. I think paramount is looking at this movie as a trek relaunch and they want completely fresh looks and ideas. I want them to have total creative license in the look of everything. If the orginal designers could have access to the resources and experience that we have today in production design, they would not look the way they did in the 60s.

Why pay for a production designer if all he’s going to do is create sets that a bunch of fans can do on their own (New Voyages)

24. Kevin - December 19, 2006

One comment about the STV bridge– shag carpet? Looked like TNG. By the way, they only redid that because the TMP bridge became the D battle bridge.

25. CW - December 19, 2006

Lets bring on the design changes! The first thing that shoud go is those stupid nacelles. And the skinny wings holding them up. And the cigar shaped secondary hull. Not to mention that skinny neck holding it to the saucer. Might as well toss that saucer as well.

It would be more logical to make the TOS Ent look more like the Galactica.

26. hitch1969© - December 19, 2006

dear Country&Western™,

When you say bring on the design changes and then talk about getting rid of the basic concepts of the enterprise and say to make it look like Galactica…

That seems a little extreme. I’m just saying. Some of these ideas are just outright outlandish.

Where’s AdCo™ or DRuss BFlav® when common sensibility is needed for godsake? BIG DAWG A.P., come on man school the cattle.

This dude’s name is seriously Chambliss©? Come on man you made that up didnt you?



27. trekmaster - December 19, 2006

As far as I understood Mr. Abrams it`s not planned to re-invent the whole show like BSG. There will be new dramatic elements, perspectives and the relation to our present time.

@senya cartel
No, I liked the designs, but the one from ST5 was too progressive/ TNG-like while the one from ST6 went backwards relating to the corridors and other interiors in ST1, The ST6-bridge was ok.

28. Anthony Pascale - December 19, 2006

I imagine both those who expect a new Galactica style total reinvention and those expecting a New Voyages style exact replica will be dissapointed.

29. Alex Rosenzweig - December 19, 2006

I suspect you’re right, Anthony.

I’d expect the overall look to be similar to the original show, on the level of the broad strokes. The bridge will still look like the bridge, the Enterprise will still look like the Enterprise… But expecting an exact, button-by-button recreation of the bridge/engineering/etc. isn’t realistic, and I think on that level of detail it’ll be somewhat different-and probably much more visually dynamic.

The nice part is it’d be very easy to accomplish that without fundamentally changing the overall designs, due in large part to the genius of Matt Jefferies’ designs. :)


30. hitch1969© - December 19, 2006

Dear Alex®,

I’ve copyrighted the best!! tagline for a reason, pallie. Let’s please refrain mmmmkay. I wouldnt want people to confuse you with me, or for you to get credit for my ideas.

I reckon that when Abrams reads this here at trekmovie.com, my ideas for the movie are going to happen. JJ respects my perspective and knows that it is for the gooder of the franchise. Anyone got Ricardo Montalban’s number? We’re going to need it. PikeMobile 2.0 will have rockets.



31. CW - December 19, 2006

Well, like I said before, I wouldn’t mind more detail. I would mind a more extreme re-invention.


32. Flake - December 19, 2006

It has to look cool and futuristic, yet campy, colourful and 60s – good luck Mr Chambliss :)

33. Adam Cohen - December 19, 2006

AdCo is here, hitch baby!

What’s this talk about redesigning the big E? CW’s just kicking up dust. There will be no new exterior for the Enterprise. They may add a little texture to the model, maybe tweak a few details if any changes at all. As for the interiors, I could see that changing by filling out the design concepts already imagined. You don’t have to recreate all the details, you can take the concept and make it more realistic, with instruments and screens that make sense.

All I know is that I want a PikeMobile 2.0 for X-mas. I’ve been a good boy, ‘Ol St. Hitch.

34. Drij - December 19, 2006

The TMP Bridge was damaged from water while in storage and thus is why an almost entire new bridge was built for STV, only the 2 turbo lift sections where used and later used on the Enterprise-E Bridge.

35. Norm - December 19, 2006

I’m so glad its time to start with fresh team. I would love a retro look. I just hope they never use those crap red/brown uniforms from Star Trek 2-6.

36. Dom - December 19, 2006

I imagine, we’ll get a more expensive, detailed, realistic version of the original designs. What was once grey-painted plywood wiil now be metal. All materials on the ship will have greater texture and the lighting will be enhanced. Screens on the bridge will all function, rather than be static paintings and maybe we’ll see what Spock and Sulu see in the scanner devices they peer into.

I’m really looking forward to seeing 60s low-budget sets re-worked on a big 2000s film budget!

