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