The hero ship of Star Trek: Picard is not the USS Enterprise this time around. Instead, the former crew of the Enterprise-D are being seen on the USS Titan-A. This is a Constitution III or Neo-Constitution Class Starship. Its predecessor, the USS Titan, was the ship that Captain William Riker commanded. The ship is a combination of classic Star Trek and new when one looks at it. This was by design. Showrunner Terry Matalas shared how it came to be.
The USS Titan-A Exterior Look
While shopping for a car, Matalas was inspired for the look of the USS Titan-A. “I missed a proper saucer section on the top part of a starship, and I couldn’t help but notice how many cars have gone retro these days. And I remember, as I was driving around, I thought, ‘What if Starfleet did that?’”
Matalas continued saying, “I saw this incredible starship designed by digital artist Bill Krause called the U.S.S Shangri-La, which was a ‘Star Trek: Motion Picture’-era class ship with a half saucer on top and an Excelsior-inspired ‘Next Generation’ curve on the bottom, which I thought was really interesting. I said to production designer Dave Blass, I think the Titan should feel something like this.”
The Interior of the USS Titan-A
Blass got to work and part of that work was on the inside of the Titan. For this, he recruited some alumni of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. This included senior illustrator Doug Drexler, scenic art supervisor Michael Okuda and video playback supervisor Denise Okuda, all from Herman Zimmerman’s production design team. Blass also added Sean Hargreaves, who designed the new USS Enterprise that was seen at the end of 2016 Star Trek: Beyond.
This set up Bass to have the best of the old and the new. “I think that the starships in the ‘Star Trek’ universe are as heroic as the captains who sat in those seats,” he says. “So, when we were bringing the production crew together, I wanted to bring the best designers from all of ‘Star Trek’ together on one project.”
Blass continued, “What was really important to me was that we were bringing ‘The Next Generation’ characters back, and I wanted to make sure that my sets and my designs did not feel out of place in a ‘Next Generation’ world. If we were going to have our characters look and act the way they are, then our sets needed to evolve in such a way that it looked and felt like an extension of what had been done in the past while also looking forward at the same time.”
This also makes sense with the progression of where the history of the Federation is at. There has been a time of war and isolation. Now the Federation and Starfleet seem to be moving past that and into another era of exploration and the pursuit of peace. The progression can be seen both with the exterior and interior design of the USS Titan-A. This could all change this season, however, depending on how this new threat is dealt with.
The Bridge of the USS Titan-A
The bridge itself was quite the project. At 46 wide, it was designed to be flexible for all of the different filming needs found during this season. “The bridge of the Titan is only 12 feet bigger than the Enterprise-E [from ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’] and we were shooting with multiple cameras, so it had to be wide enough to get all the widescreen view shots without picking up the other cameras. And we designed the Titan with bigger consoles so the Bridge would light itself because, with our very limited timeframe, we couldn’t completely relight the set for every single take.”
Getting the bridge looking correct is only half of the game, however. It also has to sound right. Think of so many different episodes or movies of Star Trek and it is almost impossible to not think of the bridge of the Enterprise without a specific whoosh, chirp, or alert happening. “It was important for us to go back into the archives and dig out everything from ‘The Next Generation’ series and movies,” says Matalas. “There would be new sounds, and there would be updates, but you’d have a blend. So, even though visually you’re seeing Dave’s sets, the sounds are evoking all of those feelings that should be in your DNA if you love the older shows.”
The powers that be at Star Trek: Picard, led by Matalas, have been releasing more and more about the USS Titan. Recently, the backstory of the ship was also released via a log that provided a profile of the ship. A theme for the ship was also written and shared before the season began. It can now be heard in the first episode of the show. The bridge crew was also introduced ahead of the season’s arrival Great efforts are being made to make this ship another character in the series and have it be beloved for fans, much like the Enterprise has been through the years.
In the third season of Star Trek: Picard, the crew of the USS Enterprise-D are brought back together to face a new threat that could potentially take down the entire Federation. This is all set off when Admiral Picard receives a message from Dr. Beverly Crusher after not hearing from her for years.
What do you think of the USS Titan-A? Did you see the first episode of Star Trek: Picard (read Daps Magic’s review here)? What did you think of that? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!