The Art of Star Trek: Discovery
By Paula M. Block & Terry J. Erdmann
Hardcover | $49.95
Published by Titan Books | 208 Pages
Titan Books is on a roll. Earlier this year they released the gorgeous Inside the Art and Visual Effects of Star Trek—The Motion Picture, and just last week came another beautiful Star Trek art book, this one dedicated to the work of visual effects legend Dan Curry.
Now Titan gives us another coffee table book, The Art of Star Trek Discovery by Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann. Filled with striking images and engagingly informative text, The Art of Star Trek Discovery gives us a glimpse at the story behind – and evolution of – the show’s vision.
The book covers the first two seasons under five broad categories: The Basics (opening credit sequence, primary ship/uniform/equipment design); The Klingons (new look, weapons/costumes/ships); Effects (digital creatures and scenery); Elaborate Sets And Exotic Locales (alien sets, makeup, costumes); and Changing The Scene (Short Treks, season two).
Authors Block and Erdmann conducted interviews with dozens of crew members, including Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman. Also, somewhat surprisingly, they spoke to co-creator and original showrunner Bryan Fuller, who famously left the show early in production. This lets Block & Erdmann show as well as tell us how certain things were originally conceived and then subsequently evolved.
For instance, Fuller originally conceived Saru with multiple eyes on a head reminiscent of a classic Gibson “Flying V” guitar. Makeup department head Glenn Hetrick describes his initial drawings and subsequent makeup and effects tests which ultimately led to an entirely new concept. Block & Erdmann illustrate the story with multiple images of the original wedge head and then another two pages dedicated to the Kelpien makeup we now see on our screens.
That kind of look into the thought process behind a design is indicative of Block & Erdmann’s approach. They offer beautifully reproduced storyboards and photos accompanied by quotes from the designers that detail a design’s rationales, from both a production and in-the-world-of-the-show standpoint.
There are deep dives behind the redesigned insignia and uniforms along with the primary props. The book taught me secrets about the new uniform – and how many zippers are involved – that made me watch the show differently. I also loved learning things like the intended symbolism behind L’Rell’s facial jewelry in the episode “Point of Light” (hint: it’s related to the phrase “Call me Mother.”).
Titan could have gotten away with a much different, much simpler, book, with just page after page of beautiful images – because, let’s face it, Discovery is visually sumptuous. But Block & Erdmann turn it into much more than that. The Art of Star Trek Discovery is filled with insight into the thoughts behind the imagery. It’s informative, entertaining, and beautifully bound and produced – the image on the cover, beneath the dust jacket, made me gasp. This is gift-giving season. And this is a perfect one for any Discovery fan.
The Art of Star Trek: Discovery by Paula Block and Terry J. Erdmann, published by Titan books was released on December 8th. The 208-page hardcover coffee table book can be ordered on Amazon for $39.95.
Keep up with all the Star Trek merchandise news and reviews at TrekMovie.com.
All Star Trek images are © 2020 CBS Studios Inc. © 2020 Paramount Pictures Corp. STAR TREK and related marks and logos are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.
DISCLAIMER: We may link to products to buy on Amazon in our articles, these links are customized affiliate links that support TrekMovie by earning a small commission when you purchase through the links.