Watch: Doug Drexler’s Tribute Video To Star Trek Designer Matt Jefferies


Veteran Star Trek artist/designer Doug Drexler has produced another great Star Trek video. This time it is a tribute to the late Matt Jefferies, art director and production designer on the original Star Trek series (who also happened to be the designer of the iconic USS Enterprise). Watch the tribute video below.

Watch Doug Drexler’s tribute to Matt Jefferies

Doug Drexler pays tribute to his Star Trek predecessor, Walter "Matt" Jefferies, Jr. with this 10 minute long video that explores how Jefferies went from aviation illustrator to Hollywood designer.

MATT JEFFERIES AVIATION ILLUSTRATOR 720p R021 from Doug Drexler on Vimeo.

The video was originally made for a panel at Comic Con 2014, but in the end it wasn’t shown. Drexler tells TrekMovie he is considering expanding it, but he has no specific plans as of yet.

Drexler also notes that August 12th Matt’s Birthday, so this week is perfect timing to pay tribute to him.

The Enterprise(s) and the Starship Poster

At the beginning of the video there is a clip of astrophysicist (and host of Cosmos) Neil deGrasse Tyson talking passionately about the USS Enterprise (designed by Jefferies). The video is from Mark Altman’s Starship Smackdown panel from SDCC 2012. The poster Tyson is referring to was one released by our friends at Geek Magazine at the same event (see below). You can sometimes find the poster on Ebay. There was also a 2-page spread version inside Geek Magazine Issue #2 (back-issue available online).

See Jefferies USS Enterprise and other Star Trek and Science-fiction ships compared to scale on Geek Magazine’s 2012 SDCC Poster

Get the book on Jefferies

Much of the info in Drexler’s tribute was based on the book "Beyond the Clouds," written by Matt’s brother Richard. You can pick it up at Amazon.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The Enterprise A refit is a thing of singular beauty. Love N.D.G.Tyson’s smackdown.

Two great torch bearers for our celestial dreams… Doug Drexler and Matt Jeffries.

Great stuff!! More! More!

Nice documentary. It’s easy to say Mr. Jefferies just put some simple shapes together to make a spaceship — but when you look at his process and the amount of work and knowledge required to reach that end point, you understand why that design is so successful. As excellent as the Enterprise is, his phaser pistol is to me just as wonderful. He put the handle in the middle because he realized a beam gun had no (or very little) recoil. So the phaser didn’t have to look like a regular pistol– like the vast majority of sci-fi weapons. It looks cool because he analyzed how that weapon would work. Would Star Trek have been as great without that ship? Hard to say.

What a great tribute!

Preach it Neal! Excellent tribute to the great Matt J. Congrats Doug.

Awesome video! 4-stars!

“He put the handle in the middle because he realized a beam gun had no (or very little) recoil.”
Not in the JJ-verse. Phasers go p-choo! p-choo! and the actors react like they’ve just fired a Wild West six-shooter.
I love the TOS phaser… and of course the Big E.

I have an idea for Anthony: make a challenge to all posters to go a FULL 24 HOURS without complaining or snarking about JJ Trek…no matter the subject matter of the article being commented on.

Do it, Anthony, do it!

A wonderful tribute to both Jefferies and his creation.

Also, RIP to Robin Williams, a talented comedian and actor, and a Trekkie. (He was the original choice to play the time traveling conman in “A Matter of Time” because he was a fan of TNG.)

I met Richard Jeffries a few years back when the Vegas con was still at the Hilton. He was just standing around the gift shop on the Promenade at the Experience with a copy if his book. We struck up a conversation and I professed my admiration for his brother’ sword on Star Trek and his design of the Enterprise. We must have talked for a half hour; what a wonderfully generous and polite man who was keenly aware if his brorher’s legacy. I of course bought the book and he graciously wrote me and my wife a lovely note. The book, BTW, is a wonderful read.

•Pardon the typanese•

Admiration for his brother’s work.

•Fight the typonian scourge•

9. Vultan – August 11, 2014

Hear, hear.

A little story about how iconic that design is, even outside sci-fi fandom:

One Christmas I received the Franklin Mint’s pewter Enterprise for a gift. I was in college at the time. When I flew back to school, I took it in it’s box and packaging as a carry-on item. As it went through the x-ray, one of the agents said to another “What is that?”. The other said: “Don’t you know anything? That’s the starship Enterprise”

Thank you for a lifetime of wonder Matt!

Thank you too, Doug! That was a beautiful tribute to a wonderful man.

Jefferies’ genius built an entire universe for we fans!

His art and designs epitomize practicality and hope for the future!

Thank you, sir!

An outstanding tribute to a Trek Pioneer and Plank Owner. Fair Winds and Following Seas, Mr. Jefferies.

