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.
This year corresponds to TNG's 5th season.
This year corresponds to TNG's 6th and DS9's 1st season.
TNG: Chain of Command, Part II It takes until "Chain of Command" that we see the Galor bridge again, although here it could be the ship's ready room. As we can see, the Cardassian uniform was changed. It 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 Nine 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.
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.
DS9: Duet 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.
This year corresponds to DS9's 3rd and Voyager's 1st season.
This year corresponds to DS9's 4th season.
Fore the sake of completeness, here is a look at other Cardassian bridge designs that could be seen on Star Trek.