The latest Special Edition release from Eaglemoss Collections reveals the dramatic redesign incorporated into the iconic hero ship as it appeared in director Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond.
When Justin Lin stepped into the director’s chair for Star Trek Beyond the filmmaker known for pushing the speed limits on the Fast & The Furious franchise wanted his venture into the final frontier to instantly stand apart from its two predecessors. In the third feature length film set in the “alternate” Kelvin Timeline introduced when J. J. Abrams rebooted the cinematic universe of one of the most beloved and long-enduring sci-fi series, the Star Trek universe’s most iconic hero ship would be once again redesigned, reimagined and reinterpreted for a new generation.
In 2009 when Abrams recast the crew he also demanded that the Enterprise get a major retrofitting that would befit his vision of a more contemporary Starfleet. The Enterprise maintained its familiar classic silhouette but appeared more a silver-white hot rod than its more practical looking 1960s space-faring namesake. For Lin’s adventure the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 would be once again overhauled, not as dramatically as one would have imagined; the detailing is subtle and nuanced, only to have the ship meet its end by the end of the movie’s first act.
The starship itself has evolved and been modified ever since it was introduced in Star Trek (2009). After the climatic confrontation of Star Trek Into Darkness left the ship badly damaged, before it is recommissioned to begin its five-year mission, the Enterprise received several upgrades, though those were not so readily obvious. With Lin inheriting the reigns of the franchise Star Trek Beyond would actually introduce not one, but two versions of the Enterprise during the course of the film. The filmmaker had two surprises in store for the audience.
As the Enterprise arrives at deep space station Yorktown we get our first glimpse of the ship as it’s been handling the rigors of space during the first three-years of its five-year mission. Unlike her crew and especially its captain which is showing some signs of wear and tear, the Enterprise herself has never appeared more glorious. Though Abrams had been heavily criticized for reimagining the iconic ship, setting it in an “alternate timeline” immediately endeared the forward looking design with the fanbase.
For Star Trek Beyond Lin wanted the Enterprise to appear more elegant and sleek, but he also requested that she look particularly fragile, especially when facing off against destructive invading armada sent by the movie’s villain Krall. Lin wanted the nacelles of the ship to come apart in the first wave of the attack, and also requested that the neck connecting the saucer and the engineering hull appear much more slender so that when Krall’s fighters dive in they basically shred the ship in wave after wave.
To the casual viewer, the upgrades — very subtle touches — almost went unnoticed, but the trained eye the Enterprise did appear differently and the recent “Special Issue” release of the ship available from Eaglemoss Collections as part of its Star Trek Starships Collection makes those changes all the more apparent. Never compromising the majesty of the Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 the model coming in at nearly 8 inches, really does give us our first very detailed look at Lin’s Enterprise from Star Trek Beyond.
Even though the Enterprise is ripped to pieces 20-minutes into the film, we can appreciate the detailing that went into her. The most obvious of the cosmetic changes is one that was first glimpsed at the end of Star Trek Into Darkness and that it the longer impulse engine that is placed at the rear of the saucer. Lin also had the ship’s nacelles more proportionately shorted and swept back away from the saucer. The director felt that the more muscular nacelles that were part of the original redesign were much too big and outweighed the ship and were too close to the saucer.
Pulling them back and shortening them gives the Enterprise a much more agile shape, and in profile actually makes the ship look as if she’s moving fast. The more streamlined detail to the engineering hull that courses up the side of the neck connecting the saucer also appear to much more organically support the ship, giving the Enterprise the appearance of a slim, wild bird in active decent. The saucer section of the ship also benefits from more detailing including to its surface, making the Enterprise much more believable on screen.
Gone Too Soon
The starship model makes it all-too real that at least this version of the Enterprise never really got its day in the sun. In continuity this is the ship that Captain Kirk and his crew set upon their historic five-year mission, but it’s unfortunately ruined three-years in and doesn’t bring the crew back the Yorktown space station at the end of the film. That honor goes to the Starship Franklin (also available as a “Special Issue” model from Eaglemoss Collections). Though the crew may be stranded on the Yorktown for the moment, a newly constructed and commissioned ship is crafted.
Built from the struts up, the redesigned Starship Enterprise NCC-1701-A is introduced and launched from the deep space station to take our heroes onto their next mission. The Constitution-class ship is not all that dramatically different and shares many similarities with its predecessors, but is meant to withstand more vigorous tasks and we’ll hopefully get to see her in action in the next installment of the Star Trek features. This time we can hope, this Enterprise lasts longer out in the field.
Eaglemoss Collections Starship Enterprise NCC-1701 (Star Trek Beyond) is a “Special Issue” release and part of the Star Trek Starships Collection available by visiting the site here.