37. jason - December 19, 2006

shoulda stuck with Z

38. Jeff - December 19, 2006

I hope the ship, the sets and the costumes look absolutely nothing like anything we’ve ever seen before. The hilarity value of the outrage will be worth the price of admission alone :D

39. JON - December 19, 2006

My advice to Trek’s new production designer… be careful not to be influenced by post 1977 Star Wars( New Hope) sci-fi for inspiration.That movie has crept into most all sci-fi films since it’s sucess.Star Trek should be a seamless optimistic vision of the future,not a dirty ,dim, nuts and bolts type looking film.Let’s see how great things could be.

40. Dom - December 19, 2006

I want to see all those wonderful golden age sci-fi images that influenced so much of TOS brought to 3D life. Look how wonderful some of those mattes are in TOS Remastered. Imagine what they’d look like in 2.35:1!!!

41. JON - December 19, 2006

The exterior of enterprise needs to be re-imagined keeping the current saucer with 3 pods look but updating it for more cinematic scale.Igo to the movie just to see THAT.

42. Tassieboy - December 19, 2006

It seems sad that Herman Zimmerman will not be involved in this one, he has certainly been instrumental in creating a wonderful look for Star Trek for a long time.
Still, I’m keeping an open mind and certainly won’t criticise anything I haven’t seen yet. It’ll be exciting to see what this guy comes up with.

43. T Negative - December 19, 2006


Agree, I want the 60’s look with a cleaned up sleek look of the 2000’s.

The old 60’s stuff can be made to look good. I really think this is what Abrams is going to do IMO.

44. Josh T. (Thesaurus) Kirk Esquire. - December 19, 2006

Nothing at all is dated about the Constitution class bridge set. Only the materials used.

An entirely accurate reproduction of the classic bridge is entirely feasible, especially given the advancements in set construction and materials in the past 40 years. Gone are the plywood and cork painted frames in favor of all manner of molder plastics.

If the original Enterprise set was recreated to a tee, with only enhancements to the monitors lining the duty stations, and button appearances , that set would fit in just as ell as any modern incarnation of Trek.

I see no fundamental problem here.

For an example, consider the appearance of the D bridge set in the series, versus Generations. Ambiant light source, construction materials, and paint hues make all the difference in the world.

An exact photo replica reconstructed bridge set could look pretty damn sharp if they wanted it to.

45. Robert Bernardo - December 19, 2006

At a Creation Convention a few years ago, I was able to speak to Mr. Zimmerman at his table in the dealer’s room. I asked him why there was such a difference between the sleeker Star Trek V bridge set and the more pushbutton-like Star Trek VI set. After pausing for a moment, he admitted to me that he had more money to spend on the Star Trek VI bridge set and thus was able to add more bits.

Robert Bernardo

46. DB - December 19, 2006

#24: “One comment about the STV bridge– shag carpet? ”

Nope, just carpet. The TOS bridge had carpet.

47. Xai - December 19, 2006

On topic… I’ve not see this guys work, I’ll have to rent MI… I pray he’s good.

On the brewing design arguments…

None of you will be completely satisfied…
Anthony will be proven correct…. no wholesale changes and no slavery to old exact duplicates. Somewhere in between…

I can’t wait until 2008…. a new movie and a whole universe of fanboys crying..

48. Buckaroohawk - December 19, 2006

Since Chambliss has a template to follow in Matt Jeffries set designs for TOS, all I really think he needs to do is ramp up the detail. I think the TOS designs are simple and elegant but to low-tech for today’s audiences. Once again, here are my thoughts.

The basic starship interiors should use the same design motif seen in TOS, but the level of detail should be increased substantially. Make the walls look like they are made of metal, not plasterboard. Give the floor deck plates and the walls access hatches. Deepen the shadows and use hard light for accentuation, but only white, green, red, and blue lights. No purple, pink, or lime. Base the hallways on modern hospitals (many of which look like starships these days anyway). They should be pleasing to the eye, but still functional and sensible.

As for the bridge, the established design is damn near perfect, so again only details need to be added. Two sets of doors in the turbolift (the outer bridge doors and the turbolift car doors). More buttons at the stations and labels for what they do. The small screens surrounding the work stations and the larger screens above should have constantly changing information on them (no static photos or repeating designs). The helm and navigation stations need to be redesigned to appear more functional. It was always hard for me to believe Sulu and Chekov flew that ship with so few controls and no clear indication of what they did. The lighting on the bridge should be darker, almost like its lit only by the myriad controls all around it.

Finally, there’s one element that needs to be there for the new sets to work; cielings in the hallways and on the bridge. That simple addition will go a long way to making the interior sets look and feel real.

