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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


Recent EAS Updates
  • 08 Aug 2018
    New Klingons yet again? With hair? Make-up designer Glenn Hetrick surprised the fans at STLV. Read the whole news and my commentary.
  • 07 Aug 2018
    Surgical Incision is a new story by Travis Anderson. In his growing bid for power within the ranks of the Maquis, Michael Eddington leads specially chosen Maquis cells to the Starfleet Ship Depot in Sector 04 where decommissioned starships and shuttles from the 22nd and 23rd centuries float, seemingly lost and without purpose. The goal is to mount an overwhelming attack against Gul Maret's headquarters in the Dorvan Sector.
  • 04 Aug 2018
    Patrick Stewart to return to Star Trek in a new series. Is this the series we have been hoping for? Or just another attempt to link the reboot with canon? Read my comment.
  • 28 Jul 2018
    I have added a couple of items to the Present-Day Devices as Props. Thanks to Steve Aichele for the hint about the plastic drums!
  • 28 Jul 2018
    Some site maintenance, including an update of the Links.
  • 20 Jul 2018
    Lots of news about Discovery's second season: production delay, "Short Treks" episodes, canon, casting, and more. Read my thoughts about the latest developments in the Star Trek Discovery blog.
  • 08 Jul 2018
    Here is the Discovery Federation fleet chart, with the sizes mostly based on the Official Starships Collection.
  • 01 Jul 2018
    Two more updated Voyager season 4 reviews, of "Unforgettable" and "Living Witness".
  • 25 Jun 2018
    I have also compiled a small gallery of Star Trek Discovery Sets and Props.
  • 24 Jun 2018
    Here is a gallery of Star Trek Discovery Characters, consisting mostly of high-resolution publicity photos.
Latest Comments on EAS Articles
  • 16 Aug 2018

    I would hope that Ethan Peck inherited his Grandfather's acting talents. We will be in for a good performance if he did.

  • 15 Aug 2018

    A little disappointed that we didn't get Zach Quinto, but clearly Ethan Peck's resemblance to him was a significant part of the casting process (some of his publicity photos are uncannily like Quinto). Whatever the impracticalities of casting Quinto and whether that was even considered, we don't know for now, but I remain upbeat that this will allow much more than an extended cameo for Spock.

    We may have to consider that we are also perhaps at a time of change for Spock - "Cage" Spock is a lot more emotional (and shouty!) than "Where No Man Has Gone Before" Spock and perhaps this is part of that journey whereas 2009's Spock was series Spock pretty much.

  • 13 Aug 2018

    Though to be fair, Kruge didn't exactly have that much canon to be consistent with at the time ;)

  • 13 Aug 2018

    Um... unlikely.

    Edit: Kang started to offer a counter-argument, and then realised: Why are we doing all the heavy lifting and gymnastics here? Let these lazy-arsed series writers come up with their own rationalisations. Enterprise managed to pull it off, why should DIscovery not put in the same effort? Until then, joke 'em if they cannot take a fuck.

  • 13 Aug 2018

    Kruge was an excellent Klingon, exhibiting traits that would define Klingons in later series, while remaining consistent with established canon. The Discovery Spongehead Squaregons... not so much. As with most of Discovery, they are alright if you can ignore that they are supposed to be from Star Trek.

  • 11 Aug 2018

    That makes sense, the baroque ships of the Klingon Houses derived from Hur'q technology. It explains the different looks and the more "Alien" ant-with-wings like Discovery bird of prey. Maybe the Klingon knowledge of Hur'q technology is limited, and the Imperial fleet could be a Klingon follow-up development of their own, somewhat less advanced than the Hur'q derived ships but sturdier, easier to maintain and able to take a heavy beating. A blood wine for the new, good old Klingon fleet. Qapla' !

  • 11 Aug 2018

    We can but hope :)

    We've been told that the Empire has been in disarray for the last century, which would lead to putting blame at the door of the Augment virus I would say. With the nature of the virus, whole planets would likely have an almost 100% infection rate, and given the whole T'Kvuma "purity" schtick would be ostracised, which might play into what Hetrick has been saying...

    I'd be greatly amused if the Imperial fleet, as you propose, has been bumbling along, not getting involved and is primarily staffed by those more human/TOS like Klingons who are ironically unified across house lines by their exclusion from "normal" Klingon society.

    Perhaps, these more baroque ships we've seen in Discovery are derived from Hur'q technology and/or designs scavenged by the various houses out of necessity when access to the Imperial fleetyards became contested for whatever reasons?

  • 11 Aug 2018

    Maybe in the Enterprise era there was an active Imperial Fleet, flying the earlier versions of familiar Klingon designs. At the time of Discovery, the Empire is less united and everything is about the Houses, with their own fleets. One of the Houses developed some sort of a powerful "D7" battleship to gain advantage over the others, that's the "D7" seen in Discovery. More Klingon unity brought back under L'Rell could indeed revive the Imperial Fleet, bringing the reliable and familiar designs back in modernised form. The "D7" model we saw was technically a bit too ambitious, so it was refitted, or 'backfitted' to the proven Klingon battlecruiser configuration -- and there she is, the D7 as known in TOS :)

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