In addition to the Star Trek: Discovery cast panel at Fan Expo Canada in Toronto (see earlier TrekMovie report), there was a second Disco panel featuring behind the scenes people who work on creating the look of the show. Discovery art director Jody Clement moderated a panel featuring assistant costume designer Carly Nicodemo, costume designer Gersha Phillips, set designer Emilie Poulin, production designer Tamara Deverell, concept illustrator Ryan Dening, and motion graphics designer Tim Peel. The focus of the panel was giving insights into work for the first season, and TrekMovie was there to bring you all the highlights.
Reconciling modern tech for the TOS era
Much of the panel focused on a slide show featuring work from various members of the team from the first season of Discovery, but there was also a brief Q&A portion towards the end where the panel got into some of the more hot topics surrounding the show. A fan asked the panel how they reconcile the 1966 technology with 2018 technology for the look of the USS Enterprise, which was introduced at the end of season one. Production designer Tamara Deverell fielded the question, saying:
I that we owe it to the fans to keep in time with the technology that we have. So, whereas we all love TOS and the carboard sets that they had. If we did that and offered that up to all of you, I think you would be sadly disappointed in this day and age. And so in keeping with the rhythm of the times and the technology that we have, with CAD, drafting, CNC printing [milling], and 3D printing. We are expanding our universe – going where no one has gone before.
Art director Jody Clement noted how the show has tried to use elements of the TOS era into their designs, saying:
Also, we have incorporated consoles, we do have lots of toggles and switches which are mixed in with technology from 2018. So, it’s an ode to The Original Series.
And perhaps the most interesting comment was then added by concept illustrator Ryan Dening, who revealed how he has drawn more from the TOS movies than the TOS TV series for inspiration:
I would also like to add that I tend to keep very closely to the movies, as opposed to the 1960’s series, especially The Undiscovered Country, which is as advanced as they could get. The Enterprise really, before the movies, is a bunch of cardboard sets. So, there has to be come a point we can give you more advanced technology than you have in your living room, or I think you would be kind of bored.
Season finale included deleted cease fire ceremony scene
As noted before, most of the panel focused on a slide show, which mostly featured sketches and concept art and behind the scenes photos for work on the first season. There was a restriction on photographs of the slideshow, but we can describe some of the highlights shown and discussed.
One of these was a still from a deleted scene from the season finale. It was described as a “treaty signing” [though the correct term for it is actually a cease fire] ceremony in a hall with the United Federation of Planets logo featured prominently painted into the floor. There were three Klingons including Mary Chieffo as L’rell, Claire McConnell as Dennas (House of D’Ghor) and, what appears to be Ujilli (House of Mo’Kai) who is played Damon Runyan. The Starfleet side also had three Admirals: an unknown human, Gorch (Tellarite) and Shukar (Andorian). It was revealed this scene was shot in Vaughan City Hall, the same building as the medal ceremony from the finale.
More highlights from Discovery designer panel
The slideshow at the Discovery designers featured a look at a lot of different bits of concept art and sketches from the first season. While we can’t share the images, here below are some highlights from what we and how they described the work.
USS Discovery alternatives
- Concept art for alternate designs of the USS Discovery bridge featured one with more traditionally sized bridge and layout — with the captains chair placement in the center and a station behind. A second bridge concept was laid out over two stories with sunken pits for forward console positions.
- Early transporter set design for USS Discovery was a bit smaller and more like the TOS set, but the design changed when a budgetary decision was made to redress the larger (older tech) transporter room set from the USS Shenzhou.
- Sketches for a torpedo room set were shown. An early script draft called for the set but as the script changed, the fairly large set, which was set laid out over two floors, was not built.
- Alternative warp core concepts were shown for the USS Discovery, one of which was “very different” appeared somewhat similar to the core of the Kelvin-universe USS Enterprise seen in Into Darkness, and one that was “more related to the classic,” and the decision was to go with the more classic version.
Harry Mudd’s father-in-law’s ship designed to be “Trumpian”
- The ship owned by Baron Grimes (Stella Mudd’s father) is called “The Festoon,” and was designed with the direction to make “Donald Trump’s spaceship… over the top, big, ridiculous, super-yacht.”
Season 2 could return to Molor’s shrine
- The “Well of Molor” set from the Klingon homeworld in the season one finale was a redress of Emperor Georgiou’s quarters, and it was noted “believe it or not, we might be using this again sometime.”
Klingon trash talk
- The Klingon drinking hall in season finale featured some graffiti, including one bit that said “Your mother has a flat forehead.”
Star Trek: Discovery is available exclusively in the USA on CBS All Access. It airs in Canada on Space and streams on CraveTV. It is available on Netflix everywhere else.
The first season of Star Trek: Discovery will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 13th.
Keep up with all the Star Trek: Discovery news at TrekMovie.