Here’s hoping they don’t just toss out the established designs we know so well. Thos designs are as much a part of Star Trek as the characters. If they screw with them too much, they’ll lose the aesthetic they are supposedly trying to achieve.

49. Sanfranman - December 19, 2006

“Although it is known that the film will take place around the Original Series era, it is still unknown how close the film will mirror the look of the 1960s show.”

This “revisioning” idea grows more absurd by the hour.

Why not bring the honeymooners back with new actors playing the Kramden and Norton roles? That’ll work.

How about the Dukes of Hazzard. Bo and Luke and Daisy. Yeah. Now that’s a fine idea.

Maybe we could bring Our Gang up to date? Kids are kids. No one will notice.

I’ve got it! The Beverly Crusher Hillbilliies!

No no! Lost in Space. But we we have to re-imagine the robot.

Face facts people. You cannot recast “iconic” characters. It doesn’t work. (Unless it’s a parody which is what this show is starting to sound like.)

50. Tim (McCoy97) - December 19, 2006

Greetings one and all,
I am a little disapointed that they have decided to go retro on ST XI, but I realy must say I am very intrested on how all this new blood is going to bring this new movie out. I will go see it when it comes out. I think this is a new begining for Star Trek. New blood brings on new ideas. J.J. Abrams has said he will do his best to stick to the mythos of Star Trek. What more can you ask for. He has been in contact with both Shatner and Nimoy, I am sure he has even talked with who ever is left of the original series. I don’t mean just the actors, but the production staff, and writters. As well as the Star Trek New Voyages gose, and Of Gods and Men, I really think that these maybe his insperation for doing a Original series movies. I see little faith in the fans out there. More negativity generates even more negativity. Lighten up give it a chance. I have enjoyed every Star Trek series since its beginings. A half empty cup leads to a empty cup!
Happy Holidays everyone.

51. patio - December 19, 2006

Honestly I think that going back to the TOS days might cause more havoc and upsets than expected. While yes some fan attempts (i.e. Starship Exeter) have proven to be quite good, I really don’t think a “prequel” or whatever they are planning will do much good. I mean look at Enterprise…their intention was well, but ugh so many flaws and bad writing. While I don’t hate Enterprise 100% and it did attempt at bringing some notion of TOS back to television, overall it failed.

I also think going forward is stupid as well. I mean how many stories can they do until we actually get the actors to wearthe uniforms in AGT, the Visitor, and Endgame? I think instead, the focus should be on the “in-between” era. Why can’t the story take place after ST:VI? Or perhaps during the time of the Enterprise-C? Or pre-TNG with those amazing crewneck jumpsuits (and ludicrous male skirt uniforms! …just kidding). Star Trek needs a new approach, yes…but looking to old characters? Meh.

Why not introduce us to new faces…new stories…MORE SCIENCE FICTION! Personally, I’m sick of the movies focusing on just action or space battles. While yes, Nemesis did offer amazing special effects for that space battle, did they really have to fight in a nebula/briar patch again?! And God if I ever have to see a Star Trek movie with a dune buggy chase again, I’ll shoot myself…well perhaps only to stun.

I apologize for this rant, but ugh, I really do hope they make Star Trek spectacular again…great dialogue, exciting visions of the future, something mysterious…I dunno.

And I’m spent…

52. Marcus - December 19, 2006

I question this move, I am probably the only one but Herman Zimmerman is by far the only set designer for star trek, I am just hoping that Chambliss keeps with tradition and if needs help goes to Zimmerman. The only one left then lets hope is Michael Okuda with the technical and historical ideas. If he goes then Star Trek is doomed to be a Star Wars type movie, full of problems.

53. Xai - December 19, 2006

Newsflash… JJ won’t consult you..or you or you (or me)… for the script, era, production design or casting. Opinions are great. This is mine.
Look at the poster…. it screams TOS. It will happen, and if you don’t wish to watch, noone’s dragging you into the theater.

54. Trevok - December 20, 2006

here, here, 53 The simple fact is Paramount Does’t give scwat what Trek fans want or don’t want. The film is a relaunch of the franchise intended to bring in a new audience. If existing fans like the film fine if they don’t tough bananas.

55. senya cartel - December 20, 2006

#54 says it like its a good thing that they (allegedly) don’t care what the current fans like or don’t like.

I’m curious to all the ‘credulous’ posters here….you sound less like fans of the show than you do Hollywood Marketeers.

