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17 Mar 2018

The Visual Continuity of Star Trek

Star Trek has a legacy of more than 50 years. The franchise is famed for the iconic looks of its characters, species, sets, props and starships. They so far contributed greatly to the continuity of Star Trek. Every new series or movie could rely on what had been established before, also and especially on the visual side, but also had to respect it.

Star Trek's canon incarnations comprise the "classic" five series (TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT) and ten movies that were produced over the course of almost 40 years, plus the movies of the "Abramsverse", plus the sixth series Star Trek Discovery. The two latter take many liberties regarding the visual continuity with the "classic" Star Trek. At latest the total redesign of the Klingons and other radical alterations in Discovery cross a line. While the producers of the series don't deny that they "re-imagined" the looks of species and other designs in their series, they fail to provide a rationale whether visuals still have any canon value in their view, or whether they are arbitrary from now, like if Star Trek were not TV but a novel series. Some self-proclaimed "loyal" fans go as far as asserting that visual canon never existed in Star Trek!

It is my intention to create awareness for the significance of visual continuity in a visual medium. Read my new article on The Visual Continuity of Star Trek with many examples and pictures.

Bernd Schneider


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Latest Comments on EAS Articles
  • 22 Mar 2019

    Much like cloaking devices, Talos IV visits, Mirror Universe encounters, etc., time travel was at least implied to be a new discovery in TOS (less clearly than the other three, but the time warp in Naked Time as a viable, repeatable method of traveling back was treated as something of a breakthrough; a first that opened up the possibility of practical time travel). In additional to a 'temporal arms race' with the Klingons not fitting with their isolation of the era, it doesn't seem consistent (even if being conducted by clandestine black ops groups and not known generally) doesn't seem compatible with the general technology levels or knowledge of time travel in general (which seemed fledgling at best) in TOS.

    Just an ongoing note in the 'something in the synopsis struck me as odd, and I did 30 seconds of research, which the writers here seem either not to have done, or to have ignored once again' series. :-)

    That said, the 'time crystal,' having been previously established in Discovery, and connected to the Klingons, makes me wonder if these are simply things the Klingons get stolen from them a lot, or whether the specific crystal that Michael's parents were working with eventually ended up in Mudd's hands.

  • 22 Mar 2019

    I agree with most of this.

  • 22 Mar 2019

    Okay, upon my second watching, I see that Nhan diverted the question about her breathing implants rather than answered it.

  • 22 Mar 2019

    It's in a comic.

  • 21 Mar 2019

    In Discovery, the look of klingons changed again. Kkkkk but in the new season, klingons have hair again. Sorry the bad english

  • 21 Mar 2019

    The Constellation/Constitution hybrid appears to be just a false memory. Mike Okuda doesn't remember it, and we have no visual evidence of such a ship.

  • 20 Mar 2019

    Then what class should the Constellation/Constitution hybrid kitbash be? That could make another article. Perhaps a poll? Personally, I think that your conclusion is hasty. The hybrid was the first Challenger class, a short run, but glorious enough to be reused later. But there are other possibilities.

  • 17 Mar 2019

    The fact that it already existed in the DS9 mode in Enterprise complicates things; as does the name itself being unknown by DS9. I suspect you're right about the decon-and-recon; but it still wouldn't line up well.

    Feels more like time travel revisions are the only real fix that could maintain consistency...

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