Friday, July 21, 2017


At long last, after getting a few fleeting glimpses of the props and costumes created for the upcoming Star Trek: Discovery, the wait is over. CBS pulled out all the stops at San Diego Comic-Con with big displays of all the different pieces that we'll be seeing in the new series. And the pictures don't disappoint!

First off let me address the 800 pound gorilla in the room: I know a lot of fans are having fits of apoplexy about the look and feel of Discovery. That's because they're locked into fitting this into existing Star Trek lore. To them, I say this: don't. Liberate your minds from old. See this series for what it is – a reboot of the Star Trek franchise. But CBS says it's ten years before Kirk and Spock, huh? Well, apparently they aren't quite the Kirk and Spock we know. Once you accept that, all things are possible. Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, right? Pretty sure I heard that somewhere.

And now, back to our story! Let's start with the basics. Phasers! Click for larger images.

Image on left care of Jonathan Frakes himself! Greg Jein, right image.
Now THAT, my friends, is a PHASER! It has the overall form of the classic Original Series original complete with centered handle and small Phaser 1 attached at the top. There's a few nods to the original's details as well with the emitter nozzle, rear fins, and side dial. The grip is much more like an Assault Phaser from the TOS movies but that's fine by me. This looks sleek and hefty, like a Phaser should.

The emitter nozzle has an interesting detail – three different-sized emitters. Some have said it looks like an old-time movie camera (it does), but more importantly it emulates the nozzle from the Laser Pistol from the first Star Trek pilot made in 1965, The Cage.

both images: CBS 
I've read where some have called this a bunch of details from other phasers thrown together. I could not disagree more. Yes, it takes inspiration from the past, but in elegant ways, in my opinion. I think it uses the best of the past to create a more sophisticated version of a familiar prop.

Next up is the ever-present Communicator. This design is based on the TOS original, emulating what Kirk and Spock used on landing parties and are instantly identifiable as such.

left: / Right: CBS
Like its inspiration, this version features a gold flip antenna/lid, a circular center detail and three buttons. The lid detail was taken from the Communicators used in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan rather than the TOS design, and since I think it gives it a more robust look so I applaud the choice.

As for that center section, it apparently does stuff that we've never seen before. Lookee what's inside:

image: CBS
Very nice. The Comm will give some type of detailed information. Cooool. To round out the traditional Landing Party set is the Tricorder:

left: / right: Wah Ming Chang
This is definitely based on the original TOS design but with a much larger screen. The bottom part is much like that of the Tricorder seen in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock but the overall proprtions are also reminiscent of a 1960 Philco Portable TV thought to be the inspiration for the original prop.

left: Richard Coyle  /  right: unknown
The large screen and overall boxiness is very much like the old Philco. The screen has a major upgrade from past versions with live info being displayed. No good shot is available yet but this gives us an idea of what to expect:

image: CBS
The last piece of Starfleet hardware shown at SDCC is a Phaser Rifle. This was an item seen only in a single episode of TOS though later Trek versions all had their own versions that were extensively used.

top: / bottom: Heritage Auctions
While there's few obvious crossover elements, one detail did make the cut. The original's three tubes appear to be emulated in the new rifle. The forward handle is also present but that's about it. The scope is similar to those seen on later rifles. The TOS version was very "rag-gun-y" so it's not surprising few elements could survive.

So that's it for Starfleet tech. Check out part 2 for more from SDCC.



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