56. jonboc - December 20, 2006

…54, very true…the existing fan base is not the audience Paramount wants. The want new fans. After all, current fandom didn’t support Nemesis nor did they support Enterprise….why on earth should Paramount cater to this group? Now, if taking Trek back to the basics of TOS is what they have in mind to reel in new fans, great, I’m frankly quite sick of the 24th century, but this is not going to be your father’s Star Trek, or your grandfather’s Star Trek, rather something in between
. I watched MI3 last night, and while I can’t make any judgments on the new production designer based off a bunch of offices and warehouses, I can make judgement on Abrahms. He knows his source material, and unlike the the first 2 movies, parts of this movie felt just like the old Mission Impossible TV series. That bodes well for Trek. I also loved his directing style. He keeps the camera moving . One thing I always like about the first season of TOS is some of the sweeping camera work on the bridge. I think Abrahm’s can do that justice, I just hope he decides to take the reigns and direct this himself. As far as sets go, like I said, Abrahm’s knows his source material. He’ll take Jefferies concepts and tweak them to give them real world functionality, but I don’t think we’ll see any drastic changes from what TOS has established.

57. senya cartel - December 20, 2006

“After all, current fandom didn’t support Nemesis ”

Let’s keep it on topic to the drafting of the set designer and a possible departure of the look of Star Trek. I could go on and on about how off-base that statement was and the “how’s” and “why’s” of the ho-hum not-so-much success of Nemesis and Enterprise.

But I won’t because I’m not looking to argue that point. I tend to believe # 54 is correct and Paramount/CBS doesn’t care. I take offense that this is probably true.

But my “on topic” question would be, exactly what – with regards to set design – will the new Director & Designer think this “new audience” will want to see.

58. Adam Cohen - December 20, 2006

#57 senya cartel

First off, you’ve made some great points thus far.

Your question above boils down the whole production to one central point- what will the show’s design tell us about the direction of the production? Let’s say as an example all previous forms of Star Trek were a variety of chicken dish. So, while they had their unique individual “flavors” for the most part, you could tell by looking at the dish that “that’s Star Trek.” Now, you have a new set of cooks that have it in their mind to change the dish, maybe they think “People are tired of chicken, let’s mix it up a little.” If they stray too far from what we’re used to, many fans and maybe some casual viewers will roll their eyes and dismiss the project as lacking authenticity. And if they replicate the same dish that we’ve been eating for 40 years, some will call it comfort food and others will turn their noses up, wanting something new for a change.

So, my opinion and theory is that if the filmmakers are smart, they will keep it chicken (same design themes, style, retro motifs) but use the best ingredients to ensure that Star Trek has never tasted this good design-wise (use the best materials, add texture and the long-missing realism and details to the old set designs, which I think would be extremely exciting).

Now, I am hungry.

59. DB - December 20, 2006

“#54 says it like its a good thing that they (allegedly) don’t care what the current fans like or don’t like.”

At this point, and to the extent that it’s true, it really is.

60. hitch1969© - December 20, 2006

Nemesis was an abomination of canon, the most aggregious offense against TNG itself. And that is unfortunately the legacy of the Berman and Braga era. The continuity holes that were not only allowed but endorsed at the time – that movie should have never been made. Say what you will about Shatner’s Opus, Trek V – atleast it was consistent.

I do at times wonder about the choice of Abrams, flavor of the month and all that. Mission Impossible and Lost… I dunno. But where I have faith here is what has been stated to date – the retro poster, the direction of the new movie back to the classic elements and finally the involvement of Shatner and Nimoy. That demonstrates a respect that was sorely lacking in the Berman vision. Infact he was quite on record many times saying that he wanted to avoid the classic series altogether.

I think that Abrams and his crew are mindful and intelligent enough to get this right. I really really do. And everything that we have heard and seen to date is consistent with that. So whats the problem?

Continue Yellow Alert™.



61. senya cartel - December 20, 2006

# 58

“use the best materials, add texture and the long-missing realism and details to the old set designs”

I’m all in favor of that. I said on one thread that the TOS bridge (both Pike and Kirk Eras) was essentially “Mainframes in Space”. Also for reference recall the 1960’s Bond movies – the villain’s central base was always inundated with mainframes. At the time, it was perfectly understandable since that was the most advanced computer technology available — so constant references to “Tapes” were understandably projected into the far future.

For those interested, reference this link from IBM’s museum and tell me that this 1950’s-Era ACTUAL computer doesn’t look like it belonged on the TOS bridge…


Star Treks TMP through the ship at the very end of ST4-TVH had bridges with computers that appeared “Mainframe Like” with their control systems. ST5 and ST6 went with the more modern looking digital control systems. I’d be interested which look they go for. I’m ambivalent to some degree, but I might prefer updated control systems (panels) on the bridge (i.e. ST6-TUDC).

62. Anthony Pascale - December 20, 2006

what is all this ‘they dont care about the fans’ stuff?

