Variations and Redresses of the Galor Class Bridge
by Jörg Hillebrand and Bernd Schneider
The Galor class, designed by Rick Sternbach, is the primary warship of the Cardassian fleet. The ship design appeared on many occasions in three Star Trek series. While the exterior of the Galor class (initially as a miniature, later as CGI) has remained consistent, the interior and especially the bridge design was subject to vary considerably. In some cases it consisted essentially just of a plain wall and/or backlit panel with a chair in front of it. The real-life reason, of course, is that no standing set was available for the bridge, and it was not always possible and in some cases not even desired to reconstruct a previous look of the bridge.
Our article analyzes the appearances of Galor-class bridges episode by episode. We have included all possible appearances of bridges, although in some cases we may not have seen the bridge but other rooms on the ship or even on a planet. Furthermore, the fully developed bridge as it appeared in DS9: "Emissary" was re-used three times in DS9's first season for the interiors of other alien ships.
This year corresponds to TNG's 4th season.
TNG: The Wounded
The first time that the Cardassians appear on Star Trek is also the first time that we see the bridge of a Galor-class warship. As can be seen on the screen cap the bridge is extraordinarily dark, even by Cardassian standards. We can see a massive captain's chair, designed to match the shape and color of the original Cardassian uniforms. There are at least four Cardassian crew members on the bridge, all with helmets. Later on the bridge is relatively empty. There is white lighting in the ceiling, while the side walls are illuminated red. Behind Gul Macet we can make out two big bent supporting struts. Structures like these will repeatedly appear in Cardassian design, also on the DS9 ops and in later appearances of Galor-class bridges.
This year corresponds to TNG's 5th season.
TNG: Ensign Ro
The next appearance of a Galor-class bridge is in "Ensign Ro", one season later. We can see that the illumination is noticeably brighter. The Cardassian uniform is still the same, only without the helmet. Likewise, the captain's chair is still the same as well, only the head-rest was obviously downsized. The whole bridge is painted green, which is an unusual color for Cardassian interior design and which we would rather expect from the Romulans or perhaps the Ferengi. Green Cardassian rooms are rare, and we only see them on TNG (such as prominently in "Parallels"), and maybe once more on DS9. Once again we have white illumination through a grate in the ceiling, which is bluish in front of the room. The structure and position of the grate is very different, however. In the background we can recognize the two struts again, with similar shapes as the ones in "The Wounded" but not quite the same. Overall, this is a different bridge set.
This year corresponds to TNG's 6th and DS9's 1st season.
It takes until "Chain of Command" that we see the Galor bridge again, although in this episode it could be the ship's ready room, judging from the lack of consoles or displays.
TNG: Chain of Command, Part II
As we can see, the Cardassian uniform was changed (in preparation of DS9 where the Cardassians would play a key role). The uniform now looks like the familiar style as it would remain consistent through seven seasons of DS9. Gul Lemec is sitting in a simple leather chair, on a kind of table. Behind him there is a simple gray, slightly ribbed "concrete" wall. In front of that wall there is a kind of grating with the Cardassian emblem on it that we can see for the very first time (aside from the single-color logo on the ship's hull that is hard to recognize in the episodes).
This is the first appearance of the bridge in DS9.
For DS9: "Emissary" a totally new bridge was developed. Odo was going to beam over to a Cardassian ship some time in the middle of the episode, in order to keep the Cardassians from detecting the runabout that would leave the station. For this purpose the story needed a couple of corridors, as Odo would not be beamed directly to the bridge.
The bridge as we can see it in the episode is a fully developed set for the first time. It belongs to Gul Jasad's ship. We can initially see the bridge only on the ops main viewer. Later in the episode there are also scenes that take place on the bridge itself. This bridge is not green any more. We can see the characteristic Cardassian bent supporting struts on the walls, arranged in a radial fashion. They have white illumination here. Between the struts there are Cardassian interfaces as we can see the on the station Deep Space 9 too, and large red illuminated fields. Gul Jasad is sitting in a quite simplistic captain's chair.
In the background we can see the Cardassian emblem as already on Gul Lemec's ship in TNG: "Chain of Command, Part II". Once again the emblem is on a grating, and is backlit. There are a couple of officers on this very small bridge. We can also see the entrance to the bridge and the corridor that is located behind it.
We can see more of the interior in the scenes when Odo beams over and attempts to sabotage the ship. It is shown how some officers store their gains in a closet, in a corridor as it seems, and Odo morphs out of this closet. He then runs along the corridors and finds the right room. On a side note, a painted corridor extension is used to make the set look larger. Something else to notice is the first appearance of a characteristic, green-red illuminated interface. It was already previously visible in the entrance to the bridge but was partially covered by the chair. This interface will repeatedly appear in the first season of DS9. Another thing worth mentioning is that Odo finds the room he was looking for, but it is actually a re-use of the bridge set.
Another screen cap shows the bridge of a second Galor-class vessel, the one of Gul Dukat. This bridge is darker, almost as in the early appearances of TNG. We can only see a characteristic orange illumination, in front of which Dukat is sitting. For some reason the new bridge set was not used for this take, although it was likely supposed to be the bridge of Dukat's ship.
Summarizing, a new bridge set was constructed for "Emissary", including some corridors. This set will appear a few more times in the first season of DS9.
DS9: Past Prologue
We can see another ship of the Galor class in this episode. But the bridge is not the one that was introduced in "Emissary". Instead of that, there is a plain wall with illumination. This illumination is akin to the one behind Gul Dukat in "Emissary". But overall the bridge in "Past Prologue" is somewhat brighter. Gul Danar, the commander of the ship, is sitting in a simple leather chair.
