Latest News

A Fistful Of Unnoficial Ships Made Canon

A Fistful Of Unnoficial Ships Made Canon

Since the debut of the USS Enterprise in 1966, Matt Jeffries design became the template that every designer has helped to expand upon since, giving Star Trek it’s own unique and easily identifiable style linking everything from the Enterprise-D to Discover for decades.

Since then several designers have been hired to bring new iconic ships to Star Trek, including Andrew Probert, Rick Sternbach and Kelvin Timeline designer Ryan Church. However, while most ships were built in house for their productions, not every ship we’ve seen on screen began it’s life in a production office nor in any official capacity.

Jeffries’ original work has inspired fans across the world to come up with their own versions of what a ship may look like, with groups, portfolio’s and even competitions filled with fan-made starships. Expanded media has also added to the ‘fanon’ collective, from a Federation built Deep Space Nine and Captain Ezri Dax’s USS Aventine’s unique design.

Of course, the rules are if it’s not on screen then it doesn’t count; a rule that has irked some fans, especially with the novels written over the years being over-written by Star Trek Picard. Though sometimes, just sometimes, those unofficial non-canon works slip into the Star Trek Universe.

Looking at the few that have made it, we’ve picked a few favourites to highlight.

USS Titan / Luna Class
The winning entry to a reader competition for Titan Books, the Luna Class is one of themost popular ships to transition into the canonised world of Trek. First appearing on the cover of 2007’s Sword of Damocles novel, the Luna Class Titan would become designer Sean Tourangeau‘s entry into the Star Trek world and proved to be a popular ship.

Starring front and centre in a series of books about Will Riker’s first command, the USS Titan would be released as a physical model by Eaglemoss by popular demand as well the Luna Class being added the roster of playable ships in Star Trek Online. Lower Decks would make it the official USS Titan as Riker and his ship became a story point with Boimler transferring under Riker’s command while the Luna class would make it’s first live action appearance as part of the fleet in Picard Season 3.

While the original USS Titan was retired by that point in time, it was replaced by another fan-inspired design...

Including the Eleos might be a bit of a cheat. But it’s a valid one. In 2006 Perpetual Entertainment began a project to bring Star Trek into the MMO world which would include hiring seasoned designers to pitch new starship ideas for their Star Trek Online concept. Of course, that project closed and Cryptic took over, leading to the state of the game today and those early concepts being largely abandoned.

One concept, the Pheonix, by artist John Eaves ended up getting a second chance years later. As Picard Season 3 production began, the Pheonix was retooled and refined with extra detail and a more civilian layout. While not the first piece of artwork Eaves had been able to finally bring to life the Eleos was a unique and interesting design that fit in well as Beverly Crushers civilian ship.

Gagarin Class
For fourteen years now the world of Star Trek Online has let it’s players captain their own starships from both canon and in-house designs produced for the game. While some have been distinctly horrific to look at, in recent years the designs and styles have improved massively with some of the best being 25th century redesigns of existing starships.

Thanks to the collaboration between Picard’s art department and the STO Development team, quite a few of their original designs were used to flesh out the fleet through the series, with one of the favourites being the Gagarin. Based on the Shepard class first seen at the Battle of the Binary Stars, the Gagarin updated the look with more modern parts and STO’s traditional bulky bussard collectors and white-fleet livery. Alongside other designs, including the Pathfinder, the Gagarin fit right in to the fleet seen at the climatic final battle of Picard’s third season.

One of the more unique looking Starships in the TNG era, the Pasteur also had a unique history behind the scenes. Designed and built by Bill George, the model was the only Starfleet ship to be an outside hire. Having previously worked in Star Trek, helping to design the long serving Excelsior class, George built the Pasteur at home as his own side project while offering the art department on TNG the chance to use it.

Much like his approach to the Excelsior, George took a ‘what if?’ approach, looking back at some original sketches by Matt Jeffries from the 60’s and wondering how it would look in a late 24th century setting if the sphere of (whats now known as) the Daedalus class was kept as a Starfleet design feature. While it wasn’t an official ship design or commission, nor even close to the description of the Pasteur in the script, producer Peter Lauriston rented out the model to be included in TNG finale All Good Things.

Odyssey / USS Enterprise-F
Perhaps having the strangest history of any Enterprise, the Odyssey class came to life during a contest from Star Trek Online to design the next iteration of the legendary vessel. The winning entry was from fan and player Adam Ihle before being refined by the production team for the game before it’s debut in 2012.

As star Trek Online’s flasgship, the Odyssey Class originally came in three variants each with unique consoles that could be used solo or in bulk; one console for saucer separation, one for healing during battle and a tactical variant that dispatched a small defence craft from the rear of the engineering hull. Since it’s initial launch the designs has went through several revisions over the years, with the Yorktown variant being added as the Enterprise-F’s current look which was again modified and updated to coincide with Picard Season 3.

While it was only on screen briefly during the final episodes of Picard, and upstaged by a rebuild predecessor, the Enterprise-F may have a different history than the version seen in STO, though after years of teasing with comic book appearances the production finally canonised the ship as part of Star Trek history.

You can get an in depth look at both the STO and Picard Versions of the design at designer Thomas Marrone’s Artstation Portfolio.

Our latest issue of Comms takes a look at the last year of Star Trek, sci fi, superheropes and more!! With the usual features including What If, Fistful Of Data and more, the “All Good Things” issue of Comms is available as part of SFCQ2’s free membership! To find out more visit our Comms preview or Enlist Today!

ADM JT Marczynka, DoFA
Creator of things, writer of words, caffeine addict. Director of Communications for Starfleet Command Quadrant 2.

Lost Password