Paramount are about to pump $100 million (est) into a Franchise that others may judge is no longer ready for prime time (see chart in ‘longest period without a trek film’ article). JJ Abrams is a huge Trekkie and got Paramount jazzed about the franchise again. He loves TOS and TNG…the writers are also gigantic geek level fans. To say these folks dont care about the fans is ludicrous.

However, they are also not idiots. THey know that if they solely pander to the current fanbase, then the film will fail and Trek may be dead forever. Like or not, the fans need to be ready for Abrams to invite more people into our little club.

63. THEETrekMaster - December 20, 2006

I don’t know the man’s work, but I have to say as excellent as Zimmerman was, I am glad to see someone completely fresh in charge of production design. I strongly feel Trek needs and entirely new look…so I am encouraged by this.


64. THEETrekMaster - December 20, 2006

Nothing personal against Okuda…but I am SICK of Okudagrams!!!

Ya know…there’s more than one way to design something. You know, for people who pride themselves on “forward thinking”, way too many Star Trek fans are mired in the past…same old boring sets…same old boring costumes…fanboy plots…


Does everything always have to look exactly the same and be chained to Berman Trek? For me, the GREATEST thing about Star Trek XI is that it will likely not LOOK or BE like Berman Trek.

I am ecstatic that the old team has been swept aside completely in favor of people with, hopefully, NEW IDEAS!!!!

65. hitch1969© - December 20, 2006

I like the Okudagrams® and the Okuda influence overall as it were. I like that he’s involved with the remasters as well.

And don’t get me wrong, I like TNG and DS9 and Voyager and what I’ve seen of Enterprise. Overall, the franchise from 69 to present has been satisfying. We are talking about a show that was originally cancelled about a month before I was born, perspective is paramount. (pun intended)

We’re in good hands for the future too. Everyone needs to stop worrying. Everything is going to be fine like cherry wine. Pimps up, hos down!



66. Dom - December 20, 2006

I said on the ST:TMP review thread how alienating I found watching that film, as a child, with its massive redesign of the ship, uniforms etc. But that redesign had an impact on every Trek since on TV and film.

STXI gives a new designer the chance to go back to those original designs and try something fresh. In a sense, this film can be Star Trek 1.1 as well as Star Trek 11.

I’m sure everyone’s grateful to the various designers who’ve worked on the shows and films before. But there’s a new generation coming in and that influx of new blood can only be a good thing for the series and for us!

67. Adam Cohen - December 20, 2006

If this movie was a legit reboot instead of a canon-friendly show, they could have really gone the creative route design-wise.

I know, I know, it’s not a reboot. Too bad, because there’s lots of ways to interpret Star Trek, like they’ve done with Batman and James Bond. We’d be free to have actors that didn’t feel the need to mimic or look like the original cast. And the movie wouldn’t be a prequel in a continuity sense. Oh well…

68. SithMenace - December 20, 2006

In response to some of the posts above I really can’t get over all of the negativity from Trek fans since this was announced, it’s as if Uwe Boll or Paul W.S. Andersen was doing this movie. Abrams is more than capable of pulling this off, and I don’t see the big deal with going back in time. As long as it’s a great new Trek movie, who cares what period it’s in? Just the fact that it’s a prequel doesn’t mean it’s doomed to failure. Let’s not forget one of the greatest movies of all time, The Godfather part 2, is a prequel. If Abrams takes an approach to the movie like they did with Godfather 2, it could be amazing. Imagine the story of a young Jim Kirk rising through the ranks of Starfleet, while a present day story is told of his career winding down. One of the most poignant aspects of Trek 2 was Kirk’s struggle with his age, coming to terms with who he is. Imagine the potential drama that could be generated for this character in his mid 70’s, now that he really is too old to command a starship. True, we know that the prequel characters are going to make it out of any situation they’re faced with, but we don’t know what’s going to happen to the older versions of the characters, as well as any new characters introduced in the prequel story that are close to them. For example, what if prequel kirk had a brother, and the flashbacks include him, but at the end of the movie he dies just before Kirk takes command of the Enterprise. What if Kirk was in the position to do something about it but couldn’t for some reason or another. It would add a whole new dimension the character that we’ve never known. Now imagine if it was at the hands of a character we’ve known for a couple of decades, like say, Decker. It would change the whole dynamic of their relationship in TMP. It doesn’t have to be exactly that but that’s just an example of how this movie will be able to change perceptiions of characters and stories that are 40 years old, just like the DeNiro flashbacks added a whole new dimension to the character of Vito Corleone. Goddamn I’m excited for this movie.

69. hitch1969© - December 20, 2006

I want the PikeMobile™ to do barrell rolls and I want CBS to do it all in CGI.