DS9: A Man Alone
The Galor-class bridge set from "Emissary" is re-used in "A Man Alone", but this time as the interior of a Bajoran transport.
The first thing to notice is that the red-green console is re-used as well. The set consists of two rooms, the one with the console and some plastic chairs is in place of the Cardassian corridor in "Emissary". Once again we can see painted corridor extensions. The Cardassian bridge was transformed into a bedroom. We can still recognize the supporting struts, which are not illuminated here though.
It becomes clear that it is still the same set, although many details were changed; bunks were inserted and the illumination is new. In addition, a Bajoran console was added. The central area is distinctively Bajoran, even adorned by the Bajoran emblem. Only the two triangular consoles on both sides somehow look Cardassian.
DS9: The Passenger
A few episodes later we can see the set again, and once again in a different role. In "The Passenger" the bridge set appears on the Kobliad ship Reyab.
Once again the set was modified to some extent. The red-green console is visible again. The shape of the narrow door is the same as in the previous appearances. A new door with an oval shape was added as the bridge entrance, but we can make out the familiar struts yet again. Comparing the Kobliad bridge with the Bajoran bedroom, we can see that the new door is located where the bunks used to be. Even the lighting above the door is still the same.
DS9: Move Along Home
The last time that we know of the bridge was redressed for the Wadi ship. But we can only see the corridor part in this episode.
Comparing the Wadi interior with the corridor of the Kobliad ship in "The Passenger" it becomes clear that about the same part of the set was filmed. We can see the red-green console again, but this time without lighting. The structure of the embossed wall above and below the lighted area is identical. Even the door is still the same as on the Kobliad ship and on the Cardassian version in "Emissary". We can also see the thin and slightly sloping columns that were already in the Cardassian corridor. The narrow doors have remained the same as well, they were only modified with a somewhat more detailed surface and yellow Wadi stickers.
TNG: The Chase
We can see a room on a Galor-class vessel, but not necessarily the bridge in this episode. This room consists of a plain green wall, in front of which Gul Ocett is sitting in a wide black leather chair. There is not more to be said about this possible variant of a Cardassian bridge. The DS9 Galor bridge set already existed when this TNG episode was being filmed, but it may not have been available or may not have been deemed necessary for this brief appearance.
The last time in the TNG season 6 or DS9 season 1 we can see a Cardassian room in "Duet". In this episode Odo contacts Dukat to acquire information pertaining to Marritza. It does not become clear, however, whether Dukat is on his ship or on Cardassia. The screen cap showing Dukat in his room insinuates that it is intended to be the bridge. We can see the green color on the walls as in some TNG episodes, the red illumination and the Cardassian emblem, inclined, as already in "Emissary". This is why we presume that Dukat is on his ship, as opposed to his later appearances on monitors, especially in the second season.
This year corresponds to TNG's 7th season and DS9's 2nd season.
DS9: The Homecoming, DS9: Cardassians
Dukat appears a few times on monitors in this season. The dialogues establish that he is on Cardassia and not on his ship. We can see a characteristic wall ornament with red illumination behind him that will return in later episodes.
TNG shows a large Galor-class bridge for the last time in TNG: "Parallels". It is green again and has the bent struts again, as they have become characteristic of Cardassian architecture. We can see the fan-like Cardassian interfaces as we know them from DS9, and also a nice MSD of a Galor class. Gul Nador is sitting in a big leather chair. Other than that, the bridge is rather empty.
This year corresponds to DS9's 3rd and Voyager's 1st season.
This is the only time we see a Galor bridge in Voyager. We can see Gul Evek on his bridge. It is reasonable to assume that no new set was built for the brief appearance in this episode. Our impression is that Sisko's office serves as the bridge.
Dukat is aboard a Galor-class vessel in the end, to greet Ben and Jake Sisko, who have traveled from Bajor to Cardassia on their sailing ship, with fireworks. We can see him at the beginning of the episode and towards the end. The first time he appears in front of the decoration from season 2, this time with green illumination. He could still be on Cardassia. Behind Dukat there is a desk and chair, however, the same he is sitting on later in the episode, when he is definitely on the ship. The wall decoration is the same too, only that we see a different portion of it that is not illuminated.
This year corresponds to DS9's 4th season.
DS9: Way of the Warrior
We can see Dukat one last time on the bridge of a Galor class. Sisko and the Defiant save Dukat and the Detapa Council, who are on a Galor-class vessel, from a Klingon attack. The colors of the set are all the same as in the design of the station Deep Space 9, so we presume that for this brief scene an existing set, perhaps the science lab, was only slightly redressed to serve as the Galor bridge.
Fore the sake of completeness, here is a look at other Cardassian bridge designs that could be seen on Star Trek.
As a standing set of the series the ops of Deep Space 9 is more spacious than any of the Galor-class bridges, and considerably more complex with its different levels, oddly shaped consoles and sophisticated displays. There is nothing like a command chair on the ops. The station's commander has a separate office one level higher, from where he commands the station. The colors are different shades of gray-brown, with several accents accomplished by colorful lighting.
While we can't see any further Galor-class bridges in the second DS9 season, DS9: "Tribunal" shows us the bridge of a Hideki-class vessel. But all we can see is a colorful backlit panel, with structures that do not look particularly Cardassian.
The predominant colors on the Groumall are red and gray, and there is no trace of green. It is interesting to note that the doors to Dukat's quarters bear a resemblance to the doors on the Galor in "Emissary".