#13 Tom — Love that story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

#11. THX-1138 – August 11, 2014

Thanks for that. You have no idea what a picture that painted in my mind.

Very cool! I’ve always loved the Big E, loved to look at it, loved to watch her move. Just an incredible design! Matt Jefferies is a genius, no doubt!

Thanks for that vid! :)

AWESOME poster. There’s only one problem with it, however. The Derelict from Alien is backwards. What appears to be the front (with the two prongs) is actually the back. It crashed moving forward rather than plopping down on its bottom or crashing backwards.

Still…that is one COOL freakin’ poster. Had to order a copy of Geek #2…ALL of my favorite spaceships together…the original Matt Jefferies designed Enterprise, the Eagle from Space:1999, the Millennium Falcon, the Nostromo & the Derelict…that joker’s going on the wall of my studio!!

By the way, THANK YOU, Anthony, for bringing this to our attention!! I had no idea this existed. I’ve seen plenty of starship comparison charts with various franchises being included, but never seen one that had anything from Alien, Dune, Space Battleship Yamato, or Forbidden Planet. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning!! Can’t wait for the mag to get here!

Oh, and I forgot one other favorite (mainly because I associate the two together)….the TMP Enterprise. BEAUTIFUL ship!!

I gotta admit I grew up with the TMP Refit and the Enterprise D, a reinvisioning of what Andrew Provert wanted to do with the Enterprise refit.

but as time as gone on, I’ve started to see the flaws in the big movie ship,

it doesnt look as strong as it used to with the TOS one, given that they didnt aerodynamically round the edges as well and make certain key parts as thick or stronger than they should of to counter the new parts added for the movie

namely the neck, and the saucer, which was raised a deck, and because of its super deformed shape got too thin in certain areas after they expanded it and in general the TMP one needs to go into a windtunned and be strengthened in minor ways

all of which I kinda plan to do with my own model, as a way to maybe make it more like he would have liked with the original one.

along with toning down the grid lines.

as his ship does have a simplistic beauty to it, and I want to tone the TMP down to it somewhat and make it more in the spirit of the original

in honor of him someday, as I remembered reading that he wasnt fond of the TMP movie and the set designs, probably because of the color scheme

the enterprise refit herself though, I dont know what he thought of it, but seeing as literally the problems people had with it spawned the USS excelsior and the enterprise D in more or less 5 years in to the new enterprises life.

I kinda think that maybe my idea of redoing it has wings to it.

and its kind of funny when you look at the enterprise lineage, via when they were made, you can see how the design changed too overtime

TOS Enterprise

TMP Refit – lets put a ton of detail on this baby and really make her shine over the original on the big screen

Enterprise D – lets do something completely different with a stronger more advanced shape, but the same paintjob as the original TOS ship and glowy bits

Enterprise C – lets try and go back abit and make an enterprise B in the grand scheme of things.

Enterprise B – lets make a prototype of the next enterprise in the same movie that we Kill off the old D

Enterprise E, a modernized exclesior with the Pylons of the enterprise Refit.

Nx 01 – no idea where this fits, producers got lazy and wanted to reuse an Akira, until Doug and another guy fixed and tried to fit it in.

and I forgot one, the JJ

The JJ 09 Enterprise – lets over compensate the flaws and preceaved weaknesses of the TMP refit from the movies,

by oversizing the neck, instead of putting an enterprise B/C bracing on it to prevent a KHAN! attack, lets overthicken the saucer to stop a torpedo from going through

and then lets hotrod the ship and fail to apply the same level of finess and balance to it that the original had to balance it out.

instead putting the neck too close to the center of gravity, and pull the engines in too close to the saucer.

and this is the only ship in the entire star trek universe where without intended malaice or forethough, after seeing it peak through the clouds in Into Darkness after falling to earth did I honestly think

My god that is an ugly son of a bitch.

which is what prompted me to think about doing a re redesign of the TMP to better honor the old fans like me who grew up with the TMP and to honor Matt jefferies

as while the JJ has good points to it, it needs an overhaul in those areas and it needs the Kelvins impulse engines for the next movie.

not the impulse engines that look like the tail lights of an Oldsmobile, and it needs the edges of the TMP on the saucer for a start

and alot of matt paint and carpeting for the interiors, as I take it, they’ve never had to deal with glare off of a computer screen in the movies.

Today, while I was at work, my sister stole my apple ipad and tested to see if it can survive a 30 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone! adedfdceggfd

[imgcomment image[/img]

Far superior to the Garbageprise of JJ Abrams.

#25 – No, it’s not. I like the JJprise. I find it actually more attractive and the ship looks more balanced than other versions of the Enterprise, including the one shown in the link.