I want Miramanee in a clamshell bra and animal skin thong loin cloth.

Shatner in the TOS uniform flying an X wing fighter with R2 in the back.

The New Voyages bridge and the dude that plays Spock in them mind melding with Nimoy in a TOS uniform.

A drunken Janice Rand in the mood,

Bones with the TMP beard AND the attitude.

and “I said GET ME THE BRANDY!!!”


70. Dan Lewis - December 20, 2006

I’m glad they are getting in a whole new team. As good as Zimmerman was, his stuff was very “samey”. This gives them the chance to make it look wholey different from bog-standard trek.

Would love it if they did something really retro, incorporating things from the original. Even making it look sixties, with a present day modern twist, it would look amazing. Kinda how I was hoping “Enterprise” would look, before they completely disregarded the original, (and in my opinion, best) series.

Anyone have any thoughts on how they would like to see the sets look?

71. SithMenace - December 20, 2006

Like someone said above, I think they should be the same designs, only updated and realistic. We also need to see Earth.

72. SithMenace - December 20, 2006

Also, remember how intense and visually stunning the rescue of agent Farris was in the beginning of MI:3? Just imagine if we get a 20 minute “rescue Kirk from the Nexus” sequence in the beginning with the same intensity and excitement. Same director, same production designer. Man this movie is going to be great.

73. senya cartel - December 20, 2006

re: 68, 71, & 72

I have more negativity toward the desires of many of the fans’ postings than I do toward what has been officially stated about the film. So far the only negative thing I’ve really had to say about what’s OFFICIALLY been said is that I’m not certain I’ll be happy about a prequel until I know what the story will be about. No word on what the sets are going to look like, just a bunch of speculation.

I stated above what I’d like to see the set design look like and what I wouldn’t like to see it look like. So far, I haven’t heard much specific of what others would LIKE to see (besides Hitch, lol). I’ve only heard “change change change, no more Okuda, no more Zimmerman, change change change, no more Berman, no more Braga, change change change, everything else is old and sucks, change change change”. etc.

74. Anthony Pascale - December 20, 2006

wouldn’t be great to see something new a delightful. Should film makers just give us what we expect. I want to be surprised. I want Trek XI to blow me away. I want to say ‘i would have never thought of that’

I feel most ‘negative’ towards those who want something very very specific in Trek XI…and will be upset if whatever they want isn’t there.

Abrams, Orci, Kurtzman, Chambliss and Gicacchino are all artists. There is somethign to be said for artistic freedom. When listening to some Trek fans you get the sensethat they want film makers to just take dictation and pander. God help us if they do that

75. hitch1969© - December 20, 2006

BIG DAWG A.P., rounding up the cattle and keeping them in line and on course. And of course you and I share the same vision. I know you want the PikeMobile™. Shatner in the TOS uni. Just like I do.

at this site, we shall have a say in things. Abrams and his crew have been monitoring and adjusting the script per this. We’re in good hands now.

I’m officially taking us off Yellow Alert™.



76. Dom - December 20, 2006

I just want to see a film that’s filled with the passion, adventure, romance, excitement and darkness that the original Star Trek series gave me.

I want it to make me feel the awe of travelling where no man has gone before. I want it to inspire a new generation to join the space programme. I want it to blow away years of cynicism and ennui.

I want it to make me feel like I’m eight years old again!

77. SithMenace - December 20, 2006

Senya, same here. Some of the ideas that Trek fans have come up with are terrible, and it makes me thank God that they’re not in charge. It’s gotten better, but I remember a couple months ago someone was trying to start a boycott. Over a movie we have barely any info on, that’s not going to be released for two more years . It’s that kind of negative mentality that’s getting me down.

78. Dom - December 20, 2006

Look at it this way, SithMenace: morons bashed Daniel Craig for the whole production of Casino Royale and danielcraigisnotbond.com is still coming out with the most outrageous material you can imagine, yet CR is turning out to be a huge success. It’s sad that there’s been so much unpleasantness for so long, when the film is perfectly respectable.

There will always be idiots who will cause a fuss and STXI is in a prime position to be attacked, as there will be factions who will be against the film because, as a consequence of Star trek’s diversity, the film will not please anyone.

Face it: ST:TOS was very different from the RoddenberryTMP approach, which were both very different from the Meyer/Bennett/Nimoy version. There will be noisy fans of all these incarnations who will scream very loudly if they aren’t satisfied.

Then you have a portion of TNG fans who fervently believe that there version of Trek was the ultimate version of ‘Gene’s Vision’ and that, even though they won’t deny the TNG movies were mostly suck-fests, the characters deserved a better send-off than they got. Trouble is, TNG had a wonderful send-off called ‘All Good Things . . .’ that suited TNG, because TNG was never really suitable for the cinema (there’s nothing wrong with being a concept that works better on TV, I hasten to add!)

