It’s a rare young Star Trek fan indeed who doesn’t fantasize about sitting on the bridge of the starship Enterprise. That has gone for every generation of fan, every Star Trek series, and every Enterprise, whose bridges you can see in the new video above from the Roddenberry Archive. It begins, naturally, with the original Star Trek, the show with which creator Gene Roddenberry started it all — and for which art director Matt Jefferies designed a bridge that would become a model not just for all subsequent Enterprises, but real-life command centers as well. As the narrator says, “Jefferies’ bridge made such an impression that engineers from NASA, the U.S. Navy, and private industry have studied it as a model for an advanced, efficient control room.”
That narrator happens to be John de Lancie, whom viewers of Star Trek: The Next Generation and subsequent series will know as the all-powerful extra-dimensional being Q. He’s not the only familiar performer to participate in this retrospective project: in the video above appears a certain William Shatner, who as James Tiberius Kirk occupied the captain’s chair of the very first Enterprise.
Even those who prefer the later, more complex Star Treks have surely wondered what that position would feel like, and now they can get a virtual sense of it at the Roddenbery Archive’s web site, which is now offering virtual tours of the bridge of every series’ central ship.
“The site features 360-degree, 3D models of the various versions of the Enterprise, as well as a timeline of the ship’s evolution throughout the franchise’s history,” writes Smithsonian.com’s Sarah Kuta. “Fans of the show can also read detailed information about each version of the ship’s design, its significance to the Star Trek storyline and its production backstory.” All this comes online to mark the end of Star Trek: Picard, the recent series built around Patrick Stewart’s Enterprise captain from The Next Generation, whose final episode went up last month on the streaming service Paramount+. For that grand finale, production designer Dave Blass “recreated the bridge of the Enterprise D,” and “Picard’s triumphant return to his beloved ship brought nostalgic tears to the eyes of more than a few fans,” no doubt regardless of generation. Take the virtual tours here.
Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the Substack newsletter Books on Cities, the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.