Basically, there’ll always be someone who thinks they know better than everyone else. There’ll always be someone who wants a continuity-fest at the expense of the cinema audience. There’s always someone who’ll insist that anything different is a ‘betrayal’ of the show’s creator, even if the poor man has been dead for fifteen years and therefore unaware of modern cinema, the modern world or any of the TV shows he’s created since he died (Andromeda, Earth: FInal Conflict!)

End of the day, enough of us should be out there to drown out the negativity and look forward to seeing Star Trek done in a new way.

79. senya cartel - December 20, 2006

…and once again we see Trek vs. Trek rear it’s head. Morons, idiots, noisy fans, suck fests, etc.

My only response is that after 40 years of Star Trek, its – quite weird – of people to expect that fans wouldn’t have at least *some* expectations of what they’d like to see on the way in to the show. Creativity and continuity aren’t mutually exclusive.

But thanks, I’m starting to get the message here. Pander to the fans? Everyone in charge has creative license carte blanche because the fans ultimately have no ability to impact the final cut either way. It’s not like I was calling for a boycott if the stupid bridge didn’t have okudagrams. BTW, can we at least agree there should be a bridge? Or is that too restrictive?

Drown out the negativity? You mean create an echo chamber. What was I supposed to say? Good job guys. Whatever you say goes. Atta boy. No expectations here. Sheez.

80. bones4ever - December 20, 2006


RE #64: Nothing against the team team…but bear in mind, please, that the last era’s designers had TONS of very cool ideas over the years–but in the end they had to walk a political game and please the boss, or those over them. A LOT of fun stuff got squashed. Oh how I wish “Enterprsie,” especially, had been let loose to the art guys’ and FX guys’ (and gals’) “fanboy” but professional sensibilities. All I’m saying is–just as with the *credited* writers and the stories–don’t attribute all final looks and designs to the various designers’ first or best intentions. For techheads and canon nuts, there will be great stories for years as these bits and pieces filter out over time.

81. bones4ever - December 20, 2006

Sorry–make that “design” team!

In re: to:

82. bones4ever - December 20, 2006

64: *I am ecstatic that the old team has been swept aside completely in favor of people with, hopefully, NEW IDEAS!!!! *

@#$%! quoting!!

83. Xai - December 20, 2006

I started the latest “yellow stream” in #53 and #47and #54 agreed with me. My only point was that there are thousands of opinions on how the designs, sets, costumes, etc should look… and 99.9% of them won’t happen Noone here will be completely satisfied because it didn’t agree with your “correct” view of Trek.
Senya (love that name, btw)… very refreshing posts. Keep them coming.

84. Resistance is futile.........so FUKN RUN!!!!! - December 21, 2006

I’m still unsure about this film I really want to give it a chance but TNG will always be my show/crew/ship/s. I want this film to be like Superman Returns to Superman 1 Returns being similar to 1 however kicking it’s ass in every way acting/story etc all the way. So this STXI should be similar to what we got back in the 60’s but kick it’s ass enitirely.

85. Dom - December 21, 2006

Um Senya: I was demonstrating a point there! Read my post again: I’m saying that every set of fans of a version of Trek will have different ideas. Even fans of Kirk Spock and McCoy have three different interpretations of them to choose from: TOS, TMP and TWOK onwards.

I don’t think TNG was suitable for cinema. TOS had three lead characters and a supporting cast, which worked easily in cinema. TNG had (nine-ish) main characters, all of whom were explored across seven seasons. But TNG was a nuanced series which worked off its character interaction, rather than TOS’s action and adventure working off archetypes (both Brent Spiner and Marina Sirtis said this too!).

TNG could only succeed in mainstream cinema by trying to be TOS, which can only lead to a suckfest! It’s not the fault of anyone on TNG, but it should have stayed on TV. If they wanted to follow up TNG, they should’ve made a miniseries! I don’t think that something that works well on TV, but not in movies has anything to be ashamed of: too many TV shows are expected to work in a different medium when they just ***can’t!*** First Contact was a good film and very enjoyable, but that was because it was essentially a zombie film on a spaceship, rather than a Trek film!

And no, we shouldn’t have expectations: we should have aspirations! Expectations are the limiting, damaging thing we should avoid!

Star Trek fans are a broad church, so it really is a game of wait and see!

BTW , I was obviously tired when I wrote the earlier post: I meant to say ‘not please everyone!!’ oops!

86. SithMenace - December 21, 2006

Dom, exactly. Everyone needs to go to this film with an open mind. Yes, this is going to be a different version of Trek, but that doesn’t automatically make it bad, there’s a very talented team of people behind this movie, and they’re fans. I know alot of people are upset about the recast, but in 15 years or so there will probably be debates about which actors were the better Kirk and Spock. I guess it’s just human nature to fear change before ultimately embracing it.

Senya, the only point I’m trying to make is that people shouldn’t condemn it before they even know anything about it. Everyone is entitled to have their favorite, but this movie has the potential to change alot of minds about what their favorite is. People that are vowing to not even see the film may end up saying “Wow, I never even considered they could do something like this with Star Trek “. All of the fans will never be happy at the same time, but what’s wrong with the possibility of liking this as much as the other incarnations? Could this movie be bad? Sure, but I’m not going to condemn it before I see it just because it’s not exactly what I think it should be. Remember, Abrams wasn’t assigned to this movie, he asked for it, which means he cares about it, he WANTS to do it. That IMO is the most important aspect.

87. Doug Mappin - December 21, 2006

Every production crew wants to put their own creative stamp on the projects in which they are involved. That said, having seen how stunning the TOS sets looked on the “ST: Enterprise” episodes “A Mirror Darkly pts. I and II” it would be a crime to completely discount the original look.

On another topic, I still think it was a crime to have cancelled ‘Enterprise.’ Paramount should never have aired the program on UPN, a network totally unsuitable to a TREK audience.

88. THEETrekMaster - December 21, 2006

I think it’s possible to keep the familiar sets and STILL put your own creative stamp on it. There’s lots of room for improvement with the old sets…just update a few things and voila! Good as gold.

I hope they don’t try to completely reinvent the wheel. I’d would like to see settings that look to be true precursors to what we saw in TOS…so what if it’s a little retro? I’d rather it be retro than all ultra contemporary like, say, the sets from Enterprise. To me, that look didn’t fit at all.


89. THEETrekMaster - December 21, 2006

Enterprise should have started with Season Four…then we might have had something. Season Four was decent…would have been a good starting off point for a TRUE prequel.

But, alas, it was not meant to be…

90. Dom - December 21, 2006

Funnily enough, I’m tempted to pick up Enterprise season four, if it’s cheap enough, just to see some elements of TOS get put into modern TV Trek for story reasons rather than the patronising ‘Gosh wasn’t TOS primitive: people like that could never work in Starfleet now!’ way they’d been portrayed before!

Trek needed fresh production talent from about 1993. It’s a warning to anyone creative that, no matter how big you are, a franchise like Star Trek is bigger. You can influence its journey, but you don’t own it and can’t run it forever – if you try to, you’ll lose control and wreck it!

91. Bart - December 22, 2006

The best Star Trek design ever made was done by Andrew Probert. He started of doing the refitted Enterprise from TMP and later the Enterprise-D, another jewel in starship design.
And weren’t the sets of TNG just marvelous? Sleek, clean, bright design. A real vision of a positive future.

Bring back Probert for Star Trek XI!

92. THEETrekMaster - December 22, 2006

Contrary to myth, Probert didn’t design the TMP Enterprise in a vacuum.

93. THEETrekMaster - December 22, 2006

“Trek needed fresh production talent from about 1993. It’s a warning to anyone creative that, no matter how big you are, a franchise like Star Trek is bigger. You can influence its journey, but you don’t own it and can’t run it forever – if you try to, you’ll lose control and wreck it!”

I agree Dom…’93, I think…is when I started bitching.

Even back then, I was saying it’s the fact they were keeping the same people around that was problem. People get bored, people get writer’s block….it’s just a fact of life.

But, that’s when it’s time for a change.

94. Trevok - December 23, 2006

I stated I believe Paramount Execs don’t care one way or another how they react to Trek VI idid not say I agree with them. But if you spend some time reading postings here why would they bother catering to existing fans. Better to bring on a new fan base that isn’t wrapped up in its own little petty greavences. TOS is the only Trek Everything else sucks.
Next Gen is great but Voyager suchs. Bah Hum bug. Get a life people.

95. eliyahu - January 2, 2007

oh well one small step for j.j. abrams and co’ one giant leap toward trek destruction…
please why paramount(or whatever branch of viacom which trek films belongs now) abuses a corps? guys we “trekkies/trekkers/star trek fans wont suffer anything…. if a trek film is about the “beginning” we had 4 seasons of “enterprise” and we liked only 3 out of the 4 (guess which season we didn’t like…) wasn’t that enough a clue for you????
“q’apla” any way until 2009 lots of things might happen (like iran take control the midlle east and likewis disasters…)

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